The Affair Season 5 Episode 1 Review: A Birth, a Death, and a Funeral

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Well, that happened.

The Affair Season 5 Episode 1 was a colossal waste of time.

Vik was one of the better characters ever to appear on The Affair, but his relationship with Helen wasn't one for the ages. She could barely commit to him, and once she did, he had already gotten Sierra pregnant and discovered he had cancer.

Helen Mourns Tall - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

So utilizing so much space to say goodbye to Vik felt tedious.

A quick flashback to his dying breath upon meeting his son would have been moving enough without the incredibly long scenes that accomplished nothing.

Helen and Priya never got along. There's nothing new in the discovery Priya would go against everything he son wished for his afterlife or that she'd probably hold Helen accountable for it.

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It's not even shocking that Vik, the ultimate mama's boy, would send such a gracious message from the afterlife that without his parents, he would be nothing.

If not, maybe a healthier, happier man. Just ugh.

The OG Married Couple - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

Noah was suddenly worried after Helen's welfare when Vik was dying. But where was he when she needed him to help raise their children?

Helen: You're gonna be OK. You're the most resilient person I know. Is there anything I can do right now?
Helen: Don't go.

He was off with a waitress he'd just met, tossing his marriage and admittedly a woman he loved very much to the curb.

It's not shocking that Helen took offense at being called resilient when it was nothing but a survival tactic so she could carry on after Noah dumped her.

That's not even to say that Helen was the best partner when they were married. She wasn't. She was as ravaged by her parents as Vik was by his, and the way they made Noah feel made him seek validation elsewhere.

But what did Noah learn from that? His treatment of Janelle shows he learned nothing. 

The whole time Janelle was at Noah's side, he was pining after Helen with longing looks or allowing Helen's father to speak to Janelle as if she was the help -- without correcting him!

Noah is Concerned - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

Noah also got to learn of Whitney's engagement from Vik -- beyond the grave, of all places.

Vik cared for the kids unconditionally, and they responded in kind, offering to Vik an experience that he would never have with his own son.

And geez. Did we need to witness Sierra's labor in such great detail?

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Other than the odd women's retreat where Sierra and Helen bonded before the latter discovered Sierra's liaison with her significant other, the woman isn't worth a lot of viewers' time.

Noah is also making a film adaptation of Descent with a pompous actor who doesn't get Noah or the book, but seems to think that mimicking him will be all that's necessary for a successful movie.

Sasha the Movie Star - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

Sasha is not at all the kind of actor I would have imagined playing Noah in the movie version of his book, but it's not surprising he wound up with someone so unbearable taking an interest in his life.

Noah was, for the most part, unbearable through the entire run of The Affair.

Maybe seeing himself through Sasha's lens will finally see Noah getting the redemption that's coming his way.

After all, this is Noah's story above all else, so he's not going to get away from us without getting further redeemed. Yes, taking the fall for Helen (and in a way Alison) after the accident was quite an arc, but even then he was still a little too self-inflated.

The thing is, now he seems like a normal guy who should get another chance at happiness.

He's even shocking Helen with his kindness, but just when you think he's become a better person, you realize that in his version of events, he walked in on a nude Helen, while she recalls only removing her bra.

Power Breakfast - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

But, this is a messy story about the messy lives of people that are very difficult to like.

It was at the forefront of shows about unlikeable people, and there are a plethora of them on television now. 

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Helen and Noah finding their way back to each other always seemed like the endgame of The Affair, and with Vik gone and Noah's new appreciation of his ex-wife, that could be where the story ends.

But how will Joanie play into all of it?

The introduction of Joanie as an adult was about as scintillating as Vik's funeral and Sierra's labor.

Joanie with Madeline - The Affair Season 5 Episode 1

Meeting her just before her birthday that coincides with the same age Alison died is unfair.

Seeing someone at their worst before ever getting an opportunity to know them does no favors for a story. It's hard to backtrack and build something compelling out of it.

Even on her daughter's birthday, Joanie wasn't happy and alive. What must that make her like at other times?

And sex on television is rarely sexy, but watching two people we don't know for as long as Joanie laid there uninterested in her husband was a bit too much.

Probably the best thing to come out of the premiere was their interpretation of the future.

From practically living birthday favors that delight children to little drones cultivating strawberries in a greenhouse, it was a pretty cool vision.

But I don't know that I'm up for another woebegone sort taking center stage. Alison was a downer with a lot of mental problems, and I sincerely hope what we witnessed with Joanie was a fluke.

Being raised by Cole had to have had a positive impact on Joanie. She did say she missed her dad.

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If this story is new to you, well, you have to watch The Affair online to catch up because you've missed the important parts.

For those of you who have been waiting for the return of The Affair, did this come close to your expectations?

Or do you think this review is too harsh so early in the season?

Hit the comments!

5.01 Review

Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.9 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Affair Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

Sasha: Mmm. Fuck me.
Noah: What's wrong?
Sasha: I just can't drink coffee with cream. It's like a drink for children.

Noah: This is Janelle.
Margaret: How nice to meet another one of Noah's women.