Well, that was more than a little frustrating.
I respect that to understand Janelle's machinations we need to follow her on this journey, but all of her scenes would have resonated better if they were part of The Affair Season 5 Episode 1.
Janelle needs to ditch Noah and never look back. If there's one character that doesn't deserve happiness, it's Noah freaking Solloway.
We've witnessed him do lots of selfish things, and he tried to make up for his sins after the events of The Affair Season 3, but he's back to being the same old Noah we know and hate.
He simply doesn't learn from his mistakes and has a superiority complex that makes him one of the worst characters on the small screen.
Janelle knew there was nothing positive to her meeting with the board of directors, and her decision to keep Noah in the dark suggests that she knows there's no future between them.
It's possible that we're to assume Janelle told Noah the truth about the meeting, but he didn't absorb what she was saying because he's Noah freaking Solloway.
Dating a woman of color might be one of the coolest things my dad's ever done.Whitney
The meeting itself went about as well as can be expected given the circumstances, but the way the board of directors tried to spin the whole scenario as a positve was ridiculous.
In essence, Janelle was keeping her job title, but she was being relegated to an office without interaction with anyone outside the school.
If you watch The Affair online, you know that Joel has had it out for Janelle since we first met him. He's an opportunist who will throw anyone to the wolves in the name of advancing his career.
The world is a messed up place, and some people are just like that. What was most patronizing about the whole incident is that Joel called Janelle while she was at the funeral to let her know.
There's being ecstatic about something, and then there's rubbing salt in the wound. He was a smart enough man to know that Janelle would have to have a formal meeting before learning of her fate.
For that reason alone, it's clear this new journey is not going to go in Janelle's favor. In all honesty, it appears as though she's been set up to fail from the get-go.
Turning to Carl was no surprise. He's still a weakness for her in a similar vein to the way Noah is to Helen.
It seems like Janelle was ready to give up the fight for the school, but she thought that Carl would have been the one to yell at her to fight for her job.
Noah: This is my daughter.
[Sasha kisses Whitney's hand.]
Noah: Who is very young, very engaged.
At least, that's the best takeaway from their exchange.
There's understandably a lot of animosity toward Carl, but Janelle spent some of the best years of her life and had her first and only child with him.
There's no way Janelle can ever be truly rid of Carl because they share a child, but she would be wise to steer clear of both him and Noah to find someone who genuinely makes her feel happy.
Thus far, Janelle is the only character in the current timeline that deserves happiness.
Helen does deserve happiness, but that would involve making the right decisions. Sasha is another Noah Solloway. There's no getting away from that.
But maybe that's why Helen finds herself drawn to him. This could be foreshadowing an ending in which Helen and Noah give their life together another shot, and it's difficult to get behind that.
If that does turn out to be the case, then the underlying message of the series will be, "You can have an affair and go home again." That's not a useful takeaway for a show that was once one of the finest on TV.
Helen: I just wasn't prepared for how permanent it is.
Sasha: Death is relentless.
Helen is in a great place with Noah. For the first time in a long time, they are on speaking terms and can both agree on how to raise their children.
That's a big turnaround from the days of her ignoring his calls and driving a wedge between the kids and him.
But it appears as though Noah has used Vik's illness and subsequent death to weasel his way back into her life.
There's no telling how the Sasha thing is going to play out, but he's got to be one of the most obnoxious characters on television.
From his minimalistic lifestyle to his laughing in Janelle's because she didn't know who he was, there's clearly not much going on behind those eyes.
He's trying to get close to Helen under the guise of trying to understand her character for the movie.
Additionally, there's no chance in hell Noah parted ways with Helen's cell phone number without a huge ego boost, so it's probable that Sasha found Helen's number another way.
Noah was immediately jealous when Sasha asked Helen for her insights on the actress playing her in the movie.
Unlike Noah, Helen openly admitted that the movie was Noah's thing, and she didn't want to take it away from him. Could you imagine if the roles were reversed?
Helen would be out on her ear while Noah would be parading around the set looking for compliments for turning a story about cheating on his wife into a novel.
Did I forget to mention that I hate Noah freaking Solloway?
Joanie's storyline continued to be well and truly disjointed because of the visible jump in time, but those scenes were the best of the episode.
Boss Lady: You won't like what I have.
Joanie: Where is it?
Boss Lady: Montauk.
I'm grateful the creative forces decided to keep the character dressed for her scenes because The Affair Season 5 Episode 1 went completely and utterly overboard with those sex scenes.
There's something ever so fascinating about the globalwarming-ravaged Montauk. It is such a pivotal location to the series because it was the big jumping off point for the story.
Like her mother, Joanie is desperately searching for meaning, and that's why the decision to return to where she grew up was an easy one to make.
Joanie is struggling to exist in the world. She's not happy in her marriage, she's struggling to connect with her child, and she may be pregnant.
It's not hard to see where many of her problems stem from, but we also don't know what happened from childhood to adulthood.
She had a strong bond with her father even after her mother died. But now she rarely mentions him, and when she does, there's just pain.
We now know he's not living in Montauk. He built that house and loved it there, but it's not hard to imagine that all he saw when he walked through the place was heartache.
There were remnants of his time with Alison strewn all over the place. It's a shame Joshua Jackson is no longer a series regular because losing Cole and Alison so close together has had a profound effect on the rest of the series.
Now that Joanie is in her childhood home, we should start getting some answers on The Affair Season 5 Episode 3 -- assuming they don't introduce a perspective for Sasha into the mix and the Joanie stuff gets banished to The Affair Season 5 Episode 4.
Is it bad that I wouldn't put it past the writers of this show?
This episode was a mixed bag. There were some decent moments and some downright tedious ones that shouldn't have made the final cut.
I wouldn't oppose to the rest of The Affair Season 5 being set in the future with Helen, Noah, and Joanie's worlds colliding.
The truth is, the current timeline is growing stale with the characters continuing to make the same mistakes.
What are your thoughts on the action?
Hit the comments below.
The Affair continues Sunday on Showtime.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.