The Affair Season 5 Episode 11 Review: A Bittersweet Conclusion

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Sometimes saying goodbye to TV shows is difficult, but by the time the 90-minute series finale of The Affair played out, I was ready to see the back of it. 

The Affair Season 5 Episode 11 felt like a regular installment dragged out for dear life. It wasn't the ending I expected, or the one fans deserved. 

Noah and Helen were in a great place on The Affair Season 5 Episode 10.

Full Circle - The Affair

Redefining their relationship as friends was a big thing for them because of how much they've been at each other's throats throughout the series. 

It was evident that whatever road they traveled, they would always find a way back to each other. However, I figured that making them friends was a conclusion enough. 

Noah Walks Away - The Affair Season 5 Episode 11

This new layer of their relationship shone through on the series finale, to the point that putting them back together romantically felt like a copout to add an extra layer of closure. 

I would respect the producers a lot more if they crafted a finale that allowed them to become the best of friends and moving on with their lives. However, The Affair Season 5 did foreshadow them getting back together. 

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If you watch The Affair online, you know that Noah had already told Helen he still loved her, but his ex-wife was determined to let herself be consumed by the hurricane that is Noah Solloway. 

But Helen spent much of these last few years staying away from Noah not because there was no attraction there, but because everyone was in her ear telling her how much of a jackass he was.

The Wedding Day Arrives - The Affair Season 5 Episode 11

Make no mistake, they have both done some terrible things, but the message I'm taking from this whole thing is that they parted ways for several years, and it allowed Noah to work on his flaws. 

In turn, the universe brought them back together to remarry and have a beautiful life together. It was mostly an extended marriage vacation, and they opened their hearts to allow them to come back together. 

This is going to make such a great story!

Stacy

Noah being a lonely older man in the 2050 storyline was a difficult one to watch, as was him being the owner of the Lobster Roll. That location was pivotal to the inciting incident on The Affair Season 1 Episode 1 that kickstarted the story. 

Even though Noah moved on from Alison, he knew that the place meant something to her, and that's probably part of the reason why he snapped it up intending to restore it to its former glory. 

Noah is Mad - The Affair Season 5 Episode 10

But restoring something to its former glory in a desolate town with no tourists and land that's being swallowed up by the ocean is not a good investment. 

Then again, Noah lived a colorful life, even if he had to complete the final hurdle without Helen. His relationship with his teenagers was repaired, and even Martin found it in his heart to have a decent conversation with his father at the wedding. 

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It was perfect that Stacy would be the one to write a novel about Montauk and that Noah would sit by Helen's grave reading her chapters of it every single day. 

Everyone got a happy ending, and for a show that often mimics real-life, it didn't fit with the tone the show has established over the last five years. In essence, it felt like an episode of This Is Us. 

The Letter - The Affair Season 5 Episode 10

Whitney was frustrating more than anything. She couldn't find it in her heart ahead of her wedding to invite her father. Even though she and he had their differences, she knew that attending her wedding and giving her away would be very important to him. 

Instead, she realized in the aftermath that she should have gone out of her way to do something. Stacey was in rare form as she put her elder sister in line over her actions. 

Whitney: Okay, seriously. You dropped it? What the fuck is wrong with you?
Helen: I didn't mean to, it's just that you turned so quickly.
Whitney: Jesus Helen. Why are you even here?
Helen: I thought you might need my help.
Whitney: Oh my god. Do not make this about you right now. I do not have time for that today.
Helen: Where did you learn to be so hard on people, Whitney?
[Whitney laughs and looks at her mother.]
Helen: Why am I here? If I bother you that much, why am I here? Why didn't you just disinvite me like you did your dad?
Whitney: Optics. Think about it, it would have looked terrible.
[Helen walks off and returns.]
Helen: I do not want to have the same relationship with you as I do my own mother, but I don't know how to avoid it right now.
Whitney: You could try listening to me for a change. That would be a fun start.
Helen: I do.
Whitney: No, you don't, you listen to what you want to hear and that's not the same thing.
Helen: I don't understand what you mean.
Whitney: Oh, okay. Ask me a question. One that you don't think that you already know the answer to.
Helen: Are you in love?

The Solloway kids plus Colin bailing on the wedding with some cake to visit Noah at the motel would have been way more meaningful if we got to see the reaction from Helen and Noah that the kids knew they were having sex. 

The kids were probably confused more than anything, and it would have been nice to get a shot of them back together in a photo of a big occasion or something. 

Watching the Damage - The Affair Season 5 Episode 10

Margaret dying the same year as Helen was a big surprise. Helen had such a strained relationship with her mother that it was difficult to watch them on-screen together. They made offensive comments to one another, but it seems Margaret clung to life for as long as her daughter did. 

Bruce, on the other hand, didn't last much longer than Whitney's wedding.

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His illness was visibly worsening, but it was perfect that he was lucid throughout his dance with Whitney, as well as the scheme to jump into the pool to allow the kids to make their exit. 

The major letdown was Joanie's arc. Maybe it's because we've been expecting her to get revenge for her mother's death after learning that it was no accident, or perhaps it's just because the plot was not strong enough. 

Joanie Needs Guidance - The Affair Season 5 Episode 11

Joanie is a smart young woman, but her life was eclipsed by her hatred for the world and everyone living in it. She was ready to murder Ben, and after everything he's done, he deserves a horrible fate. 

Joanie is way too impulsive for her own good. One minute she was going to murder Ben, the next she was in a car with Eddie about to flee the country.

Whitney: Did everyone make it?
Helen: I think so.
Whitney: No one canceled last minute, right? I'm worried they might. Colin's friends are such flakes. I just, I don't want there to be any empty seats.
Helen: You have to ask your father?
Whitney: Why?
Helen: Because he was keeping the guest list.
Whitney: Mom, I asked you to take care of that. I thought you did.
Helen: Yes, I know, but he sent out the invitations and it just seemed much simpler. And Whitney, does it really matter? I mean, come on.
Whitney: It matters to me.

Ultimately, Noah helped her realize that she should be living in the present and that all of this hate she was carrying around with her was not going to help. 

Noah has done some heinous things over the years, but at least he was the one who managed to get through to Joanie in the end. It's difficult to believe that Cole let her grow up thinking that Alison did not fight for her after leaving her with him and Luisa. 

Joanie's Got a Gun - The Affair Season 5 Episode 11

The truth always comes out eventually, and for now, Joanie has returned to her family after realizing that she, too, can work on herself to make sure that she is making the right decisions in life. 

Paul was silly to welcome her back with open arms. He should have gotten answers from her before letting her in the door.

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The conclusion for Joanie felt forced, and like something that was rushed in the name of bringing the series to an end. 

Pulling off a series finale is a difficult task because some characters will get endings that feel true to them, while others will probably get something that pales in comparison.

Noah Listens - The Affair Season 5 Episode 9

The issue I have with this series is that The Affair Season 5 wasn't really necessary. Not much happened, and the entire season could have been condensed into a 90-minute movie that should have aired during The Affair Season 4

Okay, The Affair Fanatics!

What did YOU think of the conclusion? 

Hit the comments below. 

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5.11 Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Affair Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

Whitney: Did everyone make it?
Helen: I think so.
Whitney: No one canceled last minute, right? I'm worried they might. Colin's friends are such flakes. I just, I don't want there to be any empty seats.
Helen: You have to ask your father?
Whitney: Why?
Helen: Because he was keeping the guest list.
Whitney: Mom, I asked you to take care of that. I thought you did.
Helen: Yes, I know, but he sent out the invitations and it just seemed much simpler. And Whitney, does it really matter? I mean, come on.
Whitney: It matters to me.

Whitney: Okay, seriously. You dropped it? What the fuck is wrong with you?
Helen: I didn't mean to, it's just that you turned so quickly.
Whitney: Jesus Helen. Why are you even here?
Helen: I thought you might need my help.
Whitney: Oh my god. Do not make this about you right now. I do not have time for that today.
Helen: Where did you learn to be so hard on people, Whitney?
[Whitney laughs and looks at her mother.]
Helen: Why am I here? If I bother you that much, why am I here? Why didn't you just disinvite me like you did your dad?
Whitney: Optics. Think about it, it would have looked terrible.
[Helen walks off and returns.]
Helen: I do not want to have the same relationship with you as I do my own mother, but I don't know how to avoid it right now.
Whitney: You could try listening to me for a change. That would be a fun start.
Helen: I do.
Whitney: No, you don't, you listen to what you want to hear and that's not the same thing.
Helen: I don't understand what you mean.
Whitney: Oh, okay. Ask me a question. One that you don't think that you already know the answer to.
Helen: Are you in love?