The Affair season 4 episode 5 review: Cole’s quest to let go

The Affair season 4 episode 4The Affair season 4 episode 5 is largely a story of relief — or, at least an attempt to find relief in the midst of mental storm clouds.

When it comes to Cole, we saw him try to find his way through the teachings of Nan, a woman in Morro Bay who knew and loved his father so many years before. What she claimed to offer him was a service, a chance for him to find some healing amidst the pain that embodied his mind, body, and soul (to use the show’s words). She gave him a chance to use a technique that she claimed helped his father get over her so many years before. It would help him block out the clouds in his mind so that he could eventually focus on what apparently mattered to him: The relationship that he had with Luisa.

Yet, nothing worked quite as Nan claimed. For starters, she didn’t realize that Cole’s father was even dead; also, the letters that were sent back to her as a part of her suggested “ritual” were actually postmarked years after he died. He never actually forgot about her and you can argue, in part, that the feelings that were there were one of the reasons for his suicide. Cole may have learned a lot in this episode, but we’ve got a feeling that Nan did just as much. Through his interactions with Nan and also her “proxy” Delphine (The Originals star Phoebe Tonkin), eventually Cole started to realize that the only healing he would find is getting back to Alison. That was the voice in the back of his mind that he could not escape.

With this, Cole is leaving the rock of Morro Bay, a really remarkable and almost-ethereal place, behind in order to better pursue whatever the future could hold.

Vik looks for a different sort of release

How much did this story really work? While it was well-acted and it’s great to see Emily Browning outside of American Gods for a stretch, we just don’t think anything in here came as some sort of emotional revelation. Sure, Vik slept with Sierra, but how surprising is that, really? Think of things in this sense. We’re speaking here about a man who is clearly distraught in the wake of a cancer battle, Helen isn’t committed to having a baby with him, and he just bought a Porsche to live the remainder of his life to the fullest. Sierra was the runaway option, the distraction from his life’s problems. She was also enthusiastic and curious around him, and all of this appealed to him.

The Affair is a show rife with questionable moral decisions and this is clearly one of them. This particular part of the story just didn’t have the nuance or depth that we would have expected, most likely just because some of these notes have been hit on in many ways before — even if the visual setting of the story was indeed stunning.

CarterMatt Verdict

Consider this almost a tale of two stories. While the Vik portion didn’t really achieve much other than turning him into a desperate cheater, the Cole sequence in Morro Bay was as unique and well-told as anything that The Affair has given us through four seasons. Emotionally, things are now precisely where we would want them to be moving into the next part of the season.

Related Be sure to get some other news on The Affair, including a preview for the next new episode

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