The Affair season 4 episode 8 review: Drowning in life and death

The Affair -

The Affair season 4 episode 8 has to be one of the most emotional episodes in recent television memory. It may also be the best episode that we have had a chance to see in 2018. It’s guttural, painful, and a shot of harsh reality that many of these characters have been desperate to ignore.

This was not Cole going off to Morro Bay on some semi-romantic jaunt to find himself, and nor was it Helen understanding at Joshua Tree that there was more of herself to give. This was Cole and Noah both staring death plainly in the face, alongside their responsibility over it and questions as to how they move forward from it. They went on a road trip together, also with Anton (who was along for the ride in one of the most uncomfortable ways imaginable), in order to find out what happened to Alison.

What they found was something that neither one of them was altogether willing to accept: She died. The character drowned herself seemingly in the ocean, not too long after breaking up with Ben over him making it clear that he had a wife he hadn’t told her about. This led to rage on Cole’s part that either A) Ben murdered her or B) his comments led to her death, and maybe a part of the latter is true. Yet, we were reminded over this episode of all of the things that led to her death, whether it be her uncaring father, her past relationships with Cole and Noah, and her inability to cope with the trauma in their lives. We see the brawl Cole and Noah get into as the two desperately trying to find something to blame rather than take responsibility — something that is going to have to take time.

For Noah, we see some of his grief expressed best in the form of him sitting alone at the diner at the end of the episode, so overjoyed to get just one moment of kindness from the waitress who tells him he is in the right place. Then, he sees a happy family nearby and realizes just how much he has lost and what could have been if things had been different in the past.

Cole’s emotional journey is somewhat different, but delivered with an Emmy-worthy performance from Joshua Jackson as he comes to terms with what happened to Alison and the realization that she was the true love of his life. He wanted to be there for her and had to realize that it was simply too late.

This episode was sprinkled with stellar moments throughout, whether it be Cole and Noah’s different strategies for handling Alison’s father to them rescuing Anton from a violent and angry motel manager after he hooked up with his daughter. This felt like three different fantastic episodes molded into one. There were lighthearted moments here and there in the first thirty minutes, but so many of them were washed away when the news came in about Alison’s death and Noah entered the morgue in order to identify the body.

This is tough, and it’s meant to be tough. It’s meant to linger over you for quite some time to come.

For more discussion on tonight’s The Affair, check out the video below. Meanwhile, subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube to ensure you don’t miss any other updates.

CarterMatt Verdict

Devastating, stellar, and raw. The best episode of The Affair in years. What more is there to say?

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