Spoilers for season 4 of The Affair ahead.
The Affair’s fifth and final season is premiering Sunday night, and to say that a lot has changed since season 4 is an understatement. One of the show’s storylines will pick up after a 30-year time jump and, with Alison (Ruth Wilson) dead and Cole (Joshua Jackson) moved from a recurring to a guest role, this new timeline on The Affair will feature an unfamiliar leading character: Joanie, played by Anna Paquin.
Joanie, Alison’s daughter, appeared last as a child about three years old. Of course, 30 years later, she’s all grown up — and, back in Montauk for a work assignment, she’s searching for the truth about her mother’s death.
“What can you tease about grown-up Joanie? She’s a coastal engineer and is, I think, appropriately cynical about the prognosis of the planet from an environmental standpoint,” Paquin told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s pointed out to her in one of the early episodes that she’s inherited her father’s scowl. It’s very accurate and something I really enjoyed playing. That’s all I’m really allowed to say.”
And if you think you’re confused about Alison’s death — was she murdered by her violent boyfriend? — Paquin’s character is even more in the dark.
“Everything the audience knows about her life is not necessarily the version of events as she understands it,” Paquin told TV Insider. “She, and everyone else, is very confused about how her mother died. The audience knows more sometimes than the character does.”
Dominic West, Maura Tierney, Julia Goldani Telles, Jadon Sand, and Sanaa Lathan will also be returning for season 5. But, when asked about Joanie’s relationships to everyone else in Montauk, Paquin stayed quiet. “I can’t answer that,” she said. “I don’t want to get myself in trouble!”