Sunday night, The Affair is returning to Showtime for a fifth and final season, and make no mistake: the trailers have promised just as much drama as ever, even though Ruth Wilson has left the show for reasons that remain as unclear as her character Alison’s death.
Joining the show this season will be two new leads, Joanie (Anna Paquin) and Sasha Mann (Claes Berg). Paquin will play a grown-up version of Alison and Cole’s daughter, searching for the truth about her mother’s death. And — stay with us here — in a meta twist to an already twisty show, Berg will be playing an actor who enters the Montauk scene when he’s cast in the movie based on Noah’s (Dominic West) book.
Season 5 will wrap many of The Affair’s most storylines, and introduce some new ones. But before you jump back in one last time, here’s a refresher on where we left our favorite (and least favorite) characters.
Alison Is Dead & Was Possibly Murdered
The end of season 4 showed us the two possible causes of Alison’s death. While most of the characters, including the Montauk police and her ex-husband, Cole (Joshua Jackson), were ultimately convinced that Alison killed herself, another perspective in “409” showed her boyfriend, Ben Cruz (Ramón Rodríguez), drunkenly murdering her. This mystery will be addressed, and possibly solved by Joanie, in season 5, even though Wilson is gone for good.
Cole Rode Off Into The Sunset With Joanie
Jackson also won’t be returning as a lead this season, though Entertainment Tonight previously reported he might make a guest appearance. Alison’s death was monumental for Cole: it came right after his revelation that he wanted to fix things between the two of them, and her funeral was an emotional event all-around. In his last few scenes, Cole finally got some clarity on, well, The Affair that started it all before deciding to stay married to Luisa and getting a sweet conclusion clip with Joanie.
Helen Is Mourning, But Also Looking Forward In L.A.
Season 4 saw some major emotional ups and downs for Helen (Maura Tierney). By the season’s end, she has more or less come to terms with the approaching death of her husband Vik (Omar Metwally) and his affair with their neighbor Sierra (Emily Browning), who is pregnant with his child. She also has a sweet moment with ex Noah, admitting that her love for Vik is very different from the love she had for him. If the season 5 trailer is any indication, Helen has a big role this season and a new love interest — but Noah will undoubtedly still be in the picture.
Noah Is Involved With Janelle & Not Totally Over Alison
In the season finale, we saw Noah at Princeton with Anton (Christopher Meyer), his student and the son of his love interest Janelle (Sanaa Lathan). Janelle is the principal of the school where Noah works, and is wildly out of Noah’s league, but like several other women on the show, she can’t seem to resist him. At Princeton, Anton asks Noah why he isn’t at Alison’s funeral — she is, after all, his ex. It’s a great question, and Noah makes it back to Montauk for an emotional conclusion to season 4.
Season 5 premieres August 25 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.