The Affair Season 5, Episode 10 Recap: An Emergency & An Ending

Photo: Paul Sarkis/Showtime.
Five seasons, over a decade elapsed in the storyline, a divorce, several affairs, a murder trial, and a #MeToo scandal later, this is where we end up. Tag yourself, I am Helen’s exhausted sigh.
“I don’t think this is the time to fight, we need to support each other. We’re family,” Helen (Maura Tierney) tells Whitney (Julia Goldani Telles) at the beginning of this episode, after telling Noah (Dominic West) he can’t leave because they have to “fucking fix this.” (Viewer, he left.) Therein lies the crux of how Helen is misjudging everything. It also seems to be her driving motivation through the episode, in which too much happens at once. 
Colin (Max Fowler) asks Helen for Whitney’s birth certificate, which sets off a fantastical (and exhausting) series of events. They start with a much-needed conversation about Noah traumatizing Whitney, then the tone does a 180 when Helen discovers Noah still has a letter he wrote to her for their wedding. In a mandatory evacuation of his house, Noah decides to pull some tortured artist bullshit and stay with his...stuff. He yells insults at Helen until she leaves and I, too, am thinking her behavior is wildly inappropriate and co-dependent. These people are exhausting.
There’s a whole subplot about Helen picking up a couple who are pregnant while she’s still in Sasha’s (Claes Bang) Tesla (lol, never give it back girl). As they fight, Helen spews some nonsense about them being a team now and not fighting (hmmm, a theme) that sounds dysfunctional as fuck. Is this what her whole march away from and back to selflessness was about? There is a fine line between selfless and martyr.
Flip to Noah’s POV, in which he’s sulking on the couch (more lols and at least one giant eye roll). Finally finding Whitney’s birth certificate somehow motivates him to...find the will to live? Think he can redeem himself? Then finding Alison’s (Ruth Wilson) testimony about how their affair began and foreshadowing her death prompts him to re-evaluate his suicidal thoughts. Then he listens to himself try to explain why he blew up his family with the affair and flashes back to being happy before it. we are, inside the mind of a philandering man — the place where all my worst fears come true. It was nothing but a giant oops, a midlife crisis gone too far. Lol forever, great. Just thinking about how long it has taken Noah to self-actualize and identify his feelings makes my eye twitch.
Noah, of course, finds Helen on the single road out of Topanga Canyon that everyone is using to evacuate. He convinces her to leave the pregnant couple and the safety of Sasha’s car with its bioweapon air filter system (this is nuts) to hike down a ridge and climb down a mountain because this man knows the area and how to get out of her so step aside! (Reader: he did not know where the fuck he was going.) My largest facepalm to this hero moment. After they have their action movie sequence, Helen gets bitten by a snake, and if that’s in a metaphor for the absolutely shit decisions she’s making right now then may a snake bite me as well. Also: she’s wearing a cap with the words “The End” written on it which is...I guess we have abandoned symbolism
I’m with Whitney: my worst fear is turning into Helen at this moment.
So, friends, we have watched two people get a shot of adrenaline as they risked their lives and then bond when they have a heart to heart while the chemicals in their brain were at maximum capacity. Sounds like this relationship (?) is about as solid as the affair Noah embarked on at the beginning of the story. He tells Helen a story in which toxic masculinity is his driving motivator. She tells him how their divorce destroyed her. They discover that they’re both suffering from low self-confidence. Neither of them seems to realize that they’re kind of horrible and emotionally irresponsible.
And now, Helen needs to stop moving so the venom won’t get to her heart. This snake might kill her. Oh, heavy-handed metaphors! It’s The Smiths song “Girlfriend in a Coma” come to life. Reader, she comes out of the coma.
At the very least, this has been the best argument for couple’s therapy I have heard since I binge-watched Couples Therapy on Showtime. To quote every woman in Congress: reclaiming my time.

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