‘The Affair’ Recap For Season 5 Episode 1: New Beginnings, Old Habits

In August, "The Affair" was screened at Gurney's Inn in The Hamptons.
Mark Sagliocco / Getty Images

The Affair resumed its Season 5 storyline on September 1 by digging deeper into three points of view from three different characters.

Perhaps the most abstract aspect of the episode was what adult Joanie Lockhart (Anna Paquin) did and said. She delved into the future by revisiting her father’s home in Montauk, the Long Island, New York tourist spot in which her mom started having an affair with a stranger named Noah Solloway (Dominic West) many years ago.

Although Joanie went to her childhood hometown under the guise of a business trip, the environmental agency field worker seemed to have other things on her mind. After she arrived in town via a super sleek train, she surveyed a completely desolate scene before going home to what appeared to be an abandoned house. To break in, Joanie used the back end of her flashlight to break a window so she could make her way inside the crumbling structure. That’s when the scene switched to black and the hour-long drama came to a very eery end.

Before that, Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney) took on her unique perspective. She wasn’t doing at all well as she continued to grieve her dead partner, Dr. Vik Ullah (Omar Metwally). In fact, he showed up as a ghost during this episode in which Helen was not able to see straight. Actually, she kept falling asleep while going about her business taking care of everyone else in her life.

This was exactly what her dead lover wanted her to stop doing. He had left her a computer stick with a message on it that Helen found in his hospital bed following his death. Vik made sure he was able to tell her something beyond the grave that added up to a particular piece of advice he hoped she would take to heart. That advice was to stop doing everything for everyone else and to start doing everything to make herself happy.

Apparently, Helen somehow sensed she needed to push on, especially when she couldn’t stay alert — or even awake — while visiting her ex-husband’s set. She went there to watch Noah’s biopic being made based on his thinly disguised autobiography.

The person driving the film was the director and star who immediately became intrigued by Noah’s former wife. From the start of his flirting, Helen was not in the least enamored with Sasha Mann (Claes Bang), despite the fact that he was a popular A-list actor with a charming British accent. After he invited her out to lunch, she declined and sleepily went to see her son’s school play. Predictably, she fell asleep while sitting in the best seat in the house.

Realizing Helen was not well, she googled “can narcolepsy kill you?” only to be interrupted by a bothersome phone call from Sasha who invited her to his house. She said “no” but then went anyway by way of a fancy car driven by one of the thespian’s staff to whom she asked, “Do you actually call him Mister Mann?”

The man called Mann greeted Helen, taking her inside his home which was only minimally furnished even though he had lived there for years. While the two verbally sparred, he did everything he could to capture her interest, even engaging in a basketball game during which time he hit her with the ball, causing her to suffer a bloody nose. She wanted to flee but he invited her to witness one last thing, wherein the scene shifted to the two hanging around in a couple of yoga nests overlooking the sea.

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Before Helen started to get to know Sasha, Noah and his girlfriend, Janelle (Sanaa Lathan), showed up for Vik’s funeral. That part of the episode was seen through Janelle’s eyes, and what she saw was frustrating, at best. For starters, she and Noah went to the somber gathering while wearing their Sunday best but everyone else there was wearing white as a sign of respect for the doctor’s religion.

To make her long story short, Janelle did suffer through the gathering. While she was there, Janelle was mistaken for a server and she was asked to talk to the main valet about a mixup because she’s African American and he’s African American.

Then, she learned that she was being given the shaft regarding her job as co-principal after being in that position for decades. Harboring that bad news, she went to see her former husband, who is a lawyer, for advice. After arguing back and forth, the two started kissing and likely ended up making love to each other despite their differences.

To find out what happens next, tune into The Affair next Sunday night at 9 p.m. on Showtime.