It's rare for TV to imitate real life in a way that doesn't feel forced, but The Affair does it with such vigor that it's going to be hard to say goodbye to it.
The fraught relationship between Helen and Noah came to a head during The Affair Season 5 Episode 10, and the California wildfires as the backdrop was handled very well.
If you pay attention to the headlines, you know California is being ravaged by wildfires at this moment in time, so it was difficult to watch.
One split-second decision saved both Noah and Helen's lives, even if they almost died at the final hurdle. As heartbreaking as it is to say, these turn of events were therapeutic for the former husband and wife.
Every single time Noah gets to a good place with Helen as far as being civil to one another goes, something happens to make Helen use Noah's cheating as ammunition in any given argument.
They've been going round in circles for years, but in a life or death scenario, they were both brutally honest with each other. It was surprising.
Maura Tierney's acting was, once again, worthy of all the awards as she played this woman who was pouring her heart out about what ramifications the affair had on her life.
Helen was all over the place when the cheating went public, and it was painful to hear her say that she went from feeling attractive to hideous because she as not good enough to keep her man from straying.
It's a natural reaction. Being cheated on, you would compare yourself to other people and wonder why you were not enough for the person.
Helen was also scared shitless that Noah perished thanks to the wildfires. That's why she tried and tried to get him to budge, but Noah was shocked because of the things that Whitney said.
With a show like The Affair, it's difficult to assess what is fact from fiction, thanks to the way there are different perspectives.
When we had all these kids and we were fighting. I would look at you sometimes, and I would think one day this is going to be worth it.Helen
What we would need to make an informed decision is a perspective from Whitney centered around that night.
Even though Noah was stunned and disinvited from the wedding, he still wanted to find the birth certificate to keep Colin in the country.
However, the asking for the document came at a deadly time thanks to the wildfires.
Wouldn't it have been poetic if Noah somehow sacrificed himself while trying to find the birth certificate? H was so desperate to get back in the good graces of Whitney that he held on to the hope that she would respond to his messages.
But Whitney was done with him.
There were many moments throughout this penultimate episode in which Helen or Noah could have perished. Noah saved Helen's life not once, but twice.
He may be a selfish ass, but he's starting to understand that his mentality is getting him nowhere.
Taking Helen on a hike away from the confines of the road could have been deadlier, but the revelation that everything on that road, including Sasha's stupid car with the pregnant woman and her husband inside, had been burnt to a crisp was shocking.
Had Noah not decided to leave, Helen could have died. The climbing down the cliff was scary, primarily because the pre-air promotional material seemingly implied that Noah would fall.
When Noah puts his mind to it, he can be a good person, and he really needs to do some soul searching, or he runs the risk of losing everyone in his life.
Helen: Hi friend.
Noah: Hello friend.
The letter from the night before he married Helen was beautiful. It was romantic, and it proved that, back then, Noah was a different person. He was someone who didn't take things too seriously, but he became so narcissistic.
The letter was a rare moment in which Noah started to think that he could be that person again if he made the right choices from that point on.
The rattlesnake biting Helen in the final few minutes was mostly for shock value, but Noah running through the darkness with her to find help proved that there was still a good person behind that horrible demeanor.
The most pivotal moment of the series was when Helen woke up, and instead of telling Noah she loved him, she referred to him as her friend.
It was different, but it instilled hope that, for the first time in a long time, they could be friends now that they have hashed out their differences.
They faced death together and told each other how they really felt.
If you watch The Affair online, you know that there have been hints that Helen and Noah were getting back together, but that would be a terrible conclusion.
Helen: Will you please come back outside and just talk to us. I mean you're getting married in 3 weeks. How are we gonna do that if you're not even talking to us? How is he going to walk you down the aisle?
Whitney: He's not.
Whitney: He's not going to walk me down the aisle because he's not coming to my wedding.
Helen: Of course he's invited to your wedding. He's your father. You know, he made you. He and I, we made you. You wouldn't be here without us.
Whitney: You don't get it.
Helen: I do get it. I just think you're being kind of short-sighted right now and actually pretty fucking cruel.
Whitney: You know, all I want for myself is not to end up like you.
Having them be adults about the situation and know that they can finally move on from it seperately without hurling insults at each other is much more powerful.
This was an outstanding episode, possibly the best of the series because the lead characters laid their cards on the table instead of bottling stuff up.
As we look forward to the series finale, Whitney will likely have done some thinking after the things Helen said to her about taking responsibility.
Noah bent over backward to make the wedding happen, so Whitney shunning him would be awful. On top of that, Noah might find himself back in her good graces because he managed to save Helen's life.
Hey, was anyone else surprised the final scenes were from both Noah and Helen's perspective? It means that Noah wasn't trying to big himself up about being a hero. He was telling the truth!
Helen: We're the only family you have, Whitney.
Whitney: We are not a fucking family, and I'm tired of pretending like we are. You are holding on to a myth.
Helen: Okay, I know. You're upset.
Whitney: Yes. I'm upset. I'm very upset. But I'm not crazy. It's obviously more important to you to hold on to a fantasy of being a perfect mom of being the one who held us all together than it is for you to admit that this whole thing is a fucking charade. Dad only cares about himself, and you only care about Dad.
Helen: That is not true.
Whitney: Yes, it is.
The lack of Joanie over the last few episodes hasn't been a bad thing. We needed to get the Solloways and the Butlers to a point in which they could pick up the pieces and move on.
What did you think of it all?
Are you happy about Helen and Noah being friends instead of lovers?
Hit the comments below.
The Affair concludes Sunday, November 3 on Showtime.
Editor's Note: Our system got updated! Now, you'll be able to scroll through many articles at once.
That required a bit of a change to the comments, though, and now you have to click the blue "comments" bar at the bottom of an article to access them.
There are also two segments to comments now.
You can either comment using Facebook or Disqus.
Either way, you can SEE both types of comments. We hope that will be more inclusive of our community at large and that the conversations will grow as a result.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.