Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Sunday, September 15, episode of The Affair.
The answers we’ve been waiting for. Ever since Showtime revealed that Joshua Jackson would not be returning for the fifth and final season of The Affair, fans have wondered how his character, Cole Lockhart, would be written out of the series. In the final moments of the fourth episode of the season, it was revealed.
After arriving in Montauk, an adult Joanie (Anna Paquin) found herself at a gravesite after taking Alison’s (Ruth Wilson) bike for a ride. “Hi, Dad,” she said while crouching down in front of a headstone that read, “Cole McGinty Lockhart.” Below, were the dates “1979-2053.” Cole apparently lived to be 74 years old.
Jackson, 41, was a series regular on the show, along with Wilson, 37, until last season. Both decided they would not appear in the final season. While Wilson’s character was killed off at the end of season 5, Jackson’s Cole was last shown in the finale driving away from town with his 7-year-old daughter in the backseat.
Wilson confirmed it was her choice to exit the show but noted in an interview she’s “not allowed to talk about why” she made that choice. However, Jackson’s contract was just up — and he decided not to renew it.
“His contract was only ever for three years. That’s the time he agreed to give us, at the beginning of the process. Then I pitched him the fourth year and he liked it and signed on. But he was pretty clear that was going to be his last year,” creator Sarah Treem told Deadline after the season 5 premiere. “He has a lot of stuff he wants to do; he’s at the peak of his career and he’s incredibly talented. And he’s in demand. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he felt satisfied after the fourth season. And felt he had done some great work and had gotten to play a bunch of stuff and I don’t know that he felt that he had anything else to give to the character.”
Treem continued: “He loved his dead ex-wife so much. He’s a pretty reserved person, and we think he would not be the guy who would open up and tell his daughter all the craziness that happened. He would try to keep the veneer of nobility over the past. So the truth is that everything she knows about that past, is wrong.”
That said, a now adult Joanie is trying to find out what really happened to her mother. “What you’re seeing with Joanie is this darkness she carries with her. She has this idea that her mother left her and that she didn’t care enough about her to live,” the House of Cards writer added. “She has formulated her entire identity toward being someone who is not Alison. She has incredible pain because of that experience and nobody talked to her about it. It’s all coming out right now.”
The Affair airs on Showtime Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.