Warning: The following contains spoilers from The Affair series finale.
When it was first reported that Joshua Jackson would not return for The Affair‘s final season as a series regular, fans were left with a modicum of hope that he would appear in a guest-starring capacity. But alas, Cole Lockhart’s journey reached its end off screen, without a cameo by his beloved portrayer.
Over the course of Season 5, it was revealed that Cole and Joanie moved to Vermont shortly after he and Luisa broke up. There, he maintained a horse farm, then returned to Montauk after Joanie left for college. He still loved Alison until his dying day, and he never got over the idea that Ben killed his one true love (which we now know is true).
Cole ultimately suffered a fatal heart attack — but not before he was reunited with Noah. During the series finale, it was explained that Noah and Helen moved to Long Island following Whitney’s wedding. Noah went on to purchase The Lobster Roll, where he and Cole were reluctantly reunited after Cole returned to Montauk. Given Joanie’s age in the future timeline, we can posit that Alison’s exes spent the better part of two decades coexisting in the same beachside village before Cole finally kicked the bucket.
So why did The Affair decide to tell us all of this, rather than show it? According to exec producer Sarah Treem, it wouldn’t have been worthwhile for Jackson to return, given how little they would have had for him to do.
“There wouldn’t have been enough for him, honestly,” Treem tells TVLine. “He had major offers and other things that he wanted to do. Anything that we were going to offer him would have been somewhat limited because we were concentrated on Noah and Helen.
“We liked to think about a future between Cole and Noah, where they were both stuck in Montauk and they were both these curmudgeonly old men who may not put the past behind them, but come to peace with it,” Treem continues. “We liked to think of them sitting at the Lobster Roll together, having coffee and talking about the past. That has to be something that exists in our imaginations, but we had a lot of fun thinking about it.”
Were you disappointed that Joshua Jackson didn’t make a cameo in The Affair‘s fifth and final season? Or were you satisfied with how his on-screen journey ended in Season 4? Drop your thoughts in a comment below.