'The Affair' Says Goodbye to Original Cast Member With Shocking Twist Death

In a shocking episode of Showtime's The Affair, fans were left dumbfounded after a central character was killed off with two episodes remaining in the series' penultimate season.

After setting up the episode with a considerable amount of laughs, The Affair pulled the rug out from underneath its viewers, claiming the life of Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson). Alison's exes, rivals Cole (Joshua Jackson) and Noah (Dominic West), are drawn together in search of their MIA ex-wife. The unexpected pairing brought levity and bonding — but it all came crashing down with the shocking news that Alison died by suicide by drowning herself near her home.

Shocked fans were reminded of the show's theme song, with lyrics sung by Fiona Apple: "I have only one thing to do and that's/Be the wave that I am and then/Sink back into the ocean."

"Tonight's episode of #TheAffair rocked my world. Best episode of the entire series. Wow," one fan wrote on Twitter.

"THIS MUST BE A MISTAKE. There is no way this just happened to Alison," another said.

"That was a complete shock, definitely totally unexpected. [Josh Jackson] was outstanding in this episode," someone else tweeted.

The Affair co-creator and show runner Sarah Treem told The Hollywood Reporter that it wasn't always in the cards for Alison to die – but promised that her story is far from over.

"[Dying] was always a possibility for Alison. When I was coming up with Alison, I was thinking of this character we were going to meet right after her child died. As any parent would ask themselves in that terrible situation — even hypothetically as you do sometimes — would you be able to survive it? So that was always a question that I had for the Alison character as a kind of an existential question. How does a parent survive it? And would this character ultimately be able to?" Treem told THR. "That is a question that she was asking herself when we first met her, before she met Noah. And in so many ways the impetus for the affair from Alison's perspective was trying to outrun that pain. It was always a possibility for Alison somewhere in my mind that she wouldn't ultimately survive."

Treem went on to reveal that that Wilson requested to leave the show, so Alison's death was "very deliberate."

"Ruth wanted to leave the show. That was a request, so that was decided basically before we started writing. It wasn't a discovery of any kind. That was very deliberate. And actually, we shot all of her work first. Her whole storyline was shot before we shot anything else," she explained.

Treem promised that "You don't know the whole story at the end of [this episode,]" so viewers questioning how Alison was back in a psychological state where she would end her own life should expect to learn more later.

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As for eagle-eyed fans who have noticed that Cole seems to have some kind of intuition about Ben, including that he doesn't believe that Alison's death was a suicide, Treem hints to keep watching to discover answers.

"I would say that there's a couple of weird things about Ben over the course of the season. That if you're paying really close attention, he's strange. Besides the fact that he's married; that's the least of our problems. The fact that Ben's screwing around on his wife, that basically just means he's a character on the show. [Laughs.] But beyond that … you definitely don't know the whole story at the end of [the episode]."