Spiral (Engrenages) s3: The Butcher of La Villette eps 11 & 12
More A Tale of Two Sides than A Tale of Two Cities, but Spiral has always been about the best of intentions and the worst of actions, and the final double-bill of the season brought that home in tragic, terrific style, with nobility found in the most unexpected place.
For the police, all roads led to Dunkirk, as Team Laure and Team Brémont finally came together – accidentally, unwillingly, and ungraciously, but at least it happened – to bring down the prostitution ring and find the footballer. But at what cost? Precious little nobility was on show here as Laure gave up another chance at love and another part of herself, Gilou gave up any chance to escape their co-dependent nightmare, and everyone gave up a little bit more of their tattered principles to cover for her, again.
Mind you, Roban tried to do the right thing and found that virtue is its own punishment in the world of Spiral. He finally caught the Mayor, but sacrificed Isabelle and Arnaud, and any chance of happiness in the process. And because the house always wins, lost the Mayor and his career too in the end; damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, then.
But there was no better example of that than the ballad of Josephine and Pierre. Somebody was always going to have to pay for our beloved ex-prosecutor’s idealism and faith in human nature; who better than the woman who had none of either? So, while the Judge was sacrificing everything for work, and the police were sacrificing honesty for success, the “far, far better thing” fell to Shady Josephine, suddenly the Sydney Carton of the piece, doing the best of things and the worst of things by sacrificing herself for love. Dinner with a bunch of crooks in a lap-dancing club isn’t quite the guillotine, but for the first time in 3 seasons, Josephine did something that was genuinely, heartbreakingly good. And because it’s Spiral, it was genuinely, heartbreakingly bad at the same time. Wonderful, awful – and a brilliant end to the season.