Home > Spiral, TV > Spiral (Engrenages) s3: The Butcher of La Villette eps 11 & 12

Spiral (Engrenages) s3: The Butcher of La Villette eps 11 & 12

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done….” 

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.

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Categories: Spiral, TV
  1. Olive
    May 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    You’ve said it all, CJ. It remained dark and twisty to the end; and in a series with some outstanding performances, none better than the last episode, special mention has to be made of “the footballer”. His was the stuff of genuine nightmares.

    Next season – more Pierre and less silliness, svp.

  2. May 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Beautifully put, CJ – thank you. I missed it when it was on Canal+ (subscription only). So delighted to catch up on Series 1 & 2 and follow Series 3 as it unfolded, and have enjoyed all your posts.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Roban in Saison 4 + so on (if there is a ‘so on’ of course!). The rôle – or in his case, vocation – of juge d’instruction is being phased out. There’ve also been changes in arrest & charging procedures which will affect Laure & Co (esp Gilou). Why, it is almost as if they are adopting PACE or parts thereof – more réformes anglo-saxonnes: no wonder Sarko is so detested …

  3. May 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks so much for the kind words, ladies. Totally agree about the footballer, Olive – one of the creepiest villains I’ve ever seen on tv. Can’t believe how cavalier Laure and co were about the actual victims though – nobody seemed at all fussed about the fate of the prostitutes about to be sold on unless they could use them to get Ronaldo, and then they didn’t even cover the poor final victim up or call her an ambulance for ages! But then, when their idea of CPR was slapping Gilou about the face repeatedly, I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked….

    I second the call for more Pierre next season. More Pierre every season! And now I’m a Pierre and Josephine shipper! I can’t quite believe it! I read that s4 will concentrate more on politics, which would fit in with the climate of change you mention, Minnie – massive change for Team Laure, as you say! I hope we don’t have to wait too long for it, but they haven’t even started filming it in France yet, so it may be a while.

    • May 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      Depressing, but gripping.

      My main gripe with the final episode is that the non-police characters were pretty much side-lined (very similar to season 2). I appreciate that the hunt for Ronaldo was the main plot, but I felt a little short-changed. That said, the kiss between Jospehine & Pierre was electric – the chemistry between them has been palpable since season one.

      Very intrigued to see where season four goes. If you think back to the first series – and it’s so long ago that I can barely remember – there was much more political intrigue\conspiracy stuff going on (wasn’t there a paedophile government minister?). Perhaps there’ll be a return to that. There could also be a bit less focus on Laure’s team – where on earth would they take it from here??

      If I can be crass, my own thoughts on eps 11 & 12 are here: http://poursomegravyonme.co.uk/2011/05/10/stuff-i-watched-spiral/

  4. May 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    The police did take over the season, Sherb, which was a shame as they spoiled it a bit for me – they’re just too stupid and dishonest now. And Laure is a mess, I’ve lost all the sympathy I had built up for her after two seasons. I need a break from her and Gilou and their shenanigans. Having said that, I thought these two eps were both great.

    But the Josephine and Pierre stuff was amazing, I agree. And (if I can take a moment to be a soppy girl here) infinitely more romantic and full of chemistry in its relative chasteness than the hook-ups the rest of the characters indulged in. Lovely to have the guy as the damsel in distress for a change too ;-)

    There was indeed a lot more politics and some sort of paedophile VIP in the first season, I think. And much more Pierre. Sigh….

    • May 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

      I know what you’re saying about the police – it all just got a little too much. Hopefully they’ll have a bit of a change in direction in the next season and make them slightly more law-abiding.

      I don’t think you’re being at all soppy – the moment was more romantic and full of chemistry than pretty much anything on TV, let alone just on Spiral (not the most natural of homes for anything remotely romantic).

  5. Olive
    May 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    The police stuff was utterly bonkers and saved only by the creepy good serial-killing-mummy- suiciding Ronaldo.

    I’m with you CJ, soppy or not. The bumping and grinding paled into comparison with Pierrophine.

    I’ve not quite lost the sympathy for Laure and Co (largely due to revisiting season 1 mid season, I admit). If anything, I really hope they get their kit together for season 4 and come back fighting fit. Then again, the title to the show is probably a dead giveaway that things won’t go so smoothly……

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