Spiral (Engrenages) s5: Double Murder eps 1 & 2

We begin with Laure, even more of a mess than usual after REDACTED’s death: boozing, picking up random men, bleeding from the… wait, what?!

It being a legal requirement for every series with a female lead, I suppose even Spiral had to get round to this particular type of storyline, but being Spiral, it handles Capt. Berthaud’s REDACTED in an unapologetically graphic and unsentimental way that’s very different from your common or garden procedural. Blood, vomit and tears seep through both episodes as the frustrated and agitated Laure, absolutely clear that she doesn’t want a child of her own, weeps for the dead child found tied to her murdered mother in a Paris canal; Gilou blames the hormones, but Juge Roban points out that even years of experience can’t prepare you for some things. Especially not the – EW EW EW EW – cockroach incident in episode 2, but the less said about that, the better I’ll sleep.

REDACTED’s death, however, seems to have had the opposite effect on Gilou; he’s stopped drinking, started exercising and spends the entire opening double bill being efficient and sensible. GILOU?!

Had it not been for the scene where he offers to move in with Laure and help REDACTED her REDACTED, I might have wondered who this homme was and what they had done with Lt Escoffier, but since his long-term love for La Berthaud remains undiminished, it looks like our man’s still in there somewhere. Which begs the question: should we start shipping him and Laure now? I’ve resisted the idea for years, but Pierre has found love elsewhere, Bremont and Sami are gone, and the one enduring, consistent relationship in Laure’s life seems to be with her right-hand man, so…. Hm. Watch this space.

Speaking of Pierre – my favourite pastime – his personal and professional lives are going très bien, merci beaucoup; our first sighting of Grégory Fitoussi has him in a long, long lip lock with Audrey Fleurot’s Josephine, as they carry out “inventory.” Or, y’know, “kissing” as other people might call it.

Happily, Josephine’s new didn’t-have-time-to-dry-it hair (why did they mess with it? It was so beautiful before!) doesn’t seem to have dampened Pierre’s ardour, anyway, nor does their professional separation – their firm is breaking up, but they’re very much together. Maintenant, anyway – I mean, this is Spiral, so nobody should get too comfy. For the moment, however, Josephine is calmer and happier than she’s ever been (she’s snogging Pierre, mind you, so this is hardly a surprise), if just as sneaky as ever, stealing as she does a client in a manner as sleek, beautiful and effortless as her white satin pyjama pants. Which I would really like for my very own, s’il vous plaît. Along with her super-handsome boyfriend.

It seems inevitable that the ripples of their respective ambitions will pull them apart further down the line, however. As well as representing the prime suspect in the double murder Laure and Roban are investigating (giving us more Pierre and Laure shared screentime in these two eps than we had all of last season. Hurrah!), Pierre is being groomed for election to the Bar Council – or not, according to a surprisingly dismissive and unenthusiastic Roban – who, I’m guessing, aren’t all that keen on his gorgeous troublemaker girlfriend.

Said gorgeous troublemaker girlfriend, meanwhile, enlists Roban in her mission to resurrect her career, wangling her way with ease into the other main plotline, the investigation of the killing of a police officer. At first, Monsieur Le Juge is reluctant, but by episode 2, he seems keener on Josephine than he is on his formerly good ami Pierre, to the considerable bemusement and suspicion of both the majestic Marianne and the slightly bewildered moi.

All the characters and their relationships seem to have changed significantly then, but plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose; the important things about Spiral are still the same. The main plot is still grim and unsettling, the characters are still deeply flawed but completely mesmerising, the writing is uncompromising yet occasionally bleakly funny and the acting – from Fitoussi, Fleurot, Caroline Proust and everybody else – is still superb. Roll on eps 3 and 4, Engrenages is back, bébés, and it’s brilliant.

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4 thoughts on “Spiral (Engrenages) s5: Double Murder eps 1 & 2

  1. Olive January 11, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    I am TOTALLY shipping Laure and Gilou. I am also willing his proposed solution as a half ship. I can live with that.

    I came to a realisation after an initial swoon at the reappearance of Le Fitoussi which is just how very fond of all of the main characters I’ve become. Watching these episodes was not unlike that coming home feeling – so much so that for the first time ever I didn’t mind the double feature. In fact, if I could binge watch the whole season, I’d be there right now instead of silently willing next Saturday to come along.

  2. CJ Cregg January 11, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    I didn’t mind the double feature, either – I think partly because the story moved really quickly, but also because all our favourite characters were involved in it together, instead of being separated in their own different threads like they were last season. Everyone showed up pretty quickly and jumped into the story with everyone else, which I loved. Even that wee scene with Laure and Pierre in the car was really cute – he ran out in his slippers, bless – although I’m pretty sure that if you know a child is in danger, the very least you could do is try and contact your client and get him to contact the police, Pierre, cheri.

    PS: I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, given what a liability he used to be, but I’m definitely coming round to Lilou/Gaure as well. Laure could do a lot worse than her best bud. This new, improved version of him, anyway.

  3. Anna January 12, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    Great review as usual, CJ!

    I’m actually a fan of double features. When this fifth season was initially aired in France, back in November, Canal+ actually uploaded *the whole* season onto their video-on-demand website at the same time the first episode was being broadcast. Since this was just on the eve of the Remembrance Day bank holiday, many people just decided to have an “Engrenages-nuit-blanche” and watched the whole season in one go. I don’t judge them – I would’ve done the same.

    I’m not that surprised at how much Gilou seems to have changed, since he has actually come a long way since the start of the show (remember him on season 1?). I’m a bit puzzled, however, at how much Joséphine seems NOT to have changed at all. After the events of the last season, I expected her to have grown a conscience, or scruples, or something (silly me, I know), but she’s just as sneaky as ever.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the season (and to sharing it here). These first two episodes look really promising.

  4. CJ Cregg January 12, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    Thanks Anna, glad you liked it 🙂

    I’m now quite intrigued by the idea of an “Engrenages-unit-blanche”! I’m not much of a binge-watcher to be honest, but if I was going to watch a whole season of anything in a row, a bank holiday would definitely be the time. It would mean running out of eps v quickly though – I do like to savour my Fitoussi fix for a few weeks 😉

    Re Josephine: I agree she’s as sneaky as ever, but I did think she came across as a lot less angry and damaged than before. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy romance novel, I wonder if it’s because she’s found someone to love who loves her for herself (unlike her family etc) – I felt like she was very relaxed and open with Pierre in a way we’ve never seen from her before.

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