Spiral (Engrenages) s5: Double Murder eps 7 & 8

Sigh.

After last week’s tragedy, Spiral’s viewers can still try to console themselves with a Gregory Fitoussi fix from Mr Selfridge, but poor Josephine and Laure don’t have the same option. A quick, brutal visit to the morgue to see Pierre laid out on a slab is the last chance the two women in his life have to see that handsome face, looking “like he didn’t belong there, like he might wake up” (if only, Laure, if only!), till Pierre’s parents arrive and he’s lost to them forever.

(Pierre’s mother is quite startlingly beautiful, by the way, and, kudos to the casting director, very like her son – it’s obviously in the fictional genes.)

The broken-hearted Josephine can’t get out of there fast enough, of course, eschewing Maman et Papa Clement in favour of grieving alone and in secret in Pierre’s apartment. At least she is actually grieving for him, though, since everybody else seems to just carry on regardless. For all Roban talks about how cut up he is (Marianne seems more upset) and Laure gazes sadly at Pierre’s name on her phone, the show seems desperate to move on as quickly as possible and (literally) only takes seconds to mop up Pierre’s still-fresh blood before jumping right back into the police investigation part of the plot instead.

It’s not that Spiral ignores Pierre’s death, not at all. It’s just that any time we get a chance to actually feel the impact of it, the programme can’t seem to skip past it fast enough. Josephine sobbing in Pierre’s shirt, obsessively replaying Pierre’s last voicemail, putting a lock of hair in his funeral suit…. all incredibly sad, beautiful moments and Audrey Fleurot is heartbreaking in them, but each scene is cut almost indecently short, barely even giving us a chance to tear up, let alone properly process the depth of her loss (and ours). And for what? Laure and co failing to catch Zach three times in one episode? Make it twice and give us a few minutes to have a proper cry instead, would you? Economy of storytelling is all very well, but Pierre was a huge part of Spiral for 5 years – the aftermath of his death deserved more than second billing to the usual procedural shenanigans.

Still, the memorial service is nice, and the deeply moving scenes shared by Fleurot and Caroline Proust at the end of episode 7 finally give us some of the catharsis we need; Josephine and Laure weren’t the only ones crying in those few minutes. “If Pierre could see us now…..” Sob.

Those scenes are so poignant, and Laure and Josephine’s newly developing bond so lovely, that more of them together would have been exactly what I needed from episode 8. But no, episode 8 has the show moving on at an even faster pace. Josephine, struggling to return to work, is essentially told to get over it by getting on with it by Roban and if that does give us the unfettered joy of Maître Karlsson (channelling Pierre?) making mincemeat of Judge Mendy, her immediate return to fabulousness is a little quick. Not to mention her return right back down the Faustian path we’ve seen her on too many times before. Josephine talking about her and Laure needing each other warms my heart. Edelman talking about him and Josephine needing each other scares me senseless.

As does this Karen character who turns out to have a finger in every croissant in the story: Laetitia, Zach, Sandrine, Sandrine’s parents, the robberies…. While the twists in the double murder tale this week are both grim and completely plausible, Engrenages has never seemed a more apt title, given all the threads in every storyline suddenly interconnecting. Even Josephine’s new client is connected to Merini who’s far too closely connected to Gilou who’s now in deep trouble thanks to…. yes, the plot, has not only shifted into high gear, but has also taken some of the shine off the New Gilou. The trick he pulled on Merini’s battered girlfriend was very much in the Old Gilou style, for a start and, as for the Alfonso issue, well, I fear the gentlemen of the Disciplinary Committee are not going to let that one go any time soon. Good job Laure and Tintin have made up; he can step in to help buy that pram Gilou mentioned while the man himself is otherwise incarcerated.

The first après-Pierre double bill ends then, with life going on in Spiral’s usual murky way. Yet another police op is about to go wrong, Gilou is once again on the cusp of “not getting away with it this time” and Roban is telling Jaulin to get another lawyer and he’ll get out of prison. He’ll get out of prison?! After what he did?! I didn’t need subtitles for the sub-text in that: Pierre’s gone and Spiral’s moving on, whether I’m ready for it or not.

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5 thoughts on “Spiral (Engrenages) s5: Double Murder eps 7 & 8

  1. edithkeeler February 2, 2015 / 6:43 am

    I know the grief is still raw but I think you’re being a little harsh. Roban was clearly suffering – but you wouldn’t expect him to be very demonstrative about it. He looked crushed in that memorial scene, like he’d fall over if he wasn’t leaning on something. The amount of humble pie he was prepared to gobble up over the two hours suggests something. And what he told Josephine was true – she would regret a rash decision to leave. I liked that exchange because he was saying: you are like me. You live for your work and it’s part of you.

    I do admit they all got back to the office pretty quick – never let the French work ethic be insulted again, turning up to work while the blood is still being mopped up from outside the door!

    • CJ Cregg February 2, 2015 / 7:41 pm

      Hi Edith, welcome to unpopcult – I take your point about Roban in the memorial scene, he did look crushed in that moment, but I was just really struck by how much, for most of the double bill, it was “business as usual” for the show, with the impact of Pierre’s death very much a distant second or third to the various investigation/crime plots going on. This may be because I’m un peu obsessed with him 😉 but it did seem like the script was saying “well, Pierre’s gone, so sad too bad, but no time to waste, the show must go on – pedal to the metal, everybody!”

      I would have liked, at least for episode 7, things to have slowed down on the investigation front so everybody (mainly me!) could do a little wallowing in their grief if you know what I mean? Even if they’d just made the Josephine scenes a little longer or shown Laure struggling a bit more or something… I guess I just wanted some more time to cry 😦 !

      Josephine would definitely have regretted leaving, I agree, and Roban was right about that, but she was back to full, sassy, throttle very quickly after that talking-to. I wonder if that second wind will last or the long-term effect on her of Pierre’s death will become evident later.

  2. edithkeeler February 2, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    Oh it’s true Spiral has an enormous amount of plot to churn through they can’t afford a week off. I’ve rather lost track of who everyone is and how they fit in on the criminal side of things. And I personally would have been lolling about in Pierre’s scent for many more weeks myself.

    Did you see this? Some Fitoussi to look forward to …. https://twitter.com/RodLurie/status/545703993704722432

    • Jed Bartlet February 6, 2015 / 1:16 pm

      Sorry Edith: your comment was trapped in the spam filter for some reason.

    • CJ Cregg February 6, 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Ooh yes, I’m excited about that link you posted, Edith – if we can’t have Pierre, some Fitoussi elsewhere is more than welcome 😉

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