To make up for last week’s Fitoussi deficit, we kick off ep 2 with Ludo in full-on charm mode, cultivating the doe-eyed but not exactly docile NotMrs Hussan. “You look stunning,” he says, which might be over-stating it for a breakfast meeting, but since
Mean Bambi NotMrs H is only human, she laps it up, shimmying into the restaurant and onto Team Ludo with alacrity.
Mr H himself is less amenable, however, and, rather than giving up Marjorie or Mrs Marjorie, Ben
There Done That turns on Rose herself instead, but that backfires on him pretty spectacularly, since all it does is feed la femme’s jealousy and send her right back to Ludo in her shortest skirt.
I think we all know where that’s going.
Of course, Ludo, smarter than the pair of them put together, easily works out there’s no smoke without a raging inferno and it looks like Lis is at the centre of the flames. Job well in hand, he placates the smitten but somewhat venal Rose (compliments about her hair are all well and bien but her services still “won’t be free”) with minimal effort and puts her back to work spying on Ben
to Box, while he starts digging into La Première dame’s connection with Amaury Desplantes for the real dirt.
Arch-rival Simon, meanwhile, a man with an infinite number of black suits but no ties, is trying to broker a deal to save Marjorie’s government, while distracted by his adult daughter getting on with her life and his co-worker Gabrielle being obnoxious to him in that special way that men on tv can’t resist but men en réalité are much less delighted with.
For once, Juliette is unmoved by Papa’s possessiveness and refuses to fill him in on her top secret, deeply uninteresting doings, while Mama Apolline politely tells Simon to naff off back to New York and “let her go.” Since Mama Apolline is then immediately mugged, mind you, the message doesn’t quite filter through the macho fog around Simon’s tête and, instead of backing the eff off, l’homme simply ups his stalker game with a creepy voicemail and creepier letter to Juliette, because this whole storyline is getting weirder by the week.
Having struck out with his daughter, however (Eugh), France’s top PR man has considerably more success with Gabi who, once she gets a rant or two off her chest, eventually decides to stop fighting both the man and the inevitable, introduce him to her (“adopted” as everyone is strangely keen to keep telling us) son and recommend Le Prés tell him what Benny
Hill Hussan knows.
“It’s private. It’s a woman’s reputation,” says Marjorie, which is a curious way to describe causing death by dangerous driving, but neither Simon nor I are entirely confident this will keep a lonely, frustrated and near-suicidal Big Ben from spilling the beans. “Hussan is a kamikaze loaded with dynamite!” panics Simon, and, having suddenly become the stupidest person on the planet, decides the best way to defuse the situation is to go and order Ludo NOT to look into Lis any more and certainly NOT to sleep with NotMrs H.
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
If anyone out there believes Simon telling Ludo NOT to do something is going to have anything but the opposite effect, hit me up – I have some magic beans and a holiday home on the moon to sell you. Meantime, though, at least some of Simon’s other strategising pays off; Palissy is pacified, the vote fails and the government survives. Although we might not be able to say the same of Le Prés. The strain of watching Kapita and Gabi save his job combined with the effort of coaxing Lis up off her chaise and back into the public eye has obviously taken its toll. The “headache” he complains of throughout means the end of the ep isn’t any sort of surprise, but it does make me wonder, given what happened to the previous incumbent, if any of the TV presidents of la république actually manage to survive a full term. Nous verrons bien.