Amour is in the air!
An international hostage situation, a grey-faced embarrassment of a President who spends the entire ep shouting, twitching and groaning, and an ex on a mission to expose top secret negotiations out of what seems to be spite…. there’s beaucoup going on at l’Élysée this week, even if it’s all ridiculous. As far as unpopcult’s concerned, though, the big nouvelles is of course Gabrielle and Simon getting very close indeed.
We all knew it was coming at some point, but the signs that this was la semaine were unmistakeable: the ride home together and the understandably irresistible “I have some frozen meals if you fancy it” (the gourmet capital of the world, mesdames et messieurs) invitation are clear enough signals, but it’s the long-awaited release of Chekhov’s cheveux from their barrette prison that seals the deal. Or it would have, if Gabi’s kid – like every other kid on tv – hadn’t picked the crucial moment to yell plaintively for “Maman!”
Simon and Gabi may look wryly amused, but I’d have been furieux.
La Secretary-General will not be deterred though. After another hard day at the office, she’s not risking any more moptop-related interruptions: “I’m tired. Victor’s staying at a friend’s,” she announces to Simon who has no trouble understanding exactly what this means, et voila! The kid’s safely out of the way, the hair’s back down and the clothes are nowhere to be seen.
Of course, because Simon can’t have sex with anyone without then doing something appalling, he decides to ruin the mood by confronting Gabrielle about the circumstances of Victor’s adoption while she’s still in her lingerie, which makes me wonder a) what business it is of his and b) what the eff is wrong with him. Could judging her for her life choices not have waited till the next day when the hair was back in the barrette and the woman was back in the skirt suit, instead of her underwear?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Simon is a jerk. The jury’s out, however, on whether he, his daughter or his ex-wife are worse. Having left her 25 – TWENTY-FIVE – voicemail messages (because dealing with an ongoing international incident with dozens of lives at stake means plenty of time to stalk one’s offspring), he is overjoyed in that annoying, judgmental parent-y way to see Juliette again, till he realises she’s just popped home to wangle some info out of him, wind him up a bit and wave him goodbye. The pair of them then proceed to deal with this in the most obnoxious and inappropriate fashion possible; they end up shouting in each other’s faces, in the kind of desperately close, emotionally-charged scene that usually ends up in a wildly passionate kiss in tv drama and should never, under any circumstances, takes place between father and daughter because EWWWWW.
The entire Kapita family seems to have a screw loose, mind you, since Apolline insists, despite the protestations of her editor/boyfriend, on ignoring the journalistic code, flying to Tripoli on her own franc, and – somehow – gathering all the info on the back-channel Bakian negotiations to free the hostages, because nobody puts Apolline in a corner. Or something. Her single-mindedness in pursuit of a story is nothing new, but there’s something personal in her threat to Simon at the end of the episode. This isn’t about the truth, it seems to be about revenge, although it’s not clear why or on whom.
With all this emotional intrigue going on, it’d be easy to ignore the actual politicking, but the writers manage to squeeze in some nefarious double-crossing, two offscreen (and therefore very budget-friendly) military interventions, a curiously under-motivated terrorist, and a surprisingly genuine couple of scenes between President Grumpy-Guts and the faithful Ben
ny from Crossroads, who, having been rescued from a life of beer cans and mud-coloured T-shirts by Simon, comes back to dispense un peu tough love to his dearest, daftest ami. Who knew Ben idorm et Le Prés would have the deepest, most/only convincing love on the show?
Not Rose, who has no idea where her husband is, and phones Ludo instead. “Come over,” he says, huskily. Which sounds very promising, but is cut off somewhat abruptly since that’s pretty much all he says. I don’t know qui thought Victor’s backstory getting more screen time than Gregory Fitoussi was a good plan, and that we’d rather see Simon in flagrante than Ludo in any situation at all, but that person really needs to pense again.