“A woman in the shadows? She must be very well-hidden.”
Or not, given that Spin’s series finale was an attempt at ending on a female-friendly, if not exactly feminist, note. Yes, Marjorie wins le référendum, thanks to a last-minute assist from Deleuvre, but for all his talk of “taking back control” (which, in light of the toxic state of post-Brexit British politics, should really come with a trigger warning), there’s a palpable feeling that the old hommes’ time and power is limited. Deleuvre is already gone, thanks to Anne-Marie Carrere, and Marjorie, for all he might win a second term, is being managed, professionally by Prime Minister Helene, and personally by Clemence Parodi who it appears, much to Simon’s disgust, leaked her own pregnancy news to Flashmag and got tout she wanted as a result.
Anne-Marie herself, meanwhile, not wanting to risk Ludo getting a conscience and losing tout she wants, unceremoniously dumps him, leaving Gregory Fitoussi to walk ruefully into the Paris night, the wry ghost of a smile on his visage, and wonder what could have been if this show had stuck to its initial premise and focused on the rivalry between the masters of spin and the damage they can do, instead of getting mired in the Marjories’ mariage and everything else.
Speaking of the Marjorie mariage, Mme Marjorie ditches the big “Marianne Joly” photo op, her phone and her old vie, taking a flight to…. nobody knows where, which is odd since they have boarding passes and check-in and whatnot in French airports too, non? How can they know she was at the airport and not know which flight she took? Unless she doubled back and didn’t take a flight at… Oh, as if I care. Mme Marjore is gone! Enfin!
Appolline, though, is both everywhere and forever. Back in cahoots with le juge who’s back investigating Palissy (who literally drops dead at the prospect). Back writing about les issues, this time focussing on the increasingly bad-tempered Jenny from the Banlieu* and all the other Jennys out there. And now also at the centre of the somewhat chaotic intelligence op to apprehend Jenny/Aisha; this top priority terrorist is rarely more than a few feet away from all the agents hanging out outside her parents’ maison, apprehending her amie, tailing her former hostage, swarming her target at la gare, sitting waiting for her to wander up and shoot them – yet none of them ever seem to see her, let alone catch her, till Simon storms in, “saves” his ex by getting himself shot, and finally ends both his story and Jenny/Aisha’s, albeit in very different ways.
Si, Simon’s not dead, but he’s done; once he recovers from his entirely invisible bullet wound, he quits his job, much to Marjorie’s… lack of any strong feelings whatsoever? Le Prés makes some polite noises but, considering the election is supposed to be imminent, doesn’t seem overly bothered, making small talk instead about the possibility of une femme de l’ombre in Simon’s life, and ending the show with a quiet, patronising gémissement rather than the noisy coup threatened at the start of the season. The episode does seem to be about les femmes, who have been both horribly written and profoundly ill-served throughout the show’s three seasons, taking back control after a fashion, but since – with the possible exception of the conniving Clemence – they’re all completely insufferable, it’s hard to be pleased. Not that that’s anywhere near the top of my list of disappointments with Les Hommes de l’ombre, a show which promised a smart, stylish, sophisticated take on French politics and gave us, in the main, a plodding, ham-fisted, ineptly-subtitled and deeply frustrating one.
It’s not that this episode was bad – on the scale of saison 3 Spin episodes, it was actually a resounding…. okay – more that, like the show as whole, it ended up being nothing much of anything at all. I’m not at all disappointed Spin is finished, but I am disappointed in what it ultimately turned out to be. Not so much Les Hommes de l’ombre, as une ombre itself – a shadow of what I’d hoped for. A waste of a great premise in the Simon/Ludo rivalry, a waste of a huge opportunity to say something important at a time of massive political upheaval, and just generally a waste of my time – quel dommage.
*Merci to Jed for making me laugh with that one.