Les Hommes de l’ombre s3 ep 1


We begin in deeply unsettling fashion with a convoy of official vehicles racing through a Parisian tunnel. Maybe it’s not meant to evoke the memories it does, maybe it is; either way, and since I knew going in that season three of Spin (like season one) was going to start with a significant public death, it’s a disturbing moment, but it turns out that even Spin isn’t crass enough to go there. Instead, the Marjories make it through the tunnel unharmed, and it’s Simon Kapita and the Minister for Parliamentary Reform(?) Clemence Parodi – a woman whom I initially thought might be Gabi from last season – who are at the epicentre of the tragedy, namely a radio station where a gunman shoots up the studio live on air, killing a high-profile Far Right candidate. At least I think he was a high-profile Far Right candidate – the combination of Spin’s usual terrible subtitling with my lack of knowledge of the French political system makes it something of a struggle to try and get a grip of who belongs to which party. I wouldn’t put any euros on me being right about any of them.

Alors. Simon and Clemence are understandably traumatised by the whole business, but the emotional impact of “We could have died!” and “All that blood!” is somewhat diluted by the segue straight into “Let’s crash right into each other and have sex tout de suite!” I laughed out loud, which I’m guessing is not the effect anyone was going for and which also means, in terms of sex with Simon at stressful moments, Clemence is pretty much Gabi from last season after all.

It’s back to business the matin after, though, as Clemence shifts back into work mode, unceremoniously swapping Simon for an immediate, wholesale change of the entire French voting system, because trying to alter the course of the nation’s destiny forever really could not wait till episode 2. *rolls yeux*

Malheureusment for Clemence and her big plan, however, since Simon spends most of the episode having woozy spells and hiding out in Ludo’s old office (now Simon’s new office?) in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid his appalling ex-wife, he’s not really up to doing too much politicking on her behalf. And nobody else thinks it’s a magnifique idea to be handing power to the far droit anyway, so the PM pulls a fast one, the bill tanks and poor Clemence is left wondering if it’s too late to go back to bed.

As Simon drinks and broods, and Clemence considers a new career, then, Madame Marjorie, er, walks repeatedly around the Palais in a series of dubious-looking pairs of slacks. Every few minutes, there she is – round a corner, up a staircase, along a corridor – wandering aimlessly into shot, looking either dazed or ready for a fight with Monsieur Le Prés, who is visibly wondering why this pair didn’t just split up at the end of season 2. Je ne sais pas pourquois, either, Alain, but it’s jamais too late.

Alors, again. Since she’s not getting any sort of satisfaction (or any sort of birthday present) from Le Prés, Mme Marjorie eventually gets bored with her route and changes things up by walking all the way to the UAE and involving herself in a stupendously daft rescue attempt, either because she’s looking for a more active role in foreign policy or because she’s an imbecile. *rolls yeux encore*

Thank goodness then for mon amour Ludo, who’s having a much more successful (if brief) time than the rest of these nitwits. With artfully unshaven visage and his own right-wing (je pense?) candidate Anne-Marie, the handsomest man on tv is poised to take full advantage of Morlaix’s death, not to mention full advantage of the fact that he looks like Gregory Fitoussi and she looks so like fellow Spiral alum Audrey Fleurot that for a moment I was confused about which French drama I was actually watching. If they’re not sleeping together yet, it can’t be long, non?

Not that Ludo and his cinq heures shadow get any more than a few minutes to woo us; a sneer from old frenemy Deleuvre, a few seconds plotting with Anne-Marie and he’s done for the week, which is disappointing but not unexpected given how under-used he was last season. And given time has to be found for two new shows-within-the-show, namely “Elisabeth Marjorie: International Rescue” and, most exciting of all, top new detective drama “Palissy de Justice.” You thought he was just the Minister for the Interior? Oh, non. While the intelligence agencies scratch their derrières, the French answer to Columbo cracks the assassination case wide open, working out the whos, the whys and the wherefores, and organising elegantly-choreographed SWAT raids all over the French countryside. Dude is so bien at fighting crime, he should get a gig on Spiral himself. And his entire storyline would have fit better there too, instead of taking up temps on a show which is supposed to be saying something important about French politics at a time when the entire planet’s future is in the balance, as opposed to doing a French version of Le Bill.

Sigh. As usual with Spin, this episode was rarely more than all right, and frequently much less than that. The political intrigue continues to lose so much in translation that I’m confused or bemused far too often; the Marjories’ relationship continues to take up an amount of screen time inversely proportionate to the interest anyone except the writers can possibly have in it (Mon Dieu, just GET. A. DIVORCE); and the insufferable Appolline continues to get way more to do than the indispensable Ludo, whose job description is actually in the name of the show. Something not right there, n’est-ce pas?

Public Service Announcement 12 of 2017: Blindspot, Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre)

Silly season has come a little early this year with two of Unpopcult’s favourite pieces of nonsense making their way back to UK screens this week.

Tonight (Thursday), 9pm on Sky Living, sees the return of season 2 of the gleefully bonkers Blindspot, which left off last time with REDACTED in terrible danger, the writers still trying to make fetch Roman happen, and everybody’s personal lives all over the shop. Will REDACTED survive? Who is the mole inside Sandstorm? Who is the mole inside Team Tat? And when will Jane and Weller bloody get over themselves and get back together? Declining US ratings mean this run might be the last chance to find out, but no matter: unpopcult will be watching and reviewing anyway. And hoping Rich Dotcom makes another appearance, because we flat-out love that guy.

In other “guys we love” (albeit in an entirely different way) news, meanwhile, my beloved Gregory Fitoussi is back in my tv life for the third and likely final season of Spin (Les Hommes de l’Ombre) – starting tomorrow on More 4 at 9pm. A political soap which is either a lot less clever than it thinks it is, completely hobbled by its ham-fisted subtitling, or more than likely both, the only two things keeping me watching are Gregory’s magnifique “villain” Ludo and how much fun we have talking about the show on unpopcult. I’m hoping the writers learned from the deeply disappointing season 2 that what we need is more Ludo not less, and that the awful Simon is really not all that, but we shall see – reviews every week as usual. À bientôt, j’espère.

Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre) s2 ep 6


Alors, mes amis, it’s season finale time (encore) and Simon is trying, unsuccessfully to get Juliette out of jail, but Palissy has croissants to eat and bigger poisson to fry: Appolline has to bury her story (which her editor/boyfriend wasn’t going to print anyway, so no big) or Daughter Dearest is going to be fitted for prison pyjamas.

Appolline is unpleasant (as usual) but compliant, but it still takes a vaguely threatening prod from Prés Marjorie to get Mlle Kapita released because Palissy is, je ne sais pas, enjoying flexing his Interior Minister muscles too much. Or something. It doesn’t matter, because all these people are awful, except perhaps Appolline’s editor/boyfriend who speaks for the entire audience when he declares “I’m sick of you making everything personal. It’s a pain in the arse.”

Give that man a spin-off.

As well as negotiating his own family worries, the weary Kapita also takes it upon himself to deal with the Marjories’; he agrees to Ludo’s terms in order to keep the Elisabeth story out of the press. Le Prés is having none of this, mind you; some of Benny’s truth-telling has clearly rubbed off on Monsieur Marjorie, so he gives both Simon and Gabi a proper, entirely justified telling-off for not coming to him in the first place instead of trying to hand Ludo the keys to L’Élysée behind his back.

Deal’s off, then, but not till after a mildly funny scene where Ludo’s assistant tells both her antsy boss and the bewildered Rose off, pointing out “He f***ed me too, promised me the world. And I still bring him his coffee!”

Heh. Virginie can be in the spin-off, too.

Unbeknown to both Ludo and Virginie, however, after Benny’s visit and her (wo)man in the mirror moment in the bathroom last week, Rose has swapped sides again, stealing the file of doom and delivering it back into Benny’s hands. Having spent the day reminiscing with Lis about how much they miss Le Prés, Benny is in pensive mood when his ex shows up but snaps out of it just long enough to burn the file and break the good nouvelles to Simon, much to the latter’s relief. Of course, at no time do any of these geniuses consider the possibility that Ludo might have MADE A COPY. (Or got Xerox Girl to do it for him.) But I guess we’re not supposed to consider that either, so whatevs. The file is gone. And so, sadly is Benny, who REDACTS himself in a strange, somewhat incongruous turn of events that neither seems character nor plot-driven, but just sort of happens in the middle of the finale to give Lis and Le Prés yet another thing to be miserable about. As if they needed one.

Poor Rose is obviously tres sad herself, but as un parting cadeau, fills Kapita in on the Ludo/Deleuvre goss and her own change of heart. “Ludovic is a bastard,” she admits, “I knew it deep down, but he made me giddy.” Girl. MOI AUSSI.

An excited Simon then gallops round to Delboy’s to secure his promise in blood not to say anything, because Simon – who apparently missed season 1 – doesn’t think Delboy’s “the type” to use the info against the Marjories but does think he’s the type to respond to PR men being bizarrely rude to him about it. Luckily for Simon, Delboy is in devious plan mode, and hatches a scheme with him to fire Ludo from the company that NEITHER OF THESE GUYS WORKS FOR, and Ludo either doesn’t fight it at all or plans to fight it later or I have absolutely no idea because this show and its dialogue/subtitles are stupid and “I’ll send you my Counsel” doesn’t tell me rien.

There was a time when Simon and Ludo fighting over stuff like this was the entire raison d’être of the show, but this season the focus has shifted somewhat so that Ludo is basically relegated to mosquito status; he pops up every now and again, buzzes around angrily for a minute or two, then somebody swats him. Which means that not only has Gregory Fitoussi been criminally under-used, but we’ve spent a lot of time on the challenges facing both the Marjorie government and the Marjorie marriage. It’s still a little surprising how much of the finale is devoted to both, mind you.

Le Prés does a lot of largely pointless brooding over whether to assassinate Bakian and Wahid; since the plan presented somewhat improbably involves zero casualties and unanimous agreement from everyone in the Situation Salle, those scenes seem like a waste of time. Either have a proper moral discussion, with people taking different sides and being genuinely conflicted about it and nobody feeling too comfortable with the outcome either way, or just go do your assassinating and save the screen time for something else.

By “something else”, though, I don’t mean a lengthy excerpt of Berenice: I understand the point was to save on writing yet more dialogue and use the libretto to cover the Marjories’ marriage turmoil instead, but it went on way too long and told us nothing we didn’t already know. Will the Marjories stay together? Will this “STATE FALSEHOOD” go the way of last season’s and just fizzle away into nothing? Will any of these people be in season 3? I don’t think I really care, either way.

There’s been something lacking in Spin from the start (the subtitling didn’t help, either) and while this season was better written than the latter half of the first one and didn’t have the appalling Valentine in it, it’s still been weirdly simplistic, disjointed and too often dull for something purporting to be so sophisticated. Take Simon randomly declaring “I think I love you, Gabrielle.” I live for this sort of thing in my tv, but it was so clunky and out-of-place for that particular scene and that particular moment, that I rolled my eyes instead of getting remotely excited. And me rolling my eyes has been my reaction to far too much of the show since it started. I wanted and expected better from Spin, but sadly it never materialised.

Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre) s2 ep 5


“Blackmail” is the name, and “Blackmail” is the, er, game of this week’s penultimate episode of Spin, as half the cast threaten the other half of it with exposure of all the big secrets of the season.

Bakian’s secret – that he’s a BAD homme – is already out, of course, but he just shrugs off his French surveillance (much to the chagrin of Le Prés, who spends the entire ep in a fury about France not being top of the diplomacy pops any more), goes on a Grand Tour of North Africa, and sends his lawyer to try and pressure Gabrielle into calling off les chiens or risk losing both petit Victor and her job.

For someone who works in politics, the Secretary General of L’Elysee is pretty easily freaked by a dude who wears a cravat. Since she and Simon are fighting, and he’s too busy thinking ’bout his baby daughter, he ignores Gabi’s 911 call, but when she turns up at work the next day in such a tizz that the hair is DOWN(!), he relents, takes her into the Blue Salon and…. gives her some really sensible advice which actually helps. Hurrah!

Simon’s reward for this is, of course, a whole lotta lovin’. Or at least it would have been, had it not been his wretched daughter’s turn to interrupt the resumption of diplomatic relations with Gabrielle and give us a cliffhanger by getting herself arrested for terrorism offences. FFS. “I’m a journalist,” she protests. Without a press card. Or an employer. Um….

La pomme doesn’t appear to have fallen far from l’arbre, mind you: “I’m not a vengeful idiot, I’m a journalist!” yells the appalling Appolline, having a rare old time yelling at Simon and pretending to care about the truth for most of the ep. (Athough presumably she’ll care about it a lot less next week if Palissy makes her choose between the precious truth or her imbecile kid’s freedom).

Neither Simon nor the audience is fooled, though, correctly identifying that Appolline’s obsession with exposing the hostage negotiations is more to do with punishing her ex than edifying her public. Punishing him for what isn’t entirely clear, though. I mean, Simon’s a terrible husband who cheated on her and moved continent, sure, but she knew that last season and didn’t seem too wound up about it. Why the sudden rage now? And the bizarrely aggressive jealousy? As our friend Bill commented on last week’s thread, Appolline seems to have become a totally different person from last season. And I don’t just mean the actress playing her.

At least Ludo is still his usual dastardly self, though. After last week’s non-event, Gregory Fitoussi is back, all ruthless and seductive and manipulative and whatnot, although Xerox Girl Rose (per our friend Moore) is so unbelievably stupid, he barely has to bat his eyelashes before she’s stealing secret files and cheerfully handing over – DUN DUN DUN! – the goods on Elisabeth and the car accident cover-up.

A couple of completely gratuitous topless scenes later and even Rose has realised her new boyf’s motives might not be entirely benign, but it’s too late. “Mon petit Ludovic” dashes off to Deleuvre, feverishly clutching his precious file, excitement all over his wee face…. Only for Delboy – who sought him out and specifically tasked him with bringing down the Marjorie government, let’s not forget – to get all pious and “You and I are finished” about it. “I don’t understand!” says the bewildered Ludo. Me neither, cheri. As we’ve said before, Deleuvre was fine with exposing Anne Visage as the President’s mistress last season so where has all this “we don’t reveal intimate fuck-ups in public” gallantry suddenly come from?

Huh. Perhaps Deleuvre got his new scruples from the same place Appolline got her new rage. Or maybe he borrowed them from Simon. Monsieur Kapita is, of course, saddened and outraged when a slightly crazed Ludo tries to use the file to run him out of town. “You’d throw a woman to the dogs, sully a President of the Republic, just to get back at me?” he asks sorrowfully. “It’s more than that!” protests Ludo, and do I have Fitoussis in my eyes or is he right? Not about the “Paris isn’t big enough for both of us” nonsense, of course, but, for all Simon and Deleuvre’s protests that this is just nasty gossip about one woman’s private life, we are actually talking about – sorry – a STATE FALSEHOOD, here. Remember how angry you were about last season’s government conspiracy, Simon? Or does the truth only matter if the liars are on the other team?

Elisabeth Marjorie was driving way too fast. Amaury Desplantes died as a result. Mme Marjorie should have been arrested and investigated and potentially prosecuted for it, but instead her husband and his government covered it up. They neutered the investigation, falsified the reports, and protected her from prosecution. That’s not an “intimate fuck-up,” that’s corruption.

Don’t get me wrong: Ludo’s motives are obviously as personal and obnoxious as Appolline’s. But if everybody else could stop pretending that this particular scandal is a private one, and they’re wearing white chapeaux when they’re really just hypocrites, that would be magnifique.

Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre) s2 ep 4


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 Benny 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 Benidorm 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.

Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre) s2 ep 3

I wouldn’t have thought you could make an episode about a Presidential coma, an international hostage crisis and a Russian oligarch who wants to buy a French fashion house boring but somehow, this week’s Spin manages it.

Things begin promisingly enough with Marjorie being rushed to l’hôpital dans l’ambulance – sirens and a convoy and toutes les choses – but somehow, as the story progresses, the health of Le Prés becomes far less important than how Gabrielle’s dealing with it. And Gabrielle’s dealing with it by ignoring the Constitution, trying to temporarily assume power herself and keeping the rest of the country in the dark about what has happened to their elected leader.

Initially, of course, neither Madame Marjorie nor Monsieur Kapita are too impressed with this palace coup. Elisabeth, now apparently a constitutional scholar, takes it upon herself to tattle to the (previously unseen) PM who, entirely properly, seizes power right back and provides one of the few laughs of the ep in the process when he keeps right on enjoying his excellent Élysée lunch while the Gabster storms out in a big huff like she’s a teenager not allowed to go out on a school night instead of une femme adulte not allowed to ignore the rules of French democracy.

Simon, meanwhile, argues in vain for informing the media, pointing out to my utter delight that pretending Le Prés took a little dizzy turn instead of actually being on the brink of death is – wait for it – a “STATE FALSEHOOD.” The first “STATE FALSEHOOD” of the season! I think I actually cheered.

This being “Everybody Loves Gabi” week, though, no one can resist the combined power of the barrette and pencil skirt suit for long.

Elisabeth, bored with hanging out at her critically ill husband’s bedside, drags her along to a bar, smiles, gazes, and generally seems so smitten with her that I’m genuinely surprised she tries to go home with the random homme from the bar instead of the Gabaroni herself.

Simon, meanwhile, enjoying his food a lot less than the PM – “I hate it but I wanted to eat something I hate. Do you ever get that?” Um, no – takes a few minutes break from being weird about his daughter and sleeping on his couch in his work clothes (every week he’s there on that couch in the same white shirt and black trouser combo! Does the man not have any concept of PYJAMAS?) to be weird about his co-worker and watch her sleep on her couch instead. He smiles, gazes and clasps Gabs’s hand (but not yet her visage, for those on Face-Stroke Watch), and generally seems so smitten with her that it stands out even in the middle of the French government equivalent of PANIC STATIONS! “I’ll leave you to flirt,” snarks a colleague, leaving the crisis meeting about the hostages in high dudgeon. Not a shipper, then, eh?

Even the random fixer-type that Ludo and Deleuvre get themselves mixed up with has Gabi-related feels. Ostensibly there to try and broker the sale of a steel company to his Russian boss – I’d have been much more interested in Hermès too, in fairness – Monsieur Middleman gently reminds La Secretary-General of their whole lotta history together before offering his services as an international hostage release broker on commission. This is unlikely to be une bonne idée, given what we hear from Bend It Like Beckham Hussan, whose advice not to go near Bakian seems entirely sensible even if he is in the throes of Ludo-related jealousy at the time.  Yo Gabba Gabba herself isn’t around to hear it, though, and it’d be a gross violation of scriptwriting law to bring in a super-shifty dude with a super-shifty past if he’s not going to do something super-shifty and expose it so I’m guessing Monsieur Middleman will be around to hold her secret over her head un peu longer. Malheureusement.

Spin (Les Hommes de l’ombre) s2 ep 2


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 Bento 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.