Tout est bien qui finit bien?
Unless you’re Gilou, that is. In Spiral’s grande finale, Escoffier throws himself under l’autobus pour l’amour and is more than likely off to la grande maison as a result, but the rest of the main cast all get out of their Parisian pickle with significantly less immediate, or at least less visible, damage than we might have expected.
Joséphine somehow manages more heroics than everybody else, risking both her neck and her career to save Edelman (returning the favour) from his principles and inspire Lola to save herself from hers. There’s even a sort-of-reconciliation with Laure, but it seems like Maître Karlsson might have had enough of the dodgy lawyer life for the moment – there’s certainly damage there, but the extent of it is yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, “Ali, you stay outside.. think about your kid” and all the chat during the stakeout about how he was a good cop and how his wife worries had me absolutely convinced (and bereft!) that Ali was going to die. Somehow, though, he not only survives (hurrah!) but saves Joséphine, cracks Oury Mazouz and will probably get a medal or something. Which would be lovely except that, again, the extent of the damage his own guilt will do to him for shooting a man he had no option but to shoot is not yet clear. (Ali is terrific, by the way, and rather than another saison of Spiral, I’d like for him to have a spin-off show with my other favourite flic, Brèmont, where they can go around solving crime without actually committing any – unlike most of the other cops on the show.) Roban retires with a smile, content that Herville’s murder has been solved, he can buy the faithful Didier a drink and Laure will carry on after he’s gone. And as for Laure? The case is finished, the network is done for, justice is served for Herville, and she gets one last night with soulmate Gilou before he takes the rap for everything because, as Roban says, she doesn’t “know how precious she is” and as, Gilou says, she has a daughter and “not being a cop would kill her”. Riiiiight.
Part of my difficulty with this saison has been that while Laure’s behaviour has got worse and worse, my view of her has felt increasingly out of step with how I suspect the show wants me to see her, and any doubt I had on that front was completely removed by the finale. The show – and so many of the characters – will excuse everything she does, because she is “determined” (Ali), “complex” (Gilou), “needed” (Roban) and always, always, doing it for the good of the investigation, whatever “it” or the investigation happens to be. The difference between her and Joséphine is that Karlsson doesn’t pretend that she has the moral high ground: Joséphine has no illusions about any of the bad things she does for her clients and herself, and makes no excuses for playing dirty on a regular basis, while Laure doesn’t ever think she’s doing anything truly bad, no matter how appalling it may be. Which means that I spent this saison rooting for Joséphine (a character I did not like at all when we first met her) and hoping she would get away with attempting to kill someone; while I rolled my eyes at Laure (once a genuinely interesting, complicated and challenging character I was really keen on) and actively hoped she ended up in jail. This does not bode well for saison huit.
And there will be a saison huit, apparently, although this finale with Gilou in custody, Joséphine sick of everything and Laure heading out to see her baby bathed in sunlight and forgiveness, felt like a real, full-stop of an ending as opposed to a temporary one. So where do they go from here? Roban looks like he’s gone, but who knows – as he pointed out himself, he’s hardly going to start following the rules now. Laure never learns any lessons, so I suppose she at least will keep on doing what she‘s always done. Joséphine might resist a bit before coming back to the law, but I suspect she too will keep on doing what she’s always done. Gilou may get out of jail, he may not. And unless climate change, global warfare or some other modern mightmare does for us all in the meantime, whatever happens to all of them will likely be shown in double bills on BBC4 on a Saturday night.
These last two episodes were never less than compelling (probably the best of the saison), and the whole saison was as lovingly, boldly-made as it ever has been but, as regular readers might have worked out from my posts, I do think Spiral has run its course. What seemed challenging and exciting all those years ago at the start seems tired and a bit irritating now, and I feel like Laure, Gilou and even the wily Roban really need a rest rather than another re-run of the same themes and mistakes. But whether that means I can cut the cord and skip saison huit? Je ne sais pas. We’ll see. Meantime, great acting, yes; provocative themes, always; but as far as actual enjoyment goes….. Joséphine, Ali, and the under-used Brémont aside, I’m not at all sorry to see the back of saison sept.