Emily in Paris
What’s It All About…
Photo: Marie Etchegoyen/Netflix
We start this episode with a plot twist, at least for me: Emily still has her job at Savoir! I know Madeline was a little busy going into labor but I was pretty sure that as soon as things settled down, she’d fire Emily for insubordination, treachery, and other assorted professional sins. But nope, it’s been two weeks and Madeline is already back at work (… ooof) and Emily is attempting to win back her boss’s affection, seeing as she burned a bridge with Sylvie. She discusses this with Mindy while wearing a neon-checked jacket (it’s horrible, sorry!) while Mindy wears, as is her standard practice, a batshit tacky assembly of mismatched items, this time in My Little Pony pastels and a bandeau top that’s just a flimsy yellow chiffon strapless bra.
Another twist: Emily is still with Alfie? Apparently? I genuinely cannot tell if Emily is just delusional or if they did not, in fact, break up. It sure seemed like a breakup to me!
Mindy turned down the jazz-club job so she could continue to barely scrape by busking with her boyfriend and her new bandmate even though she has only been in this band for approximately a month, and she’s cut off from the Zipper King money, and presumably needs an income to keep her in over-the-knee boots and sequins. While Emily cannot have two full-time jobs at once, Mindy could easily do the jazz-club gig and busk at the same time so I’m not really clear on why she didn’t just … do that? But Mindy has spent too much time with Emily and is picking up on her habits (keeping secrets, creating problems).
Over at Savior, the first order of business is to replace Sylvie. At Sylvie’s new agency, Agence Grateau, the top priority is to charm and lock in their luxury clients. For some reason they don’t have an Instagram yet — we are, I’m sure, meant to believe that this is something only Emily could do, but we all know Emily was terrible at Instagram and it wouldn’t be all that hard for any of these guys to whip up a page for social — but they do have an impressive roster, including Pierre Cadault. And everyone is speaking French! Finally!
Even though Savoir’s meeting with Tiffany’s was scheduled by Sylvie, Madeline insists she inherited the business — the deal was with Savoir, not Sylvie personally — and so she (dressed in a banana-yellow coat and metallic minidress and black stilettos, a ridiculous outfit in any context but she gave birth two weeks ago) clatters into the office alongside Emily looking loud and obnoxious. And of course Sylvie arrives, too, in a fabulous velvet suit.
Is it interesting and plot-generating for Sylvie and the gang to have signed contracts with strict noncompete clauses in them? Yes. But is it at all plausible that Sylvie — Sylvie! Who is supposed to be an intelligent and formidable businesswoman! — wouldn’t have known that? That she started up this whole operation without consulting an attorney? I don’t buy it! That’s an Emily move. And, probably, Luc wouldn’t have put it together. But it does not align at all with the Sylvie we have come to know. In fact many of her missteps are extremely out of character (so much as anyone on this show has some consistent character traits) which is extremely distracting and kind of a bummer because the Sylvie-versus-Madeline battle is much more interesting if we have equally formidable opponents — which I guess we do because now everyone is clueless?
Anyway, Madeline and Emily are off to issue a friendly reminder to Antoine about the whole you’ll-be-hearing-from-our-lawyers-if-you-work-with-Sylvie situation. Here, naturally, Emily runs into Alfie who Antoine has hired as his … CFO?! Again, age on this show is a nebulous concept but isn’t Antoine a full adult? And Alfie is like, 30? And he’s the CFO, all of a sudden? Okay, sure, why not, nothing matters, money is fake. It is actually hilarious to me that he boarded a train to London, got a call from Antoine, came back to Paris, and kept it a secret from Emily. As she leaves the meeting with Madeline, Emily realizes, all of a sudden, that Alfie is not her boyfriend anymore. “Try not to disappoint me a third time” is Madeline’s very meta missive to her young charge as this third season gets underway. Look, I’ll say this: Emily’s haircut is looking quite cute (implausibly so, if she never had a pro fix her at-home bangs job!) and her lipstick is on point.
Emily heads to the only restaurant in Paris, Gabriel’s place, for a glass of wine. She reports to Camille and Gabriel that Alfie has been in Paris this whole time and of course they both already knew! Gabriel and Antoine are business partners. Emily, you absolute dope. It’s very funny to me that they were more loyal to Alfie, a guy they only barely know because he was dating Emily, than to Emily. Really says a lot about the impression Emily’s made on everyone here! Camille and Emily have this conversation that, sigh, is all about how they want to trust each other and be friends. Literally why would Camille want anything to do with this two-timing psycho. Make it make sense!! I’m so tired and we’ve only just begun.
Emily meets Alfie for dinner and she is smiling at him as if there is no tension, no awkwardness, no regret … none of these relationships are coherent. I feel like they just pull a random, happy feeling out of a hat before each take and run with it, regardless of where their characters are supposed to be, emotional-arc-wise. Alfie accurately describes Emily’s shitty behavior (“I put myself out there, and you left me hanging”) and I shout at the screen “JUST BREAK UP” and he gives her a very platonic, okay-bye-forever kiss on the cheek. More than she deserves, if you ask me!
Back at the apartment, Mindy and Emily have a cute back and forth about how handsome Alfie looks in his suits. Emily finally says, “I deserve this,” which is correct. Mindy sings a little bit of “What’s It All About, Alfie?” which Emily has never heard before but at some off-screen moment in this episode she apparently goes off and commits it to memory.
Sylvie meets with her comrades, in a dress unzipped to her sternum, to tell them everything is going to be just fine because they still have Pierre. Then Emily, in I think the worst outfit we’ve seen so far this season — a hideous knit yellow-neon-brown gradient thing with giant rhinestone buttons and white fluffy trim?? Why — meets with Luc, to enlist him in her grand plan: Get Madeline to bring Sylvie back in as president of Savoir. These two crazy kids bring this pitch to Madeline, who seems to realize this is the best way forward even though it will require apologizing. I do appreciate Madeline chuckling and saying “That’s stupid” when Emily calls her an “ambassador.” Great delivery by Kate Walsh. So the strategy is to show up at Pierre Cadault’s retrospective at the costume museum this very evening.
Emily arrives wearing a zebra-striped, butterfly-shaped top. It’s a lot, but I like her hair up. We are treated to some exceptionally clumsy plot-exposition-through-dialogue when Emily meets Nicolas de Leon, the very attractive heir to JVMA (the LVMH of Emily in Paris). JVMA does all their marketing in house, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in grabbing a drink with Emily.
Things blow up pretty quickly when Madeline and Sylvie show up … in the exact same dress! Sacre bleu! Madeleine’s styling is gold and tacky and, again, it’s just very odd to me that she would be wearing something that isn’t designed for maternity wear since she had a baby 30 seconds ago. Sylvie’s vibe is understated and chic, as you’d expect. Madeleine humbles herself and apologizes and basically begs for Sylvie to come back as president, offering a raise, the whole month of August off, the works. Sylvie is so obviously trolling Madeline with her feigned interest in visiting the Chicago headquarters I’m shocked no one seems to realize that’s what’s happening until she formally rejects the offer (so is Madeline smart or not?? Make up your mind, show!). But just as Sylvie says, smugly, that “one marquee client is enough,” Pierre takes to the stage to announce his label is being acquired by JVMA. So Sylvie no longer has a client! Okay, good stakes, I’m into it. Madeline, seemingly forgetting everything she has learned over the past several hours — that clients want Sylvie and her relationships; that she cannot run Savoir without Sylvie; that humbling herself is the only wise move here — is all too delighted to have the upper hand, and tells Sylvie that her offer just expired.
Luc and Julien storm out, angry that Sylvie did not even consult them before turning Madeline down. Fair point! Sylvie ends the night with a lonely cigarette on the street. (Where is the hot photographer and why don’t we get to see him console her? Rude.) The next morning, while wearing a gorgeous robe, Sylvie gets an invite from Nicolas de Leon to meet. He wants to hire her to work exclusively for Cadault, and she can bring her staff along with her. His offer, which he knows is a lifeline, will expire that evening, but hey, it’s the solstice, so she has an extra-long day to think about it.
Unlike Emily, Sylvie is capable of processing new information and learning from her mistakes, so this time she takes her job offer back to her deputies to deliberate. Honestly it sounds like a great deal but they’ve all got that good strike-out-on-our-own energy and don’t want to give up on that dream just yet. Sylvie is relieved and they all hug and dance together. Adorable.
Mindy is playing the solstice show because maybe there’s something in her contract with Netflix about getting to sing in every episode? She is singing in English for no reason at all. Emily is third-wheeling with Gabriel and Camille. Alfie arrives because Gabriel invited him. (Is it a keep-your-enemies closer situation because Gabriel still has the hots for Emily? Is it revenge because they want Emily to be uncomfortable? Does anyone in this friend-love square have a discernible emotion or motive??) Emily tries to tell Alfie how much she missed him and blah blah whatever and he’s like, Can we not do this right now? Which is fair!
Meanwhile Mindy’s boyfriend accepted the jazz-club gig on her behalf because, as I noted at the top of this recap and as Mindy should have known all along, she can clearly do both. I only shoehorn this plot point into the recap in such an awkward way to make a larger point about how awkwardly Mindy’s whole musical deal is shoehorned into the series. It’s an intentional, symbolic decision. You get it.
Emily responds to Alfie politely requesting she leave him alone while he enjoys the solstice party by making a musical grand gesture: Singing the Alfie song in front of him and their friends and all these strangers. In my notes I write, “The second-hand embarrassment here is so powerful I may die 100 times before this episode is over.” Alfie also seems to hate it at first (“What do I have to do to get you to stop singing?”) but, for some reason, her musical persistence charms him thoroughly and erases all of the other material issues behind their breakup so they kiss and I guess are back together again. I mean, sure, why not. Emily’s mistakes are not allowed to have consequences! Cute skirt, though.
Update on Youtube Emily in Paris Hookups & Breakups RECAP | E! News
Are you ready for “Emily in Paris” season 3? Before you binge the new season, watch this full recap of Emily’s messy menage a trois, steamy hookups and breakups from season 1 and 2.
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Emily in Paris Season 1 & 2: Hookups & Breakups RECAP | E! News