We go from several to zero orgies in this episode. Dangerous Liaisons? More like Not That Dangerous Chit Chats, amirite? Lotta chatting this week. And a make-out, but then it was interrupted for more chatting. Come on, people, it’s late 18th-century France! I know you don’t think every week can be some kind of party, but that’s because you haven’t seen Sanditon.
There are still some good mysteries happening, though. And some new ones have appeared! Who the fuck is the duke? Was he mentioned before? Did I miss this somehow? Dukes were one step lower than monarchs in France, so whoever this person is has a ridiculous amount of power. But let’s hold on because there are a lot of plot threads in this episode, and I will separate them into cogent narratives.
First up, Camille. Camille and Valmont are plotting to destroy the Montrachets, as Valmont now knows they threw her away despite Jacqueline’s husband sexually abusing her. She thinks her baby died, but we all knew that could never be the case. It’s fiction, and she didn’t see it die. They stole your baby, ma’am. Ol’ Jacqueline Baby Snatcher de Montrachet. But for now, Camille just thinks they ruined her life and have to pay. Camille still wants to do the “get a sexually incriminating letter from Jacqueline and show it to the queen” plan, which Valmont agrees to.
There’s a timer on this plan, though, because Camille’s opportunity to see the queen is at the opera, which is the day after tomorrow, and also the marquis has proposed, and she no longer wants to marry him because she is in love with Valmont again. Those kids. Always in love with or hating each other. It’s real Gone Girl vibes. Valmont tells her he’ll get the letter and meet her in the Luxembourg Gardens at 8 p.m. the next evening. Okay, this is reminiscent of the start of the series, and you just know he’s not going to show for some reason. PARALLELS.
Meanwhile, the marquis went from Lucius Malfoy–esque cold and sneering vibes to Buddy the Elf “is this enough flowers for you; I bought the florist” vibes. It’s so jarring! I know realizing you missed someone is a nice indicator of your feelings, but what the fuck, guy. Camille comes down from her room to see flowers covering a table, lining the stairs, and when she goes to see the marquis, he hands her more goddamn flowers. And a mechanical bird! This entire scene is hilarious, and I can’t explain why. His delivery of “You’re unhappy with the bird” is my favorite moment in the whole episode. He wants to get married right away, but she tells him he needs to really think about it. The marquis says her asking him to think about it makes him even MORE in love with her. Amazing. I love it.
Maybe this is a “you have to live the situation” thing, but is Camille turning down marrying the marquis to live in poverty with Valmont? I’m so confused. They didn’t have social services back then. They had alms. And alms are spotty! But Camille thinks she can solve this by getting Valmont his title back, which, okay, that’s at least a plan. Her plan is to blackmail the current Vicomte de Valmont by threatening to tell everyone he’s gay. Camille! Why do you hate gay people? She tells the Vicomte it’s not about his sexuality; it’s that he’s cheating on his fiancée. OKAY, CAMILLE. Omg. First Sevigny, and now this. The Vicomte tells his mother that Camille is blackmailing him into giving up his title, so now the vicomtesse is super pissed at Camille on top of how much she was already pissed at her.
Valmont, meanwhile, immediately relaunches himself at Jacqueline. Remember what just happened with them? How she wanted to bang at the masked orgy, and he was like, OUT, HARLOT? Okay, so when he shows up again, she’s not super thrilled to see him. Also, her husband knows she was seen at the ball with another man, and he tells Jacqueline she put everything in their lives at risk (mainly the “having money” things). After she rejects Valmont a couple of times, she agrees to chat with him in her carriage, where she slaps him for saying he regrets not banging her. She kicks him out of the carriage, but then he shows up at the house where she gives alms and is all, “I’m so sorry for thinking you were lonely when clearly your husband is amazing, and you have a great marriage,” only he manages to make it sound sincere. Valmont says some sexy stuff, but makes it weird by saying “I want to walk with you besides a river.” This is the 18th-century version of pulling out a boombox and playing Savage Garden.
Jacqueline is won over by Valmont’s recitation of her sad, lonely life, so she invites him over. They make out, but she sees the pig’s blood-covered dress that is draped casually over a sofa?? Why is it still there? Or if she wanted to keep it due to some Catholic guilt thing, why is it touching the upholstery? The pig dress makes Jacqueline stop, and she says she has to confess to Valmont before they go any further. She tells him that she knew about her husband raping Camille (wow), and then she stole Camille’s baby to keep as her own (wowwwwwwwwww!). The child’s name is Odette. She’s asleep in her bed. Odette will stay asleep the entire time she’s onscreen.
Valmont leaves after telling Jacqueline that he’ll make a plan for them to be together, but the plan is really to snatch back that baby. He has some confusing musical chairs plan that boils down to getting Odette into a carriage with Jacqueline’s maid and then reuniting her with Camille. The first part of this plan works fine. Odette (asleep, of course) is bundled into the carriage. The maid says she forgot Odette’s blanket, which is like, C’mon, Valmont. Get outta there. But he doesn’t, so he is pulled out of the carriage and beaten up by Montrachet’s men because the maid snitched. So Valmont misses his meet-up with Camille, who has now been seemingly abandoned by him twice. She returns to the marquis, but not before telling the chevalier her story for him to use as the plot for his opera, which isn’t finished despite it premiering the next evening. That’s cool for your performers.
The weird third plotline is about the Labyrinth. Gabriel (remember Gabriel?) has the ball of red thread that was found in two dead women’s mouths. He brings it to his boss at the Office of Moral Rectitude or whatever, and his boss, like all crooked police bosses, tells him to drop it. Gabriel knows this goes back to The Labyrinth; I don’t remember how. I think he puts something together about the myth of the minotaur being fed young women, and you use the ball of thread to find your way out of the labyrinth? The boss goes straight to the marquis and says, the jig is up, but I cleared out The Labyrinth before my employee went snooping there (which Gabriel does!). But now “the duke” is going to need another outlet. If anyone has picked up any previous reference to the duke, please @ me.
The boss tells the marquis they need someone untraceable, and that the marquis’s new fiancée, Camille, is pretty untraceable. So if I have this right, after the marquis and Camille get quick-married (which happens!), and then they have sex, she falls asleep, and the marquis winding the red thread around her means the duke is going to show up and do something presumably terrifying? I do love the weird red-thread mystery, but I am baffled by this last part.
Okay, my most outlandish theory, which I know couldn’t be true based on some previous events, is that Victoire is the duke. I was 80 percent sure when the marquis came into the room where Victoire was waiting. I was like, omg, Victoire has returned to the house despite leaving Camille because she was the secret duke all along, WHAT A TWIST. And maybe the marquis didn’t know what the duke looked like, which is why he was so rude to Victoire before.
But no! Instead he walks towards her and she’s terrified. Boooo. Oh, also, Victoire tried burning the Valmont blackmail letters in a public square, but the busty maid from Jericho fished them out of the fire. So. The letters are still in play.
What’s happening with the red thread? Who is the duke? Will Victoire return for good since she’s mentioned in the original book? And why does Camille hate gay people? Let’s hope these are all resolved in the finale. *sings “One Episode More” to the tune of “One Day More”*