It’s time to open Chez Lavaux — which I guess is so named because Gabriel lost the tug-of-war over that decision? Since Maison Lavaux is the name of Antoine’s company? Feels like sort of a big plot point or a bit of foreshadowing to skip over, but I barely noticed this until I Googled it post-viewing. Anyway, Emily is doing her part by posting a photo of Gabriel to the restaurant’s new Instagram with the caption “Le Chef hot.” LE. CHEF. HOT. I assume it’s a reference to the kitchen appliance, but still, I truly feel trolled by the show on this matter. Emily’s only contribution to her workplace is social media, yet every post idea she has is more pathetic than the last.
Gabriel knocks on Emily’s door to complain that her Instagram work has left him “propositioned by half the women in Paris.” Are we to believe Gabriel takes himself so seriously he does not like that women find him attractive? Obviously, he knows his restaurant needs good press! This whole scene is just sloppy plot exposition through dialogue, one of my real TV pet peeves — Emily and Gabriel reviewing the PR game plan, which is something they both already know and would never need to rehash like this. Feels like a missed opportunity not to have Gabriel profiled by a magazine writer who might pointedly ask after his relationship status, non? Instead, we just get more Instatrash from Emily.
Although it has been only a week since their kitchen makeout session, Emily and Gabriel have no sexual tension, or even light flirty vibes, during this doorway confab. WHY? Are their gentle brains shaken clean like Etch A Sketches between episodes?
At the office, we learn that Savoir’s new client is Vespa. Hell yes! Live that Mary-Kate and Ashley fantasy! The plan is to market the Vespa as “the next high-end accessory for women.” Emily suggests that the Vespa is “a purse you can ride.” They literally PAID HER TO GO TO PARIS FOR THIS. Emily flips through photos from the bracelet boat party and yes! The photographer was totally into Sylvie! She clocks it and swings by Sylvie’s office wearing yet another crop top and what looks like a long cheerleader skirt. (She will spend much of the episode in these car-wash pleats … is it because she is the cheerleader of Sylvie’s love life and Gabriel’s restaurant opening?! Is there symbolism, or am I just craving meaning?) Yet again, Emily’s hair looks like plastic. Emily aims for gossip, but of course Sylvie is too savvy to let this child in on the details of her personal life. As soon as Emily leaves, Sylvie secures a date with Erik, the dashing young photographer.
Julien attends some photo shoot for Pierre, and I am forced to remind everyone that we have no clue what Pierre’s sartorial thing even is. And though he is a designer (and recurring character), the show has given us no real grasp of what makes for a “Pierre Cadault” dress. So really, this shoot could be of anything. Gor a show this obsessed with fashion, it’s a bizarre thing not to care about, but the clothes in this scene make no impression at all. The important thing is the photographer is the legendary Ellen von Unwerth. She has a cute assistant who hate-flirts with Julien, who in turn makes a play for von Unwerth to shoot this Vespa campaign since the budget will be substantial.
In her French class, Emily does a presentation about Alfie. She sounds like a third-grader. When it’s Alfie’s turn, he drags her: “Emily wears silly clothes. Emily doesn’t like to have fun.” Again, I think it’s hilarious and great that this season is introducing new characters who think Emily is annoying as hell (or having old characters come to this realization, à la Camille). But why does Alfie think Emily is no fun when she is the one who keeps trying to socialize with him, and he is the one treating Paris like a shitty waiting room for the rest of his life? Were they not just at this hot boat party together, all because of her? Sure, it was a work event, but as someone who has attended many a party/awards show/whatever for work — like, sure, it’s not as fun as just going to a party for kicks, but it’s better than working late in some sad cubicle. Emily oh so convincingly swears she is fun, but when she refuses to get on a little scooter with Alfie, he zooms away assured that his assessment is correct.
Erik and Sylvie get drinks, and she teases him about his interest in “vintage photography,” a.k.a. dating women older than Emily Cooper. The next day, Sylvie breaks the “no food at work” rule because she had a VERY good night. Amazing. Sylvie is all I want to be in this world. Meanwhile, Emily is wearing a jacket the neon green of a tennis ball with lavender boots and bright-purple fingerless leather biker gloves. How many pairs of those gloves can this woman possibly own?? This is like when Aria on Pretty Little Liars had the same motorcycle jacket in five different colors. Emily learns the guest list for the restaurant’s opening night is three times as long as it should be, but Sylvie is unconcerned and will be skipping the whole affair to have hot sex with her handsome photographer. See above re: Sylvie, all I want to be.
Over at the restaurant, Camille has brought Gabriel a “peace offering”: Champagne from her family that’s actually good enough to drink. I keep forgetting she is still trying to get back together with this schmuck — under the guidance of her parents, no less! Even with adult supervision, we still have the kids on this show doing the dumbest shit, I swear. They have a whole “I care about you no matter what” moment, which would be more convincing, again, if anyone on this show had sexual or romantic chemistry (besides Sylvie and everyone she talks to). Also, as long as no one else is there, shouldn’t they be speaking French?
Time for opening night, baby! Emily’s got nice lipstick on, and I appreciate her wearing her hair up. I am pleased to finally be able to report that Emily is doing part of her job well: She knows who everybody is and why they matter to the restaurant’s big debut. She gets a call from Alfie, who is at some douchey pub drinking a beer because of course he is. He apologizes for being so harsh earlier and asks her to join him, with no notice, in this mediocre setting. Instead of saying something cool about why she can’t hang out (“I’m at this really exclusive restaurant opening, and I’d tell you to come but it’s VIP only, plus you were a dick to me earlier”), she says she’s at a “work event.” EMILY! You work in PR! Learn to spin, for the love of God.
Mindy arrives in a bustier made of rhinestones. Antoine’s reaction to her, which is correct, is “How long have you been keeping this beautiful woman from me?” Mindy and Antoine … hmmm … what does everybody think about that? Mindy says she can’t hook up with Benoit because it will “ruin the band dynamics.” I say: Mindy, go full Fleetwood Mac! LIVE YOUR LIFE. They have a duet later that would probably seem more romantic or compelling if we had seen these two have more than one conversation about anything of substance. Tonally, it’s sort of an odd fit for the moment. But let’s get back to the opening.
The night gets out of control because Antoine and Gabriel apparently did not talk, at all, about what their vision was for this evening or the establishment’s future — seems like a pretty big thing not to discuss! But as we already know, Gabriel is a terrible communicator. Antoine wants the charming restaurant he invested in because he loved the food to be a very basic nightclub for some reason. Camille continues to worm her way back into Gabriel’s good graces (which she should not even have to do!! HE is the one who fucked up!!!) by pouring complimentary Champagne for everyone stuck waiting for a table. The bartender from last time got hired; her curls still look phenomenal. But it’s so crowded and the music is so loud that the most important reviewer bails, telling Gabriel that “no dish is worth this chaos.” Gabriel storms out. Antoine threatens to replace him. Drama! Sort of! I don’t really feel all that invested in the restaurant, and we’ve barely seen Antoine all season so it’s hard to care about any of this, I think. Although perhaps you are all more caught up in the prospects of Chez Lavaux than I am.
Camille talks Gabriel down with very double entendre–y lines like “Don’t throw away this thing that means so much just because it’s hard right now.” Emily is tasked with turning around Antoine, who is initially unrepentant but ultimately warms to Emily’s compromise solution wherein the restaurant turns into a nightclub at 11, after dinner service. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure running a nightclub is a completely different business from running a restaurant? Won’t they need a DJ, for starters? But whatever, the boys make up.
On her date, Sylvie realizes her hot young photographer has once taken a great photo of a man on a motorcycle. She just up and offers him the Vespa job. I was hoping her pick would rule the day since she’s the boss, but alas, word about von Unwerth’s hire has already gotten back to the Vespa people, who are thrilled. The good thing about this, though, is Erik wants to keep seeing Sylvie because it’s not as if he was just using her for this job opportunity he didn’t even know about until one day ago. Congratulations to Erik and Sylvie! I hope you keep having nights that make Sylvie bring pain au chocolat into the office in the morning.
Reviews of Chez Lavaux are also good somehow?? I guess the whole blowup about people waiting forever for their tables and it being too noisy to talk had absolutely no effect on media coverage of the restaurant. Emily celebrates this victory by stealing the Vespa to ride to Alfie’s bank just to prove she is FUN. All shows set in Europe should have at least one (1) fantasy Vespa sequence, and I’m happy Emily got hers.