Another day, another bright crop top for Emily, who is trying to assimilate by keeping her phone’s weather app set to Celsius. I support this! She’s living there, she should try to participate fully in the culture, which includes learning the metric system. We also get a little bit of verisimilitude in our typically fantastical show: Emily and Mindy’s place has no air-conditioning. How French! For all the Americans reading this, it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit over there. Emily has her hair in a ponytail, praise be. (Even in the ponytail, it still has those stiff curls I want to crawl through the screen to brush out, but it’s a lot less offensive in this style, in my opinion.)
As is her standard practice, Emily swings by the restaurant where she learns Gabriel changes the menu every day. “It’s not a diner, Emily,” he says snidely, which, wow, okay, I will not stand for the diner slander here! They agree to post the new menus each morning on Instagram, an obvious but also good idea. Great work, everyone.
At the office, Emily is horrified to learn that there is no air-conditioning there either. I, too, would be appalled by this. “It’s so unnatural. Artificial. American,” says Julien, and Luc agrees: They need to access nature and stop trying to control everything. Also at the office, we have the return of Madeline over Zoom, who is talking to Sylvie in a way Sylvie clearly hates. I didn’t realize Madeline was as annoying as Emily, but knowing what we do — that Madeline adores and happily promoted Emily as well as sent along those “ten commandments” of the workplace back in season one — this actually makes a lot of sense. Character consistency! Huzzah! Madeline keeps saying it was always her dream to work in Paris (and I repeat, there is no reason for her not to be here!), but Sylvie seems relieved to only have one annoying American on her hands. Madeline also has a new client to announce: Peloton. I mean, not literally Peloton (it’s “Pelotech”), but obviously it’s Peloton.
Meanwhile, Emily is getting quite happy about her texts from Alfie, who wants to grab a drink with her before class. He refuses to text her in French, and I just feel like his non-efforts to learn the basics are really going to come back to bite him in the ass, which in fact they do: He and Emily drunkenly show up late to class, where their grades are terrible, and Alfie cannot comprehend or spell anything his teacher asks him to. (I love that she just roasts him in front of everyone.) It’s also funny that after dragging Emily for caring too much about work, it’s Alfie who insists they go to class even though they’re sloshed because he “needs the attendance check.” A missed opportunity to tease him on this matter, but okay!
So while Alfie is being humiliated, Emily swoops in to cover for him, in French, and her teacher compliments her after class for finally “not overthinking it” and just speaking in the moment. Probably being a little bit drunk is the key here, and good on Emily and Alfie for figuring that out. They linger for a moment before landing at the obvious next step: retreating to Alfie’s air-conditioned apartment.
Here I will say that I am down to recant my initial annoyance at Alfie being a banker because it does appear to have paid off, characterwise: He’s bored by his boring life, living in some dull building in a lame part of town — Emily characterizes it as “Pittsburgh” — and hasn’t even bothered to replace the stock photo in his picture frame. Again, do I buy that Alfie thinks all of Paris is boring? Given that he grew up in London and has surely visited a bunch of times and must know that his current setup is not representative of the whole city? No, but let’s not dwell; Alfie and Emily actually have chemistry, thank the lord. I love that he struggles with removing her super-complicated top and then just up and rips it off. Even her bra is pink, LOL.
Of course, she sleeps there (if only for the AC that would absolutely be worth it), but then in a twist that surprises me, she tries to sneak out in the morning. Girl, why? You like him! He likes you! Stay and snuggle, have some morning sex, make plans for your next date! But no, Emily steals a getaway jacket — a very conspicuous choice considering the weather, which I only say because the jacket is supposed to be a plot point-slash-twist, but it’s hardly twisty when the jacket calls so much attention to itself — and slips away. On her morning stumble home, she runs into Gabriel, naturally, and instead of just telling him she was out with another guy (even if she still likes him, she could make him jealous! And isn’t she trying to not like him anymore? So either way, why keep this a secret?), she pretends she is wearing an “oversize power suit.”
Back at the office, the gang is meeting with Pelotech. The goal of this American client is to shift the French mentality on exercise. Ew, why? Leave them alone. Let them bike outdoors! America should learn from their pro-cycling, anti-automobile ways, not drag them down to our level! I love that Sylvie pretends to speak no English. She is the smartest of them all. Emily pretends that what Sylvie said was that they should put these Pelotech bikes along the Seine as a promotion. I am enjoying the backward situation here, where Emily gets to be an expert on something and all her French comrades are a little bit lost. The Sylvie–Madeline tension is especially intriguing to me, with Sylvie being brought to heel by her American boss who is scandalized to hear Sylvie refer to the office that is now owned by Madeline’s company as “my office.” Bring on the power struggle! (Also I like that Sylvie quietly brought the Pelotech home to her fabulous apartment so she could test out the wares in private.)
Emily can’t believe Alfie hasn’t texted her back. In my notes, I write, “Emily, you sprinted out of his place less than 12 hours ago. Maybe give it a minute.” I know Emily was recently in a committed monogamous relationship with human plot device the Chicago boyfriend, but I can’t believe she is so clueless as to think the best course forward here is to send him 50 texts and leave him a voicemail. I laughed out loud when Julien told Emily she sounded desperate and his response to her attempting to explain was, “Spare me the details.” But then Emily learns that Alfie is waiting for her at the restaurant — where he is already bonding with Gabriel over a soccer game. Cute! It is here Emily learns that Alfie left his phone in the pocket of the jacket she stole, which means he hasn’t seen her texts. (But he has an iPhone, because her messages were blue … so does he not also have a MacBook? No iMessage on his computer? Hmmm.)
I write, “Emily, invite him up to your cute apartment and have sex again, you dumb-dumb,” but instead she leaves Alfie with Gabriel. It is cute later when she tells Alfie she will need to get into his phone in order to delete all the texts she sent. I appreciate her vulnerability and light transparency. When she gets back, Gabriel tells Emily that now he sees why she can’t be with him: It’s because Emily is mature enough to realize that if Gabriel could treat Camille so carelessly, he would obviously do the same to her, and she’s bet– oh, no, never mind, Gabriel just assumes it’s because Emily is into another man. Classic Gabriel. Emily chooses not to correct him.
Over in Mindyland, the hot guitarist with the Chalamet hair has started writing his own music again — he lost his confidence because of a mean teacher, but it’s all back thanks to Mindy! Is it distracting to me that he is wearing jeans (!) and leather boots (!!) in the middle of this heat wave. Like, obviously he’d be in shorts and at least canvas sneakers, if not sandals, but okay. Anyway, they make out in spite of their falafel breath and he gets her a (rose-gold, LOL) fan for the apartment, extremely thoughtful of him. Later, when the third bandmate IDs Mindy as the daughter of the zipper king of China, she begs him to keep it quiet, lest it make things strained with her new guy. How long before he finds out and is more hurt by her secrecy than weirded out by her circumstances? One more episode, probably.