Emily In Paris
Emily’s curls are hair-sprayed to the hilt to watch Alfie and Gabriel play soccer. She and Camile are sitting in the stands, looking, as Alfie notes, like a “pack of WAGS.” Emily is unfamiliar with the term, which, really? At this point, I don’t expect Emily to know anything about Paris or the French language or even her job, but I did think she had some basic pop-culture stuff down. Apparently not! Anyway, this is an “awkward” moment (these actors have no chemistry so everything is the same amount of awkward–slash–not awkward no matter what they say or do) because Alfie has assumed Camille and Gabriel are together when they are “friends.” Again, why is Emily being so secretive? This will blow up (temporarily) in her face later, and I have no sympathy for her because the whole thing could have been averted with some timely and easy disclosure.
Based solely on that very mediocre interaction with Camille and Gabriel, Alfie says he now knows why Emily loves Paris so much, and it’s because … of those two?? Also, I’m sorry but I cannot stop thinking about how Emily’s hair fully looks like a child drew two thick squiggles on the sides of her head. I am distracted by this, but Alfie is not; instead, he is charmed by Emily’s desire to go on a real date with him somewhere other than Gabriel’s restaurant.
Speaking of people whose lives would be easier if they were just up-front with the people they had sex with: Mindy and Benoit are in a great place (having so much sex they basically exile Emily from her own apartment) until Etienne, the third bandmate, tells Mindy’s whole story to his Chinese journalist friend, which … buddy, that was the one thing she told you not to do! But the news that Mindy is the zipper princess turned fallen pop star turned busker is too much for Mindy to bear. I get that she is humiliated and worries her dad will be furious at her, but honestly, none of this seems like stuff she couldn’t have disclosed to Benoit. “I rebelled so my parents cut me off” is not such a deep dark secret, especially when one chapter of the saga has already been immortalized online. Later on, Etienne will attempt to apologize by telling Mindy that Benoit finished his song about her. Mindy listens to the audio, and it makes her cry. I’m sure these two crazy kids will work it out in the finale, and good for them. I would be more interested in a reunion between Mindy and her dad than Mindy and Benoit, but maybe I’m getting my hopes too high there.
But let’s get back to Emily, who gets a call from Madeline, who is on a plane. Apparently, Madeline doesn’t want to give her duchy a heads up before popping over to the Parisian office. Time for an executive check-in. Does Emily call Sylvie immediately? No, but Sylvie did tell her to stop calling on the weekends, so, fair. In the morning, though, it is still the thick of summer, and Emily is wearing knee-high leather boots. At first, I am confused to see Emily wearing something so out of character — mostly neutral tones, abdomen hidden from view — and then I realize that, of course, it is so Emily looks like she actually fits in among the French and it is now Madeline who is playing the role of obnoxious American out of water.
Madeline’s characterization is a little mystifying to me. On the one hand, we are to believe she is very good at her job, if more American in style than Sylvie would prefer — on top of the books, running a successful business, etc. But would a high-up executive really show up at this office wearing a skintight leopard-print minidress and red high heels, fully looking as if she walk-of-shamed right into work? And then she’s just loudly slurping her iced Starbucks in the meeting? Madeline is an adult! I feel like they are using her pregnancy to make her seem gross and messy (crumbs on her clothes, etc.), and I find that a little … rude, for lack of a better word.
During this meeting with Antoine, Madeline learns that Mason Laveaux has been a beloved client of Savoir’s for many years and will be having a big party thing tonight. But honestly, the rest of the meeting is boring and feels like filler. So, moving on! That evening, Madeline assures Emily that she is the boss and Sylvie is not. Madeline also reports that Maison Laveaux’s rates have remained stagnant despite their business having boomed. A totally astute and fair point! Emily bails to cheer up Mindy and leaves Madeline to get hazed by the only mime in Paris.
The next day, Sylvie strolls into the office in this great cherry-red suit to find Madeline sitting behind her desk on a giant exercise ball. (Where and when did she get one out of nowhere?!) Sylvie will not concede that Antoine should be paying more money for their work, insisting they honor the previous arrangement because not everything is about money. Considering she doesn’t like Antoine anymore, plus, they’re broken up, I’m surprised she isn’t down to just jack up his rates because screw him, no? Emily arrives — again, dressed slightly more French than usual in black-and-white (and bare shoulders but still, no crop top!) — and is disturbed by the backward office seating. Mommy and mommy are fighting! Emily is torn asunder!
That night is the big party for “Laboratoire Laveaux,” the thing they talked about at the meeting — personalized perfumes. Basically, this is an excuse for everyone to sensually smell each other and make extremely cloying, on-the-nose (LOL) observations. For instance, Camille describes Emily’s signature scent as one that “seems obvious at first, but then there’s something unexpected under the surface.” Like a newly pregnant Madeline, this makes me want to barf.
Madeline approaches Antoine and Catherine. Much like Emily in season one, Madeline makes the faux pas of talking business at parties; unlike Emily, she forges ahead in spite of being reprimanded, pointing out that this party is business. Do we think it’s savvy for Madeline to use this moment to tell Antoine he is “severely underpaying” Savoir? Seems like the sort of thing they ought to discuss in the office. Antoine, visibly uncomfortable, demurs and tells Madeline to set something up with his assistant. Then he leaves Catherine to spill the real details: Antoine was having an affair with Sylvie for three years, who in turn did not charge them the full rate. Catherine intimates that raising the rates once the affair ended would be illegal and suggests Madeline see how much Sylvie is paying “that photographer she’s sleeping with,” who not so coincidentally is working this party.
Madeline pulls Emily aside to say she is very freaked out. Should Sylvie even be working here??? Look, I get why Sylvie is technically and totally in the wrong here re: sex with clients, financial book-cooking — but if they take her away from this show, I will riot. Emily wants Madeline to talk to Sylvie first — sure, now Emily believes adults should confront each other early when they have something difficult to address — but Madeline says no, keep this a secret; if Sylvie finds out they’re looking into her, she’ll be able to cover it up. Time for Emily to investigate Sylvie on Madeline’s behalf! This is juicy and intriguing, and I wish we’d been introduced to this plotline like five episodes ago.
Elsewhere in loose lips sink relationships, Luc tells Alfie all about Emily and Gabriel’s “drama” because he just assumed they’d already talked about it (sloppy of Luc, but honestly, a fair assumption!). Alfie is stunned and not exactly pleased. I mean, they’ve only been on like three dates, so it’s hard to tell if he has a right to be that pissed off, but here we are again, trapped in an unnecessary problem because Emily is incapable of communicating.
As Emily is catching her breath from the whole “what if what Sylvie is doing isn’t just French but is actually wrong” thing, Alfie approaches to ask if she can be honest with him and tell him what happened with Gabriel. Fair question and asked in a pretty gentle way, all things considered. Emily confesses, sort of, “We had a moment, but it was nothing.” Alfie puts it all out there: He has feelings for Emily, and they are real. No games! No “we’re just foreigners passing through the city!” Does she feel the feelings too? Instead of answering his question, she kisses him, which seems to satisfy him, but I’m just going to go ahead and call that what it is: a red flag.