Emily’s first day at Sylvie’s agency gets off to a rough start. First of all, Emily is literally wearing a bra instead of a shirt … to work?? No. Her lipstick looks great, though. Second of all, she arrives to find her co-workers doing a photo shoot for a press packet in which she cannot be included because, as Sylvie reports, she needs to have her work visa approved. YES. What did I tell you? As some of you surely know from efforts to score a work visa yourselves, Sylvie must make the case that Emily is better at her job than any French person would be. This, we ALL know, is the greatest joke of all. Imagine if there were an oral-interview requirement. Until this goes through, Emily will make a low base salary and have to earn the rest on commissions. Finally! Stakes! Let’s see our girl HUSTLE. Still no word on the apartment situation, but maybe that’s coming up soon? Or that part of the fantasy will remain intact through all of this tumult?
Sylvie’s latest goal is to get on “La Liste,” which will raise the company’s profile and legitimize Sylvie as its leader. The column is written by Janine Dubois, who is, reportedly, a bitch. Emily opens her Instagram to confirm a hunch: Janine follows her! I write in my notes, “It’s gotta be a hate-follow, no?”
Alfie got a new place, and Emily is forcing him to throw a housewarming. He makes some little snarky comment to the effect of “Will you even be there?,” but it is delivered with absolutely no oomph, so we have no idea if he is still carrying the pain of her prior neglect (which would be interesting!) or if he’s so over it that it’s safe to joke about (unlikely given the timeline but probable given this show’s attitude regarding Emily’s bad actions resulting in equal and opposite reactions from others).
Mindy joins their huddle, and Nicolas of JVMA fame approaches because … he and Mindy know each other!! I CHEERED at this development — finally Mindy and the main plot are actually connecting. Also, their backstory — boarding school in Switzerland where Mindy dealt drugs out of her room and Nicolas was a heartthrob — sounds like it would make for a great TV show. (Possibly better than the one we are currently watching …) They even have sparks! Chemistry, as I live and breathe! I’m so relieved by this development that I will not linger on Mindy’s enormous glitter-trimmed hat. (Also, why doesn’t Emily want to hear Mindy’s stories about selling illicit drugs? Emily’s commitment to being boring is one of the most infuriating things about her. If you’re not gonna be protagonist material, get out of the way and let this show be about someone I can actually get behind! Sylvie is right there!)
The next day, Emily — wearing pants that look like they are made of garbage-bag tarp along with a shiny bomber jacket — secures a lunch date with Janine. Because there is only one restaurant in Paris, they eat at Gabriel’s. (Actually this is because Emily thinks it would be good to give Gabriel the PR boost, and she’s not wrong. Is she — gasp — good at her job today??) Given that Janine and her list are so important, I’m surprised so little basic intel about her has made its way to the formerly-known-as-Savoir offices, but everyone is shocked to discover that Janine isn’t French. She’s Australian! Well, that explains her unironic interest in Emily. Sylvie (in a great jacket — Art Deco–style metallic print, impeccable fit) picks up on Janine’s not-quite-right French accent right away. But before she even shows up, Emily and Janine are getting along famously. Though Sylvie is worried that Emily’s Outback Steakhouse anecdotes will derail lunch, I fear that Emily will accidentally get herself on the list and alienate Sylvie in the process, and (spoiler) I am right.
Alfie’s party is … a pool party? I don’t see a pool, but there’s this weird mix of outfits and I can’t tell if Emily’s is part swimsuit beneath its layers of fringe. As usual, Emily ruins every social interaction by making it about work. (Didn’t she learn not to talk work at parties way back in season one?) She is also the most oblivious person on the planet, not realizing that Nicolas, who does not try at all to hide this, is interested only in Mindy. Mindy’s outfit is 100 percent green sequins. I do like her ponytail. Nicolas finds her and they bond. Mindy gets very vulnerable very quickly while talking about her parents cutting her out. At exactly this moment, Benoit bursts in to kill their vibe with a very territory-staking kiss. He is SEETHING and Mindy insists nothing is going on. But meanwhile, Nicolas is inviting Emily to a JVMA event tomorrow just to see Mindy again.
Sofia the hot artist is also here, taking a smoke break with Camille on the roof and helping us hit our episode quota of “Paris is so magical” and “I can’t get over how beautiful it is,” etc. I assume they are contractually obligated to do this every half-hour. I know I say this a lot, but despite the fact that Sofia has been relentlessly hitting on Camille, these two have absolutely no chemistry. Just me? Does Sofia know Camille has a boyfriend? This is quite the dicey place to cheat on him, but Camille goes for the kiss anyway. And, of course, Emily sticks her head out the rooftop door just in time to catch this kiss and speed away as if she never saw a thing.
The JVMA party is a sunblock launch for which Nicolas secured Mindy and Emily some VIP lounge chairs. Emily reports the makeout to Mindy by calling it an “affair,” and Mindy, correctly, says, “An affair? You saw two girls kissing at a party. You need to get out more,” followed by some excellent advice: Stay out of it! Will Emily heed Mindy’s wise counsel? Ugh, probably not. But for now, let’s watch Emily make everything about work, again: The sunscreen is called Le Soleil, and Emily thinks the song Benoit wrote for Mindy, “Mon Soleil” (for which there is somehow already a remix?), would be perfect for a commercial.
Nicolas looks fantastic. (Rude of him to be this hot but wear a shirt to a pool party; that said, the shirt looks A-plus-plus.) Although Mindy begs Emily not to “do something weird,” Emily has already commandeered the aux and put the song over the speakers. I’ll say two things: Emily’s little doll clothes are way too much for me — and between this set and the bra she wore to work, she’s on quite the gingham kick — but it is a solid, in-character choice, and her sunglasses are adorable. And her stunt actually works: Nicolas likes the song. Or he likes Mindy so much he isn’t even thinking clearly about the song. Either seems equally plausible to me. Mindy can’t believe Emily is so good at her job, and neither can I!
For some reason, Mindy is completely unprepared for how badly this will go over with Benoit, especially given the Nicolas connection. Benoit’s artistic take is that she must think his love song was MEANINGLESS if she would turn him into some shill for sunscreen. We can talk about art versus commerce another time, but the more pressing matter is that he is obviously too jealous and insecure to be boyfriend material.
Nicolas is surprisingly chill about Emily having to take back the song — maybe he never really liked it? — and says he’ll give her a crack at the sunscreen account anyway. Someone’s about to earn her first commission! But before she can celebrate, she sees a sight that chills both of us to the bone: Emily’s face, in a magenta bucket hat (the color of the year, allegedly), on the cover of “La Liste.” She’s No. 1. Gabriel is No. 8. Sylvie is nowhere in sight.
So Emily is summoned to Sylvie’s office for a confab about this insubordination-slash-failure. Emily is wearing an orange turtleneck with shiny black discs all over it (looks awful) with a gold coat (it’s summer??), and Sylvie is also wearing a lot of orange with a massive gold belt, and I bring this up because given styling-as-storytelling rules, this means these two are aligned, even though when this scene starts, we’re supposed to believe Emily is totally screwed and Sylvie is furious with her. So it’s sort of a sartorial spoiler. Emily reports that she scored a new luxury client and got that foot in the door at JVMA, and Sylvie concedes that Emily’s “La Liste” coup will “save me the torture of filling out your visa.” She even says “good work” before throwing Emily out of her office.
That evening, Camille rolls into Gabriel’s restaurant along with Sofia. (Camille’s jacket is also covered in black dots, so what does this mean about her relationship with Emily? Coordinated after all?) Emily keeps her mouth shut, miraculously.
Mindy gets a delivery of flowers before her show, but they are not from Benoit, who is performing with her tonight (“You’re WELCOME, Benoit” — a thing Mindy could’ve said but did not). They are from Nicolas, so of course Benoit is livid. They have a fight about how Benoit is all “I’ll never understand your life because you come from money” and Mindy’s take is “I can’t change my past,” and this whole thing would carry a lot more weight if we had ever seen this be a point of conflict between them before. When Mindy said, “This again?,” I thought … Again? Wasn’t the issue before that she was keeping her past a secret, not that her past involved wealth? Anyway, they perform “Shallow” but in French?! WHEN WILL THESE PERFORMANCES MAKE SENSE? PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP. Benoit storms offstage when they’re done with their (excessively long, completely unnecessary) performance — without even bowing, because he is a child. You know who is not a child? Nicolas, whose note asks, “If I can’t buy the song, can I at least buy you dinner?” Very smooth.
And to end on a note of victory: Janine reaches out to Sylvie to let her know that “La Liste” is for newcomers (wouldn’t Sylvie already know this?) but to check out the “Style” section, where Sylvie is featured, as she should be.