Helter Skelter 2: Makin’ Cous-Cous

[Contains three missing shotgun shells and SPOILERS!!!]

I hadn’t intended to watch the second series of Spiral (aka Engrenages) (2008) so soon after the first, but we’re having a bit of a heatwave here in the UK, and this is one of the few shows I can still enjoy with my noisy fan whirring away, and not have to worry about hearing all the dialogue, because I can’t understand it anyway!

Audrey Fleurot as ‘Joséphine Karlsson’ and Caroline Proust as ‘Laure Berthaud’ in “Spiral” (S2)It’s a little jarring watching the two series in such close succession, because they were produced three years apart, and while the main characters are all still working the same jobs, their personalities seemed to have shifted a little during the hiatus. On the plus-side the directors had ditched all the crash-zooms and camera-swoops that I was whining about in my last post… the BBC left in a lot more subtitle-swearing this time around… and we got several epic face-offs between beleaguered Police Captain ‘Laure Berthaud’ (Caroline Proust) and vindictive advocate ‘Joséphine Karlsson’ (Audrey Fleurot). Of course, I knew that Berthaud wasn’t in any real danger of losing her job, because she’s the closest thing this show has to a heroine (and I’d already seen series four), but it was still a very involving storyline… and her giddy joy over being reinstated was absolutely adorable, even if she did have to blackmail her way out of the doghouse, via Karlsson’s apartment. A soppy, naive part of me wanted to see these two awesome women settle their differences and team up to fight crime together… while a pervier part of me just wanted to see them make-out with each other (there were a couple scenes where they’re stood dangerously close to each other and… well, there was definitely a lot of tension between them, even if it wasn’t intended to be erotic!).

Although Berthaud was on a back-foot for most of the series, I think her lowest moment was the scene where a fearful woman asked to be safeguarded after informing on a dangerous thug, and the Captain sadly replied “That’s the Americans… we don’t have witness protection”. The station they work out of is so small and insecure, it’s a wonder they manage to make any convictions at all… with line-up suspects opening doors to see who’s accusing them, or over-hearing the names of informants… and a supposedly “undercover” agent hanging around the office, drinking/laughing/flirting with the other coppers when he’s not on the job! But still, they managed to round up all of the Bad Guys this time around… the ones that weren’t taken out by their own so-called allies, that is.

Audrey Fleurot as ‘Joséphine Karlsson’ in “Spiral” (S2)Meanwhile, Karlsson had some fantastic scenes and schemes brewing, and remains one of the most unique and fascinating anti-heroines on TV (outside of Game of Thrones). I’d love to read her tell-all memoirs someday… just to find out what the hell she was thinking while all of this was going down! She seems to have locked onto the belief that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, despite all evidence to the contrary… her vision is so clouded by blind hatred for the police that she seems genuinely surprised and offended when the crooks she’s representing turn out to be ungrateful, abusive a-holes, rather than loveable rogues. Technically she “loses” this series, but I was amused to note that all of the men who mistreated her came to extremely violent ends anyway. Criminals should really think twice before pulling a knife on her in future, because she seems to have secret karmic-revenge powers! Eep!

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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