Where Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) leads, chaos is sure to follow. Followed by good marketing ideas in close proximity.
Emily in Paris is a fantastic adventure through the scenic streets of Paris, digging further into the world of designer fashion while building on the fabulous life that the protagonist got us accustomed to in the first two seasons on Netflix.
I’d even go on a limb and say that this season is the best one yet because it’s the boldest—with the most on the line…and the most love triangles. It simply feels larger than life, in the best ways possible.
That’s right, Paris, the City of Love, doesn’t just pose a conundrum for Emily’s romantic life, as several other characters also find themselves torn between romantic interests.
Emily’s love life and her personal life begin to blend even further, becoming almost indistinguishable from each other. It’s clear that she’s built a life for herself in Paris, one she refuses to give up when Madeline (Kate Walsh) informs her that she booked her a trip back to Chicago.
Emily in Paris Season 3 almost feels like it’s split up into two parts—before Madeline and after Madeline, though, the good news is that the series knew exactly when it was time to say goodbye to Walsh’s insufferable character. One could say she overstayed her welcome long ago, but if she was necessary to Emily’s development, then this was the right moment to send her packing.
While I imagine that some Americans come off the way she does in European countries, I truly hope that she isn’t representative of all of us. I thought that maybe once she had her baby, Madeline would become a bit more tolerable, but that, unfortunately, wasn’t the case. If you think Emily brings chaos wherever she goes, Madeline destroyed everything she touched, including Savoir. She—and her ego—played a huge role in Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and co.’s decision to exit the marketing agency and start their own, and when she couldn’t get it together, land any new clients, or replace Sylvie as president, Savoir realized that there was no reason to continue keeping the Paris chapter afloat, which made her presence no longer necessary.
There were contrasting power dynamics at play with Madeline and Sylvie, but what made Emily so successful in Paris is that she stepped back and observed—she tried to learn the language, she tried to learn the way, and she played the game while putting her own spin on it. Madeline did not approach it that way, and thus, she clashed with Sylvie from the very beginning. The wasn’t room for both of them in that charming office space, so it was natural that one of them had to exit. Emily knew from the get-go that her place was no longer with Madeline but rather with Sylvie, and I wish she spoke up sooner, though, that would’ve eliminated the necessary conflict that the first half of the series hinged on. It was also necessary for Emily to figure out what she wanted out of her life in Paris—this time, deciding she wanted to make it a permanent living situation.
Initially, Emily tried to juggle both companies as she felt a loyalty to both women, though it eventually bit her in the behind when she was found out and Sylvie fired her. Madeline had no one, so she forgave Emily, which was yet another telling sign as to why she shouldn’t have stuck around because of some misplaced sense of loyalty. People come into our lives for a reason, and it was evident that while Madeline was her past, as was Chicago, while Sylvie—and Paris—were her future. I’m glad that Emily eventually admitted that, taking the leap for herself.
I’ve often wondered why Emily’s Chicago friends and family don’t reach out more. It was nice to see the series acknowledge that part of her life with a call from Doug, though it only served as a reminder of what was already evident—aside from her job, she’s built an actual life here for herself. It’s a life that’s beautiful and messy and that she likely couldn’t have even imagined when she first accepted the opportunity
Emily is the walking embodiment of the phrase when life gives you lemons. By walking out on Madeline, she was running toward the future she wanted, but without a job, she didn’t have a safety net, which made it an even bolder move. Emily is resourceful, however, so it didn’t take long until she got herself noticed and she was only jobless for a few days before Sylvie re-hired her for her new agency. She may not always like the girl, but Emily if there’s one thing that rings true, it’s that Emily is damn good at her job, which in turn, means success for Sylvie. I do think, on some level, Sylvie also appreciates the big risks that Emily takes, and in her own way, recognizes a bit of herself in the girl. Sylvie also took a big risk by going out on her own and leaving Savoir behind, and I love that the series acknowledged the struggles that came with it.
Emily is Sylvie’s little protege, whether she wants to admit it or not, and she oftentimes does a better job than the woman in charge herself. By the end of the season, it’s evident that Emily is one of the main reasons her agency is doing so well, even if she is stepping on some toes and making enemies out of colleagues who were once friends. The Julian (Samuel Arnold) drama, sadly, feels too forced. Sylvie could’ve easily mitigated it by having Julian run his pitches by Emily—if she had any ideas to bounce off of his original ideas, she could present them to him in the moment rather than in front of the client. It would eliminate any tension and encourage collaborative work.
Though I’m sure with Julian’s email confirming that he’s open to a new opportunity, he’s likely looking into a job with JVMA, the agency owned by the most powerful man in fashion, Nicola’s father, who Sylvie just so happened to make an enemy out of when she blindsided him with Pierre Cadault (Jean-Christophe Bouvet). There’s no denying that JVMA is dirty when it comes to business, and Sylvie was simply pulling a page out of Emily’s book by taking the big swings—jumping first and asking for forgiveness later. If you don’t take the risks, how can you ever learn to fly? It was necessary to preserve her own integrity and to deliver the service that one of her most trusted clients expects from her, but it will surely come at a price.
While I do think Sylvie could handle the blowback on her professional life, it’s about to interfere in her personal life as her husband, Laurent G, is hoping that Nicola’s father, will invest in his exclusive party club that he’s hoping to open in Paris so that he can be closer to Sylvie. It’s definitely going to cause some friction in their newly-revived relationship. While the duo has always been married, they just recently rekindled the spark—and we’ve never seen Sylvie happier. It’s unfortunate that it came at Erik’s expense, who would’ve done anything for her but constantly felt as though his relationship was crowded with all her past lovers. In a way, Erik’s decision pushed Sylvie to pursue what she always wanted but was too afraid to admit.
The second act, as I mentioned, came when Emily began working alongside Sylvie, Luc, and Jean at Agence Grateau, but it also focused much more heavily on the relationship drama, which, as I also mentioned previously, goes hand-in-hand with her work life this season.
For much of the season, Emily is in a committed relationship with Alfie (Lucien Laviscount), which is the right choice. She may have screwed up with him initially, but once she makes the grand gesture and earns his forgiveness and a second chance, it’s almost like they haven’t skipped a beat. I was rooting for Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) in the first two seasons, but Alfie and Emily just make sense. He fits into her world, their chemistry is palpable and natural, and their personalities complement each other well. Plus, his bromance with Gabriel is one of the highlights of the season, while Emily proves on several occasions that she and Gabriel can make really great friends. They can exist in each other’s orbit without leaning on their romantic feelings, which is refreshing. There’s definitely an underlining of will they or won’t they at times, including when they take Paris by storm after movie night while their significant other’s out of town and when Gabriel gets drunk and professes his love to her, however, they never cross the line. It’s a nice, naturally-evolving phase of their relationship.
Unfortunately, as the season progresses, and Gabriel informs Emily that he’s going to propose to Camille (Camille Razat), it seems as though her longing for the chef intensifies. And there are a lot of reasons that play a role in her slight change of heart, including Gabriel’s drunken romantic confession, the realization that she may lose him to Camille forever (and his marriage confession which seems to come out of thin air), and the fact that she’s one of the only people who know about Cami’s affair with Sofia, the artist from Greece.
It’s an awkward position for Emily to be in considering how close she is to Gabriel. It’s almost as though she owes him the truth, but it’s not her truth to tell. Mindy tells her to stay out of it, but when marriage is thrown into the equation, she tells Emily to speak up. However, Emily sits by idly because the only thing that has ever mattered to her is to see Gabriel happy. His happiness means everything to her, which I guess is a sign of true love. She does confront Cami before the couple decides to tie the knot during the engagement party, and when Cami sees Gabriel and Emily celebrating in private (which involves his recently-revamped restaurant), she knows in her heart that she can’t go through with the wedding.
At the end of the day, Gabriel’s heart was only in the right place because he couldn’t have Emily. Emily was a good sport, keeping her promise that she wouldn’t date him following the pact she made with Cami, which Cami (who remained manipulative throughout the season) immediately broke. Gabriel was under the impression that she didn’t want to be with him, so in a way, he settled for Cami. We can’t know if he would’ve picked Cami over Emily because he was never given the choice.
And if you look back on the season, they weren’t genuinely happy with each other—it was a false sense of happiness hinging on what they thought was right. If Cami was happy with him, she wouldn’t have sought out Sofia, even if she was just acting on the passion between two people. The French look at romance a bit differently, but at the end of the day, it boils down to Cami not being the “right” person for Gabriel and looking for intimacy and affection elsewhere. Meanwhile, Gabriel made plenty of time to hang out with Emily, but he was never available to be there for Cami, which, again, is telling.
If the series were to have just ended with Emily and Gabriel staring down each other after Alfie split—my heart broke when he told Emily that he won’t be second best and to “go get her man”— I would’ve been content with the cliffhanger, but the series dropped another bombshell on us after all of it: Cami’s pregnancy.
And once we found that out, Gabriel’s actions about planning for his future, with the restaurant and the proposal, began to make a lot more sense.
The unfortunate reality is that a baby won’t make Gabriel and Cami happy, nor it will them feel whole and complete. They weren’t on the same page for quite some time, and though it’s easy to be in denial now when there’s this exciting new development, it’s not going to last. Parenthood is hard, and it will only make them resent each other.
There’s also no confirmation that it is Gabriel’s baby, and while it’s implied, we’ve seen her have an affair with Sofia, so we can’t rule out the possibility that it isn’t.
It’s also a huge mess for Emily no matter how you splice it. If she pursues things with Gabriel, she becomes a stepmom, and I don’t know if she’s ready for that, but if she doesn’t, she’s denying herself the love she’s always wanted ever since she got to Paris.
I have no idea how they will move forward, but at the very least, I know they’ll be there to support each other as they’ve built a solid foundation as friends.
Maybe it will convince Emily that through everything, she’s stopped having feelings for Gabriel and that Alfie is the one.
He’s the one I’m hurting for the most because he didn’t deserve any of it. He was so vulnerable with Emily about how he’s been burned in the past—he didn’t deserve to get blindsided or have the rug pulled out from under him, which was his fear all along about getting into a relationship. And he didn’t deserve to lose a good friend in Gabriel. Again, the bromance was so fun to explore! Love gets messy, I get it, but this was brutal, especially to such a good guy. Deep down inside, I think he always knew there was something between Emily and Gabriel, but he was just hoping that it was in the past. Everyone seemed to know, including Emily’s friends at the agency. But I think it’s easy to lie to yourself if you really want it, and in this case, Cami, Alfie, Gabriel, and Emily all lied to themselves, and the reality shocked them all.
I personally hope this isn’t the end of the road for Alfie and Emily, but I don’t know how he could ever trust her again. And how could he continue working with Gabriel after all of this?
Nicolas’ arrival also throws Mindy’s (Ashley Park) relationship with Benoit (Kevin Dias) into turmoil, and just like Alfie, the latter didn’t come out unscathed. The poor guy didn’t stand a chance against Nicolas, who swooped in with his sights set on Mindy. It makes sense that the series would want to involve Mindy deeper into Emily’s world of fashion, and making her the one caught in the middle of Emily and Nicola’s PR war was brilliant, but Benoit didn’t deserve to be pushed off to the side as an afterthought, as though their relationship never mattered.
Benoit definitely felt insecure around Nicolas, but I wish he didn’t just walk away from everything he had with Mindy without talking it out with her first. However, a man knows when his woman is interested in someone else, so Benoit was just calling it like it is.
It was a shame to see their relationship fall apart in this way, and especially to see Mindy throwing herself into something else with Nicolas, who never respected Benoit in the first place, but I also won’t complain too much because it made for some good drama. Nicolas, however, is not the kind of guy I want to see Mindy with in the long run as she definitely seemed to lose herself, her sense of purpose, and her dreams and ambitions when she began dating him.
Nicolas showed his true colors at the “Swan song” party when he basically gave Emily no choice but to leave the event because he wasn’t ready to forgive her. It was such an asshole move, but Emily went with it because she didn’t want to ruin her best friend’s evening. Thankfully, once Alfie told Mindy the truth, she set the record straight, making it very clear that she wouldn’t be dazzled by all of Nicola’s wealth and connections. Emily was her family, and in a way, it served as an ultimatum. I love seeing her stick up for herself, and I love seeing friendship come first and foremost over any relationship. Nicolas may have apologized to Emily, but if he was willing to do it once, what makes her think he won’t pull another stunt like that again in the future?
And he’s not going to react positively to Benoit’s return either. In the last episode, Benoit came back to inform Mindy that their song “Mon Soleil” was chosen for Eurovision, which will bring them back into each other’s orbit. And there’s nothing more romantic than singing the song a man wrote for you on one of the biggest stages in Europe. It goes to show just how much Benoit cared about their success, putting the music first. Will it be strictly a working relationship? Or will old feelings bubble up to the surface?
Other Stray Musings
- There were definitely more product placements this season, which makes sense considering Emily’s bread, butter, and Kir Royale is marketing. It never went overboard, but it was truly noticeable, especially with the inclusion of McDonald’s.
- I have no evidence backing this up, but I think the series embraced the French language more this season. There were so many more scenes that were solely in French, and I kind of loved it. Again, like the branding inclusions, it makes sense.
- The creative forces have always found fun ways to incorporate Emily’s colleagues into the narrative, and Luc’s (Bruno Gouery) storyline continued to be pure gold, particularly when he called Marianne and invited her to Gabriel’s restaurant in hopes of securing him a Michelin star. Luc is the real MVP—but it’s also well-deserved on Gabriel’s part. I just hope after all that happened with Cami, he’s ready to throw himself into his restaurant and keep delivering quality service!
- I have to mention the shock that came with Cadault’s accident and his return to the “land of the living.” They may have killed his brand, but they didn’t own him!
- The fashion was once again, on-point, with reports that it includes thrift shop pieces. This means we absolutely have to go check out our local thrift stores now.
- Gabriel and Luc weren’t just torn between Emily, they now work for the same man, Antoine (William Abadie), who is also a client of Sylvie’s. That won’t make things uncomfortable at all.
What did you think of Emily in Paris Season 3? Share your thoughts in the comments below!