Our favourite gentleman thief ups the ante to ensure a slick conclusion to ‘Lupin’
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In January, “Lupin” was the most talked-about show on Netflix.
This was on the back of the success of “The Queen’s Gambit” and Shondaland’s tantalising period drama, “Bridgerton”.
As someone who is always scouting - as well as recommending - the best offerings on traditional TV as well as streaming platforms, I was curious about this series, more so as it surpassed the numbers for “The Queen’s Gambit”.
And let me tell you, I didn’t think it possible. It was such an unexpected gem of a series with calculated moves by a sharp female mind, which disrupted the game and the patriarchy mentality.
But in this fabulous era, where writers are not only pushing the envelope, they are tapping into an abyss of creativity that is blowing the mind of viewers, I shouldn’t be surprised that “Lupin” was a gamechanger.
The first season of10-episodes was split into two parts, which, in hindsight, was a brilliant move.
“Lupin” is like the love child of two of my favourite TV shows: “Endgame” and “Leverage”. Okay, those might not have been as trendy but they certainly ticked the boxes when it came to entertainment value.
And that is what “Lupin” delivers in abundance.
Purist will probably baulk at me watching the series in English - subtitles are not really my thing, sorry - but I don’t think it took away from my enjoyment of the series.
The first part of season one provided context for Assane Diop (Omar Sy) turning to a life of crime as a master of disguise. His execution is flawless and his confidence level borders on cocky. Thankfully, his disarming personality obviates any risk of him becoming so.
Viewers got to understand his obsession with Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief protagonist from a book his father gave him as a young boy.
In some ways, the adventures of Arsène was a salvation of sorts from Assane’s heartbreaking reality. His father, framed for theft by his influential and flush employer, Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre), hung himself as he was unable to deal with the shame of it all.
Although the book was a sort of escape for Assane, it also planted an idea for him to clear his father’s name.
And so he sets the wheel in motion by stealing a high-priced necklace from the Louvre. This was the same piece of jewellery his father was accused of stealing 25 years earlier.
Behind the scenes, his tech-savvy childhood friend Benjamin Ferel (Antoine Gouy), now a jeweller, helps him execute his plan, which includes making Gabriel Dumont (Vincent Garanger), who was the inspector who handed him over to social services and is now the commissioner, pay for conspiring with Pellegrini.
The second part of the series picks up from the aftermath of Assane’s teenage son getting kidnapped on his birthday.
Although he has a great relationship with his ex-wife Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), she doesn’t take too kindly to his work spilling over into their personal life and putting their son at risk.
And so Assane, in full-on Liam Neeson (“Taken”) mode, sets off to find his son with detective Youssef Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab) pretending to be an eyewitness and tagging along as a concerned citizen.
Halfway through episode six, I was wondering if the writers missed the plot. How is Assane, this super-smart thief who is always ten steps ahead, being so gullible?
I was relieved to find it was part of his ruse but I won’t delve too much into that.
What I will say though is that fans will be satisfied with the ending. Part two is fast-paced, slick and laden with red herrings that boast the finesse of the “Now You See Me” movie franchise.
And in Juliette Pellegrini (Clotilde Hesme), he finds the perfect pawn to do his bidding.
Bottom line, our gentleman thief steals the show once again.
“Lupin” part 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.