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'Les Miserables' Episode 2 Recap: Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?

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Fantine before her tragic makeover. (PBS / Masterpiece)

In the previous episode of Les Miserables, a lot of miserable things happened.

We were forced to watch a gazillion horses die at Waterloo because being scarred for life by Artex's death scene in The Neverending Story just wasn't enough.

Fantine met a scrub named Felix, who wasted no time ruining her life.


Marius Pontmercy was brainwashed into being #TeamRoyalism, as well as #TeamAlcoholism.

And, as a side-effect of serving 19 years in prison for stealing one lousy piece of bread, Jean Valjean's face gradually became allergic to any act of kindness.

What absurdly tragic things will occur this week? Let's find out!

Fantine roams the countryside with Cosette in tow. The past few years have not been kind to her. From the looks of it, she can no longer afford shampoo.

In an alternate universe, Fantine never met Felix and managed to work her way into the middle class, thus finding happiness and being able to afford not only shampoo but the haircut du jour, The Rachel™!

Alas, we're in the darkest timeline, so Fantine and her unwashed hair keep trucking all the way to some sad little country town, where she meets my favorite from The Favourite, Olivia Colman! Maybe things are looking up??

Fantine asks Olivia Colman something any of us would ask a complete stranger: Hey, I know this sounds weird, and obviously no pressure, but do you mind adopting my kid for a couple of months?

Money symbols bloom in Olivia Colman's eyes.

Olivia Colman agrees to look after Cosette... for a hefty price, which is then made heftier by Olivia Colman's scammer husband. If he looks familiar, that's because he's the corpse robber from the season premiere. These days, he's more into robbing the living while masquerading as a benevolent war hero. I don't know about you, but the gross injustices on this show are starting to make my eye twitch.

The Colmans promise to take very good care of Cosette. Translation: they promise to make her sleep in a barn and routinely blow cigarette smoke in her face. Needless to say, I take back my suggestion that things might be looking up. #ItDoesntGetBetter.

Fantine eventually makes it to a village called Montreuil, just in time to attend a pep rally being held in honor of the town's mayor, Père Madeleine. But we know him by another name...

Stealing silverware from woke bishops and coins from little boys got old, so now his alter ego saves children from house fires and hands out jobs at his booming factory.

One of those jobs goes to Montreuil's newest resident, Fantine. But not before an awkward interview process involving this lady's creepy face:

Fantine gets right to work crafting beaded necklaces that are either rosaries or Mardi Gras accessories (choose your own adventure). I would say things are looking up again, but I'm sure something horrific will happen in a few minutes, so I'll just zip it.

A few weeks later, the new police chief shows up at the factory to meet Jean Valjean. It's none other than Inspector Javert. Quick! Suspend your disbelief because Javert somehow doesn't recognize the person he tortured for 19 solid years. It's like how everyone can't imagine Clark Kent being Superman just because he's wearing glasses.

Javert goes on a Kanye West-style rant that no one asked for about how criminals are inherently wicked and degenerate. He vows to prosecute any wrong-doers in town, especially those who might be leading a double life. Jean Valjean's contribution to the conversation is simply making this face:

Things aren't looking too great for Fantine either. After Fantine is caught making a little bird out of Mardi Gras beads, Creepy Interview Face Lady threatens to fire her and then decides You know what? I'm not doing anything later. I think I'll spy on this poor girl and figure out a way to ruin her life! Somewhere out there, Felix is like, Hey! That's my thing!

Ms. Creepy Face finds out about Cosette and goes to check out the situation. The Colmans tell her Fantine is a prostitute who abandoned her daughter to go have a bunch of dirty sex. Despite that far-fetched-sounding story and Cosette blinking "HELP ME, CREEPY LADY!" in Morse code, Ms. Creepy Face decides to believe the Colmans and destroy Fantine. There goes my eye twitch again.

Speaking of French prostitutes, Marius' grandfather sure looks like one.

It seems as though he learned how to do his makeup by watching YouTube tutorials from these two:

Despite looking a hot mess, Marius' grandfather invites a bunch of people with equally tragic makeup over to rag on Napoleon some more. Dudes, you won! Get a hobby! From one drag queen to another:

Little Marius is invited to take a break from tasting fine wines to recite some pro-monarchy propaganda for all the fugly drag queens until a note is delivered saying that his dad is on his death bed. When Marius arrives at his father's bedside, Pontmercy Senior only has enough strength to utter a few words: Napoleon rules! Oh, and there was this dude who saved my life and totally didn't rob me at Waterloo. Go reward him, please. Peace out!

Back in Montreuil, a loaded horse-drawn cart collapses on someone and is slowly crushing him to death. Jean Valjean wants to help, but Javert is watching and waiting for him to reenact the lifting of the boulder from the season premiere and prove that he really is The Artist Formerly Known As Prisoner #24601. After an awkward staredown, Jean Valjean decides to Hulk out, consequences be damned.

The glow-up is real:

Everyone celebrates the rescue of the crushed random dude. Everyone except for Javert. Instead of realizing that Jean Valjean is a good person, Javert doubles down on trying to ruin his life over a piece of bread and a child's coin. I'll give the same advice I gave the RuPaul's Drag Race rejects: Get a hobby!

When Jean Valjean returns to the factory, imagining another 19 years in the clink, Ms. Creepy Face is busy yelling that Fantine is a "lying little whore!" Valjean is not in the mood so he fires Fantine and advises her to leave town for not telling him she had a child out of wedlock. My eye twitch is getting really bad.

Meanwhile, Javert rushes to the police headquarters in Paris to tattle on Jean Valjean. Their response is in perfect alignment with mine:

After burying St. Woke Bishop's candlesticks in the woods, Jean Valjean runs into Javert (okay, how small is this town??). Jean Valjean fails to recite the appropriate Mariah Carey lyric:

Because continually upping their price isn't evil enough, the Colmans inform Fantine that they need almost triple what she sent last time to care for Cosette. So Fantine feels she has no other choice but to sell her hair and front teeth.

When that's not enough, she sells her body. It's too bad this adaptation doesn't have any songs because we could use a jolly one right about now.

One night, some rich douche mocks Fantine and then assaults her. Fantine responds by trying to scratch his eyes out.

Unfortunately, Javert rips Fantine off of Rich Douche before she can finish the job.

Javert vows to imprison Fantine for six months. While she's being taken away, Jean Valjean shows up (but for real, how tiny is this town?!?) and wants to help. Fantine is like, Really?? Now you want to help?!? You fired and exiled me for being a mom and making a bird out of beads, remember???? She then spits blood into his face. I approve this message.

Jean Valjean says, My bad, and promises to take care of Fantine and send for Cosette. In the wise words of JoJo, it's just too little too late. But nice try, I guess.

That night, while looking over Fantine, who of course has fallen deathly ill because we can't have a single good thing happen in this story, Jean Valjean is visited by Javert. Somehow, Javert is still not receptive to my solid advice:

Javert tells Jean Valjean that he's resigning as head of police and very sorry for thinking he was Prisoner #24601. They've caught the real Jean Valjean and he's about to be thrown in jail for life for stealing that kid's coin unless someone was to show up to his trial tomorrow proving that he's innocent (HINT, HINT!).

Jean Valjean runs home to burn his passport and prison outfit. That kid's stupid, lousy coin falls out, inspiring a full-blown meltdown, which closely resembles what I look like while watching this show:

The next day, Jean Valjean's conscience has gotten to him. He asks Ms. Creepy Face to fetch Cosette so Fantine can see her daughter one last time before dying. Then, he races off to Fake Jean Valjean's trial to turn himself in. Will he get there in time? Will Ms. Creepy Face actually bring Cosette to Fantine's death bed? The screen goes black so we'll have to wait and see.

After every episode, it’s only right to reward characters who’ve impressed and diss the ones that haven’t, so here goes:

PIECE OF COAL: The Colmans. Fantine's ghost is going to have so much fun haunting these monsters. That's a karmic start, but I also need someone to stop by and punch out their front teeth. An eye for an eye, and all of that. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Whichever Illnesses End Up Killing Felix and Ms. Creepy Face. Hurry up, will you?

BRONZE: All The Poisonous Lead In Grandpa Pontmercy's Makeup. Thanks for your service.

SILVER: Cosette and Marius. Hang in there, babies!

GOLD: Fantine. I doubt she'll survive, but if she does, can the rest of this series be Kill Bill 3: Fantine's Revenge? Thank you.

Until next week! If you miss my thoughts on Les Miserables or pop culture in general, follow me on Twitter @xcusemybeauty, listen to my podcast The Cooler or read my other recaps (Poldark, Victoria, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones)!

Previous Recaps:


'Les Miserables' Episode 1 Recap: Un-Break My Heart

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