upper waypoint

'Les Miserables' Episode 3 Recap: I Will Follow Him

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Cosette and Jean Valjean are like, Ugh, what now? (PBS / Masterpiece)

In the previous episode of Les MiserablesFantine effortlessly bounced back from her breakup with Felix and treated herself by getting a fun 1990s makeover!

Juuuuust kidding. A scammer played by Olivia Colman took one look at Fantine and Cosette, saw money signs and decided to ruin their lives.

But Olivia Colman couldn't destroy their lives by herself. She also had the help of this creepy-faced woman.


Speaking of creepy faces, Pontmercy Grandpa's mug was really something last episode. I can see why the RuPaul's Drag Race casting director rejected him.

Beware of learning makeup skills from YouTube tutorials made by these two:

On the flip side, Jean Valjean underwent quite the glow-up, going from Red Hulk:

To Hubba Hubba Hulk:

Not only did his complexion greatly improve, but he also transformed into the Oprah of Montreuil, handing out jobs to anyone and everyone:

I could go on about the more terrible things that happened last episode (Fantine's visit to the hairdresser! Fantine's visit to the dentist! Fantine's visit to her death bed!), but I've already done that in the last recap. Also, this gif I made pretty much sums it all up:

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

We find Fantine where we left her, on her death bed, struggling to breathe. A nurse tells her that Jean Valjean has gone to fetch Cosette. She cracks a small smile, just like I might crack open an alcoholic drink to deal with another hour of French misery.

Let's distract ourselves for a moment with a fun fact (brought to my attention by Maryanne, a reader of the last recap): The actress who plays Fantine is PHIL COLLINS' DAUGHTER!

Someone else whose mind is being blown: Jean Fauxjean, the random man wrongly accused of being Prisoner #24601. Javert and three prisoners all give sworn testimonies that sound like this: "Is that Jean Valjean? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but let's go with yes!"

Right before Jean Fauxjean is sentenced in draconian fashion, the real Jean Valjean loses his cool.

And reveals his true identity.

Jean Valjean calls out the three lying prisoners by mentioning factoids he knows about each of them. Hey, Prisoner #24602, you have a tramp stamp tattoo! And Prisoner #24603, your favorite Spice Girl is Sporty! And Prisoner #24604, you hate cilantro! Everyone in the courthouse is shook.

Jean Fauxjean's reaction:

Inspector Javert's reaction:

While being taken to prison in cuffs, Jean Valjean spots Ms. Creepy Face in the crowd and asks if she went to fetch Cosette as he asked. She didn't because she's a monster. I think I speak for all of us when I say:

Jean Valjean doesn't have a pie handy so he smashes past the guards and chases her trifling, no good butt down!

She's not worth the trouble, so he lets her go and rushes to Fantine's bedside. Jean and the nurse give Fantine a reason to live by saying Cosette is there and will come in once she gets better. Enter Javert who barks about how Fantine and Jean Valjean are "the scum of the earth." Um, dude, the woman has no teeth and is gasping for her last breaths, maybe consider dialing down the evil just a smidge?

Javert hates that idea and dials the evil up to 15, revealing to Fantine that Jean Valjean never went to get Cosette. Having had quite enough of everyone being the absolute worst, Fantine cashes in her one-way ticket to heaven.

Because Javert is a sociopath, he responds with, "She's dead and you're my prisoner!" Someone, please throw a dead horse on this man! Jean Valjean's hands are cuffed, which makes throwing animal corpses very difficult, so he settles for screaming in his general direction.

At the prison, they roughly chop off Jean Valjean's hair (they could have given him flattering layers but nooooo) and throw him in with Tramp Stamp, Sporty Spice Lover, Cilantro Hater and all the other prisoners. Jean Valjean tests one of the bars to see if it's loose. It isn't, but no worries; Jean managed to smuggle a chisel in his mouth.

Then, TWO YEARS PASS. So I'm guessing that chisel plan didn't work out? Fantine's ghost is like this right about now.

Outside of the Colman's inn, a busted-looking Cosette is doing hard labor when she spots a doll pop-up shop. It belongs to the creep who bought Fantine's hair and teeth. Cosette is captivated by one particular doll. Before she can realize, Hey, that's my mom's hair, you jerk!, Olivia Colman shows up and beats Cosette for not working hard enough. Where's a cream pie when you need one?

Back inside the inn, Olivia Colman chases Cosette around and whips her, while everyone cheers. Someone fetch me a time machine. I'm ready to help.

Later that night, while fetching water at the creek, a shadowy figure appears behind Cosette. It's Jean Valjean! Sorry I doubted you, little mouth chisel!

Jean helps Cosette haul the buckets back to the inn and quickly learns that her caretakers belong in the ninth circle of Hell (the one reserved for treachery; I looked it up). He notices that the Colman's two daughters don't have to work and have fancy dolls, so Jean Valjean says, Hold my beer, leaves for a few minutes and comes back with a doll for Cosette. It's the one made with Fantine's hair.

Jean Valjean: "I have a wish to see the child playing."

Olivia Colman: "And who is going to serve you your supper?"

Jean Valjean: "You, madam. Now bring me my supper, woman."

That night, Mr. Colman shows Jean Valjean to his room and offers to prostitute Cosette out to him for a price. Sorry, I don't make the rules, but the Colmans officially have to die now.

Instead, Jean Valjean pays them a crazy amount of money to adopt Cosette. Not exactly what I had in mind, but this will do, I suppose. (Although, for real, they should die.)

A few minutes after Jean Valjean and Cosette leave, Mr. Colman catches up with them. He wants even more money and pulls a gun on them. OMG, DIE ALREADY! Time to hulk out, Jean. SMASH HIM!!!!

Jean Valjean knocks the gun away and puts Mr. Colman in a choke-hold and scares him off. Again, not exactly what I had in mind, but I'll take whatever morsel of good I can get out of this show.

Jean Valjean and Cosette make their way to Paris. When they arrive, Cosette asks if she still has to be a child slave. Jean Valjean replies, "No, you don't have to sweep or go to the wood to fetch water. You don't have to do anything, except eat and sleep and play." Cosette is like:

We get a cozy montage of Cosette learning new things, being happy and showing off her new dad around town. Can the story just end here, before any more bad stuff can happen?

Nope! A neighbor is already snooping around and asking too many questions.

Cosette calls her a "nosy old bitch." If any child has earned the right to sling curse words, it's for sure Cosette.

Cut to the police headquarters (ughhhhh, here we go again). Javert is back on his bullshit, destroying lives for fun implementing the law. After reading an incident report from the Colmans about how someone abducted Cosette, Javert looks into the claim and quickly realizes the Colmans are scammers. Great, so that means he'll leave Jean Valjean and Cosette in peace, right? Yeah, not so much. He commissions an artist to sketch a mugshot and pastes it all around Paris. It doesn't take long for the "nosy old" you-know-what to go tattling. 19TH-CENTURY FRANCE IS THE WORST!

Cut to Javert and a bunch of cops chasing Jean Valjean and Cosette through the streets. Cornered, Jean manages to climb over the city wall and plop into a convent. The nuns are like, GTFO! The only man we tolerate is Jesus. (I don't blame them.)

Javert sniffs out where Jean and Cosette are hiding and bangs on the convent door, demanding to be let in. The head nun thinks about it and then says:

Head Nun: "No man has stepped foot in this convent for many years, nor will do."

What a queen! We stan!

That night, Jean Valjean offers Head Nun a proposition: he'll scram, as long as she takes care of Cosette. Head Nun has a counter-offer: she'll take care of Cosette, hire Jean as a gardener and let him stay hidden on the grounds so he can continue kicking it with Cosette.

Meanwhile, back at Jean and Cosette's former apartment, Javert is fuming. "HE WILL NEVER GET AWAY! SEARCH EVERYWHERE! HE WILL BE FOUND!" Dude seriously needs to...

End scene!

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, Nosy Old You-Know-What, Ms. Creepy Face, Javert and Pretty Much Everyone Else. Karma is fashionably late, but she's coming for your necks!

HONORABLE MENTION: Fantine. I dreamed a dream that she would get to star in Kill Bill 3: Fantine's Revenge, but things didn't really work out that way. We'll always have this Photoshop image though.

BRONZE: Cosette. But all is not lost! Now that Cosette is free, she's available to star in Kill Bill 3: Cosette's Revenge! So many people to kill, so little time.

SILVER: Jean Valjean. His transformation into a certified DILF brings a tear to my eye and a tingle to my... you know what, nevermind.

GOLD: Head Nun. My heart already belongs to a lot of nuns from The Sound of Music and Sister Act, but I'm definitely making room for one more. Bless her heart (and her ability to shut down overly confident men)!

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 2 Recap: Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?


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

lower waypoint
next waypoint