Maison Close-my second review of series 2
update-up to and including the penultimate episode but not the final episode
So Maison close just Gets better and better.
Mosca is the name of the handsome moustachied cat burglar who now runs Le Paradis or thinks he does. Since Hortense is darkly plotting behind the scenes.
I really did’t think that Hortense would put up very long with being patronisingly thrown the housekeeping book and told she is in charge of linens. By Mosca.
Don’t worry, he soon realises his mistake. However most of Hortense’s victims never figure out a thing of what Hortense is up to. Usually only when it is too late.
Yet Mosca is hitting the cocaine drops a little too freely. Think Victorian Scarface. Now Rose has discovered the delights of the dropper bottle and they turn into an oddly asynchronous mini-Bonnie & Clyde movie.
The both of them, just out on the town, Rose loving absolutely every minute of it in more ways than one. Dressed, shockingly, in men’s clothes and wearing a bandana over her face like Billy the Kid & Sundance.
Maison Close does these odd sequences that jar a little really. Like an extended daft porn film in the days when people would mainly run down the road looking scared in a white shirt because it was thought to be arty.
&So it is with Maison Close. The scenes, as ever, lavishly full of detail, deep shadows & night. Huge white buildings where horse drawn carriages pull up to disgorge their passengers.
Shots ring out, and in a maelstrom of film clichés colliding and collapsing a little forever, as Maison Close creates an 1871 shoot-out. Like it was the OK Corral in the murky streets of Parisian mansions by night.
Rose has taken like a pro to her new, wee, pearl-handled and lady-like gun..
Meanwhile the red-bearded silent hench-man, Kertel, returns. Who is questionably in love with Hortense and even more surprisingly, she with him!
Still, i like red bearded Kertel because he look like some solid & wise ancient town elder. He has a puritanical look to him, as if he had a big brimmed black hat & knee high black breeches with white socks & buckles on his high-heeled shoes.
OK, just me then.
Yeah, so things just go from bad to worse with Rose and Louis Mosca as they carry on their drug fuelled binge.
(they always call it that don’t they?)
Well things go awry and you think its curtains and or overdose time for either one of them a few times.
Not a line heard very often in dramas:
“We need the get the perfect balance between opium and cocaine!”
I had no idea that cocaine was around for recreational use in 1871, in handy dropper form. The opium, I think I’ve heard of that in Victorian times.
The Romantic Poets apparently Ok admittedly a bit before that in the 1700’s or thereabouts: were all dabbing or more correctly dropping tincture of laudanum.
In drinks or possibly neat. I’m not sure. Nobody ever really having done a history of drug taking through
Edwardian then Victorian times or whoever was in France, I really should know.
I/we have gathered that the characters & inhabitants of Maison Close have spoken of surviving the Seige of Paris.
So-post Madame Guillotine & the Revolution? I will have to look it up.
There are names of warring or considered to be subversive political parties or groups in Maison Close. Le Chavalier Legere for example. It all just sounds wonderful and cool because it is in French and is based, seemingly, on ancient history.
However without checking this history we cannot really understand these references.
I kind of gave up following all the intricacies of Hortense’s evil and fiendish plots.
To bring down, to destroy, to even murder with:
“two drops of cyanide in a mariani in a chianti bottle”! Or summat.
Dutiful and ever golden marmalde carroty fired bearded Kertel. Kertel who turns out to be really rather mean. Having evolved, much like a random genetic variation in our genes, into a pimp on the streets of Paris.
Well, le Pigalle. That area. & Kertel and hitherto fore young henchman from the cat burglar ring who had seemed quite nice start punching the street walker girls. Nice.
If you’re a doppelgänger for a Puritan its and evil Puritan, Kertel. Or is Kertel just a victim of manipulation?.
(his silence mistaken for being Mr. Cool simply for being quiet)
When he might be vulnerable as well.
Kertel’s horrific past was shown as he opened up to Hortense. Who in retrospect I see now has indeed manipulated Kertel. By taking him into her bed and letting him think she loves him. As her loves her. Ah.
I do like that romantic side of him, Mr. Redbeard. The pimp stuff, Kertel went all gangster / Al Capone like it was the 1920’s. All very odd.
Though perhaps i am suffering from my own clash of nice, ordered film cliche’s stereotypes. Is that the sound i hear of them all banging and clanging asynchronously, together?
Yep. Maison Close is like that. There may well be something for everyone in Maison Close Stuff i think is silly like the R ‘n B in perfect stereo will be somebody else’s cup of tea.
So yeah, Hortense & her plotting involves her being furious with Kertel for not having the stomach to fully murder his own best mate. With cyanide.
Luckily Kertel knows the recovery position. Was it invented then?
The last few scenes showed a black gowned figure shifting, magically, in short frames to different sitting positions on Mosca’s bed.
In the regular murk of gloom, it is hard to tell. Is Hortense ruminating on finishing the job? Probably.
Will Mosca and his both adorable and enviable flokati/ furry coat see the light of day? Hopefully.
Will innocent Joanne, Vera’s pride and joy be ruined by her association with Bak, young blond haired henchman of the cat burglar gang.? Possibly. Is that why Hortense deliberately offered Joanne, the apple of her Mother’s eye (Vera) over to a criminal?
Does Hortense do this just to quite evilly screw with Vera? Possibly.
Unless Hortense really thinks Bak is a reasonable protector and is looking out for friend/ or ex-kind of lover, Vera.
You never know with Hortense: as she says to the teasingly seductive Vera who is trying to butter Hortense up for her own information
(as per usual)
“You still don’t know me at all!”
“After all these years!
“Yes, I hate men!”
“but I detest women too!”
Meanwhile Rose has totally forgotten her socialist stirrings and helping the downtrodden and is busily engaged in slo-mo liberally drug sprinkled sex. Then having weird and furious fights.
Louis Mosca becomes aggressive when he sees Rose’s head turning into a half-golden headed robot monster. Thing. It was actually quite beautifully curved in shape like an ancient or advanced alien did gold for faces.
Louis screams and throws Rose away from him. Yes, that would be a bit odd and put you off, i see that.
Meanwhile, one of my favourite and one of the main characters, falls ill with syphilis. This is no joke in the time. Before antibiotics. Or was it? As the young Doctor Thomas gives them hope of a “new, very expensive medicine”
The girls and Marguerite know enough to know that “tincture of mercury” does not help. Cool. I like how the girls keep the girl code and will never sell each other out or grass up on each other. OK excepting Hortense & maybe Vera.
They do their very best to keep Angelus there instead of being forcibly taken to “Saint-Lazarre” where there is an”outbreak of cholera”. Because what Angelus has, has no cure.
& Rose might be pregnant-oops.
Weird and freaky scene with Joanne and Bak in the flat. Wtf? Pretty sure Joanne is supposed to get married first/ before all that. otherwise I’m pretty sure Joanne will be officially ruined. Not sure Vera even knows Joanne is seeing Bak?
There are so many sumptuous scenes in Maison Close. When i first wrote about it i said it was a feast for my eyes. I spent a lot of screen time focused on every detail of the sets, the furniture, the carpets, the oddities.
The laws. The legal system. The mad, velvet covered pastel giant/ gargantuan bee keeper bonnets.
From all this and more yet un-described it would be hard to pick a favourite yet i do have a stand-out scene etched in my brain.
Possibly because the scene (both) reminded me of an old painting of variously posed Victorian women walking out in the country.
As all the women came out for a picnic by the silken green covered lakeside they had full velvet gowns and matching jackets with nipped in waists and ruffles all around. The women’s skirts are full, huge and bell-like. Oddly so for our modern eyes.
(so) the tableaux of the women from le Paradis, freeze framed yet moving in their beautiful pastel velvet Sunday best outfits of palest green, sludgy yellow, brown.
This is a happy outing, not like when they went to the funeral. The girls sit on rugs and eat from a giant wicker hamper, their bell-like skirts spread to the sides of them on the ground.
They sip from glasses of wine and some stand, gazing out on the lake.
For me it was like some magical painting became real.
Like the women in the painting Le dejeuner sur l’ herbe suddenly got up and walked off. & having come to life, the women would moan at Manet for making them sit outside in the park for a painting without a stitch on.
If painting come to life that is. Which is what Maison Close did for me.