Les Miserables Episode 5 Recap: Vive la Revolution!

You know, for an episode that included an actual uprising, this struck me as a surprisingly tedious hour of television. Maybe it was just me–I was a little cranky over my kid being such a little asshole about food these days (it’s chicken! You do so like it!), but man, was I not feeling it this week. I blame the fact that so much of this focused on Marius and Cosette, and let’s face it, they’re the worst part of Les Mis in any form.

So…

Thenardier

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Eponine and her sister are released because they didn’t really do anything, but Mme is left to rot in prison. Monsieur is to be shipped to the prison hulks, but he’s apparently read The Count of Monte Cristo and instead escapes prison by pretending to be dead. The guard’s an idiot, so this actually works.

He reunites with his gang, who are now all hiding out in the sewers (eww…). Thenardier wants revenge on Valjean for getting him thrown in the clink, so he and his guys decide to rob Valjean’s house and slit the man’s throat. When is this idiot going to learn not to mess with Valjean? I mean, how many times does he actually need to get his ass handed to him before that particular lesson is learned?

Unfortunately, when he and his goons show up at Valjean’s house, they find Eponine there. She’s hanging around after having shown creepy stalker Marius the way. She screams a warning, and Thenardier is foiled. For now.

Eponine knows her father won’t stay away for long, so she warns Valjean that he and his daughter are in danger. Valjean wisely moves himself and Cosette to a secret location, for safety. He doesn’t realise that this throws a bit of a spanner in the works for…

Marius and Cosette

Ugh, these two. They’re in love the way teenagers tend to be in love. By which I mean, they’re saccharine as hell and annoying to absolutely everyone around them. And crazy melodramatic. They are such children.

Marius convinces Eponine to show him where Cosette lives by promising Eponine anything she wants. She obliges, but it seems that what she wants is… him. Awkward. Also, Eponine, the guy just asked you to show you to the home of some other girl and has made no secret of the fact that he’s crushing on said girl hard. How could you have not taken that as an indication that he’s just not that into you?

Eponine, the guy just asked you to show you to the home of some other girl and has made no secret of the fact that he’s crushing on said girl hard. How could you have not taken that as an indication that he’s just not that into you?

Marius leaves a love letter for Cosette, which she finds in the garden. She plants herself in the same spot the following night, so they can meet and kiss and at this point I think I looked at my watch and went, ‘Oh, seriously? We’re only halfway through?’ I’m sorry, guys, but they are just so boring.

When Valjean decides he and Cosette need to move overseas, she breaks the news to Marius, who decides that the only thing to do here is to marry her. Seems like a solid plan. He goes to his grandfather, presumably for the funds to enable him to do so. The old man’s delighted to see him again, but then really puts his foot in it by suggesting Marius just set Cosette up as his mistress instead of marrying her, since she’s not rich or well connected. Marius storms out in a fury.

Cosette, meanwhile, leaves Marius a letter in the garden, informing him of her temporary new address in Paris. But Eponine intercepts it, so Marius cries and whines and decides his life is over.

And Cosette, meanwhile, is trying to sneak out of the house to meet up with him, only to be intercepted by Valjean. He warns her that it isn’t safe for her to be outside (which, it’s not, and we’ll get to that in a sec), and she responds with the classic spoiled teenage, ‘I hate you!’ before stomping up the stairs.

At this point, Valjean finds the leftover blotting paper from the letter Cosette wrote (and, on a side note, no way would that be legible). He reads some of her anguished declaration of love and declares that she is lost to him.

Oh, for heaven’s sake, Jean, Cosette is a teenager. She’s, what, all of 16, 17? This is her first crush. Yes, ok, maybe it’ll end up being a relationship that lasts the rest of her life, but odds are, it won’t because very few of us end up spending our entire lives with the first person we feel romantically attracted to. And yes, that was also true in the 1830s. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a little sympathetic to her histrionics, because at this age this sort of thing is a very big deal, but also don’t give it quite so much weight. You’re her father (figure). It’s your job to protect her and guide her through these major life moments. And to help her avoid the pitfalls of falling too hard too fast and possibly screwing things up for herself in a big way. If someone had been around to be the older, wiser, more level-headed parent-figure for Fantine, her life would have probably come out much different (and much happier!).

This is a very long-winded way of saying: chill, Jean.

La Revolution

So, Marius’s student friends (well, one of them, at least) are concerned with matters a little bit beyond themselves. I know, I don’t know why they’re friends with Marius either. I think it’s mostly because they just need warm bodies for this revolution Enjolras is so fervently hopeful will happen.

And it looks like he might get his wish. General Lamarque, a hero to the people, has died and his funeral will be held in Paris soon. He’s being denied a burial in the pantheon, which the students and disgruntled workers are using as a cause to rally around.

During the funeral procession, a huge mob gathers, kidnaps the casket, and starts marching it towards the pantheon, only to be met by a whole lotta soldiers.

The mob retreats to the nearby slums, where they barricade themselves in a narrow street. There’s a skirmish, and the soldiers retreat. For the time being.

New recruits are coming in. Marius finally mopes his way to the barricade, ready to use his terribly broken heart as a sort of target, and Javert is there as well, undercover.

Let’s talk about Javert: this man is losing his damn mind. Throughout the episode, all he can rage about is Valjean. His underlings are all like, ‘Uh, yeah, but how about this revolution that’s bubbling just beneath the surface? You know these guys are getting their hands on weapons and organising now, right?’

But Javert cares not. Or, rather, he’s certain that Valjean will be at the very centre of any unrest. Why does he think that? It’s never, ever made clear. From a completely common-sense standpoint, it makes no sense at all. Aside from those first two missteps right out of prison, Valjean led a completely crime-and-blame-free life for years. And Javert knows that. He hasn’t been at the centre of anything even remotely criminal since his escape from the prison hulks, except as a victim. So, why Javert would have himself so convinced that Valjean is at the centre of this most recent unrest is a complete mystery. Which is why I feel like the man is just going crazy from this obsession of his.

Anyway, as I said, Javert infiltrates the rebels simply by dressing in civvies and going, ‘Yo, can I join?’ But he doesn’t last long: little Gavroche tips Enjolras off to who Javert is, and Javert soon finds himself tied up in a nearby inn.

The soldiers return, and Marius nearly wets himself. There’s some fighting, some dying, waaaaay more soldiers than rebels, it seems. Marius finally pulls himself together and manages to get the soldiers to back off by threatening to blow up a barrel of gunpowder he’s holding.

But during the reprieve, Eponine comes stumbling in, mortally wounded. She confesses to having stolen Marius’s letter to Cosette. But he forgives her and holds her as she dies.

She will not be the last to fall upon the barricade.