‘The Poisoner’ Recap
Rene and the team begin episode 4 of Irma Vep by shooting the party sequence as the set hosts a special guest, Mr. Gautier. He’s the financier of the project and has dropped by. The real reason why it was commissioned by him is also explained.
Gautier actually wanted Mira to endorse his company’s new perfume line, Dreamscape. The previous campaign was a huge success and he wants to repeat the feat. His harsh words one on one with Rene deeply affect the already troubled filmmaker.
Rene feels inadequate and incompetent. His “prestige” product is called “niche” and “not binge-worthy” by Gautier. His admission of using it as a ruse to attract Mira – and not because of Rene’s creative inputs – deeply hurt him.
Mira and her agent Zelda’s ongoing tussle about taking the Silver Surfers project and the Dreamscape campaign becomes central in the episode’s storyline. Mira reluctantly agrees to do the campaign but not the film.
Rene has a vivid dream where her former wife and star of the Irma Vep film, Jade Lee visits her. They talk about how they miss each other and still have feelings. Rene then loses her and calls his therapist multiple times, who blocks his number.
He frantically texts Mira to come by his apartment. The two have a deep conversation about Rene’s creative force and reiterate the phraseology that he is making something meaningful.
The reassurance is needed for the insecure Rene, who still feels Feuillade’s original and inventiveness are untouchable and unrepeatable. Zoe and Mira almost have a flirtatious evening but the tension fizzles out. Late at night, Mira gets a vexed phone call from former boyfriend Eamonn. He visits her hotel and reveals that his girlfriend Lianna has suffered a miscarriage. In an emotional moment, the two reconnect and make love.
The Original and TV Adaptation
The Grand Vampire poses as the Baron. Irma poses as his niece. We see the elaborate birthday bash that Philippe mentioned in the previous episode.
Actually, it is a ruse by The Vampires to loot the people who attend it. They use gas to make the people in the room unconscious. But as Moreno has the information, he is always a step ahead. He has been following the gang.
The moment they take the loot in their vehicle, Moreno jumps on the roof. One by one, he throws all the bags of loot and vanishes into thin air. Philippe arrives at the party with the police to witness the decimation.
Moreno hypnotizes his maid, Lilly to obey his instructions. We will see his criminal plan unfold in the next episode. Philippe and Mazzamat, his partner, are riding their bicycles when they spot the horseman, Mr. Werner, hiding the treasure.
Cracks have started to appear in the Vampire gang, worrying the Grand Vampire and Irma. She follows a treasure map that will take them to the loot, Meanwhile, Philippe and Mazzamat learn the Vampire’s location and plan their next step.
The Episode Review
Creator Oliver Assays carries over his learnings from episode three into this one. His deft balance between the present and past is slightly wayward. It errs on the wrong side on a few occasions. But his central narrative is strong and clear. He has a clear idea where it is going and how it will end up, as opposed to the delirious attempts in episodes one and two to “find the way as they go”.
We get to see more precious moments from Feuillade’s 1916 original that makes the feat even more respectful. Rene’s intimidation against the great director’s scripted playbook is not uncommon in modern pop culture. Assays is fully aware of the changing consciousness and prove how such prestige products become commercial vehicles for one reason or the other in the end.
Mira’s character is unwinding and becoming more accessible to the viewer. As she spends more time in Paris and away from the glamour of LA, she is emboldened to find herself. It is a cheeky thing to say but is brought out well by Assays in episode four. Playing the character and being the character are two different things.
When Mira says being Irma gives her perspective, it means that she is looking for disruption in her current life. The moment she dons the suit, she feels empowered. A life of seclusion and anonymity is in her grasp. A different challenge suddenly presents itself. That is what she seeks. Mixing up her goals in the context means her moving away from the stardom, and celeb culture. It has become toxic for her.
She feels like in that suit, she can escape out into the night, and stay hidden in the shadows of the decrypt corners of society. She feels asphyxiated with these commitments; they make her miserable. The artist in Mira guides her hands as she makes moves in personal and professional space that she wouldn’t have otherwise.