‘The Thunder Master’
The mystical opening scene of Irma Vep episode 6 is staged on the sets of the new ‘The Vampires’. Mira/Irma seats herself on the couch with one eye on the camera. “The thing” gets closer and suddenly, a spirit enters her. She observes her surroundings and picks up the gun from the table as someone walks in. It is Rene.
They are shooting the scene where the Grand Vampire is written off the show. The two share a conversation about how they like to come in early and sense the “ghosts” on the set. Mira mentions the “invisible things you can only feel” reach out to her and make her a better performer.
While shooting the scene, Danjou and Rene clash. The disgruntled actor threatens to sue the production and Rene personally. Rene has a meltdown of his own. He is so angry that he punches the walls – in the process, hurting himself – and shouts uncontrollably. That is the last anyone has seen of him on the sets.
Gregory gets a call late at night from Carla, the first AD. She calls him from the hotel where Gottfried is staying. The German actor is found hanging unconsciously in the closet, indicating partaking in some devious “sex game”. He is taken to the hospital and the paramedics and doctors let Carla know that there is a chance Gottfried might never wake up again.
Gregory tries to consult with Gautier about Rene and Gottfried. He decides to replace Rene from the project with Herman, whom we last saw in episode one. He is the one who directed Doomsday, which starred Mira. Rene is given one final chance by Angus, Gautier’s man. But Rene’s agent denies knowing anything about his current location.
Gottfried wakes up from his slumber and surreptitiously climbs out of the hospital window. He returns to the hotel and collides with Cynthia Keng on her way out. He falls down unconscious and Cynthia takes him up to his room, where he gets better and looks normal. Herman discusses the prospect of going with Lori, who is reluctant.
Mira isn’t too sure of him taking over either, but the decision isn’t hers to make. It is decided that Regina, Mira’s assistant, will direct for one day to save the production money on scheduling due to Herman’s flight itinerary.
Rene meets with his therapist and confides that he does not want to continue on the project anymore. The redemption he sought from his affair with Jade is not there, even though he “loves” Mira like Jade. Regina, straight out of film school, takes about the “invisible spirit” with Mira, just like Rene did at the start. They have an argument about cinema and entertainment but start shooting on the day.
Original and Adaptation
One of the first scenes in the episode that we see from the original is the shooting. It is repeated again in the adaptation. Irma Vep shoots the Grand Vampire when he comes to ask for a ransom from Moreno. Irma is under the latter’s hypnosis and does as she is told. She hides the body with Moreno’s help in a chest.
Just as they finish, Satanas, a member of the Grand Vampires walks in with a poisonous spike in his hand. It is a paralytic poison that he injects into Moreno. Its effect is temporary but it is done to send him a message that the Vampires are not to be messed with. Satanas makes a shocking claim that he is the true Grand Vampire. Satanas threatens to kill Moreno if he doesn’t pledge allegiance to the Vampires.
We take another detour behind the camera to Musidoa’s memoirs. She documents the day when they had to shoot the bombing scene. Feuillade asked her to bring a worn-out gown so that it is not harmed. On set, extras are paid triple the money to put their bodies in harm’s way. Feuillade uses a real bomb to shoot the sequence of Satanas bombing the place where Moreno and Irma have dinner.
The Thunder Master Ending Explained
Mira ventures out on another one of her night sojourn into the city. This time, it is in the backdrop of Laurie not returning her texts. Mira goes to the Plaza Athenee, where she previously stayed and where Herman and Laurie are presently staying.
In a dizzying sequence, we see the image of Mira and Jade – both in the silk catsuits – superimpose on each other. Almost as if their kindred spirits have connived to do something. When this happens, Mira magically goes through the wall of her room.
Her final destination is Laurie’s room, where she hides and listens to them talk. Herman wants his “Hollywood blockbuster vibe” to the production and has high hopes of completing the series.
He gifts Laurie a necklace. The two are about to make love when Laurie confesses that she is not scared of Mira and is over her. Mira steals the necklace and ventures out on rooftops to catch a glimpse of the full moon – its light showering on the city’s nightlife in a majestic trance-like cadence.
While the other similar sojourns where Mira becomes Irma are practically possible, granted some leeway on athleticism and climbing ability, this one is inexplicable. Mira becomes the very spirit that she and Rene talked about in the opening scene of the episode.
Just like Jade was able to visit Rene in his apartment, Mira transcends her mortal body and goes through walls to her former lover, Laurie. It is unclear if it really happened or not, given the blurry line between reality and fiction. The events can only be confirmed in the next episode, ‘The Spectre’ next week.
The Episode Review
‘Irma Vep’s newest episode is the most complex one in the series yet. It has Assay’s stamp on it as it mixes art with entertainment. In terms of being eventful, it also tops the list. Assays truly manages to engage you in an intellectual and emotional way.
The story is taking the shape he wanted to assert from the beginning. It is becoming more and more formless and abstract as the treacherous production in its universe runs ragged. In doing so, though, I felt that in this episode, Rene was reduced to a caricature of himself.
It is unlikely that he will return to take the reins but this unceremonious exit was totally uncalled for. We were just beginning to warm up to the impact he had on the cast and crew. Even Philippe, who had an overbearing role in the first few episodes, is not to be found.
Zoe joins the list and this shows how inconsistent Irma Vep has been. It is difficult to fully commit to loving the show and this episode is the perfect example of why.