‘The Terrible Wedding’
The finale of Irma Vep brings along with it a changed start. Replacing the effervescent opening credits and theme song is the “shadows speaking” routine from the last episode. It is similar to what you saw when Mira took over Irma’s body (metaphorically), and at the time the kindred spirit of the two Irmas became one. Her in the film and the television show come together.
It is inserted to provide a semblance of continuity, which is the last thing Irma Vep as a show should speak of, given how fractured the narrative has been.
Mira sits in the lobby of her hotel as she notices a woman walk in. There’s something about her that intrigues Mira. Mind you, she is still wearing Irma’s silk suit beneath her coat. That might have something to do with what she does next. Mira follows the woman upstairs to her room and settles in the room right next to it.
We then learn that it is actually Eamonn’s room and the woman is none other than Lianna (played by Kristen Stewart). She was the unfortunate woman to have lost her baby in a miscarriage while her husband made love with his former lover. Mira listens in on the conversation. It is mostly about the continuing argument of content over entertainment in a different form. Lianna bemoans the lack of “mature audiences” at her shows and concerts.
Eamonn lies about his time with Mira, even as Lianna suspects some misdoings. Mira, who has crossed over into their room using Irma’s powers, cannot go back through the walls, as Irma’s effect fades. The tense situation is made even wilder when Lianna and Eamonn begin to make love in the room. Mira narrowly escapes the situation and rushes out. Good news awaits Mira as Zelda, her agent calls. The two are elated to share the joy of Mira working next with a filmmaker she worships and has been thinking of working with for years. The role is a lead one as Meredith from the novel Kingdom Come.
Zelda instructs Mira to be prepared for a meeting with the director (who remains unnamed) in London and until then, refrain from letting it out. Rene, who is back on set, as was indicated in the last episode, converses with the actress who will play Philippe’s wife in a small scene. The erratic director is grateful to Mira for bringing him back and making him realize his true “duty” to complete the series. He is shaken, nonetheless, because of the revelations of the previous episode.
Zoe and Mira wrap up their little romance that was never to be. None of them have any bad feelings about the entire thing but some unfulfilled desires. Zoe asks Mira to do the dance for her she did back then before leaving Mira at the airport. It is an amicable end and very mature. The chemistry fizzled out like it usually does for adults who are still trapped by the hangover of their previous relationships.
In a warm moment on the set the next day, we see Regina graduating in her own right to becoming a director. She takes on an assistant (the actress who plays Philippe’s wife) without the promise of too much. Regina has sort of stepped into more dire shoes as she moves up the food chain.
It is good for her because she isn’t someone who is a social climber. Her true devotion is to art and film philosophy. Rene’s obsession with Jade also comes to an end. It also extends in some ways to Assays and Cheung, who never united for another film after Irma Vep (1996). Both Rene and Oliver get closure in their extended saga of having a woman haunt their artistic lives. Rene confesses to Cynthia’s casting because of her ethnic connection to Jade but she is apologetic and understands his position. There is also a slight nod to Rene’s fantasy of the woman in catsuit (Irma Vep) and the fact that he relishes seeing Mira as the character. Rene knows about the trip to London but Mira expresses her gratefulness for Rene’s work with her. She believes Irma landed her the part in the new movie.
On the set, Mira does not show up for the final scene. Gautier refrains from suing her, despite his executives advising him to. The final few moments of the series are spent with Rene. He sits in his therapist’s office and alludes to his love for films and his inability to let go of the past. He hasn’t been able to move on but he has taken steps to do so. He talks with his wife in a brutally real tone, where she accepts that Rene’s distractions have been hard.
He apologizes for his lack of attention and devotion to their marriage while ending his own need for creating to keep himself sane. Irma Vep’s spirit lingers around him but when it listens to his conversation with his wife, she leaves him for good. She goes out on the rooftops of homes nearby, and veers out into the beautiful Paris nightscape, looking for the next inspiration.
Original and Adaptation
Philippe and his wife have a new maid, Augustine. She is still reeling from the death of her husband and consults a psychic, who is one of The Vampires. Like Moreno, they hypnotize Augustine to force her to leave the door to Philippe’s house open at night. In their vengeful streak, they want to kill the couple. The attack is eventually unsuccessful, as Philippe goes to the police. Jane and Augustine are kidnapped by the Vampires.
Irma Vep’s wedding is the final sequence that concludes the series. As the title suggests, the wedding turns out to be a terrible affair. Irma’s groom is killed, and most of the Vampires are too. She has held Jane and Augustine captive but they are saved by Jane herself, who shoots Irma.
The Episode Review
The series finale came and washed away all the build-up in little subplots during the season to get some much-needed closure. It is clearly a mixed bag as we expected Assays to have reconciled these two things.
I have been speaking about how self-indulgent some of the episodes have been in the series, creating friction in continuity. For viewers who aren’t comfortable with his kind of storytelling, the finale will be a drab show. But from another viewpoint, it is the best allegorical work Assays has done all season.
His tone from the get-go has been one of repenting and confronting his own insecurities through Rene. The troubled director was grossly out of sorts when shooting the series.
He couldn’t come to terms with the reality of filmmaking. His obsession was pure and innocent but it haunted him for too long. It had a negative effect on his real life. Personally, he not only suffered alone but also affected his wife and family.
Maybe Assays went through the same thing and couldn’t express himself to Cheung for the impact she had as Irma on his life. He surely does it here and even shows it through the abrupt vanishing of the actress and the spirit from Rene’s life. It was a beautiful end to the show, but at the same time, the abrupt changes in tone and unfulfilled subplots spoiled the mood. The finale seems made more for the director himself rather than the audience.