Episode 4 of Standing Up (Drôle) begins with Aïssatou taking care of her daughter at home. Laurent calls to give her news that she’ll be performing in an even better venue as a headliner for multiple comedians.
Nezir gets a gig writing for the Talk Tonight show, and they love him. They invite him to write more often.
Now that he’s doing well on his own, Nezir tells Bling he can’t work for him any more. When Nezir leaves, Bling throws things at him from his balcony.
It doesn’t bother Nezir too much, because things get even better for the comic. Aïssa asks him to be her opening act when she performs at The Olympia.
Apolline lies to her mother about continuing to take exams and goes to the Drôle instead. She asks Aïssa to read over her jokes, but she’s resistant. When Laurent arrives to speak with Aïssa, Apolline offers to take care of her daughter to get on her good side.
When Nezir arrives at the Drôle late, Bling says he can’t perform. Others protest too, so he tries to kick everyone out, but Corinne intervenes. She yells that he’s the one with the problem, and that he should leave. He gives her the keys and storms out.
Aïssa and Nezir talk afterward about how Bling used to be cool. Aïssa even used to date him for a couple of months before she met Vlad.
The scene cuts to Bling now. Outside his flat, he finds a baby bird and takes it inside, where he feeds it.
Apolline is babysitting Aïssa’s daughter at the Drôle when one of her friends, Victor, shows up. When the little girl asks if he is her boyfriend, he answers “yes” at the same time Apolline answers “no.”
When Apolline says she’s doing standup, he thinks the idea is ludicrous. He found out she can’t take exams, but his father could help the penalty go away. He hugs her, just as Nezir peeks into the room.
This prompts Nezir to go on a date with Farah, a woman he recently met. On their date, their differences become apparent–including Farah’s slow uptake on Nezir’s jokes.
Because Laurent has a party invite for Aïssa that could lead to a movie role for her, she has to cancel helping Nezir with a show.
That night, Aïssa watches Apolline’s video. She calls to tell her she likes it and that Apolline needs to become more comfortable performing now.
When Nezir shows up for his stand-up gig, he’s surprised to find the place is packed. When Aïssa calls him to cancel at the last minute, he blows up at her.
Nezir still manages to hype the crowd without Aïssa, only faltering slightly when Apolline arrives. She asks if there’s room for a beginner in the show. Nezir encourages her before she goes on.
Apolline’s bit about her horse Pistachio goes over very well. Farah notices Nezir hanging on her every word. She leaves without Nezir even noticing.
When Apolline gets off the stage, she runs to hug Nezir, and they kiss. She asks to go to his place afterward.
Victor arrives at Apolline’s house while she is doing standup. He mentions the disciplinary procedure to her mother, believing she already knew about it.
Meanwhile, things aren’t going well for Aïssa at this party. She doesn’t meet famous directors like she expected, although she does get mistaken for a waitress because of her outfit.
When Apolline suggests she and Nezir go up to the roof, he confesses that his brother died falling off a roof 10 years ago.
While they are in Nezir’s room later, Nezir’s father returns from his outing. He insists it’s too late for Apolline to go home, so she stays over. The episode ends with Nezir in his father’s room and Apolline in Nezir’s.
The Episode Review
Apolline’s shining moment arrives at last, providing an interesting counter parallel to Aïssa’s circumstances. Both women face new beginnings; both have to leave things behind. Apolline, everything that has held her back. Aïssa, everything that has helped her make it this far.
Apolline’s, Aïssa’s, and Nezir’s emotional character arcs are again stunning to watch–at least, in the second half of the episode. Much of this episode meanders, introducing information and characters that simply don’t go anywhere.
Still, Standing Up continues to succeed at reflecting the real world of stand-up and providing a deep and fascinating look into the lives of four troubled comics.