The great thief Assane is back and ready to settle an old score.
If you have not checked out Lupin before, you are missing out. It’s one of the better heist series out there and it makes a lot of bold choices that, frankly, I would not have expected. To recap a bit, Assane Diop (Omar Sy) is a professional thief who was essentially put on this path when, as a child, his father Babakar (Fargass Assandé) was framed for a crime by billionaire tycoon Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre) and Pellegrini’s wife Anne (Nicole Garcia). Assane managed to get back at the wealthy family by stealing a valuable necklace as well as kidnapping the corrupt police commissioner Dumont (Vincent Garanger) and forcing a confession from him. Unfortunately, Pellegrini’s daughter, Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), who used to have feelings for Assane, doesn’t believe her father was guilty and tells them Assane’s identity. Shortly after, at a festival celebrating the literary thief that inspires Assane, Arsene Lupin, Assane’s son, Raoul (Etan Simon) is abducted. Now aware that his identity is not a secret, Assane has to save his son, avoid Detective Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab) who also knows his secret, and find a way to trap Pellegrini.
While the first part of this show was more episodic and revolved around a single scheme or heist, this part is a lot more serialized. It begins moments after the last one ended and the first episode, naturally, is focused on Assane saving his son by matching wits with a mercenary. This really just starts a pattern of each episode feeding directly into the next, usually on a cliffhanger. Since it’s a streaming show and only five episodes, there isn’t likely to be a large amount of suspense, but it still makes for a very intense binge. The stakes, at this point, are as high as they can make them, as either Pellegrini’s minions or the police catching up to Assane will likely result in his death. After all, they had his father killed in prison.
This perpetual heightening of the tension doesn’t detract from the central conceit of the series, showing Assane as a modern day Lupin. In fact, the show constantly reveals that Assane’s criminal mastermind skills extend to multiple fields of escapology and a level of preparedness that would seem impossible… until you realize that, like almost everything he does, he has taken these traits from Arsene Lupin, a fictional character. It’s extremely satisfying to see the getaways, almost as much as it was to see him pull the heists.
I was surprised that this season also increased the social commentary of the show. While the first season largely ignored any impact that Assane being a black man in France might have on how he is treated by the police and society at large, this season plays into it at a number of points. The only scene I recall from the former is when a rich white woman locks the door when a black man offers to help her in her car, but that seemed comparatively small. Having not lived in France, I wasn’t sure how racial differences are handled there, but apparently they have at least some notable issues similar to the United States, although it seems like it’s on a much smaller scale.
Overall, still a great show, keep it going.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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