'The Collection' Episode 6 Recap: Success Begets Betrayal


The Collection Sundays, October 8 - November 19, 2017 at 10pm ET On MASTERPIECE on PBS Episode Six Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 10pm ET While Dominique is in recovery, Charlotte courts Claude for her renegade fashion house. Nina tells Claude the truth. Marianne reluctantly reveals the past. The inspector spots a crucial clue. Shown: Claude Sabine (TOM RILEY) For editorial use only. Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Lookout Point for MASTERPIECE

Paul Sabine has been so busy concentrating on keeping his family tied tightly, he failed to consider the consequences of the loose ends he's letting slip.

Helen: Considering who his family is, he probably doesn't have a choice
Claude: We all have a choice.

We've only one more episode after this week, but you wouldn't know it the way The Collection keeps adding to the plot pile. This week, every plot you thought was dead shows up, just because there were extra corners open left to stuff it in. I'm sure that much plot insulation is good for the winter months, but is it for a series?

Let's start with last week's ending, where Dominique was hit by a car, and presumed dead. Never presume anything about this show. Nothing dies, including Dominique. But her beautiful face has been ruined, so as far as everyone is concerned, she might as well have been left in a coma for the rest of her life. It's a calamity that causes Paul and Helen to attempt to move heaven and earth to get her the best surgeon. Just, only if he's not a Nazi Doctor. Nazi Doctors, even ones provided by Helen's father, are right out. 

Credit: Courtesy of Lookout Point and MASTERPIECE

Victor, who was with Dominique when the car crash happened has bought her some sort of sweater gift item, so she can at least dress pretty while lying around with her face gloriously swaddled in bandages. Because this is that kind of show, he brings the box to Juliette and we have to watch her swallow her bitter disappointment when the box isn't for her, but is, in fact, a thing Victor wants her to personalize for Dominique. (Ouch.) At least after Juliette reads him the riot act over it, a clue slowly dawns on Victor. We leave that possible romance with a tin of hand cream, which may or not have chicken feet in the mix. Romantic, for sure.

With Dominique's throwing the film rolls at Victor, Billy can finally develop the pictures. Dominique feels so sorry for herself she admits to Claude it was her who burnt the wedding gown, though she sounds about as well as she looks, as she rages that Paul "took it away from me." Child, that was always Nina's gown.

Billy: Everything was borrowed. Even my mother's smile...it came from a previous life. One before children.

As for the Billy-Nina romance, it doesn't actually take a step forward this week, but we learn that her Mama approves of him if Nina ever decides to go down this road. That comes about because Mama overhears Billy begging Nina to meet him at a bar, to come talk to Mr. Rossi. Yes, the "Article That Will Call Sabine A Nazi Sympathizer" plot continues, despite Rossi's getting tossed out of the house party last week. In fact, he's written the whole thing up, and Billy is *furious* about it. He's also determined to get Nina to come tell Rossi the truth, that Paul did it all to save her and her mother from Death Camps.

But there's no time in Nina's life for talking to investigative reporters. So instead Mama shows up, ready to speak the truth instead of hiding in the shadows. Living a lie is no longer a thing she's willing to do. And once she's done it, she no longer cares if Rossi runs his half-right version. She's at peace now.

Credit: Courtesy of Lookout Point and MASTERPIECE

Instead, Nina's gotten distracted by a nun. Sister Marguerite, the young nun that got fired for looking at Nina's file from two episodes back. (I told you, *all* the plot points showed up this week.)  So I guess she's ex-Sister Marguerite. Nina wasn't smart enough to realize the nun got fired and that's why she never showed but feels terrible about it now she knows. (I don't know why, because Marguerite looks far perkier in her non-Sister gear.) But there's no time for all that because Marguerite has a convenient photographic memory. She knows the address of the baby's new family and it's....right there in Paris. In fact, they can go right now, and see the adopted family taking the baby for a walk! 

The sight of her child puts some steel in Nina's spine. She goes to Claude and she tells him point blank she had his kid, and once he stops looking like the world opened up under his feet, she tells him he's going to make it up to her. She needs his help to get their child back. 

 Yvette: Perhaps you can wear two girdles and hold your breath
Marjorie: I did that at my first wedding. I did have enough breath to say I do. I just nodded...and collapsed on the cellist.
Yvette: Lucky for you it wasn't a tuba.

It's good of Claude to tell Nina he'll help her. Because right now he's got a lot of problems, the least of which is Helen pushing him to send notes to Trouvier's daughter in hopes he'll agree to a marriage of business arrangements. No, Claude's actual problem, though he doesn't know it, is Charlotte, who wants to use the fact that Claude is the real talent behind the Sabine brand to hurt Paul. 

Look, I know 1947 was a different time and all, but seriously, how does Paul not come back, announce to all and sundry Charlotte's been fired and lock her out of the building? My entire adult life, that's what happens when people get canned, and it's exactly because of Charlotte's behavior here. 

Credit: Courtesy of Lookout Point and MASTERPIECE

Because she's not banned from the building, she's going around pretending Paul ordered dresses to be made, so that Claude thinks Paul is disregarding his wishes not to make half designed clothes, and so she has pieces to take with her to the client meetings, where she can poach Sabine's high rollers. Moreover, she's sneaking around the house, pouring poison in Claude's ear about he's unappreciated and he should come with her to the next job she's getting, which is reviving some fashion house name whose original designers did not survive the war.

Here's the thing. Claude is ultimately lazy, and Charlotte is not. After all, she's had to work her way out of the gutter. Claude is riding his talent on his brother's salesman work. Despite everything, I don't think Claude wants to actually work harder. He doesn't want to do the things Paul does. This move would force him to do those things. It's ultimately not going to work.

Paul: My mother's medical expertise begins and ends with leeches.

Paul, by the way, guesses ahead of time that something like this is coming down the pike. That's why he decides he has to prove he can design without Claude. Helen landed a commission with the Paris Opera for Sabine to make the costumes for their upcoming production. She did it with the idea it would keep Claude busy and happy, but Paul is now insisting he must do it himself. (Designing costumes for the Paris opera by couture houses is actually a thing, by the way, and one still happening to this day.)

Except, he can't. The drunken hallucination sequence that overtakes Paul as he attempts to do this is one of the most beautiful sequences since the actual fashion show, but it's also a reminder that his mother and brother are right: He needs Claude. Too bad he realizes it just as Claude is slamming out the door, and the girls in the sewing room all realize he and Charlotte are leaving to start a rival label. And Claude is looking at engagement rings, probably thinking he'll marry Nina, and take her too.

Things can't get any worse for the House of Sabine, right? Except, remember how I said *every* zombie plotline got resurrected? The Inspector is back, the one from the case that closed two episodes ago. He happened to see the magazine spread of the Sabine collection and noticed the star embroideries on the lapels of Dominique's dress. Turns out, when he looks back through the files of the dead man, he had a tattoo exactly like that. Yes, Claude designed the embroidered star after his lover's tattoo, and now the Inspector wants to come back and have one more chat with Paul Sabine.

Next week, there's a lot of wrapping up to do for The Collection before it ships out to our closets and the sale is closed.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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