Dominic West

'Les Miserables' Episode 6 Recap: One Day More

Valjean, in high drama mode (Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky / Lookout Point)

Previously on Les Miserables: Javert’s obsession with Val Jean drives him toward increasingly bizarre behavior, including disguising himself as a revolutionary because he’s convinced his nemesis is, like, trying to bring down the monarchy, or something. Why? IDK, the show never bothers to explain. It also never really bothers to explain much about the pack of students building barricades in the name of the French Republic, nor does it tell us most of their names. (Though you’ll know who Enjolras is if you’ve seen the musical.) None of this super matters since they pretty much all die, and at least the final battle set piece is impressive to watch. Elsewhere, Marius and Cosette are in love, Valjean disapproves, and Thenardier is still alive and not in jail. Whew. Need more detail? Our Episode 5 recap is right this way.

Les Miserables barrels toward its dramatic conclusion with several of the story’s most highly anticipated moments – The fall of the barricades, Marius’ rescue, Valjean and Javert coming face to face again. But as the story hits several of its biggest emotional highlights, there’s kind of a problem. And that is, we’ve run out of time to explain why people are doing the things they’re doing. Maybe the series needed to be an episode or two longer, or it simply spent too much time on Fantine and Valjean’s early days, I don’t know. But, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to care too much about some of these characters when you feel like you don’t know them at all.

'Les Miserables' Episode 5 Recap: Do You Hear the People Sing?

Marius and Cosette in their secret garden rendezvous (Photo:  Courtesy of Robert Viglasky / Lookout Point)

Previously on Les Miserables: Cosette – now considerably older – convinces her adopted dad that she’s tired of life penned up in a convent and wants to see the world. She and Valjean move to a splashy new flat that none of us can tell how they afford, and she catches the eye of the world’s most boring youth, Marius Pontmercy, on their daily constitutionals around a local park. Valjean is unhappy, Cosette feels oppressed, and Marius whines about his lack of love life to his pseudo-revolutionary friends at the pub. Elsewhere, it turns out that the now-broke Thenardiers are Marius’ next-door neighbors and he watches them both discover and try to rob and murder Valjean when he stops by to distribute some charity. Paris is wild, y’all! If you need a longer explanation of what went down, our recap of Episode 4 is this way.

After four episodes, it feels like Les Miserables is finally ready to acknowledge the most bizarre thing that’s going on in this particular adaptation, and that is the fact that Javert has straight up lost his mind.

'Les Miserables' Episode 4 Recap: In My Life

Cosette (Photo: Courtesy of Robert Viglasky / Lookout Point)

Previously on Les Miserables: After another several-year stint in prison, Valjean breaks out, retrieves his bottomless secret stash of money – seriously were those candlesticks made of diamonds?? – and heads to Montfermeil to finally rescue Fantine’s daughter. Getting a tiny child to care for is the saving of Jean Valjean’s character as he suddenly becomes gruff, caring and kind of adorable instead of just feral and self-centered. Unfortunately, Javert is still stalking Valjean across the entire countryside of France and this eventually drives Valjean and Cosette to take shelter in a kind nunnery, where the Mother Superior breaks something like a hundred years of tradition by letting a man into their holy building and lying to the police. I guess Valjean must have a really nice face?

It’s unfortunate for Les Miserables that the worst part of its story is something that no adaptation has yet quite figured out how to fix, given that this character is a key piece of so many of its major arcs. And that is the fact that Marius Pontmercy is the worst.

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