‘Emily in Paris’ Season 2 Ending Explained by Lily Collins and Darren Star

Spoilers ahead.

Season 2 of Emily in Paris ends with a big question: Will Emily be in Paris for much longer? The Chicago-bred marketing whiz relocated to the French capital temporarily for work, but after some big upheavals in her professional and romantic life, her future in the city is unclear.

Throughout the season, Lily Collins’s Emily spends much of her time around the city (and the country, with visits to St. Tropez and Champagne) trying to clean up the mess she made at the end of season 1: sleeping with hot chef Gabriel, who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of her good friend Camille. Remorseful about breaking friend code, she’s fixated on getting the former couple back together, as if that will absolve her of her bad behavior. “She wants to do the right thing,” Collins tells ELLE.com. “She doesn’t want anyone to ever hurt or feel bad.” But, things get in the way: Camille finds out and shuns her, Emily keeps hanging around Gabriel anyway, and she starts dating a new British suitor, Alfie. By the final episode, Camille and Gabriel do reunite, but just as Emily is about to profess her true feelings for the chef.

Meanwhile at work, Emily’s boss Sylvie resigns from Savoir after constantly clashing with her American superior (Kate Walsh’s Madeline). She takes trusted employees Julian and Luc, plus a number of clients including Pierre Cadault and Gregory Dupree with her to launch her own agency. She extends an offer to Emily too. Will Emily take the job and relocate to Paris for good, or will she stay the course at her current role and return to her cushy promotion in the Windy City?

What does Emily choose?

In the finale’s final moments, Emily, in tears after discovering Gabriel and Camille’s reunion, calls Sylvie to say she’s made a decision about whether or not to take her job offer. Before she can reveal her answer, the screen cuts to black. “And now I’m dying to know what that decision is, ‘cause I don’t know,” Collins tells ELLE, echoing our own thoughts.

When asked whether creator Darren Star already told her what Emily would choose, she reiterates, “No, no, no, like, genuinely I’m as confused as Emily was.” The direction for filming that last scene was also very vague. “And they’re like, ‘Okay. And then you’ve made your choice and you’re just gonna say it,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, but what is it?’” Collins says.

Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) has a big decision to make at the end of season 2.

STÉPHANIE BRANCHU/NETFLIX

She also has “no idea” whether she has a preference for one answer or another. “I think there’s pros and cons to each,” she says. “I think Emily is blown away that Sylvie would want her to come with her. And then at the same time, she now has found this relationship with Alfie and…maybe she’d love to go to London. It’s only a Eurostar train ride away. So I don’t know. I think that there would be fun in both of those elements at the same time. Is there a world where there could be both? You don’t know. I think in the world of Emily, anything is possible.”

While Collins is in the dark, Star has a sense of what’ll come next. “I have a very strong idea [of what Emily chooses], and I think the thing is, there’s no right choice,” he tells ELLE.com. “There’s no choice that’s gonna make everything better and please everybody. And I think Emily also is…a bit of a people pleaser, and she’s gonna make a decision that’s gonna make some people unhappy. And she’s gonna have to deal with that also next season.”

Netflix has not yet publicly announced Emily’s renewal, but Star is “looking forward to a third season,” he adds.

Where does Emily stand with Gabriel and Camille?

Despite dating a new man, it’s clear that by episode 10, Emily still has feelings for Gabriel. She even accidentally tells Mindy that she “[fell] in love with my friend’s boyfriend.” With some convincing from Mindy (“You need to decide what you want and not what’s going to make everyone else happy,” she tells her during a heart-to-heart), Emily sets out to tell Gabriel how she really feels. “And then when she shows up and sees that Camille is moving back in, I think it just hits her so hard because she was about to take a huge risk and put herself out there. And she felt kind of slapped in the face with this shock,” Collins explains.

“I loved that she was gonna be so bold because she also doesn’t know that Camille is interested anymore because Camille is the one that said, ‘We’re not gonna be interested in him.’ So I think she would’ve regretted not saying something. So that’s why she goes, but she then refrains because she sees that what’s actually happening with Camille and Gabriel is maybe what’s supposed to happen. And therefore it kind of allows her to take a backseat with her emotions again.”

Emily’s run-in with the newly-reunited couple does affect whether she takes the job with Sylvie. “This decision is coming out of a place of, ‘Okay, I have to now leave that behind. And what is my future gonna look like? My future cannot include this anymore because I’ve literally just been shown that something else is happening and I can’t fight it anymore and I need to let it go.’ And she cries on the bridge and she gets to this point where she’s gonna make an empowered decision.”

emily in paris l to r lucas bravo as gabriel, camille razat as camille, lily collins as emily in episode 209 of emily in paris cr stéphanie branchunetflix © 2021

Lucas Bravo as Gabriel, Camille Razat as Camille, and Collins as Emily in Emily in Paris season 2.

STÉPHANIE BRANCHU/NETFLIX

Why did Sylvie start her own “French revolution”?

This marks the first time we really see how Sylvie and Savoir handle having an American boss, and she isn’t taking it well. Sylvie doesn’t like being told what to do, especially by an outsider trying to market to her city. As tensions rise between her and Madeline, things come to a head when Madeline ends up driving away one of Savoir’s biggest clients, fashion designer Pierre Cadault. When Sylvie blames Madeline, Madeline plans to put Sylvie under review, but instead, Sylvie resigns, taking most of the office with her.

“We never really dug into it until the end of the season, the reality of what it meant for them, for Savoir, to be owned by an American company, because we never really had an American boss come in; we just had like a bit of an underling who seemed very unthreatening, like Emily,” Star explains. The threat of reporting to an American boss “was never really in their face,” he adds. “And then once it is in Sylvie’s face, I think she just has a very different reaction to it. And I think she’s at the point in her career where it’s like, life is too short and she’s not gonna be in situations where she feels disempowered.”

This coup is one of the many new facets of Sylvie’s life we learn about in season 2. We also learn she has an estranged husband, who owns a beach club in St. Tropez, and that she takes up with a younger lover Erik, an event photographer.

“I think that when you’re working with an actress like Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, who is so gorgeous, such a force, is in her fifties, and a beautiful woman, you wanna sort of be able to tell stories about a woman like that,” Star says of including more of Sylvie in season 2. “She’s leading a complicated life, and I think she’s still holding a lot of her cars close to the vest. There’s a lot more to find out about Sylvie as the series continues.”

emily in paris l to r kate walsh as madeline, lily collins as emily, bruno gouery as luc, samuel arnold as julien, philippine leroy beaulieu as sylvie grateau in episode 210 of emily in paris cr stéphanie branchunetflix © 2021

Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, right) hands in her resignation with Luc (Bruno Gouery, center) and Julien (Samuel Arnold, center-right).

STÉPHANIE BRANCHU/NETFLIX

What does this season say about America’s love for work?

A lot of Sylvie and Madeline’s conflict is rooted in the difference in work culture between France and the U.S. Madeline flies to Paris to conduct business well into her pregnancy and gets into the office early, while Sylvie has a more laid-back approach. Emily, too, is surprised to learn that working–so much as emailing–on the weekend is socially “illegal” in France. Even when she brings a client to a casual restaurant showing on the days off, she’s criticized for doing business off-hours. Though Emily uses the cultural differences as a lesson on setting personal boundaries, Sylvie cringes at the American obsession to work.

“It was really interesting because I love to work. I always have, since I was young, I’m unapologetic about it,” Collins says. The contrast was eye-opening to her. “And that was a really nice reminder to just kind of take things slow sometimes.”

Star adds, “[We] really are a very work-oriented culture here and I think in France, they put the emphasis on quality of life for people and just mental health, how important that is for well-being. I think quality of life is as important as success in business [there]. It’s not an either-or proposition.”

emily in paris l to r lily collins as emily, philippine leroy beaulieu as sylvie grateau in episode 204 of emily in paris cr carole bethuelnetflix © 2021

CAROLE BETHUEL/NETFLIX

And how is Collins handling backlash?

Emily in Paris’s arrival last year was met with a whole range of emotions, from instant obsession to hate-watching to sheer criticism. (Remember the outcry when it was nominated for the Golden Globes?) With that in mind, how did Collins prep herself going into season 2?

“Honestly, I think we were all so happy to be able to go shoot a season two within the state of the world,” the actress and producer says diplomatically.

The new chapter was also an opportunity for them to further explore and immerse themselves in French culture and include many more French conversations (with subtitles). “We have a lot of French language, a lot of French class, a lot of different French culture explorations,” Collins says. “And so a lot of the things in season one I think that people were commenting on would always have been something we dove into in a season two, but just don’t have that time in the first one, because you have to set the tone of what the show is, which is a fish-out-of-water story in a foreign city. And therefore you can only become more acclimated to that city and that culture with another go-around where you get to know the other characters more. So I think we were just excited to get to do that and to all be together again.”

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