“Emily in Paris” Season 3 is a perfect example of how a dramatic plot line can quickly grow outside the reins of its writers.
“Emily in Paris” documents the life of Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins), a marketing executive caught between her American roots and her newfound love for Parisian life. Besides her business escapades, Emily also indulges in love triangles and complicated friendship dynamics, all while navigating a country where she does not speak the native language. Released on December 21, Season 3 of “Emily in Paris” represents both a culmination and a continuation of Emily’s story as she begins to identify more with the life she has built in Paris. Caution: spoilers ahead.
Throughout the show, costume designers and producers have used Emily’s wardrobe and appearance to emphasize the drastic difference between her “American-ness” and the more laid-back, French way of life she desires. Unlike her Parisian counterparts, Emily is rarely found in neutral palettes or simple clothes. She wears heavy makeup throughout the show, and has a perfectly polished look that contrasts with the show’s French characters. Both of these elements serve as a signal to her “other-ness” in the show, as well as a barometer of her internal turmoil as she navigates her love life and her business ventures. When she feels content socially and romantically, Emily is shown in much brighter colors and more bold prints, whereas when her life seems more volatile, she sticks to more traditional silhouettes and color palettes.
From a plot perspective, “Emily in Paris” Season 3 primarily focuses on Emily’s two main decisions that loom over her: her corporate success and complex love life. She must choose between her Chicago-based marketing firm, which represents safety and a clearer path up the corporate ladder, or to chance it with her French boss, Sylvie Grateau (played by Phillipine Leroy-Beaulieu) at a new marketing company. Additionally, Emily faces choices in her romantic life, between Alfie, an English banker who first appears in Season 2, and Gabriel, the French chef who has been her primary love interest since the first season. However, Emily and Gabriel’s romance quickly becomes a love triangle as Gabriel reveals his girlfriend Camille to Emily, a storyline which continues into Season 3. Despite Gabriel’s unfaithfulness, Camille and Gabriel have worked through their differences and are still together. This serves as a “she wants what she cannot have” narrative for Emily, despite the fact that she seems to choose Alfie until the very last episode.
After a slow rise of suspense, the last episode feels rushed. The plotlines get convoluted and it feels like writers tried to throw bombshell after bombshell into the script that were not entirely believable. After being engaged for less than a week, Camille and Gabriel decide to get married at their engagement party. Then, Camille leaves Gabriel at the altar, claiming that he has always been in love with Emily. Emily and Alfie’s relationship falls apart, and then, with two minutes remaining in the episode, Gabriel announces that Camille is pregnant. The sequence of events was unpredictable, and the multiplicity of the narratives is confusing, unsatisfying, and uncreative. The episode is jam-packed with unnecessarily dramatic moments, and pointed towards a fourth season that will surely have to sew the loose ends of Season 3.
Despite the juicy romance and extravagant fashion, Season 3 receives a 3/5 for its convoluted plot development and rushed finale.