This opening episode of Series 2 sets a new tone. The pace feels slower but, it has to be said, the panoramic views of Paris are excellent. They really made me want to go back as it looked far better than when I saw it. The BBC spent an absolute packet, apparently, and filming took place at all hours of the night and day to avoid any anachronisms from the 1990s. Quite an achievement in cinematography when you think about it, especially as it’s 'only' for a BBC ‘costume drama.’
The only down side is Gille. Yes, he’s quite a swarthy bloke but I think he’s a bit too smooth. However, I can easily see why Evie eventually falls for him. Things must have moved on somewhat since the previous series ended because Bea doesn’t seem to mind at all about Gilles’ philandering ways. She also hardly objects to her sister remaining on Paris, alone. GOSH! Both of them handled it very well. What it did reveal was Evie’s increasing independence from Series 1. Not a bad thing now that she’ll have to make more decisions on her own, what with Penny being in East Africa and all. She begins this new series with a new perspective on life and her character’s confidence means the audience more readily accepts some of the decisions she makes. Gone are the puppy dog eyes. Gone are the insecure shufflings behinds her more domineering sister. This is the more mature Evie.
Finally Jack and Bea tie the knot. To be honest, I thought they’d try and eek out their relationship a bit more before we got what we’ve been wanting since episode 1. All credit to the BBC for marrying them off, as the ‘will they, won’t they’ scenario has been known to keep a show running for years. I think I’ll be honest and say that I was really pleased that it finally happened. It must be the romantic in me, although I’d hate to admit it. I thought the sequence of their wedding night as they went into their hotel room was rather cheesy though. What on earth was the jazzy music about? That could have been done far more subtly. The fact the Bea is prepared to leave her sister in Paris is also an indication that she too is finally learning to let go. Also, when she agrees to go back to London with Jack, instead of accepting Gille’s offer, it shows that she has the ability to put her relationship above work. OK, this priority might not last long, but at least it lets us know that it is possible for her to alter her priorities later.
The good thing about the opening of the second series is that although the characters remain ostensibly the same, they have all moved on. Therefore, it’s not simply a repeat of the first series or even a stagnant continuation. The development of Evie into a more confident, independent woman and Bea into a woman, who is prepared to trust at least one man and admit that marriage might not be the end of the world, is a natural progression. Underneath, we are all too aware of their vulnerabilities and they do surface from time to time, but they do not dictate the action as much as they did in the previous series. I really enjoyed this episode. I’m glad Jack and Bea got married, instead of dragging it out, and I’m glad Evie seems to stand on her own two feet. I don’t use this word often to describe things, but it was a ‘lovely’ episode. If you're not a romantic at heart, you'll hate this one!