When a show starts with dialogue as wicked as what we enjoyed between Sam and Philippe in 1955, you know you’re in for an entertaining hour.
Every word from Spade’s mouth was golden, and Philippe did his best to match him step for step.
Philippe: You understand what I’m saying?
Sam: Not really, but then I was too busy wondering what day you might finish talking to listen.
Philippe Saint Andre talks a good game and tries to act as if he’s got the world on a string, but like most criminals, he’s got little else going for him, and it shows.
Sam: That’s five hundred thousand francs.
Philippe: Five hundred thousand. That’s a lot of francs.
Sam: A whole lot.
Philippe: What am I supposed to do with it?
Sam: Buy yourself a new boat and row yourself the fuck out of here.
Philippe: Where would I go?
Sam: I hear Norway needs more assholes.
Still, it makes the two worthy adversaries, and there are more than enough of them in a similar respect to Sam for him to get a little frustrated at the prospect.
The first conversation was in 1955, and Sam remains in France. He’s either got a hell of a lot of patience, or he’s in love. As it turns out, he’s got a little of both, making him a striking man who thinks before acting.
And that’s why he’s usually the one making the demands instead of being on the receiving end.
Bozouls is filled with memories of Gabrielle and the choices he made that led him to remain in the small French town.
Sam expected to find trouble in Bozouls. He finds it wherever he goes. He never expected to find love.
As in other aspects of his life, he also expected that if something were to come between him and Gabrielle, it would be his penchant for leaving.
So I might leave you one day. You might leave me one day. Sounds like every love story I’ve ever heard.
Instead, it was her illness that was destined to tear them apart. For a man like Sam Spade, the idea of mutually assured destruction was a challenge he couldn’t pass up.
He was all in with his lady love, and it seemed to comfort him knowing that, for once, he wasn’t holding all the cards.
Years later, Gabrielle is gone, and he’s still in Bozouls, seemingly putting everything else behind him.
Then, someone murdered six nuns, a savage crime that rocked the sleepy town. Just like the story he shared with Gabrielle about another man’s complacency, Sam is dragged back into the past.
Just like in his relationship with Gabrielle, his past has always been beckoning. He’d just learned to live with the smaller intrusions, such as Jean-Pierre‘s anger.
Compared to what he’d encountered in the past, Jean-Pierre was a mere nuisance. Six nuns losing their lives when Sam was so connected to the convent is another story.
It’s almost as if someone pulled one over on him while he was on watch.
Can this flurry of action from all angles pertain to those murders?
It seems impossible that they’ll all merge in some way, but it’s even less plausible that all of a sudden, after a restful existence where swimming nude in his pool is his favorite hobby, Sam is torn in many directions, with multiple people wanting a piece of him.
It wouldn’t add up.
So, everything must be connected. But how?
Bozouls is filled with hauntings. Sam’s past is creeping up on him again, of course, and he sees Gabrielle’s memory in every nook and cranny.
Jean-Pierre can’t shake the war or a particular woman he left behind there. He asks after her, but as deeply as he loves Marguerite, it’s hard to imagine he’s left behind a lover.
He also cannot let go of the woman he loved as a teen — Gabrielle — and what he believed his relationship with her (working, natch) would mean to his life long-term.
Sam and Jean-Pierre had a decent conversation about Jean-Pierre’s desires to get what he believes he’s owed in terms of the vineyard. He’s not irrational in his wishes. But why does everyone have to ruin every step they make in the right direction?
I’m not going to fight you anymore. If I want you dead, I just have to wait. And from what I can see, the wait won’t be long.
He was making headway, and Sam seemed to understand his plight at least. Sam cares for Marguerite, too. He would never want her to be left without a secure future. But the way to Sam’s heart and his compassion isn’t through a snotty attitude.
Teresa is more haunted than a girl her age should ever be, from her mother to Gabrielle to the abandonment by her father. That was topped with witnessing the murders. Yet Teresa doesn’t crumble.
She’s your typical teenage girl, hiding her feelings and taking refuge in fashion, music, flirting, and using her whip-smart mouth that challenges Sam every step of the way, and Cara Bossom is knocking it out of the park. Her future is bright.
Sam called it when he said she pivoted dramatically in a matter of days. Until a few days ago, she hoped to reconnect with her father. Now, she hopes he never returns and wants to stay with Sam.
Nothing made me happier in that regard than when Sam realized Philippe’s arranged meeting at the cemetery could have been a way to get to Teresa.
If Sam couldn’t care for a young girl, entrusting her to the convent, he could care for a teenager. His instincts are telling him so. Seeing Teresa in Gabrielle’s room, trying on her clothes, and reminiscing about his late wife endeared him to her even more.
He’ll sure have his hands full, though. Can anything prepare you for life with a teenager? And just when he thinks she’s safe, a break-in proves otherwise.
The hour ends with another dramatic development: as Sam is fighting for his life against an intruder, Teresa calls after him, and a gunshot rings out.
Sam’s life sure has gotten exciting of late, and with three episodes remaining, it’s bound to pick up speed.
The main mystery was barely touched upon, but we did get a guest appearance by Dean Winters as a wisecracking (why bother noting that when all of these characters crack-wise?) member of the clergy’s investigation division or something.
(As an aside, be sure to check out the Monsieur Spade quotes. I’m a sucker for them!)
With Tom Fontana at the helm, using at least one actor who starred in his epic prison drama OZ is a treat.
Somehow, I missed his name, but the character Winters plays said he’s “on their side” if they know what he means. What side is that? The side of justice? Wanting them to be in charge of the investigation. It was a tantalizing quip that must mean more.
Another mystery comes by way of Marguerite and the mysterious visitor with a message from a dying man. Will that tie into the overarching story or just act as a way to better flesh out her character?
And who the heck are the Fitzsimmons? I knew they were up to no good and trying to gain access to his home, but why? How do they fit in?
There are still so many questions, and finding the answers should be a lot of fun.
Because one thing we do know: Monsieur Spade is just what the doctor ordered if you’re a fan of sarcasm and terrific one-liners.
When it was first announced that Clive Owen had landed the role of Sam Spade, some naysayers were out there. But I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
If you’ve made it this far in the discussion, I’d love to hear from you. I know people are finding their way here, but I have not found anyone willing to share their thoughts on the show.
Maybe you’ll consider dropping a comment below!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.
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