After a lengthy hiatus typical of the Netflix model, Emily in Paris is back for a vibrant, super fun third season! Honestly, I felt a bit of a sophomore slump with their previous effort. 2020’s debut season however was one of my favorite comfort-watching experiences. I am so thrilled to report that this time around, creator/showrunner Darren Star (Younger, Sex and the City) has found a return to the same vibes, yet also a sort of evolution that allows for character growth and hilarious moments to exist in equal measure. Once I started my binge, I could not stop. I have no doubt that fans of the series will gobble season three down like a warm slice of apple pie, or perhaps akin to a tasty dish courtesy of Chef Gabriel.
Just as a refresher, last we left Emily (Lily Collins) was in the exciting finale of season two, wherein she stood at a crossroads between two massive job opportunities. On one hand, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and the entire French office quit Savoir, departing to open a firm of their own they will go on to call Agence Grateau. On the other, Madeline (Kate Walsh), Emily’s deeply pregnant boss at Savoir, now appears to be staying permanently in Paris, in desperate need of Emily’s help to rebuild and restaff. Due to the pregnancy and the complicated nature of getting Agence Grateau fully off the ground, it becomes nearly impossible for Emily to commit fully in either direction.
Pulled between two rival ad agencies, Emily must of course eventually make a choice one way or another. After all, as she learns, even not making a choice is, in itself, a choice. Sylvie, Luc (Bruno Gouery), and Julien (Samuel Arnold) may not be able to survive without Emily’s expertise, and likewise Madeline may crumble under the mounting pressures from the Gilbert Group if Emily cannot plug the hemorrhaging nature of their client list. Remaining faithfully by Emily’s side despite a few road blocks last season, Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) is still destined for a return home to London. Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) continues happily dating Camille (Camille Razat), while trying everything in his power to transform his restaurant collaboration with Antoine (William Abadie) into a success story. Mindy (Ashley Park) searches for her calling in the music scene, still passionately exploring her relationship with Benoit (Kevin Dias).
One of my favorite aspects about this season is that we get so much more time with many of the characters, which in turn helps them to feel more well-rounded. Madeline proves a force not to be underestimated, Pierre Cadault (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) is far less frustrating than before, and Mindy is lovable and blunt. As a result, when the big moments hit, they have an even greater impact. Another thing I loved is that unlike some comedies that simply forge forward and refuse to acknowledge the past, Emily in Paris constantly references moments from seasons gone, and appreciates its tertiary players—everything from Ringarde to Emily’s ex-boyfriend to that awkward storyline in the first season where Emily sleeps with a much-younger man are recalled.
Two noteworthy new characters this time around are Nicolas De Leon (Paul Forman), an old schoolfriend of Mindy’s who also happens to run his family’s conglomerate empire JVMA, and Sofia (Melia Kreiling), an artist who comes to attend a show at Camille’s gallery. Both characters come into play for the season in a major way, providing roadblocks and unforeseen potential for those that become engulfed in their orbit. As per usual, we are treated to several great musical numbers—this time around, I think my favorites were renditions of “Alfie” and “Shallow.”
One thing season three has in spades is a real sense of spectacle. Hot air balloon dates, extravagant parties, fashion disasters and gasp-worthy reveals, and grand gestures are peppered throughout. A stronger focus has returned to Emily’s career and social media presence—both were elements I found severely lacking in season two. There is also a shifting love triangle, which of course complicates things for nearly everybody. Last year, I was firmly Team Gabriel, but Team Alfie is hard to resist. The chemistry Lily Collins shares with both Lucas Bravo and Lucien Laviscount truly speaks for itself. Par for the course, Emily in Paris once again closes out in dramatic fireworks that promise more to come. If Netflix grants a renewal to this unique show, I have no doubt that Darren Star and creatives will forge ahead confidently, having hit the narrative sweet-spot.
Emily in Paris applies for a work visa when the third season debuts exclusively to Netflix on Wednesday, December 21st.