Irma Vep Episode 8, (Series Finale) Recap & Ending Explained: The concluding chapter of the mini-series can really divide the audiences who have been patiently watching Oliver Assays playfully engage with the cinematic medium. While it does feel like it brings things to a satisfying end, the need to deliberately let subplots vanish in thin air wouldn’t sit right with everyone.
Before we dive into the final episode in detail, I’d go ahead and recommend the show nonetheless, for it has some really ambitious highs that it achieves, while also leaving us with the idea of the creator being mortal while their creation remains immortal.
It is clever, poignant, and completely aware of its place in cinematic history (which here is some streaming platform), allowing those who inhabit the space to become a medium through which its looming presence can be visited and revisited.
IRMA VEP EPISODE 8 “THE TERRIBLE WEDDING” (SERIES FINALE) RECAP:
The distortion of cinema as a medium – its magical and haunting presents that wreaks chaos, is introduced right at the onset of the final episode. Instead of the usual “Ya Habibti by Mdou Moctar” playing over the playfully animated title sequence, a superimposed sequence of “Shadows speaking” from the previous episode plays along with the title.
It is almost like Assays speaking to us about the continuity of his ‘movie’ and also commenting on the format of ‘shows’ and their need to follow set parameters.
Anyway, the episode opens with Mira camouflaging her Irma Vep costume under a big coat, arriving at a hotel. She waits in the hotel lobby as a woman (played by Kristen Stewart in an extended cameo) who is followed by her entourage, enters the hotel and goes straight to her room. Mira follows her and takes the room adjacent to hers. It is then revealed that this woman is Lianna (Eamonn’s rockstar girlfriend who was mentioned a few episodes ago).
Meanwhile, Mira stands next to the wall adjacent to Eamonn’s room, overhearing them through the wall before walking through it. She sort of spies on them as Lianna talks about her concert and how she is frustrated with serving a crowd that composes of rabid 11-year-olds. She longs for a more mature audience but sadly that isn’t what her music is about.
The two of them then move to the balcony which allows Mira a sort of right to a passage as she goes even further into their room. Lianna asks Eamonn about Mira being in Paris as he confesses about meeting her once when Mira used him as a therapist.
Mira’s face becomes flustered that he lied about their time together but also instantly accepts it and tries to walk back to her room. Only to find out that she can’t move through the walls anymore (she loses her powers, signaling the beginning of the end of Irma Vep embodying her). So, to avoid conflict and the fear of getting caught, Mira hides in the bathroom as the two of them get ready to have sex. As they are mid-coitus, Mira slowly glides along their bed and narrowly escapes to her room and then out of the hotel for good.
On her way back, she receives a call from her agent Zelda who tells her that a very prominent director (one who she and Mira worship) has offered her a role. Mira is ecstatic and her joy of working with the said director, who sounds a lot like Terrence Malick (making a movie with a gap of 5 years and working with a script that actors are not told about) is quite visible.
He is to adapt the very famous novel Kingdom Come and Mira is supposed to be tapped in as the lead Merideth. However, Zelda asks her to keep the news to herself and tells her that she needs to fly to London for a face-to-face meeting.
The next day on set, Rene meets a young actress who he has called to his office so that she could play the important part of Philipe Guerande’s wife. He talks to her about her background and tells her that in spite of a very traditional part, her character has a twist that makes her stand out in spite of the limited screen time.
He then goes to Mira’s makeup room and thanks her for bringing him back to the project after he had lost his confidence. Then he goes ahead and tells her that the set for the next sequence is pretty creepy and that he got it exorcised just so they can shoot there.
The shoot is about Philipe Guerande, his wife, and their unhappy maid Augustine. Augustine falls into the trap of the Vampires who are still hungry to take revenge on Guerande. So, they devise a plan where the maid lets a door open in the night so that the vampires can enter and kill the newlyweds.
Before proceeding to the next sequence, Mira and Zoe take a break and hit the same place they went to when they first met. Zoe tells Mira how she always felt that Mira was interested in her after she danced for her back when they met. Wile Mira dismisses her claim by saying that she was in love with Laurie and that she still feels entirely trapped by how that relationship is holding her down. She then requests Zoe to drop her at the airport without anyone knowing that she is going away to London. Zoe says that she will do it only if Mira dances for her and she obliges.
On the set the next day, we see the young actress interact with Regina. The two of them talk about Mira and Regina’s debut feature. Wherein, the actress request Regina to make her a part of her feature in any way. Regina agrees, with the promise that she can’t really pay her much to be her assistant.
Next, we see the night sequence of the shoot where the Vampires do a failed attack on Guerande and his wife that ends with him going to the police. The Vampires attack again capturing the wife and the maid.
The final and big sequence is to be shot in the Vampire’s castle where Irma Vep is to be married. Rene arrives early and goes straight to the dance sequence at the wedding. Taking a close look at the choreography, he proceeds to Cynthia’s room who had asked him to come for an important discussion.
Cynthia tells him that the sequence for which she is still waiting on the set and in Paris actually doesn’t need her. In fact, her character Lily Flower is just one of the many people who die and she could easily wrap up and leave the shoot after her dance.
There, we see Rene confessing his real reason for casting her. He tells Cynthia that he cast her because he thought she will serve as a surrogate for Jade because of her ethnicity. However, Cynthia says that she is not disappointed in Rene and that Mira is actually Jade’s surrogate. He also tells her that he wanted her to be a medium through which Jade’s spirit will haunt the movie, in a way confessing that his ghost stories only work because he makes sure they do.
The interaction also ends with one of the episode’s and the show’s most poignant moments. In what feels like a slightly teary-eyed Rene, the director asks Cynthia if she has ever met Jade in Hong Kong. When Cynthia says that she is like a recluse these days, Rene requests her that if she ever meets her can see say “Hello” from his end. The conversation shows that Assays acknowledges the weight of Maggie Cheung’s presence in his life and his movies, making this scene feel like his way of paying tribute to the years they had with each other.
After Cynthia completes her scene and vanishes; never to be seen again, the young actress interacts with her drama school friends and tells them that she is playing the part of the woman who kills Mira’s character on Irma Vep. While her friends dismiss Rene’s idea of remaking a classic that is 100 years old, they bring up the point of the director’s fantasy of seeing Mira in a catsuit.
On set, Rene meets Mira before they shoot the final sequence. The two of them discuss Mira’s secret visit to London and that Rene has spies all over. The exchange brings up the point where Mira thanks Rene for casting her as Irma Vep. She thinks that it’s because of Irma Vep that she was able to secure the part of Meredith in ‘Kingdom Come.’
Another point that this conversation makes is how actors are often too afraid to take up a part because they think they will dissolve in it. Rene says that characters are like spirits that actors should inhibit and when it’s time to say goodbye to the character, the spirits leave them too. This also explains the opening sequences where Mira couldn’t walk past the wall and lost her power midway. It was almost as if Irma Vep was slowly saying bye to Mira’s body because she doesn’t need her anymore. Mira realizes that she is about to shed one part of darkness to inhabit light (i.e playing the part of Meredith), also understanding that it is much easier to take in the darkness than it is to take in the light.
Next, we see the final sequence of the show, the scene where the police raid Irma Vep’s wedding celebration mid-way, causing a panic that kills most of them. When the groom is killed Irma goes to the basement to kill their captive, but the sequence is intercut with one of Musidora’s memoirs.
It is the scene where Musidora is to be shot in the final sequence as well. In what feels like another one of the episode’s dig at the present state of filmmaking – quite specifically the recent prop gun that killed a crew member, Musidora is hit by a bullet and is in extreme pain. While the sequence doesn’t serve as anything more than the final episode’s forced narrative turn, it does feel like an important quip on gun control on movie sets.
We then move to Mira’s hotel where Gregory is waiting in the hotel lobby with flowers in his hands. Since Mira’s chauffeur has arrived, Gregory enquires about her whereabouts only to know that Mira had already checked out early morning. One of Dreamscape’s executives arrives and tells Gregory who is unable to reach Mira, that he will contact Zelda and find out. When he does call Zelda, even she dodges his call.
People at the Dreamscape photoshoot are ready for the day’s shoot, but without Mira, they can’t proceed. One of Gautier’s men calls him and tells him that Mira is probably going to do a ‘no show,’ and whether they should sue her for it. Gautier dismisses him and says that he has been expecting this and that it would be silly of them to sue a star like Mira Harberg.
Again, going against expectation and dodging another conflict, Oliver Assays upholds the viewers’ need for drama to take us to the more intimate and intelligent stuff that the show stands for. We are now in Rene’s therapist’s office. He looks in much better shape than he did when we first saw him, relaying the show’s internal struggle and conflict. Rene accepts that living his fantasies again was one of the reasons why he did Irma Vep and as Mira leaves the set, the bubble of his fantasy is about to burst.
But, instead of the usual melancholy he feels in such cases, he is left with a sort of catharsis. He accepts that it is time to move on, but also accepts that a trace of that melancholy – i..e the film/show he has created will live on. Birth of a film and the life it inhabits, announcing cinema’s immortal nature is also brought up. Also, cinema magic (black magic) is an afterthought that we are left with. The therapist tells him that he has to accept the dullness of life and create more of his fantasies by accepting the past and moving on.
IRMA VEP EPISODE 8 “THE TERRIBLE WEDDING” (SERIES FINALE) ENDING EXPLAINED:
The ending of final episode of Irma Vep takes place in Rene’s apartment. He is seen sitting on the couch watching the final edit of his film before he moves to the next room to receive a call. It is a call from Rene’s wife who tells him that their kids are really happy living in the countryside but she isn’t.
Rene tells her that he is finally done with Irma Vep, while his wife tells him that he hasn’t contacted them for two weeks. In another one of the show’s moving moments, the director accepts that he has created something and everyone from Mira to the crew has moved on to other films. His wife tells him that it is always like this and that Rene should be used to this void of not being able to create anything for a while.
Just then, as Rene is on the call and the final edit of the film is playing on his home screen, we see Irma Vep escaping out of the screen and listening to Rene telling his wife that she loves her and that is the ultimate truth.
So, after listening to the conversation, the spirit of Irma Vep moves away from Rene as he accepts that the love he has for the movies is big, but the love he has for his wife is even bigger. The moving away of Irma Vep from Rene can be seen as the spirit’s way of leaving him to find another vessel that she can haunt.
Irma Vep then uses her powers to lift herself up from Rene’s apartment, through the roof; leading us to see the nightscape of Paris once again. As expected, the show ends with Irma on the roof, facing against the screen, looking toward Paris’ beauty.