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SPOILER ALERT! Reading this article reveals key points of this program! How about watching it first?

Remember 1941, when all Villeneuve had to deal with was incompetent communists, increasingly aggressive Germans and, all right, maybe an execution or ten? Those were the days. The spring and summer of 1942 ushered in an entirely different era of anguish for the conquered people of Europe, one so brutal in scale that even those in active resistance could not have imagined the full scope. Hitler, if it could be believed, was just getting started, and, slowly but surely, the desperation to survive at any cost began to trickle into every corner of society. Thank goodness for people like…

The leader
Marie seems to have really found herself as a resistance fighter. Working for Cremieux in his one remaining business holding, she is quickly enrolled in his true scheme – producing collaboration-bashing pamphlets to distribute in the occupied north zone. It’s risky, but with the initially reluctant help of Bériot, the school basement has become the perfect newsroom from which to really go after the Germans – and right under their noses. All seems to be going well, until…

The train
A train full of foreign Jews must stop in Villeneuve for several days. Unable to house them anywhere else, Larcher forces Beriot to set them up in the school. Of course all good people agree this is a terrible situation, but… surely French Jews or their spouses won’t be affected. As history has taught us, no one yet understood how quickly things would devolve beyond their worst nightmares.

Not only are the people from the train subjected to inhumane treatment and near starvation, the Germans command the local police to round up any non-French Jewish person living in Villeneuve. Cremieux, on a mission with Bériot to move the printing press, is thus not there to protect his wife and daughter from the roundup, a ridiculous operation which increases in drama by the hour as the local officials must perform cold-blooded mathematical hijinks to make the German quota of 28 Jews. That’s 28, including…

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Nicolas Gob as Jean Marchetti in A French Village

The hero
A series of very unfortunate events leads even Madame Morhange, though she is a French citizen, to get rounded up and imprisoned. Stuck among people enduring unimaginable strain and she, herself, not in the best health, she nevertheless calls upon the indomitable strength forged by two decades in the elementary classroom and helps maintain some semblance of sanity in a truly insane situation. Of course, she doesn’t yet know the horrors that await her and her fellow prisoners when they leave Villeneuve. People are on the list, people are off the list – it’s crazy. And no one is going crazier than…

The liar
Marchetti sure knows how to pick ’em. Charmed by lovely Rita, an illegal Belgian Jewish woman living with her mother, ol’ Dudley Do-Wrong goes all kinds of extra miles to make her his own. Unfortunately, that includes having her mother arrested under the crushing German pressure to make quota. Rita is content to subsequently live in secret with him, even choosing to keep the baby with which she has become pregnant, until she finds out the truth. Still, Marchetti loves and wants to save her, and plays every security force against each other to do it. Rita, unwilling to compromise herself further with this jerk, makes a beeline for Switzerland, but not before stopping in on…

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Bériot (François Loriquet) and Cremieux (Laurent Bateau) in A French Village

La Resistance
Cremieux, now in hiding after his printing press stunt, has thrown himself into The Cause… until Marchetti finds him and twists him with lies about getting his family out of the camp. Cremieux must now go against his Resistance gang who have only just tied up an alliance with the Communists! DAMMIT, SIR. Do you know how long it takes just to get a meeting with those guys? Anyway, though Marie has made a series of smart moves, including recruiting a (handsome) radio operator who literally fell from the sky, it all goes to hell when her son, Raoul, blows his coverage and Cremieux must make the ultimate sacrifice to make things right. Meanwhile…

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Richard Sammel as Heinrich Müller in A French Village

Love lost and found (and lost)
Larcher and Hortense, having finally come to a terse “arrangement,” seem to be warming slightly to each other again, for the sake of the household. In fact, Larcher is finally able to know a modicum of happiness as his joy at Sarah’s return blooms into love. When Sarah is threatened once again with arrest and transport, Hortense, for the sake of Daniel, even thinks of another person long enough to save Sarah’s life. There is hope for Hortense, yet! Wait. No, there isn’t. Because, guess who’s back? Müller. And it doesn’t take him long to get back to his favorite game: destroying people from the inside out. Hortense returns to his bed, leaving Larcher to once again pick up the pieces.

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About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.