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The Ending Of Lupin Season 1 Explained

Netflix's mystery heist drama Lupin is a global hit just a week after its early January debut, overtaking the similarly popular regency romance Bridgerton in several countries' top ten lists. The French series follows Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a master thief determined to avenge his father Babakar's death 25 years after he was framed for a crime he never committed and allegedly died by suicide when Assane was still a teen. To do this, he plans to take down the very people who framed his father: the Pellegrinis — a prominent, affluent, and criminal family who mercilessly wield their considerable influence over the police and political leaders. The Pellegrinis framed Assane's father — an immigrant from Senegal and their employee — for stealing a necklace once belonging to Queen Marie Antoinette, which rendered Assane an orphan. 

To take down the Pelligrinis, Assane — inspired by the adventures of Maurice Leblanc's "gentleman thief" and master of disguise Arsène Lupin first created in 1905 — moves to commit the crime his father was pinned for and put the corrupt Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre) away for good. In the process, his path crosses with the likes of journalist Fabienne Bériot (Anne Benoît), Detective Youssef Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab), and his separated wife, Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), and their son, Raoul (Etan Simon), among many more. As Assane deploys each new step of his plan, the cleverness and charm of this all-out master of disguise and thievery help him swiftly evade the police, but the fifth episode and the end of part one, things clearly take a downward turn for Assane. 

One of his only allies, Bériot, may have met her end and Detective Guedira — who has been on to Assane's trickery since linking his moves to Leblanc's novels about Lupin — may have finally caught up to him, even though his fellow detectives and superiors have doubted him just about every step of the way. Perhaps most concerning, though, is whether Hubert has caught on to Lupin and, if he has, what he has in store for the man trying to expose his criminal empire. 

Here's the ending of part one of Lupin season 1, explained. 

Lupin's season 1 finale reveals the death of one character and the plot to catch another

The episode opens by re-confirming a terrible truth: Hubert was successful in his murder attempt of Fabienne Bériot. With one of the only people in the thief's corner now out of the picture and Assane feeling responsible for her death, Hubert has made his opponent vulnerable. But Fabienne's death is far from Hubert's last attack on the gentleman thief. 

After hearing about the journalist's passing, Ben, Assane's long-time friend from private school and a jeweler, suggests his friend truly consider the stakes. Not just for his own life but that of his wife and child. While most of the series has tiptoed around confirming the nature of Claire and Assane's present-day relationship, the conclusion of the first five episodes of Lupin's first season spends most of its time taking focusing on the father and husband Assane was and is, not the thief. Dancing between the present and flashbacks, viewers are given a much deeper and focused look at Assane's family life, with the present-day featuring them first attending a birthday party. After arriving at Claire's apartment, Assane gives Raoul a present that becomes important later on — a costume inspired by the Lupin books. When Claire and Assane are seemingly ready to part ways, he invites her to join him and Raoul for the rest of the day on a train ride. It's seemingly disruptive to her plans, but she agrees. 

While on the train, their relationship picks up where they left off, and it's easy to see how they fell in love. But that reconnection is interrupted when, following a selfie with his family, Assane catches one of Hubert's henchmen in the background of the photo. Quickly, Assane busts out Raoul's cake, lights the candles, and gets the entire car to sing him Happy Birthday. Assane then begins to walk off, snatching some keys off a nearby operator and drawing Hubert's henchman out. 

Assane must fight off both Hubert's henchman and Claire's distrust of him

Once in a safer place, Assane and the henchman fight it out before the thief successfully locks the other man in a storage carriage on the train, but he's not gone for good. Unfortunately, after returning to his seat, Assane uncovers that the man has gotten out just as they've arrived at their destination. He sits with the family before Assane tells Claire and Raoul to leave and begins to hatch a set-up that results in him planting a diamond on the henchman, the police arriving, and carting Assane's antagonist off. 

While Assane has one that battle, a new one awaits him with Claire, who is eager to know who the man on the train was. As the trio walks the beach, Raoul is occupied with the Lupin celebration around him, encouraging his parents to indulge in his interests. But Claire has the man from the train on her mind. When prodded, Assane remains vague, telling Claire that it has something to do with his father and that he will be more forthcoming once everything's settled. But Claire is tired of the sketchiness and lies and demands that Assane finally open up to her. That's when the unthinkable happens — neither Claire nor Assane can find Raoul. He's lost, and tracking him down is seemingly impossible in a sea of people dressed as the famous Lupin character. 

Soon after, it's revealed that Hubert's man has snatched Raoul from the train and that Hubert is now fully on to Assane and in possession of a serious bargaining chip despite not wanting to be. As viewers are returned to the beach, Assane and Claire are frantic until the thief here's someone calls out. When Assane turns, he finds none other than the detective who had been chasing him all along — Youssef. 


A series of flashbacks help paint Lupin as a full circle story

Before Raul is snatched, Lupin shows audiences a series of flashbacks that contextualize Assane and Claire's relationship. Before arriving at the beach, we see Claire speaking to her therapist about the kind of man Assane is. Between glimpses of his work fooling police and tricking an older woman into giving him her expensive and precious valuables, Claire describes behavior we've seen from Assane in the present day. Despite relaying that she feels like they could be soulmates, she also sees major red flags, and it makes her unsure of the nature of their relationship and whether she wants to be something more with him. She doesn't really know who he is — including what he does — and it concerns her. 

In a flashback following their trio's arrival on the train, viewers are shown another side of Assane — the philanderer. While out to lunch with Ben, Juliette Pellegrini — Hubert's daughter — arrives, and Assane follows her to the bathroom. The two are flirty, and it soon becomes clear that Assane is having an affair. While Juliette is more committed than ever to their tryst, he tells her it was a mistake and breaks it off with the distraught Pellegrini. 

Later, in yet another flashback, Assane and Claire sit across from each other at a restaurant, despite her request to meet in a quiet and private place. This is when she breaks the news: she's pregnant. It's clear Claire is unsure how he will respond, but his reaction is one of overwhelming positivity. Assane announces to the restaurant that he is an expectant father before quickly seeing the older woman he stole jewels from and telling Claire that they should leave.  

The final time jump once again features the couple, only this time they're going back and forth about baby names. Their baby's due date is then also revealed to be December 11 — the day of Lupin writer Maurice Leblanc's birthday. It's the same day they go to the beach in the present day, where Raoul dresses up and is snatched from the crowd. 

Assane will have to take on Hubert, the police, and their corruption in an even bigger way for part 2

Lupin is a series that tackles complex and serious themes about race, class, systemic corruption, and more while deftly maintaining a balance of adventure, action, and comedy. While much of Part 1's ending was a noticeable divergence from the tone, pacing, and structure of earlier episodes, it was key to understanding how Assane had gotten to the point he did and where he would go next. The constant pivoting between the present and past in episode 5 wasn't just to tell us more about Claire and Assane's relationship. It was about helping viewers see how Assane's actions and outlook, in a society very much working against him, could be costing him a chance at a real life. It was also about Assane's past catching up to him in tangible and dangerous ways. 

The finale helped carry the Netflix series into its next chapter, where Assane will have to likely have open up about who he is to those like Claire and Youssef. They can and will likely help him, but only if he and they trust each other. Unlike before, where hiding what he did helped protect those he cared about, the thief's identity has been blown by the police and the one person he's trying to take down. With both corrupt parties on his trail, Assane has more to do than avenge his father's death. He must beat back the web of corruption and affluence that shields Hubert, stay alive, and also save his son.