In episode 4, Transfers takes the viewer deeper inside the illegal transfer business, showing the perspective of a buyer who is an average person and showing the workings of a mass body theft scam. The investigative process used by the BATI is also followed closely, and where it all goes wrong is revealed. There is unjust bias among the BATI and there are important people exerting undue influence. There are BATI officers who are obsessed with following their own agenda. But those could all be overcome. It’s the major leaks from a highly placed person in the BATI to a ringleader in the transfer traffickers that foil the BATI every time.
Florian is still working his way through his philosophical and moral crises. Sophie is discouraged by his continued exploration of Sylvain’s life, but her uncle, Vautier, tries to reassure her that this is a normal part of the process for many transfers. As Sylvain, Florian is making waves by taking a stand on transfer issues, which causes everyone around him to reassess him, their relationship and their own opinions.
He’s not exactly keeping his head down and blending in so that he can quietly slip away with Sophie and the kids in a few months. Instead, Captain Sylvain Bernard is becoming more famous, and more controversial, than ever.
The episode opens on a group of young men and women stripping naked in a public dressing room. They burn their ID in a barrel and sort their clothing into communal piles. Everyone puts on identical, shapeless undergarments and wishes each other “Happy Judgement Day,” as they leave the room.
Meanwhile, Father Luc is speaking about faith at a fundraising gala and joking about how politicians just don’t get it.
Back at the death cult, a woman in white joins the nearly naked people. They’re happy to see her. She says, “It’s time to leave this absurd life behind.” One attractive blonde woman can’t wait to be first, and shoots herself in the head. Everyone is startled, then smiles up at the woman in white, who wishes them a peaceful death. She turns on a gas generator and puts on a gas mask.
The bodies quickly pass out. Men rush in and turn the generator off. The woman tells the leader, Dangeac, that there are 28 survivors. They agree the 29th was a waste of a good body. He asks if the bodies have severed all ties with their families. She tells him they have, since they intended to die. He says that 28 bodies sounds like a lot, but they never have a shortage of customers. As they talk, he sorts through a bin of the bodies’ personal items and takes anything of value.
The woman asks for an advance on her pay. Dangeac nods to one of his men, who stands up and shoots her. It’s the “doctor” who performed Clara and Alexandra’s transfer.
Guess nobody wants to transfer into the body of a middle-aged woman.
While Dangeac is collecting his merchandise, Father Luc is leading his benefactors in prayer.
“Like me, you believe the world is not as civilised as claimed. Like me you believe that society, the economy, the market should work to restore strong moral values. Like me, you find it outrageous that scientists work hand in hand with organized crime. Like me, you demand a complete end to transfers. In fact, the only difference between you and me is that you have money. The money my campaign needs. I’m not good at money, so I invited a friend who is. He’s supported me for years, and you can take as read his probity, humanity, and spirituality. Ladies and gentlemen, my friend, Paul Dangeac!”
It’s the same Dangeac. The crowd leaps to their feet to cheer for him. He makes a grand entrance, strolls through the crowd, and heads straight to the stage to stand in the spotlight with Father Luc, after giving him a big hug.
Woyzeck still has Florian at gunpoint. She plays with him a bit to make sure he understands the situation: She has no omega brand, so she’s not a therapeutic transplant into a child who was braindead. He figures out that she’s an adult man who caused Thomas’ bike accident on purpose. He moves toward her, but underestimates her. She throws him on the table and points the gun at his head, saying she couldn’t let him leave town. She needs him to work for her at the BATI and if he doesn’t, his family is in danger.
Florian gives in at the mention of his family, so Woyzeck lets him up and puts the gun away. She wants him to use his position to look into December 22nd of last year. Florian threatens to expose her if she hurts his family, but she reminds him that they’re both transfers and can expose each other. He should consider her a family friend from now on, and everything will be fine.
The death cult members wake up strapped to cots, with Dangeac and his men discussing what price they’ll each sell for. One asks Dangeac if it’s Judgement Day. Father Luc’s biggest supporter tells her, “God is dead.”
Florian rushes straight to the family home to warn Sophie, but Fausto has beat him there. She’s in a dress and pretending to be Liza’s mother, who has to go to an out of town funeral. Sophie has already agreed to let Liza stay with them while her mother is gone. Fausto includes several coded threats and references in the conversation, referring to how sad it is when one loses a loved one, how wonderful silence is, December 22nd and the importance of solidarity. Sophie agrees that Thomas will enjoy the company. She’s not interested in Florian’s views on the subject, since she’s still miffed over his TV appearance.
A middle-aged man is sitting in a park with his dog when a stranger approaches him, asks if his name is Jacques Lantier, and gives him a flashdrive. The stranger says he can change his life, if he wants to, then moves away quickly.
Fabrice meets with Gabe through hologram technology in order to tell the BATI what he knows about the traffickers’ transfer business, in exchange for a plea deal. He knows about the sale of the death cult members, but doesn’t have many details. Before he leaves, Gabe asks if Fabrice has noticed any differences in Sylvain. Fabrice says his father has always been a lunatic.
Damien Volber is interviewed by the press on the causeway outside the Omega Center: “What we’re witnessing today is shameful. Our leaders and their BATI henchmen mean to brand illegal transfers with an omega, like therapeutic transfers.”
Reporter: “Isn’t that the best way to identify all transfers?”
Damien: “With no distinction? The branding of therapeutic transfers was introduced so they wouldn’t be liable for the donor’s deeds. That’s what the omega sign meant. It wasn’t meant to stigmatize transfers.”
Reporter: “But some did escape.”
While Damien is being interviewed, a branding station is set up and van loads of transfers arrive. Gabe, Florian and Béatrice listen to Damien’s interview on the radio on the drive over.
Reporter: “A dangerous transfer is at large. The government had to react strongly.”
Damien: “Illegal transfers should be in prison, not here. The others are sick people. They need a transfer to survive. This act puts them and murderers in the same basket!”
The BATI arrive and the press rush to ask “Captain Bernard” his opinion on the branding measure and other current events. Mareuil speaks for him. “Captain Bernard and his colleagues are carrying out a government order: to brand all of the transfers we’re aware of, and by doing so, better protect the public.”
Dangeac watches from a distance, then returns to Father Luc, who has brought his celebrity trailer. Father Luc is going over his speech, which was written by Dangeac’s political team. Dangeac is also Luc’s political advisor, in addition to providing financial backing. They argue over whether Father Luc should add more about transfer trafficking to the speech, but Dangeac thinks Luc should stick to systematic branding, one of his long-term issues. They’re finally making progress on it and should emphasize that it was their idea, not the government’s. Dangeac thinks people are afraid of transfers, not traffickers.
He also asks Luc if knows any traffickers, and Father Luc says no. Dangeac asks in order to make his point that transfers are more common than traffickers, but it also lets us know that Father Luc isn’t part of Dangeac’s trafficking scheme.
Father Luc: “I was the first to demand systematic branding. The government is right to introduce it today. It was time to admit all transfers are equal. We’ll look after the transfers. These creatures will never be human beings again.”
The brand is a deep burn/tattoo and Gabe is particularly rough with the transfers, yelling, “Guilty” each time he slides the brand home. They all scream in pain. Gabe and Béatrice agree with everything Father Luc is saying. Between that, the screams and Father Luc’s words, Florian finally snaps. He’s been letting Béatrice and Gabe do the branding. When Mareuil tells him to take over for Béatrice for a photo op, he has a moment of truth.
Florian loudly refuses to brand anyone and walks out of the branding tent, shoving away reporters and others who try to speak to him. Damien Volber is more impressed than ever, but Father Luc and Dangeac are VERY DISAPPOINTED in this behavior.
Florian drives off somewhere, but Mareuil catches up to him and gives him the dressing down he’s due for embarrassing his boss in public. “Blah, blah, blah, insubordination, don’t challenge my authority, we enforce the law, blah, blah, blah.”
It’s a great scene though, because the two actors have seriously intense chemistry, and they get right up in each other’s faces. Each knows the other has a point, but neither is going to back down. Gabe and Béatrice stand at a distance and watch, t
aking bets on who’ll throw the first punch discussing whether “Sylvain” is a transfer or not. Gabe is putting the pieces together.
Florian tells Mareuil that he refused to brand the transfers because, “This branding is a farce. I’ve never seen anything so debasing… To stop a reversion, locking up transfers as a precaution is borderline. And now you want to brand them like cattle? What will be next? Volber’s right to say we blindly obey.”
Mareuil: “What do you think we should do? Stage a coup and put Volber and his transfers in power? Or, better still, Father Luc, who really will restrict our freedoms.”
Florian: “We obey our consciences. How about that? Look at us, sir. People are afraid of us.”
Florian assumes that everyone has a conscience to follow.
Mareuil says that he should suspend Florian, but he thinks that would make Florian happy. He has a better idea in mind. He sends the rest of the force out to investigate the 30 missing people who the traffickers will be trying to sell, but puts Florian and Béatrice on tip-off follow-up. They have to check out each hotline call which reported a suspicious person who might be a transfer, to see if it’s worth following up.
Béatrice isn’t happy to be put on the boring assignment, speaking to disgruntled roommates and neighbors all day, but Mareuil makes her stay with her partner. Florian and Béatrice argue. He tries to convince her that they need to stick together as a team. She tells him that she’s tried being a team with him, but all he does is think about himself.
Béatrice, the pinnacle of good judgement, ironically figures out what a jerk the real Sylvain was after he turns into Florian, a nearly ideal man. Granted, he’s confused and making mistakes around her, but he’s not the egotistical misogynist Sylvain was.
The tip-off calls are about husbands who left their wives for younger women, neighbors fighting with neighbors, and unhappy roommates. Florian gives up and decides to research December 22nd, instead.
Meanwhile, Gabe investigates the possibility that Sylvain is a transfer instead of working on the missing persons case. He visits the hospital where Sylvain had his surgery and speaks to the nurse who was at the nurse’s station while SYlvain was a patient. She tells him that Sylvain was under observation for 48 hours after his surgery, until the hostage incident in which the professor who was supervising Sylvain’s case was killed. Gabe asks to see the surveillance footage of Sylvain’s room during his coma.
The date December 22nd leads them to Woyzeck’s family home, which is a crime scene that’s been closed up since Woyzeck’s wife, Ivana, and daughters, Dana, 13, and Dorata, 7, were murdered a few days before Christmas. Woyzeck was into organized crime such as prostitution and gambling, and was moving into the trafficking for transfers business.
The BATI wanted his wife, Ivana, to testify against him. The BATI assume that Woyzeck murdered his family so they couldn’t talk. In the holographic recreation of the crime scene which Béatrice brought, their bodies are scattered around the room. After the murders, Woyzeck transferred into a new body and couldn’t be traced. He’s never been caught.
Florian looks at the family portrait hanging over the fireplace. Béatrice wants to know why they’re there, but Florian lies to her, saying the date came to him while he slept. She asks if his memory is coming back. When he says no, she’s not impressed, and walks out.
Florian goes to Woyzeck, who admits that he’s done many terrible things in his life, but claims that he didn’t kill his family. Woyzeck explains that he was making money in the illegal transfer business until someone informed on him to the BATI. He went into hiding as Bertier at the Omega Centre and wasn’t home on December 22nd. He was still Bertier when he escaped with Bao, then he transferred into Liza.
He’s had months to think over who killed his family. Sylvain and the BATI are still obvious choices. In order to investigate further, Woyzeck needs an inside man at the BATI. Enter Florian. One of the guys who was involved in the transfer between the two pianists was part of Woyzeck’s old network, and is also the man who killed his family. Florian and Woyzeck are looking for the same man. By pursuing him, Florian helps them both.
Father Luc is back at his home church, watching a news report about the day’s operation at the Omega Centre. The press is fascinated by Sylvain and Damien Volber is thrilled by his actions. Luc is furious. He stabs at the button to stop the news stream, then turns to Viviane, who is waiting, to harangue her for not keeping the BATI better in line with his church’s point of view. He hopes she’ll be of more use once she’s ordained as a nun.
Dangeac checks on his people’s readiness for the auction. There are photos of the merchandise being taken and buyers are lining up. One of the potential buyers, Jacques Lantier, the man who was given the flashdrive, actively considers the option. He thinks out loud at a hooker he runs into on the street, assuming that it’s safe, since he doesn’t know her.
He has the usual middle class, middle-aged, unsatisfying life. His marriage has grown stale and he has enough savings to buy a young handsome body for himself. For his mid-life crisis, he could run away with a young, attractive version of himself instead of an attractive young woman.
The hooker sees through this scam for what it is, since she too is in the business of selling human flesh as illusion and wish-fulfillment. She tries to give Lantier a clue, but he’s busy with his fantasy. Once the hooker is certain that he’s talking about taking part in a transfer auction, she hurries away from him.
Back at BATI headquarters, Gabe is sifting through the surveillance video of Sylvain’s coma. Florian interrupts to ask him some questions about Bertier. Gabe explains that Bertier transferred into a new body and killed the witnesses, so they won’t find him.
Sylvain/Florian doesn’t remember how home transfers work, so Gabe enlightens him, reluctantly: The chemical formulas for the process were pirated and are on the web, available to anyone. The medic who did Bertier’s transfer used an improvised machine.
Béatrice pulls Florian away from Gabe. The hooker who spoke with Lantier has come forward with the information. It’s their big break in the case.
Lantier’s wife and adult daughter are preparing to go out on the town. They’re dressed up in their party dresses and ignoring him. He decides it’s time to hit the auction.
Lantier puts the flashdrive in his port and looks through the photos. Just as he’s about to click on one, Béatrice, Florian and a tac team with dogs break down the door and rush into the house. Béatrice tells him the charge, then the BATI search his house while his wife berates him. Lantier has a kneeler like Béatrice’s, which means he must also be a member of Father Luc’s church.
Lantier still can’t figure out how the traffickers got his name.
Maybe through Dangeac’s access to the records from Father Luc’s confessionals? It would be easy to figure out who’s suicidal or open to living out a fantasy life.
The BATI’s hacker arrives and takes over at the computer. The flashdrive is a key that logs the buyer onto the Tor network on the dark web. There’s no way to remove the key and use it in another computer, and all information which could be used to identify the sellers is hidden. They decide to have Lantier bid on a body just like he would have anyway, then they’ll go with him to get the body. They’ll make the bust when they find out where the transfers are being done and the bodies are being held. Florian will sit with Lantier while he bids.
Meanwhile, back at the human trafficking ranch, the bodies are going fast and Dangeac wants to have the transfers all completed by tomorrow morning. Women don’t sell for as much as men, because more men want to change bodies. The bidding on Hot Girl has ended, and she’s ripped from her cot, while Hot Guy yells after her. He’s in the most demand, so he’ll go last, after he’s been used to draw in as many buyers as possible.
While they’re waiting, Béatrice uses the kneeler. She expresses her doubts about the church’s policy that all transfers are evil. We’re shown the other side of the confessional process, where dozens of confessors where motion capture gear and pretend to be Father Luc. They face a version of the kneeler. Information about the parishioner and the subject pops up on the screens to assist them. This way, they can read up on the person they’re speaking to and the church’s goals for that person, but still look at the camera and the parishioner’s face. Father Luc wants Béatrice to retain her bigotry against transfers and to either bring Sylvain back into the fold or to turn against him.
Béatrice: “I’ve always been so strong. Nobody tells me what to do or think. But with him I feel powerless. When he left the branding session, he looked so forceful. I confess that I thought he might be right.”
“Father Luc”: “Don’t let yourself get swayed by his doubts.”
Béatrice: “Sylvain’s wounds run very deep. His anger, too. He’s always been angry, but this is different. Now, he has a kind of sincerity. Yes, sincerity.”
“Father Luc”: “Make the most of this sincerity to reaffirm your love and guide him.”
It’s wonderful that Béatrice is a strong, independent woman, though it’s unfortunate that she is attracted to abusive losers. The way her lines are written, at least in the English subtitles, it sounds like she began to change her mind about Sylvain when he threw a tantum during the branding session, which she interpreted as strength. Since it was Florian, it was strength, combined with the frustration of being backed into a corner. But this implies that she would have loved it in Sylvain, too, when it would have been simply showboating.
I’d like to see her changing her mind because she understands his reasoning and her experiences are proving his view right, not because she thinks he’s extra hot when he’s forceful. While her character does have the dubious judgement of being involved with Sylvain long-term, we’ve never been given the sense before that she thinks with her female parts instead of her brain on any issue other than sex. Let’s keep it that way.
If the original French doesn’t imply that Béatrice is being swayed by Florian’s new demeanor, rather than his reasoned argument, please let me know.
Florian eavesdrops on Béatrice’s conversation. He’s definitely okay with her finding him forceful but sincere in an attractive way that makes her want to give him another chance.
Woyzeck/Liza sits in the dark in the girls’ bedroom and cries over photos of his lost family. Julie rolls over in bed and asks what’s wrong. Woyzeck explains about the phots. Julie equates the loss to her loss of her father. She tells Woyzeck that Thomas has a way of seeing their father when he misses him. They call it “transfer”. She takes Woyzeck to see it.
Thomas sit outside on the patio, with original Florian seemingly sitting opposite him. Florian mirrors Thomas’ movements. He’s a projection. Woyzeck tells Thomas that his father isn’t dead. He lives in their memories.
Vautier is visiting Sophie and the kids for dinner. He and Sophie discuss Florian, and Sophie’s unhappiness with him. Vautier explains that this is a phase transfers go through. They try to perfect the former life of the host body before they can move on with their own lives. It’s called “suggested empathy”. Sophie asks if that means that she’s a burden to him. Vautier says that everything is a burden to Florian right now, while he’s rebuilding a new self.
But, Vautier wonders, is she sure that she feels the same way about Florian? Sophie feels that she has to, with all of the sacrifices she’s made for him. Vautier prods her again. She answers more truthfully this time, that she’s getting used to his new body, but she feels like she’s forgetting the real Florian. She picks up some old photos of original Florian and looks at them longingly. Sophie admits that she acts like the real Florian is dead. Vauiter says that it’s the same for Florian. It’s easier for him to be Sylvain than a dual identity. She worries that she could still lose him. Vautier tells her to keep fighting for him to exist, just as she did when he was in the coma.
Dangeac gets a call from his inside man at the BATI, warning him that they know about the 28 transfer candidates and plan on arresting everyone at once. Dangeac tells him to hold them off for a little while, since it will all be over with in a few hours. The source is revealed to be Mareuil, who says that he can’t hold off the BATI this time. They already have too much information. Dangeac complains that this is the second time that the BATI have interfered with his operations recently. Mareuil isn’t much help. Mareuil would be happy to stop passing on information, since he hates working with Dangeac. Dangeac doesn’t take him seriously. He has blackmail material that he’s holding over Mareuil’s head to ensure cooperation.
When Mareuil hangs up, Oriane goes to him. Mareuil tells her how guilty he feels over the 28 bodies who will be lost and his betrayal of Sylvain and Béatrice.
Lantier wins the bidding on Hot Guy #6, but before he even has a chance to pay for his new body, the site shuts down the auction, then goes dark. Florian and Béatrice assume that Lantier tipped them off somehow, but the traffickers were actually reacting to Mareuil’s tip.
The traffickers pack up their set up and round up their merchandise, then evacuate the site as quickly as possible. Hot Girl and Hot Guy are reunited in the cargo van that takes them away. Her buyer was at the site, and tossed in with the transfer bodies, but Hot Girl is still herself.
Lantier is cuffed and taken away by the police. He’ll get 5 years in prison for transfer with intent, which is an aggravated offense. Florian is frustrated, because Lantier didn’t actually hurt anyone, while the real criminals are getting away. Béatrice reminds him that they stopped the transfers, too.
Florian goes to another of Clara’s concerts. He goes back to her dressing room to visit and overhears her arguing with her assistant, telling her not to let any form of police in. She’s speaking Russian. Florian realizes that he didn’t prevent the transfer at all. This is Alexandra Staniowska, not Clara. He arrests Alexandra and leads her out of the theatre in cuffs. She’s still wearing her signature dangly earings.
Gabe interviews the driver of the ambulance which brought Florian back to the hospital from wherever Vautier did the transfer. (The Omega Centre? Seems too obvious.) He explains that Florian jumped out of the ambulance while it was in a tunnel and Professor Delattre told the driver to just forget about it. Gabe shows the driver Sylvain’s photo so he can be certain that it’s the same man. Gabe now knows for sure that Sylvain wasn’t in his hospital bed for all of his coma.
As soon as the government is allowed to keep a list of a certain class of people with the intention of treating them differently, it can do whatever it wants with that list. People always forget how terribly wrong that can go, or think they won’t be in the group that’s stigmatized. They won’t be branded or sent to an internment camp. They won’t be denied health care or the right to vote or a passport. They won’t have their land and assets seized.
Technology was used all through this episode to allow people to keep an emotional distance from the suffering of
transfers other human beings. The traffickers used gas masks and computers. Damien and Luc used the media. So did Mareuil, this time. The BATI used the branding devices, looking down at the machines and brands instead of up at the pain in the transfers’ faces. Gabe used the hologram technology to pretend that Fabrice isn’t a person, and the son of his best friend, just a trafficker. Thomas used whatever his “transfer’ technology was to see Florian’s original likeness, instead of paying enough attention to his world to realize that his father is right there.
Woyzeck, Florian and Transfer Guilt
The case of Liza/Woyzeck shows that the main determiner in how well a transfer does is the transfer’s confidence in and acceptance of the process and the body. The new body itself doesn’t matter, as long as the new mind has a strong identity, is determined to take control of the body and wants the transfer to succeed.
I suspect a lack of guilt or regret also helps a huge amount. Woyzeck’s original body was very, very different from Liza’s, but he’s fine in the body of a young girl. He chose to transfer into it and isn’t confused about his identity while he’s there because he has a strong sense of purpose. He also understood the transfer process beforehand and chose to be transferred. He feels no guilt over transferring into someone else’s body because he’s a sociopath, but normal people can have more healthy reasons for dispensing with transfer guilt.
This is the point Florian needs to work toward if he is to survive: acceptance of his situation as a transfer and as the rightful owner/operator of his new body. He needs to become confident in who he is and in his place in the world again. He needs to learn the nuances of his new body and begin to create his new life based on its capabilities, since there’s no guarantee he’ll still have the patience and motor skills to make fine furniture, even with practice.
Father Luc and Dangeac
Father Luc and Dangeac are an interesting case study in the ways politicians and religious figures attempt to keep their hands clean while taking dirty money and being influenced by the interests of their sponsors. There’s nothing about Dangeac that would lead you to believe he puts the greater good above his own interests, and the person who Father Luc presents himself as should be able to see that. Yet Luc lets Dangeac and his people guide his career as a social crusader. Does Luc even agree with the ideas he fights for, or were these just the sentiments that got him the biggest audience?
But Father Luc is similar to Dangeac, so of course he doesn’t see their shared characteristics as warning signs. Luc also runs a business empire which tells the people what they want to hear, charges them for what used to be free, and has a distant relationship with the truth. He keeps a tight rein on his minions and threatens them when they get out of line, just as Dangeac does. He doesn’t kill them, but it’s just a matter of degree and where that line is drawn. The philosophy and morals behind the acts are the same.
Luc wants attention, power, and enough wealth to live a comfortably wealthy lifestyle while pretending to be a modest priest. Dangeac wants fabulous wealth and power, but doesn’t want too much attention, since he’s busy with illegal activities. He’s happy to spend most of his time in the background pulling the strings. Being associated with Father Luc gives him an aura of morality and influence, without him having to do anything more. Luc’s church is well-funded, so that he can make even more money, and he doesn’t have to worry about finances. It’s a win-win for both.
Images courtesy of Netflix.