Les Mis in pictures: Runaway Cart/Fantine’s Death

A terrified horse bolts, severing the reins tying it to its cart, and the cart rolls over some poor sap, pinning him down by the axle. People gather about, nervously looking around for someone to DO SOMETHING. We’ve all been there. Not necessarily with bolting horses and runaway carts, but when it comes down to offering help in desperate situations, most folks tend to take a passive attitude. Or, as my grandmother used to say, “No woman considers herself a feminist when the Titanic is sinking.”

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While the other men stand about to gauge the severity of the situation with the fortitude of construction workers around a manhole, we know we can count on one person to save the day: Valjean, superhero
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He quickly surveys the situation…
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…takes off his coat (too nice velvet to soil)…
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…because he knows this is another muscle job to get out of the way.
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Everyone looks on in suspense
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While the poor, broken man is fished from underneath the axles, Javert appears befuddled.
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Valjean checks vitals. “Rapid pulse? Yes. Labored breathing? Yes. Good. The man’s still alive and excited to see my exquisitely embroidered taffeta vest from up close.”
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While Valjean further checks the man’s health, Emmett does his own examining of  the coat’s label. “OMG, is this washable velvet? I got to get myself to that tailor.”
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Barely recovered from the great exertion, Valjean is faced  with another challenge. Javert has recognized him by this superhuman strength. 

This is one of the rare moments in the show where we really sigh, “You recognize someone because of his strength? Oh, hunnee, no! How is that even possible?”

We recognize someone by their eyes, their Dumbo ears, or even their unibrow. We may recognize someone because he’s a bad joke teller or a moocher. The neighbor who always takes the last beer out of our fridge? Yes, we’ll remember him. Same for the fellow who laughs like a hyena. Unforgettable. But to nail a guy because of his bench press stats? Highly unlikely.

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Javert disagrees. He saw what he saw. He calls a spade a spade and a con a con.
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See what you did there, Javert? Triggered an identity crisis in our beloved mayor!

Valjean realizes that he can only live with himself if he’s truthful. So there we have it: the baring of the chest again to reveal his prison number:

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Fantine, meanwhile, has been hospitalized in a nunnery.

 

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And given the ethereal look in Elise’s eyes, poor Fantine’s not doing too well.
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She’s still comforted by Death Bed Visions when Valjean visits her.

They share some intimate moments. We then definitely can envision them growing old together, sitting in matching rockers watching the sunset, sipping absinthe, hugging nuns: indulging their crazy a little. After all, if you have to grow old together, doesn’t it make sense to grow slightly nuts together as well? But Fantine has more DBVs with her daughter, and Valjean promises her to take care of Cosette.

So our little fantasy won’t be fulfilled. Fantine dies.

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Valjean has barely time to grieve: Javert has tracked him down.
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Overlit picture, but it shows off Sam’s mutton chops so nicely. Also, contrast between good and evil….Yeah, no. Bad picture, for sure.
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Javert is angry. He’s there to take Valjean where that superhero mayor belongs: in prison.
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So not happening.
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