As stellar Apple TV+ series Drops of God brings its first season to a close, Camille and Issei complete their last challenge in the contest to inherit their father’s estate. However, the real challenges remain ahead of them.
A final contest will test their allegiances and their strengths, but nothing will prepare them for their final trial. The Drops of God season one finale, entitled “All or Nothing,” serves as a wonderful conclusion to a surprise delight.
Drops of God recap: ‘All or Nothing’
Season 1, episode 8: Camille Léger (played by Fleur Geffrier) wakes up to the sound of Thomas Chassangre (Tom Wozniczka) creeping up to her room on the estate of his father, Philippe (Gustave Kervern). Camille and Issei Tomine (Tomohisa Yamashita) are sequestered there for the remainder of the last challenge.
Thomas has been forbidden from speaking with Camille, but it’s anyone’s guess if that includes whispered lustful outbursts. (Love the little slapstick routine of Thomas and Camille trying to be quiet while destroying the furniture in the creaky little room opposite Issei’s so they don’t wake him. Excellent work from Fleur Geffrier and Tom Wozniczka.)
Thomas can’t tell her yet but he’s broken it off with his girlfriend. They can be together now.
Meanwhile, Issei’s paramore, the journalist Yurika Katase (Azusa Okamoto), finally tracks down Issei’s father, Hirokazu (Satoshi Nikaido), to try and talk him into forgiving himself. He won’t be easily persuaded to go easy on himself. He feels he let down both his son and his wife, Honoka (Makiko Watanabe). And now that Issei knows the truth — that his birth father is his one-time mentor, Alexandre Léger (Stanley Weber), the man whose inheritance Camille and Issei are competing for — Hirokazu and Issei’s relationship might change forever.
Camille and Issei smooth things over
Speaking of changes, Issei and Camille are finally getting along. They compare notes and helpful gestures as the deadline for the final challenge approaches. The last thing they must do is re-create a wine they sampled using available vintages in the cellars of the Chassangre vineyard. Camille has a panic attack but sorts her way through it.
Philippe judges the contest in private, not knowing who he’s given the victory to. And then Issei catches a salmon from a nearby stream and makes dinner for everyone.
“This is exactly how I pictured a dinner in your country,” says Issei. “Everyone talks too loud, touches each other, laughs…. I feel very lucky to be here tonight. To see happiness during the meal is precious.” It’s a very nice moment.
Bloodlines and bombshells
Philippe tells them about the time Honoka and Hirokazu visited the Chassangre estate and met Alexandre, and produces some pictures to pass around. This prompts Issei to finally tell Camille that Hirokazu isn’t his real dad. He also tells her — in Japanese, so no one else at the table can understand — who his real dad is. This throws Camille, but she agrees with his request to wait until after dinner to chat about this particular bombshell.
Issei suspects his mom and dad kept the secret of Alexandre from him because they thought Issei’s grandfather, Noboru (Masane Tsukayama), wouldn’t have accepted a white son-in-law or a mixed-race child as a grandson. But he can’t know about how Alexandre abandoned his mother.
Camille and Issei commiserate and agree that they’ll sort the rest out after the competition. They hug in the airport before going their separate ways, and the way the gesture takes them both off-guard is quite something.
Yurika meets Issei at the airport and tells him she found his father. She tells him he should visit his dad, but Issei’s not in the mood. He’s still smarting after learning he was the victim of a lifetime of lies.
And the winner is …
The following day, Camille and Issei hear the results: They tied. This is exactly what Alexandre anticipated. Then, his lawyer (Antoine Chappey) plays them one last message from the man on his deathbed. Turns out he’s prepared one last challenge — a sudden-death round called the Drops of God test.
Camille is so furious she quits, which would leave everything to Issei. She goes home to pack, but then Issei says something that changes her mind: If they both quit, all the inheritance goes to Luca Inglese (Diego Ribon), Alexandre’s crooked business partner.
This is enough to make sure Camille doesn’t go home without competing. They get to the cellar, are told to find “the drops of god,” and do the only sensible thing: They get hammered.
That’s when Camille recalls a distant memory. She’s a little girl on her father’s shoulders, and to reassure her about the scariness of lightning and thunder, he tells her that it’s all natural. That without rain there is no wine.
So Camille says “rain” as her answer to the challenge. It’s correct, but she knows that Issei could not have known that. Alexandre cheated.
She offers to split the inheritance with Issei, but he says no. As he tells his mother on the phone a few seconds later, he only has one father, and it isn’t Alexandre Léger. Issei goes off to find his dad the next day and they reconcile. Then Camille sells most of the wine at a public auction, has a ringer purchase it all, and gifts everything to Issei.
I wasn’t desired
Boy oh boy, what a fine show Drops of God has been. I went in with a little trepidation, and some clunky early symbolism gave way to a wonderful showcase for a talented cast, a director (Oded Ruskin) anxious to map out visual strategies for ineffable sensations, and a wonderfully and tightly written story of a family learning about boundaries and acceptance.
Yes, the Drops of God season one finale is quite tidy. But after all the tension and darkness braved to get here, I don’t think it’s at all a problem to give viewers the happiest ending possible. I was satisfied. And when the episode ended, I felt like I exhaled for the first time in many hours.
Watch Drops of God on Apple TV+
You can now watch the entire first season of Drops of God on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.