Breaking Down the Ending of 'Lupin' Part 3

The third chapter sees the legendary thief return to Paris for another chance at his only failure: stealing the priceless Black Pearl.

omar sy in lupin part 3 netflix

After over two years' wait, Lupin has finally returned. Netflix's hit French crime series, inspired by the adventures of Maurice Leblanc's gentleman detective Arsène Lupin, took the streamer by storm when it first introduced global audiences to the intricate, jaw-dropping crimes of Assane Diop (Omar Sy). After the Part 2 finale ended with Assane on the run and separated from his ex Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), and their son Raoul (Etan Simon), Part 3 sees the legendary thief return to Paris for another chance at his only failure—stealing the priceless Black Pearl. Soon, all of his carefully-laid plans go awry with the return of his long-lost mother Mariama (Naky Sy Savané), as well as a ghost from his past who wants nothing but to destroy everything and everyone Assane holds dear.

Lupin's third installment builds on all of the thrilling heists that made the series an international hit, while adding a compelling new dynamic as Lupin is blackmailed and forced to steal on behalf of a mysterious villain, who's holding his mother hostage. In the second half of the series, it's confirmed that the big bad is Jean-Luc Keller (Salif Cissé), the manipulative boxing coach who becomes a sort of father figure to the young Assane a flashback storyline. It becomes clear that until he gets rid of Keller, neither Assane nor his family will ever be safe. So where does Assane end up at the end of it all? Read on for our breakdown of Part 3's ending, and how the final scene sets up a possible Part 4.

Assane finally reunites with Mariama, Claire, and Raoul.

Ludivine Sagnier, Omar Sy in Lupin season 3

(Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix)

Part 3's penultimate episode ended with Assane and his mother Mariama finally reuniting, after the elder Diop showed off her own skills by escaping from Keller's crew and luring her son to a meet-up with the help of journalist Fleur (Martha Canga Antonio). At the start of Chapter 7, we finally learn the whole story of why she never joined Assane and his father in France. Back in Senegal, Mariama was working at a factory and almost had enough money to make the trip to Paris, before her boss decided to cut his workers' pay and she was fired for objecting. In the face of the wage theft, she decided to steal the remainder of the money for her ticket from her boss, but she was caught and sent to jail. She was ashamed when Assane called her in prison all those years ago, and once she got out, she had her own career as a skilled thief before eventually coming to Paris. (Note to Netflix France: Young Mariama would be a dope spinoff.)

While Assane was reconnecting with his mom, Claire and Raoul were in the crosshairs of Keller, who broke into their apartment in the middle of the night. After Chapter 6 ended on that cliffhanger, the finale sees Claire tricking the villain into leaving the house, by leaving a voicemail message saying that she and Raoul weren't home and her made-up cop brother was on the way to the apartment. Claire really got some time to shine in Part 3, between smoothly escaping from Keller's lieutenant Ferdinand and figuring out that Assane was alive when neither he nor bestie Benjamin Férel (Antoine Gouy) would reveal that huge secret. She had also realized that Raoul's new basketball coach "Alex" was just Assane in some impressive prosthetics. On the morning after Keller's break-in, she calls Alex and drops the pretense, telling Assane to get over there now and that they'd "wasted enough time."

Claire, Raoul, and Assane have an emotional reunion (though I'm really wondering if either of the parents ever told Raoul that he pretended to be his basketball coach for several weeks). Assane finally takes the pair to his safe house above Ben's shop; they become accustomed with his collection of wigs, makeup, and Lupin books. They also meet Mariama, and Assane has a blissful embrace with his whole family. (Which by the rules of storytelling means they're gonna be separated by the end of the episode, Until then, hugs!).

Assane and Mariama team up to steal a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Omar Sy in Lupin Part 3

(Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix)

After seeing everyone tucked away in the hideout safe, the next present-day scene of Assane shows the thief tricking a dock attendant into helping him "repossess" a jet ski. Back at the safe house, Assane starts crafting a plan to get Ben out of prison, something involving the corrupt French Minister of the Interior. However, Claire and Mariama inform Assane that they've already decided that they're going to get Ben a good lawyer and leave Paris. Since the cops still think Assane's dead, Claire's more amenable to the idea of going on the run. Assane seemingly agrees to the lawyer plan, and he promises his mom, "no robberies and no disguises." Cut to the next scene, and he's knocking on some dude's door wearing a military getup with a salt-and-pepper wig and beard.

His latest alias is Colonel Ali Abdelkerim, a Chad military officer who served as a guide for French soldiers in his youth, and his mark is a retired French colonel set to receive the Legion of Honor. Assane butters the man up, saying he decided to become a soldier with the elder as a role model, and the pretender even breaks out the old regiment motto. With that, he gets an invite to the ceremony at the Office of the Interior, and once he's inside, the plan is to sneak into the minister's office and find something incriminating to blackmail him with.

However, the whole thing's rather clumsy. Assane gets caught trying to enter the office, and the cop who was guarding the halls near immediately realizes an intruder has gotten in. Then, when Assane gets back into the building's courtyard, it's revealed that he has an accomplice: Mariama. In one of Lupin's signature "here's what you didn't see" moments, we flashback to the mother quickly clocking that her son doesn't mean his promise to stop robbing, and she says that if he's still going to do this, she's going to help. So, at the minister's office, Mariama plays a waiter who makes a distraction to get in the room. Then, when he opens the minister's safe and leaves a signal for what she should take, she's the one to take the official's secret phone, as the staff won't be searched like the guests. Everything goes smoothly and Assane's able to blackmail the minister to get his target out of jail... but it's not Ben.

We finally learn what happened between Assane and Keller.

Mamadou Haidara, Noé Wodecki in Lupin Part 3

(Image credit: Thibault Grabherr/Netflix)

To understand Assane's final plan, we have to unpack all of the boxing gym flashbacks intertwined throughout Part 3. Some time after his father's death, 17-year-old Assane reunites with his old neighbor Bruno and asks to crash at his place while his prep school is on break. Bruno soon takes Assane to his boxing gym and introduces him to the owner Keller, who's also the guardian of Bruno and his sister. At first it seems like Keller's only offering coaching and mentorship, but it eventually becomes clear that the impulsive and manipulative crook takes vulnerable kids in and turn them into his lackeys. Eventually he ropes Assane and Bruno into robbing a high-end jewelry store while the entire city's busy watching the French soccer team play in the World Cup finals.

Though Assane and Bruno do successfully steal a bunch of pearls, they don't get the emeralds Keller was really after, and the trio end up in a police pursuit thanks to Keller's erratic driving. With one policeman on a motorcycle on their tail, Keller orders Bruno to shoot the cop so they'll get away. Though Bruno doesn't want to, the teen eventually shoots the cop, right before a distracted Keller gets into an accident that flips the car over. Before the cops arrive, Assane drags Bruno out of the overturned car and puts the gun in Keller's hand, landing him 25 years in jail (and 25 years to plan revenge).

The woman who Assane breaks out of jail instead of Ben is Manon (Sandra Parfait), Keller's partner who's been part of his crew since she was a teenager (and very likely underage, but the show doesn't confirm it). When she's release, Assane shows up to convince her to turn on Keller. She argues that Keller's the only one who took care of her when she was young, and that Assane "betrayed his family," but Assane points out that Keller took advantage of all of them as kids, and forced them to fight and steal. After Assane tells her the truth about Keller forcing Bruno to kill, she turns on Keller, and helps Assane set up a trap for him at the Arc du Triomphe that night.

Assane turns himself in... and a familiar enemy returns.

Etan Simon, Ludivine Sagnier, Antoine Gouy in Lupin part 3

(Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix)

The final standoff between Assane and Keller happens at the Parisian landmark, where Keller shows up with the Black Pearl expecting a buyer. Instead Assane's there, and he's left detective Guédira (Soufiane Guerrab) a Lupin-coded message telling him that Assane and the Pearl will be there. Not only that, he separately left detective Belkacem (Shirine Boutella) a tip that Keller had the Pearl, and that he'd tried to kill a man (his lieutenant Ferdinand, who he threw off a balcony in Chapter 6). Before the cops arrive, Assane finally confronts his old mentor and taunts him with the fact that he got Manon to betray him. Assane's revenge is set, and now he just needs the pearl. A defeated Keller hands it over and tries to run from the cops, but they catch him first. Guédira also catches Assane, who has finally kept his promise and allowed the fellow Lupin superfan to arrest him. However, by the time he turns himself in, Assane no longer has the pearl.

So how did Assane get the pearl to someone in the mere minutes between Keller handing it over and Guédira cuffing the master thief? The answer's in a rose. In a quick flashback, we see Assane go up to a random woman on the Arc's observation deck and tell her he's been stood up. He offers this woman an orange rose he's holding, so it won't go to waste. When the woman makes it down the Arc's stairs, she runs into another man, who asks if a tall, good-looking guy gave her the flower. The man, Bruno, tells her that he was late to meet his date, and that if she gives him the rose, it can help his explanation when he next runs into his date. The woman gives him the rose, and the pearl is nestled inside. We later see that Bruno use the pearl to pay off Manon and set up a new (hopefully legit) boxing gym, named after Lupin.

So, in the end, the pearl is Assane's last trick. Rather than escape the cops once again, he legitimately turns himself in, as the show flashes to Claire's declaration in the Part 3 premiere that turning himself in is the only way for Assane to make things right. In return, he asks Guédira for three things: release Ben, give him a letter for Claire, and make sure Assane's cell is supplied with every Lupin book known to man. Ben gives a heartbroken Claire her letter when he meets her at the train station, where she, Raoul, and Mariama were expecting to leave Paris with Assane. The episode's final scene shows Assane actually in a cell, opening a new book as he begins serving his time.

Of course, that's when the other shoe drops. A prison guard unlocks Assane's door and offers him a message, saying that it's from his neighbor in the next cell over. The envelope contains a faded Polaroid picture of teenage Assane holding a copy of the Lupin book La Cagliostro's Revenge. As a look of concern flashes over Assane's face, his voiceover begins to read a passage from the novel: "The riddle was within you, within the secret of your soul. In order to trap you and to earn your trust. I welcomed the love you showed me."

Suddenly, the episode cuts to a flash of Mariama at the train station, as her own voice begins to blend into her son's as the voiceover continues the passage. "Perhaps you believed I felt it myself," she says. "And so you truly loved me. And thus, you lost all clarity."

On the last sentence, the voice melds into the message's sender as the montage finally reveals a familiar face: Assane's old nemesis, Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre).

With this, Lupin comes full circle as the series teases the return of both Hubert and Juliette Pellegrini (Clotilde Hesme), while hinting that Assane's mother may be part of the wealthy businessman's plans for revenge. With Assane locked away and his family once again in danger, Part 4 can't come soon enough.

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.