Women at War follows the stories of four women who tackle the consequences of the war at home while the men battle on the frontlines. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
It’s September 12, 1914, and France has been at war for over a month. At Saint-Paulin, the French army is struggling to contain the German invasion.
Suzanne Faure, a nurse, is on the run after failing to save a woman who was getting an abortion. The woman’s husband, Detective Compoing, is looking for Suzanne, who enters Saint-Paulin with a little help from a woman named Jeanne Charrier.
Detective Compoing catches up to them and injures Jeanne. The girls manage to escape and take shelter at a house, where Jeanne dies when the German army brings war to the place.
Suzanne had gone out to bring the doctors, and therefore, she survived. She picks up the identity of Jeanne and starts assisting Doctor Joseph Duvernet at a convent.
Mother Agnes, who brings Suzanne to the convent, learns about her secret when Detective Compoing comes snooping at the establishment and when she calls the hospital Suzanne claims to have worked at.
She plans to inform the cops but stops after observing how caring Suzanne is. Suzanne convinces Doctor Joseph to let the traumatized soldiers stay, leaving them in the care of the nuns.
Only Agnes and a few people understand these soldiers’ trauma. They no longer desire to return to the battlefield. Agnes develops a bond with one of these soldiers, Till. She later finds out that he is German, but she keeps this a secret.
She sleeps with him and commits a sin. At the end of the day, she refrains from running away with him, leaving Till no option but to leave so that Agnes won’t suffer more.
While being tested, Agnes also learns that Father Vautrin is abusing the young nuns at the convent. She confronts him, which only backfires for her as he knows about her relationship with Till.
Meanwhile, Marguerite, a prostitute, has arrived in the town searching for her son, who is part of the army. She starts working at a brothel owned by a man named Marcel and crosses paths with an old friend in the form of Caroline Dewitt.
Caroline was once a prostitute just like Marguerite, but now she is married to a man named Victor and has a family of her own. She is trying to run Victor’s truck manufacturing company on her own while he is out there fighting in the war.
Caroline’s brother-in-law, Charles, plans to take over the factory to avoid being forced to join the war. He pitches turning the company into an ammunition manufacturing firm for the army.
Caroline stays true to preserving her husband’s legacy and instead opts to use her trucks as ambulances for the wounded soldiers. The general at war approves of this idea.
If that’s not enough, she even offers the wives of men who are forced to fight in the war a job at her company.
When some women at Marcel’s brothel lose their jobs due to the spread of disease, Caroline takes them in and lets them drive her trucks for some money.
Marguerite, on the other hand, attempts to form a bond with her son, Colin, during her visits to the army camps. Unfortunately, her son ends up falling for her, and when he learns the truth, he straight decides to forget that they ever met.
Charles’ fear of joining the army continues to haunt him. Marcel offers him a gun to take care of Caroline. Charles just couldn’t gather the courage to shoot her.
Therefore, he opts to injure himself to dodge joining the army. When one of Marcel’s prostitutes, Juliette, watches Caroline and Marguerite kiss and learns that Caroline was once a prostitute too, she tells Marcel, who in turn informs Charles.
Charles then uses this against Caroline, whose mother-in-law wastes no time in kicking Caroline out of the house upon learning that.
Amidst all of this, Suzanne finds herself in a tricky position when a man named Lucien arrives at the convent, claiming to be Jeanne’s husband. He lets Suzanne keep her secret but asks her to follow his instructions only.
Caroline returns home when her daughter goes missing because of Charles, who sent her into German territory. Caroline manages to rescue her and bring her back home, where the police arrive to arrest her for something she didn’t do.
One of Marcel’s men, who has been supplying drugs to the army, gets caught. Marcel’s sister and Juliette, who is jealous of Marguerite, pin the blame on Marguerite and Caroline. The cops arrest them and lock them in cells.
Women at War ending explained in detail:
Does Father Vautrin get punished?
When the nun Father Vautrin was abusing commits suicide after getting pregnant, Agnes decides to report him to the archbishop. She is aware that she will also get denounced for having a relationship with Till, but she is ready to take the fall.
Another nun that Vautrin has abused is ready to give testimony. When the archbishop finally meets Agnes, he dissuades her from speaking. He cares more about the image of the church and the reputation of Father Vautrin.
Therefore, he lets this go and uses Agnes’ affair with the German soldier against her. Agnes confesses to her sins in front of Father Vautrin but promises to keep an eye on him. She won’t let any other nun suffer because of him or any other men like him.
Do Suzanne and Joseph end up together?
Lucien reveals to Suzanne that the Germans have kidnapped his daughter, and he is ready to go above and beyond to save her. Joseph couldn’t see Suzanne get abused by Lucien. He confronts Lucien, who then stabs Joseph and locks him in a room.
With the help of Suzanne, Lucien retrieves the plans of France’s army. He then brings her along to meet the German soldiers.
The Germans arrive and assure Lucien that they have brought his daughter. Lucien grabs their leader and pulls out a grenade.
Once his daughter hops on Suzanne’s truck and they go far away, he sacrifices himself by letting the grenade go. Thus, he kills himself along with the soldiers surrounding him.
Agnes takes Lucien’s daughter in while Suzanne aids a dying Joseph. He requires a blood transfusion, and she attempts to do that with the help of his father.
That’s when Detective Compoing shows up to arrest Suzanne. He is ordered to let Suzanne perform this procedure. While Suzanne saves Joseph, Agnes convinces Compoing to reconsider his move.
She asks him to rethink if a girl like Suzanne, who is thriving to save lives, could ever harm anyone.
Compoing and Suzanne indulge in a heart-to-heart conversation where he learns that Suzanne did her best to save his wife. A convinced Compoing lets her walk free.
Suzanne then decides to stay at the convent and aid Joseph in saving the soldiers throughout the war.
What happens to Caroline and Marguerite?
Marcel isn’t pleased to hear what his sister and Juliette have done to Caroline and Marguerite. He treats Juliette harshly and kicks her out of the brothel.
A humiliated Juliette, who did all of this for Marcel, then decides to tell the cops the truth. The cops let Caroline and Marguerite go. They send Juliette inside the prison and start hunting Marcel down.
The general orders the town to evacuate as the German soldiers could be heading here now. Caroline rejoins her family and heads to leave town. Charles dies near his house after trying to attack the Germans.
Marguerite attempts to meet her son one last time on the battlefield. They do reunite, but she gets shot on the way. She dies on the field, while her son breaks down and gets transported to the convent for treatment.
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