The Musketeers: Musketeers Don't Die Easily

D’Artagnan: “So, at the end of it all, what do we have?”
Aramis: “No glory.”
Porthos: “No money.”
D’Artagnan: “No love.”
Aramis: “None of the things that make life bearable.”
Athos: “We have honor.”
Aramis: “I can live with that.”
D’Artagnan: “For honor, then.”
Porthos: “Still, a little money would be nice.”

So, what do we as the viewers have at the end of this episode and the end of the first season?

No glory.

Aramis is my favorite musketeer. Smooth as silk, able to seduce any woman he meets with a ready smile, he is sexy without being obviously so.

Did I call it last week or what? Of course Anne is pregnant and she lets Aramis know that he is going to be a father. The scene where King Louis announces the pregnancy was incredibly poignant. Both Aramis and Athos know the truth, but they will keep the secret.

I loved Aramis telling Anne that he would defend the baby with his life. He would do the same for Louis and Anne; that is his job. But now, he will also be defending his son.

For Aramis, much of the allure of being a musketeer is in the glory. So much so, that two women he loved have left him as each knew she would never be the first in his heart. Ironically, the mother of his child can never leave him. She was never with him in the first place.

No money.

Porthos is my favorite musketeer. Street wise and self-made, he is able to find humor in any situation and he can always make me laugh out loud.

For someone who grew up on the streets with nothing, it is not surprising that money is one of the factors that drives him. When we meet him, he is gambling. He is the one always looking out the for the main chance.

He is not the brightest of the lot, nor the most intuitive. He is, however, loyal to a fault and the best friend of the bunch. He gets more than his fair share of the great lines and it is appropriate that the season ends on him.

No love.

D’Artagnan is my favorite musketeer. Young, headstrong, impetuous, he is the one who has matured the most this season. He has more than proven that he has what it takes to be a musketeer.

Not to mention, he has wonderful taste in women. From their meet-cute in the pilot, to their parting in this episode, D’Artagnan and Constance’s romance has been both fun and heartbreaking. The reason it is so easy to ship them is that Constance is D’Artagnan’s equal, much more than a piece of eye candy for him to bed every once in a while.

Emotional blackmail ranks among my least favorite things, but people use it because it works. I believe that Jacques loves Constance in his own way, but she does not love him. She will stay with him, at least for the time being, out of a sense of duty and, ironically, honor.

We have honor.

Athos is my favorite musketeer. The father figure, we have had to watch him battle his demons while he holds a group of men together. For him, being a Musketeer is all about the honor and the code. It is he who inspires the others to live up to this code.

The Cardinal and Milady are completely the opposite. Without a shred of honor between them, they will do anything to achieve their ends. What makes them such compelling villains is that they win as often as they are thwarted.

Additionally, both are driven by something we can’t help but admire. The Cardinal truly believes in making France as strong as it can be. It is a patriotic fervor that goes too far, but is understandable. Milady is driven by what she perceives as betrayal. I was intrigued by her story to D’Artagnan of what happened to her marriage with Athos. I almost believe that her brother-in-law tried to rape her and I can believe that Athos would never accept that someone he loved would behave with such dishonor. We may never know the truth, but neither emerge looking particularly virtuous.

The plot to get the Cardinal to confess was convoluted, not to mention a tad derivative. A plot involving a letter is so Jane Austen and Sarazin was so Charles Dickens, but I am willing to overlook the plot contrivances as I was thoroughly entertained and I was kept guessing.

The opening section, with Athos and D’Artagnan against each other was a lovely callback to the pilot. In that episode, we saw Athos recovering from a night of too much wine followed by D’Artagnan trying to kill him. The echoes here were strong and I was extremely upset that the four were at such odds. Until, they are not. I was completely fooled and, even the second time through the episode when I knew they were all acting, they were convincing.

For now, the Cardinal and Milady have been bested. I wouldn’t rule the Cardinal out just yet. It was fairly clear that he figured out who the father of Anne’s baby is and, if anyone will use that knowledge to his benefit, it will be he. I don’t see Milady scampering off to England or Spain either. Her story with Athos is not over. At least, I hope it’s not.

So, at the end of it all, what do we have?

We have a wonderful story that seldom faltered; four heroes, all of whom made me smile and made me cheer for them; two villains that had their comeuppance, at least to a degree. We have one of the best debut seasons of any show I have watched in a while and a season finale that was the best of the lot. I can’t wait for season two.

All for one, and one for all. Four out of four pig bladders filled with blood.


— Three cheers for Peter Capaldi who played the role of the Cardinal to perfection. Unfortunately, he will not be returning next year as he has another gig. I hear he’s great in that role as well.

— Three cheers as well for the sheer number of brilliant character actors who had guest spots this season. Gareth Lestrade, I mean Sean Pertwee, had fun with Sarazin and played him with just enough mustache twirling.

— Athos’ funeral was hilarious, especially when Porthos started to cry. I burst out laughing.

— They saved the best fight for last. Fantastic choreography, direction, and editing made it a thing of beauty.


D’Artagnan: “All right, just so I know. This whole ‘D’Artagnan, the apprentice Musketeer’ thing, how long does it last?”
Aramis: “Well, as long as it’s funny.”

King Louis: “The King does not make mistakes, Cardinal! You forget yourself.”

Athos: “Accuracy isn’t easy after three bottles of wine.”

D’Artagnan: “I have just killed a man. It tends to dampen the mood.”
Milady: “Not in my experience.”

D’Artagnan: “Touch me and she dies.”
Cardinal: “Well, do try not to get blood everywhere.”

D’Artagnan: “I’m glad you saved her.”
Athos: “Perhaps I was saving myself.”

Aramis: “I will watch over your son and guard him with all my strength and heart. I will lay down my life for him, if necessary. He will have no more devoted servant.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


Billie Doux said...

The Musketeers had a terrific first season, didn't it? Porthos at the funeral made me laugh, too. And Aramis and the Queen, sigh. I was impressed that they actually pulled off an exciting gun battle when every gun only had one shot in it.

I liked what you did with "my favorite Musketeer". I always do that with my cats -- whichever one I'm petting is my favorite cat. Hey, they don't know the difference.

How are they going to continue without Peter Capaldi? They need their villain, don't they? Will they go with introducing the captain of the Red Guard instead?

Terrific review, Chris.

mazephoenix said...

Great review and show. Yes they have a new villain ready for season two. Just go in search of spoilers and you'll find out who.
Pity about Capaldi, he rocked the part, but if the doctor calls I guess you gotta go.

Sooze said...

My daughter and I really enjoyed this show this summer. Thanks for the reviews, Chris!

CrazyCris said...

I love that each of them is your "favorite musketeer"! :) When I first read the book my favorite was D'Artagnan, brash, young and exciting! As I've grown older Athos has gained my favor over D'Artagnan... Never much of one for Aramis and Porthos. In the books the one is too sly the other really too silly. But they are still fabulous characters!

You don't think Capaldi will be able to mix this in with the Doctor? They might have different filming schedules... Fingers crossed! I'd hate to see them switch actors for Richelieu!

mazephoenix said...

Sadly Capaldi couldn't make both shows, so he won't be back.