The Musketeers: Keep Your Friends Close

Aramis: “We don’t need praise or glory.”
Porthos: “Praise and glory are two of my favorite things.”

Last season, my favorite show of 2014 became my favorite show by creating a world in which I wanted to spend hours of my life. I loved the stories; I loved the characters; I loved the humor and the sadness that each episode brought. If this season opener is anything on which to base an opinion, my favorite show is going to be even better.

It appears as though this season is going to be much more character driven than last. Each of the important characters had his or her moment to show us where they are and to tease what is to come.

Comte de Rochefort: In the opening scene, we learn that the Cardinal has died. Enter this season’s Big Bad, and what a good baddie I think he is going to be. Clearly out for the main chance, Rochefort is playing both sides and playing them well. The Spanish ambassador trusts him; Aramis trusts him; the king trusts him; most worryingly of all, the queen trusts him. This is not going to end well.

King Louis: One of the best scenes was the one where Louis meets his son. He was so proud, so in love with Anne, so paternal for lack of a better word. Louis is so often a buffoon, quick to make the wrong decision and quick to excuse anything he wants because he is the king. But, that small moment when he held the baby stole my heart. The man is capable of great love for someone other than himself. The affection on his face was more than just the fact that he now has an heir.

Queen Anne: The baby has been born and, as she predicted, is a son. I am excited about her bringing Constance to the palace to be her confidant. If there is anyone who understands unrequited love, it is she.

Constance: She understands it all too well. The scene in the courtyard with D’Artagnan was moving. Constance seems broken, as though she has given up that spark that made her so wonderful last season. I understand why she made the decision she did, but I hope that now she’s made it, she can find a way to live with it. Clearly, seeing D’Artagnan kiss another broke her even further.

Treville: What the hell was he thinking? Turning down the king? Treville is not usually that stupid, so I’m wondering what else is going on in his head these days. Plus, we learn that he had something to do with Porthos’s horrible childhood.

I had a thought the second time through the episode about which I hope I am wrong. One of the issues with which this show grapples is that we know that none of the Musketeers are going to come to a tragic end. It tends to negate the tension when they are fighting or being shot at. But, at some point, this show will need to kill off a beloved character. Are Treville’s past sins being shown to us so that, when he dies, we will mourn him a bit less? I hope not.

Athos: What a change a few months can bring. Now that Milady is off the scene (or at least he thinks she is), he is much more calm, much more contained, dare I say, happier. As the previews show, Milady will be back next week so, thankfully, the story between these two is not over yet.

Aramis: He had a rough few days, didn’t he. Seeing his son for the first time was tough to watch. There was enormous subtlety in that scene about how affected he really is. For the first time since we have met him, a woman is opening flirting with him and he doesn’t even notice. He is so wrapped up in his son, he misses what he never misses.

Even worse, he learns that the Cardinal had Adele killed. His reaction was more than I would have expected; I hadn’t realized that he loved her. He’s right, however, that all the women he love end up badly. Athos’s comment to him was dead on. The Dauphine’s parentage is the most dangerous secret out there right now.

Porthos: Although he did not have a lot to do this week (there is only so much story one can tell in an hour), the hints we received about his backstory are marvelous. For a moment, I thought that de Foix was going to be his father. I think the story we will learn will prove even better.

D’Artagnan: Still immature and inexperienced, it is fun to watch the two sides of his personality. On the one hand, he is brave and resourceful. On the other, he is selfish and petty. He is heartbroken and hurting — badly. The problem is that he is not listening to Constance, not really hearing what she has to say. His final zing was bad; so bad, even he knew he had gone too far.

Yet, Lucie seems keen. I have no doubt that this triangle will continue to play out over the course of the season. I must admit, however, it will take a lot for Lucie to convince me she is a better woman than Constance.

All this character study played out in a good adventure of the week. It was a tad by the book, but the zip line escape was worth the price of admission. This episode chose to cut short the adventure of the week in order to re-calibrate and begin to set up the season long arcs. I’m all right with that as said arcs look as though they are going to be incredible to watch. Four out of four zips across a ravine.

Salut:

— That gorgeous baby, so innocent and sweet, will grow up to be Louis XIV. Known as Louis the Great and the Sun King, he will have the longest reign of any European monarch and he will change France forever.

— The writers have taken a bit of license with Anne. In reality, she was not Spanish. She was Austrian.

— Brilliant editing cut from Louis beaming over his new son to the boy’s actual father, far away, looking dejected and lost in thought.

— Hair: Constance’s is awful; Rochefort’s was much better after a cut.

Touché:

Aramis: “Athos, sometimes I think I’m doomed always to want the things I cannot have.”
Athos: “The Dauphine is not your son, Aramis. He can never be your son. Unless you first commit an act of treason and bring the queen down with you.”

D’Artagnan: “I know what you want. It is not a boring life and a joyless marriage. You need love and adventure and you know I can give you both.”
Constance: “I’m a woman, D’Artagnan. A woman in a world built for men. If I lost you, I’d lose everything. I can’t take that chance.”
D’Artagnan: “You know, I’ve known you as many things, Constance. But, never as a coward.”

Priest: “The Cardinal knew all your secrets. He’ll expose your sins even from beyond the grave.”

Aramis: “Who else can I blame? First Isabelle, now Adele. Every woman I truly love dies.”
Athos: “All the more reason to stay away from the queen and the Dauphine.”

ChrisB now understands it is possible to be in love with four men at the same time.

5 comments:

CrazyCris said...

Oooh!!! Chris I'm afraid you've made a BIG mistake in pointing out the "writers' license"!!!

Anne was indeed Spanish!!!

She was known as Anne d'Autriche because she was a Hapsburg, but the Hapsburg's were the rulers in Spain since Carlos I (if Spain) / Karl V Holy Roman Emperor back in the early 1500s (grandson of Isabel and Ferdinand the "Catholic Monarchs" of Columbus fame, at least in the US; son of their daughter Juana "La Loca" (went mad when her husband died) and Felipe "El Hermoso" (handsome) who was a Hapsburg.

Anne's brother at this time was King of Spain. This is THE major point of tension between her and Louis throughout their personal history because of a potential (then all-out) war between France and Spain.

Louis XIV was later married to his Spanish cousin Maria Teresa to broker another peace treaty, and as the result of I don't remember which Spanish king dying without an heir, one of Louis' grandsons became King of Spain (after a war with the Brits and Austrians who wanted another Hapsburg candidate to take the throne... war which resulting in blowing up part of the castle here in Alicante).

Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Austria

CrazyCris said...

Back to the episode itself... ;o)

You would like to see a tragic demise of a beloved character? Have you read the book? Although they're deviating from the original story A LOT, there is one candidate for death easily identifiable for those who know the source material. Won't spoil it for those who aren't familiar with the tale.

Some things that are "back where they should be" (as in based in the books):

* We have Rochefort AT LAST! He has always been D'Artagnan's nemesis ("L'homme de Meung!") since the very first chapter in the book when he makes fun of D'Artagnan's horse then gives him a beating because he's cocky and thinks he (D'Artagnan) saw him meeting with Milady; until both their deaths in the final volume in "Le Vicomte de Bragelonne" (which takes place some 40 years later I believe).
Both Rochefort and Milady were the Cardinal's creatures and they had worked together quite frequently.

* Constance as the Queen's confidant. This is her role in the book from the very first moment we meet her. Although yes, the wife of a draper, she got the position because her godfather De La Porte (not present in this series) was the Queen's "homme de confiance" (and I think the head of her household). She is the one who gets D'Artagnan (her husband's lodger) mixed up in the Queen's affairs to begin with (the diamonds)

As for new changes to the source material. The biggie (other than the implied parentage of Louis XIV) is the death of Richelieu. He died much later... But sadly Capaldi couldn't juggle being both the Doctor and the Cardinal. Our loss!

Anyhow, looking forward to some more swashbuckling fun!!! And your happy reviews Chris! :o)

ChrisB said...

Goodness! That is a big mistake. Thanks for setting me straight.

I have never read the books, but I'm thinking now I might. I am so loving this series that I would love to see the original. Thank you so much for posting all about it.

The story I am truly looking forward to is Constance and Anne together. I love both these characters and I think some serious girl power could give this show a nice kick. Not that it really needs one.

CrazyCris said...

I cannot recommend The Three Musketeers highly enough! I first read it when I was 12 or so, and have read so many times since then that I can't remember! :p

The story of D'Artagnan and the others continues in "Twenty Years Later", with Louis XIV on the throne and Cardinal Mazarin as his Prime Minister (ends with Mazarin's death) and the Musketeers on the opposite side of a minor revolt in France, and then another 20 years or so later we have "The Viscount of Bragelonne" which is the twilight years of the Musketeers. It's rather sad (Minor spoiler if you consider their age: they all die!!!), D'Artagnan's end is particularly bittersweet. I've only read that one twice (because sad + loooooong)

mazephoenix said...

Oh yes. The three Musketeers is a great book, as is its sequels.
I'm happy we got Rochefort. I adore Marc Warren ever since he played a nasty
assassin in BBC's "The Hogfather."
He can do evil like few others. And he's very pretty.
Poor Constance, her hair is a mess.
But the episode was a nice comeback for our boys,though I'll miss Capaldi.