Nothing about this episode was new; everything about this episode was rehashed from stories that date back to Shakespeare. I loved it.
Up until now, Louis has been a one note character, the comic relief, with occasional glimpses of some deeper person under his silly exterior. We have now seen more of his personality. He is, finally, pretty awful.
The idea of a king dressing up so that he can wander around his subjects unnoticed is as old as storytelling itself. This time, however, all does not go according to plan. Through the stress and the fear that Louis experiences as he realizes just how much trouble he is in, we see a softer side.
We also see a braver side. He stands up to his captors, going so far as to throw a punch. He saves D’Artagnan’s life and it is he that forces the Musketeer to run when they need to. I found myself almost respecting the man.
Louis is hurt by Pepin’s words. Louis sees himself as a good man, as a good King. To hear a peasant call him a buffoon shocks and surprises him. Although D’Artagnan tries to comfort him, Louis has enough self-knowledge to know that he cannot measure up to his father who was much more popular than he.
The scene where he talks about growing up without his father is touching. Keeping in mind that his mother is no prize as well, that small boy without any real parents is not far from the sad man we see in the forest. He is determined to be a good father, to earn the love and respect of his new son.
How painfully ironic. Seducing Marguerite simply to be nearer his son is an odd choice for Aramis who has always respected women. I do understand what is driving him. He holds the baby with incredible tenderness and the look on his face at the christening is heartbreaking. This is a man who, like the King, wants to be there for his son. Unfortunately, he never can be.
The good that we see in Louis is completely undone in that last scene. He reverts back to the entitled, spoiled man he has always been. Which leads us, inevitably, to an interesting theme. How do men, who live by a code of honor so entrenched it defines everything they do, defend a man who has no honor?
Rochefort is turning out to be an interesting villain. He is not Richelieu 2.0. He is more direct, more physical, more openly smug. He is also more loyal to Anne than he is to Louis. All of these machinations with the Spanish are puzzling as, at least right now, we have no idea what game he is really playing.
We certainly know what game Milady is playing. As she so often does, she didn’t miss the opportunity given her and she played it perfectly. Louis is beholden and, I would wager, besotted. One villain seducing the king; the other seducing the queen. This is going to be fun.
But, before we get to the fun, we must have some pathos. The scene where the Musketeers take what little money they have to Pepin’s widow brought a tear to my eye. These men have risked their lives to save the life of a man with no honor and watched a man with loads of honor die defending that same man.
I am very happy about where this second season is headed. While we still have the villain of the week, the overall arc and the character development leads me to believe that this season is going to be a bit darker, a bit more real. This was an excellent episode. Three and a half out of four rings worn by a King.
-- Anne didn’t have much to do this episode except fret about her missing husband and, stupidly, sign that letter to the king of Spain. We may be sure that her act will come back to haunt her.
-- Likewise, Constance didn’t have much to do except irritate Rochefort and make it crystal clear that she is still in love with D’Artagnan. The smiles they exchanged at the christening made my heart beat faster.
Louis: “Tonight, I’m just like you. My, um, my tunic’s come undone.”
D’Artagnan: “Oh, allow me.”
Aramis: “I’m told I have a way with infants.”
Marguerite: “He is the royal prince.”
Aramis: “He’s still a baby.”
Pepin: “We could petition the King, but nothing would change.”
Louis: “If the King knew about this, he would stop it immediately. He’s very fair-minded and generous and clever.”
Pepin: “He’s a buffoon. Preening and prancing in his palace, totally ignorant of the people that he governs.”
Louis: “It is not the hardship of the galleys that I dread the most. It is a life apart from my son.”
Louis: “I am Louis, son of Henry IV of the House of Bourbon and Marie de Medici. I am your King. You cannot treat me like this.”
Pepin: “If we are to die, this is how I want it to be, by my King’s side, fighting together for our freedom. Not in the belly of some ship.”
D’Artagnan: “I am a soldier, not an executioner.”
ChrisB now understands it is possible to be in love with four men at the same time.
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