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The Musketeers: The Good Traitor

“I have never understood irrational hatred. It stifles every decent impulse, destroys common sense and reason. The moment a man says, ‘All Moors are this,’ or ‘All white men are that,’ he has abandoned his sanity and revealed his weakness.”

Is it possible to be a traitor, to betray your country or your spouse, and still be a good person?

This was the theme that resonated throughout this episode. Tariq is betraying his country, because it is the right thing to do or because he is looking for revenge on the country that he believes has betrayed him? Rochefort is betraying his country, but no one believes he is doing it for reasons that are anything but selfish.

Adultery has been a part of this show from the beginning, but now it is front and center. At first, I was astonished at how easily Milady was able to seduce Louis, especially with his son so ill. I realized, however, that it is entirely in character for them both. He is spoiled and she is a new toy. Of course he will sleep with her.

I am thrilled at this turn of events. Milady is a fabulous adversary and having her front and center, under the protection of the king no less, is going to give her machinations teeth that she didn’t have last year. She was working for the Cardinal, not sleeping with him. When Milady crawled out from under the table to smirk at Anne, I realized just how dangerous she is going to be.

As much as she may want to judge, Anne can’t really get too snarky about her husband’s infidelity. After all, her committal of the same act resulted in the Dauphin. It is hard to watch Aramis pine after his son. He has lost his joy, not to mention his ability to do his job. I dread the inevitable time when he goes too far and reveals the truth. Rochefort will use that knowledge without hesitating.

Not only because knowledge is power, but because he is pining after Anne. The opening scene with the prostitute was creepy and it affected how I see all of his scenes with Anne now. He believes that she is above reproach. As soon as he learns that she is not, that she has strayed from her marriage vows once before, her life is going to be as miserable as Aramis’s.

The Dauphin’s illness was the least interesting part of this week’s story -- until the end. While having Constance take him from the palace was contrived at best (surely there is steam somewhere closer to home), the resolution has now put her firmly into the inner circle. The Louis/Milady and Anne/Constance pairings, with Rochefort flitting between the two, is a great dynamic to explore as the season continues.

The main story this week, that of Tariq and the 17th century version of the Enigma machine, gave us further hints of Porthos’s story. The interactions between Samara and him were fascinating. She feels like a foreigner; he keeps insisting that he is French. She tells him that he must go home; he insists that he is home. Both of them have a strong sense of self, of exactly who they are.

What made these exchanges so great is that Porthos is a person of color; he is different from those around him. Yet, he has created his life from scratch. Unlike Samara who had her father, Porthos was alone until he found his family with the Musketeers. So much of his sense of self is derived from his friendships with men who are, in fact, not of African ancestry. I find it amazing that he can so completely embrace this life.

I continue to be impressed at how this season is unfolding. Yes, it is very different from last. There is less broad comedy, fewer jokes; not as many laugh out loud moments. I find myself, however, much more invested in these characters as complex people that I want to know better.

Another great week. Three out of four exploding statues.


-- Tariq was played by Colin Salmon who is always excellent. The sign of a good actor, I finally had to resort to IMDb to figure out where I knew him from. That would be another show I actually helped to review, 24: Live Another Day. And, Arrow.

-- The fact that Milady is sleeping with Louis is no mean feat. At this time, the King’s mistress would have had as much power, if not more, than the queen herself.

-- Although the Moors were being persecuted at this time, their history in Spain is impressive. They had occupied parts of the country since the 700s AD and were culturally and technologically far advanced from their European counterparts. Education was universal; they had libraries when the rest of the continent was illiterate; they planted crops (saffron and sugar among them) that remain some of Spain’s main exports today.

-- My favorite Moorish legacy, however, is one of the most beautiful buildings, not just in Spain but in the world. This is the Alhambra. Consider that the Moors were living here at the same time the European monarchs were living in stone boxes.

-- Umar Ibn al-Farid is an extremely well known Arabic poet. Samara quotes from his most famous poem, The Sufi Way.

-- Steam has been used for centuries as a cure for congested lungs. One of my earliest memories is sitting under a blanket with my mother over a pot of boiling water. I had a bad cold.


Louis: “Why do people harp on about the beauty of the sunrise? It happens every day with tedious regularity.”

Baltasar: “A country’s most powerful weapon in war is hatred.”

Tariq: “I was born the wrong color, an issue you may be familiar with.”
Porthos: “Nothing I can’t handle.”

D’Artagnan: “Constance, he’s in good hands.”
Constance: “The physician is a very learned man. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
D’Artagnan: “I meant your hands!”
Sigh. I miss these two together. I didn’t like the way the doctor was smiling at Constance. Not a bit.

Louis: “I almost didn’t recognize you in your fine dress.”
Milady: “It is so much the height of fashion, Sire. I had to commit murder to obtain it.”

Samara: “Would you like to hear some poetry?”
Porthos: “I’d prefer a brandy.”
Samara: “Poetry is all I have.”
Porthos: “Poetry it is, then.”

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

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photo of the Generalife Chris! (the summer palace in the gardens above the Alhambra) I had kind of planned to go this Spring to Granada (only season I've never been there, have been several times in summer and winter, lost count, would love to see the gardens in bloom in Spring!), but exchanged that for a trip across the pond! ;o)

    This was overall a weird episode of the Musketeers for me, I couldn't quite get "into" it properly. Didn't fit right.

    And also, they've never 100% gone out and said the Dauphin is Aramis' son, it's heavily implied/assumed (by him and Athos) because of the timing. But minus a paternity test he could be Louis XIII's. ;o)

    Rochford is pretty great, but I'm still annoyed at how they've deviated his story from the novels (yet another change!). He was the "âme damnée du Cardinal" (the Cardinal's cursed soul), right up there with Milady in the list of the Cardinal's evil henchmen (and they worked together at times). He wa also D'Artagnan's nemesis from the very first chapter. He's quite tame here in comparison! :p


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