Warning: Spoiler Alert
As the fourth episode of the BBCA Original “The Musketeers,” we find the royal court’s waiting for a special visitor expected whose scheduled to arrive by this time. King Louis XIII was complaining about the delay as he’s anxious to sign a treaty with Savoy, a small county and the best option for France to buffer Spain. The Duke and his family will stay at the palace until both-sides create a treaty, or negotiating breaks-down and he and his entourage head back home the deal dead in the water. The Musketeers are standing nearby the French Royal Couple, as the wagon arrives the Duke, his wife and son, plus an aide to the Duke.
After the couples exchange greetings there’s a disturbance as a masked man from the nearby woods fires his pistol attempting to assassinate the Duke. Guards get the Royalty into the place as quick as they can, but the Musketeers split and search for the gunmen. Aramis is suddenly attacked by a man with a familiar voice, he quickly realizes is his old friend and former Musketeer Marsac, whom he has not seen in the last-five-years.
Aramis soon gets the top hand as he disarms his old friend has him get rid of any hidden weapons and asks why he shot at the Duke. Marsac explains that the ambush they survived five-years earlier that slaughtered 20 of their friends as they camped out for the night nearby Savoy’s castle, was not the deed of Spanish soldiers. Instead somehow the Duke and his aides got hold of Captain Treville’s field orders and it was actually soldiers from Savoy that had killed their mates. Marsac and Aramis were the only two of their regiment to survive the siege, as Aramis was badly wounded and Marsac carried his friend into the woods as they both hid until the attackers parted. Marsac overcome with guilt for surviving, tore off his uniform and went into hiding.
As Marsac is in the midst of telling his former soldier-in-arms the true tale of that horrid night, D’Artagnan finds them and asks Aramis what’s going on. Aramis tells the former farm boy about Marsac and asks to keep the info between them, they then take him with his hands bound to Constance’s home, where D’Artagnan lodges. Aramis and D’Artagnan both vouch for Marsac and Constance agrees that he can stay with D’Artagnan in his room. The two men then take him up to the room and tie him tightly enough that he can’t escape.
The Duke meanwhile refuses to talk about any treaty between France and his principality, until they have found and imprisoned the attempted assassin. There’s a very terse conversation between Cardinal Richelieu and the Duke over past grievances between the two, when the Duchess asks her husband, with them under the safety of the palace guards, shouldn’t they negotiate a deal so that the family can return to Savoy. The Duke questions her loyalty to him and their country and wonders aloud whether her true loyalty is to the land she was born in (The Duchess is the younger sister of Louis XIII.) She shows the hurt in her face when she tells her husband that her first and utmost loyalty is to him. He apologizes for the outburst and tells his wife he trusts her implicitly.
Treville meets with Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan as to how they lost the assailant, although both Porthos and Athos stories ring true, that duo believes that Aramis and D’Artagnan are hiding something and they demand answers. Aramis looks if he’s going to explain the situation, but the camera cuts to Constance’s house with all the Musketeers and Marsac. Constance is most upset with D’Artagnan because he lied to her even though they were friends. Marsac tells the four men that he can prove his story’s valid if they cut off his bonds, they do and the five men leave to see the former Musketeer’s proof.
They find a man bound to a pole by his hands and feet and Marsac explains he heard the man drunkenly boast about being part of the team that carried out the massacre. The man tells them that the Duke’s top advisor Cluzet, who was secretly working on behalf of Spain had gotten the battle plans of the Musketeers gave them to the Duke and the leader of the principality led the ambush. When asked where Cluzet learned about the plan, the prisoner says a man named Treville, implicating the Captain the men had always trusted. Marsac believes it instantly, while Aramis is unsure of Treville’s loyalty. Porthos, Athos and D’Artagnan, dismiss the story as lies and as they head back to question the prisoner further, they arrive just as Marsac had finished choking the life out of him, for talking about his fallen comrades.
Cluzet has been held in solitary confinement in a Paris prison for the last five years, captured by the French the night of the massacre. The Cardinal comes to his cell to taunt his prisoner, telling him that the Duke’s in Paris to sign a treaty and Cluzet is powerless to stop it. However at the same time the Duke and his aide are planning to try to find the former advisor. The aide ends up taking to a jailer at the prison Cluzet is in and he describes the former advisor perfectly.
Athos and Porthos are to guard the Duke during his stay and they head back to the palace. Before they leave Aramis tells them that he sliced open the leader’s back the night of the massacre so if it was the Duke he would have a long scar across his back. The Duke’s displeased with his new protectors comparing the two men to wolves. As the subject of the treaty comes up, the Duke proposes that he duel with Athos, if the Musketeer triumphs he will discuss the treaty, if he prevails he and his party leave for Savoy immediately.
Athos’ the finest swordsman in the King’s service easily bests his opponent, but his anger overcomes him and he makes the Duke look foolish in his loss. Treville chastises his soldier and tells him he’s to apologize to the Duke. The Musketeer heads to the Duke’s quarters and apologizes for being over zealous. The Duke still fuming removes his shirt and offers to engage Athos in a fair fight, as he tells the Musketeer he could see the soldier wanted to kill him during their duel. Athos tells him that he’s mistaken and does not accept the challenge. However both Athos and Porthos saw the scar on his back, proving he did indeed lead the massacre.
The Musketeers and D’Artagnan storm into Treville’s office and demand he tell them what he knew about the massacre five years previously. The commanding officer becomes indignant and tells them they are treading dangerous territory that could lead to them all getting court-martialed. They are not intimidated by the threat and keep pressing for more information. Finally Treville admits that he was in cahoots with Richelieu and allowed the plans to get to Cluzet, but offers no further explanation. Richelieu meanwhile finds himself in a precarious position, the Duke and his aide tell him that they know Cluzet’s imprisoned in Paris and if they find him all negotiations will end immediately. The Cardinal follows the pair to the prison sweating bullets the entire ride of visions of his plan falling apart consume his thoughts.
The Musketeers get approached by a hooded figure on horseback and shocked to find it’s the Duchess. She informs the soldiers that her husband is about to find his former advisor putting many lives in jeopardy including her own. The four men ride to the prison, get Cluzet and the guard hidden and put another man in the cell, while D’Artagnan masquerades as the guard in front of the cell. As the trio arrive Richelieu tries anything from keeping them out of the cell, but realizes the situation’s in hand when he sees D’Artagnan. They enter the cell to find an older man with horned-rim glasses inside, who inquires if the Duke is the new cook for the prison. Humiliated the Duke leaves the cell and chews out his aide for his incompetence. As they leave the prison, we see the Musketeers are 50-yards away, with Porthos’ hand tightly keeping Cluzet’s mouth shut.
We head back to Treville’s office and find Marsac has entered the office through the window with his only purpose to kill his former commanding officer. As he pulls out a pistol to shoot Treville Aramis enters and immediately points his pistol at his former comrade and Marsac takes out a second gun and points one at each of them. He fires a shot at the Captain but it misses its mark, however Aramis shot Marsac at the same moment and that bullet took his former comrade’s life.
Treville then explains that the reason his plans got to become possessed by Cluzet, was to create diversion so they could kidnap him, saving the Duchess’ life in the process. The advisor was a spy for Spain, while the King’s sister was spying for him and Cluzet had recently found that out. They removed him from Savoy before he could inform the Duke. However Richelieu double-crossed Treville by stating that the exercise that the Musketeers were on was actually an assassination attempt of the Duke. Which led to the massacre in a pre-emptive move.
The Captain and Aramis bury the former Musketeer and Aramis states that Marsac’s soul had died five years earlier, but his body finally caught up. He then sticks his sword into the grave a sign of respect for a fallen Musketeer.
The story will pick up again next Sunday night on BBCA.