Warning: Spoiler Alert
Today’s cold open drops us right in the middle of Porthos’ birthday celebration. Then immediately following it where Porthos wakes up in the street next to a dead man. There was naturally a great deal of drinking and all around good fun. A patrol of police roll by and arrest Porthos for the murder. Porthos puts up a valiant (hung over) effort to fight them off, but it was three against one.
Porthos doesn’t remember a thing about the night before, so declaring his innocence is tricky. As he recants what he can remember, we discover that not only is Porthos from this broken down unsavory side of town, but that he actually does not know how old he actually is. Sober or otherwise. “I don’t know when I was born. Today is just the day I picked when I was a kid. One day’s as good as any I guess.”
The judge being a particularly unlikable character and one who has no business presiding over cases that potentially carry the punishment of death, sentences Porthos to death and sends him to the gallows. The carriage holding Porthos is seized and Porthos is taken far from the gallows. However, the rescuers/captors are not Musketeers.
The King is conversing with the Cardinal on whether or not they should tear down the “court of miracles” (ie the rough part of town) in order to rebuild all of Paris as the King’s legacy to France. Just then Treville shows up to convince the King to exercise a stay of execution on Porthos’ behalf. Just then a message is given to the Cardinal. Who agrees to the stay of execution until such a time as “this murderer can be retrieved from the Court of Miracles, where he has fled.”
After being shown why it’s called the “Court of Miracles”, we find Porthos thrown into what looks like a squatter house. The bag is removed from his head and the man before him is not only familiar, but a childhood friend. A friend who just so happens to be the leader of a group of shady characters to be polite.
An older woman (the one from the cold open with Porthos) is sitting up but slouched. She is awakened by the sound of wine splattering in her glass.
Woman: Is it raining Musketeers outside?
Aramis: I’m guessing you saw my friend here?
Woman: Yes, tall (she gestures)…better looking than you.
Aramis: There’s no accounting for taste…Did you talk to him?
Woman: He was a gentleman, he bought me a drink.
Just outside the bar, in daylight, Aramis and D’Artagnan investigate the area where Porthos and the deceased were found. What follows is a nice tip of the cap to the typical more modern investigative who done it types of shows we’re used to. No forensics, no computers, but they are still able to easily discern that without blood splatter or bone fragments, the man was not shot here. What comes next should look familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a Law and Order or CSI, a trip to what will eventually be referred to as the Coroner. Investigate the body, see if it extends any clues.
While Porthos and his ‘friend’ are getting re-acquainted, a new figure appears. She removes an elaborate mask to reveal a dainty woman. Also familiar. But there’s a wrinkle. Porthos apparently left this depressing place to eventually become a Musketeer. In that time his former love interest found a new place in the embrace of the ‘friend’. When the friend suggests Porthos should have taken her (Flea) with him, he replied with, “You think I didn’t try?” There clearly is a disconnect between Porthos’ desire to leave this waste of land and the others not sharing that view.
With Porthos in the wind, Aramis and D’Artagnan working the clues aspect of the case, that leaves Athos to try to find Porthos in a manner that should only be described as Athos-y. Athos is dismantling whatever defenses this building that holds Porthos has. And just as he’s about to gain a firm grip as the upper hand the ‘friend’ places the barrel of a gun in the back of his neck. Athos says he’s just looking for Porthos. The friend claims that Porthos doesn’t want to see him. Then there is a lovely, yet cheesy exchange about who his “real friends are”. The friend proclaims, “he’s with us now”, yeah you believe that if you want. There’s something wrong with this guy, something almost sinister about him.
The remaining “Three Musketeers” pay a visit to the father of the deceased. He is a man of means, perhaps even distant royalty. The Musketeers treat the situation with the regard it calls for. Even when D’Artagnan present a person effect that belonged to the son, there is little emotion from the father. OK, there it is. He just needed to hear the word DEAD. No tears or quivering lip, but visibly shaken.
The boys leave the father’s house and decide to pay a visit to the place where the deceased actually lived. In the reflection of a tall mirror, Aramis sees a man dressed just like the ones that stole/saved Porthos aiming a gun at him. He gets away but there is a bigger problem. The room or apartment is loaded with documents that were in the process of being burned. Evidence that would tie the deceased to something big. Among the pages reveals a potential plot against the Protestant church, locally.
Porthos, as he continues drinking, has a drunk recollection. Shades of the US team trying to recount the path to Beerfest. He sees the kid that will eventually die. It’s hazy but it’s there. Hopefully there will be more of this as we piece together the details. A man dressed like Porthos’ rescuers slices his way to where the two are drinking. Pulls his gun and takes a shot. Porthos pushes the friend out-of-the-way and asks why is someone trying to kill you? He replies with, “How do you know it was me he was aiming at?”
Aramis and D’Artagnan pay a visit to the Protestant church in question. After some small talk, and operating under the premise that the deceased is Catholic and had plans on blowing up the Protestant church, they probe the priest. “Jean was not a Catholic, he was a committed member of this congregation”. The father apparently sold out and converted to Catholicism for monetary or social gain. There is clearly some critical information missing.
Athos travels back to the home of the father. The father is seen kneeling and talking to his dead son of the grand plans to restore the family’s great name. Athos waits, then presents a portion of a license for gun powder. Reveals that there may have been a plan to blow up the Protestant church. The father has an outburst. “How many times did I…” Then just like that magnanimously forgives his son for whatever he’s done. Well isn’t that convenient. The father makes the second person who is clearly hiding something.
Porthos, leaning on his Musketeer experience performs minor surgery to remove the bullet from the friend (Charon). Later, Flea addresses Porthos about why he abandoned them. Curious usage considering the truth is that he left a crappy part of town that provided no promise of a better life. He offered to take Flea with him. So, it’s not abandonment. Regardless, Flea’s negatively colorful language quickly become rekindled passion for Porthos, of a physical nature.
The Musketeers go back to the Protestant church and discover a printing press surrounded by barrels. The barrels contain ink, mostly. Some are filled with gun powder. Just then the priest walks in. They try to explain their theory and he isn’t buying it. Claiming that Jean was a mild-mannered boy and not an assassin. Then Athos presents the license for the gun powder that has Jean’s signature on it.
“This is Jean’s name. But it’s not his handwriting, it’s his father’s.”-Priest
In a dream sequence, Porthos can almost make out the man kneeling over the dead boy’s body. I have my theory, but I’ll hold off on sharing it. Meanwhile the three Musketeers go back to the father’s home, forcing their way in a sword-point. The father is nowhere to be found, but there is plenty of evidence to be found. Tons of documentation placing the father in the center of this whole fiasco. Then we see the Cardinal going on about the one blemish on an otherwise beautiful face. He asks his guest if he his agent can be relied on? The guest is the father of the deceased.
In the main room in the squatter house, Charon is hosting a party of sorts. He takes Flea into another room and suggests enough of the plan without raising suspicion. “The court will be a heap of ashes, you have to trust me. We have to go”.
Back at the father’s home, Captain Treville has joined the Musketeers to investigate exactly what they have. While going through the documents, the Father returns to the house. He is all but eager tell the Musketeers that they must leave immediately as if he has the upper hand. The forgery for gun powder apparently is a BIG problem and punishable by death. They surmise a number of details. That this was not about religion but real estate. And that greed, not passion was the motivating factor. And that there must have been a man on the inside. He even offers up that the destruction of the court is to happen at mid day, that day.
Porthos earlier noticed barrels of gun powder set to fuses. He brought Charon and Flea to show them. At this point Porthos and Flea should be the only ones in the relative dark. While Flea tries to wrap her head around who would risk the lives of women and children, Porthos proclaims that he did not kill the boy. Meanwhile, Treville alone with the Father, questions a number of details. All resulting in one question and one answer.
Treville: Who killed your son?
The Father: I did.
And just like that, back to Porthos’ dream sequence. He saw the killer knelt down. He put his hand on the killer’s shoulder. The killer is revealed as the old man. Porthos looks upon him confused. And a person behind him hits Porthos on the back of the head knocking him out. Putting a name to the face of the killer can prove his innocence. First, he decides to cut the fuses to the gun powder. Charon can have no part of that.
Charon: You were in the wrong place at the wrong time Porthos.
Charon (at gunpoint) shares his vision. Why he’s doing what he’s doing and how. His loyalty to “the Court” was not real. He wants better for himself and if destroying the court gets him that, then that’s a deal worth making. Then the Shakespearean violent attachment to love and not love comes into play. Charon’s jealousy of Porthos and Flea’s affection for him gets the better of his judgement. Charon goes to shoot Porthos and Flea jumps in front of the bullet.
What would an episode of The Musketeers be without a beautifully choreographed series of sword fighting scenes. Which ultimately leads us to what we’ve been waiting for, the fight between Porthos and Charon. Sad really. Charon actually thought he had a chance. Armed with a knife and Porthos with nothing, Charon still really never had a chance. It was over before it began. Like every other angry loser staring loserdom in the face, Charon cannot leave it alone. He gets up after Porthos showed him mercy and ran after Porthos knife extended. He just didn’t expect he’d be digesting Aramis sword.
Back at the house the father writes and seals a full confession to exonerate Porthos of any wrong doing. It naturally would be entirely too easy to get up and accept being arrested like a normal criminal. Instead this father leans on the etiquette of a gentleman and informs Treville that he will take care of it. And by take care of it, I mean he intends on shooting himself with Treville’s gun.
Porthos and Flea do what we all must have believed they were going to do for the last 20+ minutes. Try to convince to other to go with them or stay with them. Then decide to once again go their separate ways.
(The following plays better on-screen than in text, but for those who missed it…)
Porthos: You took your damn time getting here.
Athos: We would never let you hang.
Aramis: Of course not. But if we had, the funeral would have been beautiful.
Athos: We came looking. Charon said you were having such a good time, you didn’t want to see us.
Porthos: Be honest, did any of you think I did it?
D’Artagnan: Never even crossed my mind.
Aramis: Did you ever think we’d abandoned you?
Porthos: Never. Come on, let’s the hell out of here.