Warning: Spoiler Alert
Last week we had the pleasure of experiencing a great D’Artagnan episode. Now as a fully paid and recognized Musketeer, we find D’Artagnan training vigorously with Athos and Porthos. A little over protective of the Musketeer uniform, but in good spirits nonetheless. The same cannot be said for Queen Anne. Who is currently swimming in a natural spring looking dangerously depressed.
The King, back on the grounds, is getting saucy in more ways than one. Carrying on very flirtatious with the daughter of German royalty. Good and boozed up, the King shares his frustration with Queen Anne with the Cardinal. She is not madly in love with Louis and it shows. Furthermore, the biggest problem in any royal family, she cannot conceive an heir. In his drunken stupor, he claims that everything would be better if Anne were dead. Which is somehow convenient if there were a way to remove Anne as Queen without killer her as they have hinted a few times that there seems to be something between Queen Anne and Aramis.
Elsewhere a strange man (Gallagher) rides towards a farm-house. The woman claims there are five. Gallagher walks into the barn and in a Clint Eastwood fashion pops off 5 shots with five separate guns. We eventually realize, there were five mice or rats. Just then Milady De Winter shows up and claims she has a job “more befitting a man of his talents”. I’ll give you one guess as to the nature of this job.
Back at the spring, the place Aramis once called paradise, has now turned to boredom. Aramis extends his gun pointing it in the distance but away from the Queen’s set up. A shot rings out. Athos and Porthos yell at Aramis. He replies simply with, “that wasn’t me”.
Down by the water’s edge a woman in a white robe (presumably Queen Anne) is hit lying face down. The Musketeers spring into action. They roll the woman over to discover she is not the Queen. They secure the Queen. Porthos and D’Artagnan stick with the Queen while Athos and Aramis chase after the assassin. Seems simple enough. Two Musketeers to find one assassin. Then in the clearing, we discover that it isn’t one assassin. It’s one assassin and a cavalry of masked men.
Back on the palace grounds, a group prepares to hunt. The Cardinal and the Charlotte’s (the woman who has Louis’ attention for now) father discuss a potential match between Charlotte and a Frenchman. Not specifying that the Frenchman in question would be King Louis.
The Musketeers regroup and with no size of the assassin and his band of merry men, they decide to rest…for the Queen’s sake. The next shot is of Aramis shirtless and doing something in a creek. The Queen walks up. Danger! There has been this overwhelming sense that it is not a good idea to leave the Queen and Aramis together unattended. He’s apparently fishing, in a creek, like a bear. Surprisingly, Aramis is taking a strictly business approach. She offers to help and sends her off to Porthos.
Queen Anne feeling compelled, offers to cook the fish. Curious, since the King and Queen rarely do anything that can be done for them. Which is evident in the stiff, charred appearance of the fish. The comedy that ensues over the Musketeers attempt to look satisfied while disposing of their meal by any means that does not include digestion.
The Assassin Brigade is bad and the Musketeers flee with the Queen. Porthos is tired of running and would prefer fighting instead. Athos reminds him that the security of the Queen is what’s most important. “Well when we can no longer out run them, then we’ll fight”-Athos.
The Musketeers decide to split up. Two (Athos and Aramis) protect the Queen, two (Porthos and D’Artagnan) go to Paris to round-up reinforcements. Athos and Aramis take the Queen to a convent on the hill. Aramis attempts to close the gates. A nun takes issue with that speaking of her ‘higher power’. Athos retorts with, “This is your Queen, it is your duty to protect her”. Then what I assume is the Mother Superior orders her to close the gate.
Shortly thereafter, two of the assassins approach the convent holding a white flag of sorts. Athos ventures outside the walls alone to entertain this next move. While this is a predictable standoff it is well-played. Both men refusing to concede ground. Both men finishing each other’s sentences. Then Athos appeals to the soldier in Gallagher (based on a number of details apparent to Athos). Gallagher claims to have given his word. In the end, the nuns are free to leave unharmed. However, anyone who remains behind the walls will die.
During the standoff, Gallagher mentioned that Athos’ “two men” (Porthos and D’Artagnan) will never make it to Paris. Porthos and D’Artagnan decide to take their four tails out. After which, they rummage through pockets and find two important details. 1) a tattoo that is strange to both Musketeers and 2) documentation showing payment owed to be paid in Paris.
Inside the convent the nuns are gathered. Athos strongly suggests they leave for their own safety. The Mother Superior echoes that sentiment and adds, “with her blessing”. All of the nuns refuse. While Athos and Mother Superior exchange a Q and A over where the best vantage points are and such, a woman parading around as a nun looks awfully suspicious.
The suspicious woman escorts Aramis downstairs to a room with a still for making Brandy. Aramis tells a tale of his father and how he used to make similar Brandy. He tastes the product and reflects.
Aramis: It’s exactly like my father’s.
Woman: Probably because I use his recipe.
(Aramis looks confused)
Woman: You still don’t recognize me do you Aramis?
Woman: Isabelle is gone. Now I am Sister Henen.
Aramis: What are you doing here?
Woman: I’m a nun now.
Aramis: You know what I mean…
(Queen Anne interrupts this awkward moment. To be continued)
While at his post, Queen Anne comes to politely apologize for interrupting earlier. Aramis assures her that she did not interrupt anything. The woman in question was to be Aramis’ wife. The marriage was arranged, but they were in love. She was with child as a nice coincidence. But when she lost the child prematurely, her father had her sent to this convent. Then shots rang out.
In Paris Porthos, D’Artagnan, and Treville go to inform the Cardinal of what’s happened. Not to mention the evidence that the assassins were hired by someone in Paris. Once the Musketeers depart, the Cardinal flip the proverbial light switch back and directs his rage towards Milady De Winter. Which, I for one, am completely alright with.
Athos and Aramis stand their posts, picking off assassins as they advance. The nuns are gathered a safe distance from the windows looking concerned. In between shots, the two Musketeers decide to engage in a perfectly innocent conversation shouting from opposite ends of the same floor.
Aramis: My parents always hoped I’d end up in a place like this.
Athos: They wanted you to become a nun?
Aramis (chuckling): A priest.
Athos: Why didn’t you?
Aramis: Because I found I was better at (Shot) dispatching people back to hell.
The nuns continue praying. Until a statue of the Virgin Mary gets her head blown off. That is something Mother Superior cannot accept. Armed with ‘Brandy-bombs’ a few nuns (including the nun formerly known as Isabelle) take the convent roof to even the odds. Gallagher is seeing his once strong numerical advantage begin to shrink. With a pesky 3 assassins still advancing, Isabelle picks up a large nest of bees or some such insect and throws it down the hill. And those three scurry.
Treville and the two Musketeers follow the breadcrumbs hoping to narrow down the origin of the ‘promissory note’. At a known money lender’s establishment Treville finds the evidence. Porthos finds the lender dead. D’Artagnan almost finds Milady De Winter in the next room. The evidence seems to tie the hiring to the German Count (currently hunting with the King) and instead of a signature there is a stamp of a hand. The same hand found tattooed on one of the assassins. Which Treville describes not as assassins, but more like Musketeers.
Treville meets with the Cardinal to keep him up to speed. The important part is that Treville tells the Cardinal that the perpetrator was a woman. Milady De Winter tries her best to deflect, “there are tons of women in Paris”. The Cardinal is not impressed.
In the convent, the firefight has stopped. In this break from the action, Aramis and Isabelle rehash their personal story. Aramis tells her he searched for her and never forgot her. She tells a different story. One that involves a relative Don Juan seducing a girl, getting her pregnant, and being forced to marry against his will. While I am perfectly content with where this particular story line is headed, I do think some of these women need to start showing the Musketeers the reverence they deserve (spoken light-hardheartedly of course).
Some of the assassins have breached the convent by way of the cellar. When Isabelle doesn’t return in a timely fashion, Aramis gets suspicious. One assassin has a gun pointed at the stairs, the other stands muzzling Isabelle. She hears Aramis and stabs the one assassin with his own knife in order to warn Aramis. This would likely be her final act. As the gunman turns and shoots her. Oooooo. Aramis angry.
Treville, Porthos and D’Artagnan have dressed what look like hobos as would-be Musketeers to create the illusion of reinforcements.
Back at the convent, Queen Anne attempts to rest amidst all of the noise. In the other room, Aramis is reflecting on the death of his almost wife and almost mother of his child. Queen Anne gets up to talk to Aramis. The fan in me is concerned that the situation at hand (i.e. assassins sent to kill Queen Anne) and the death of Isabelle make both of these two uniquely vulnerable. I keep uttering under my breath, “walk away, just walk away”.
I’m sure I’m not planting a flag with this one, but I got up to walk into the kitchen. Needed a mental break from what I am sure is going to happen. As I walked back in I literally said out loud, “Musketeers can’t go around fraternizing with the Queen.” I’d love to tell you that they shared a passionate kiss and immediately realized the gravity of their mistake. I’d love to tell you that. When they return from the commercial break, Queen Anne is laying in a bed on Aramis wearing nothing but the sheets. And the best part of this highly frustrating scene (don’t get me wrong, I want Aramis and Anne to be an item, I just want it to happen after she is no longer the Queen. I’m not as familiar with French history as I probably should be so the reality of such a twist may be for not), has to be Athos’ look as he gazes through the door to see Aramis and Anne naked post-coitus. Priceless.
Retraction. The best part is in the next scene when Aramis tries to address what Athos just saw. Athos claims that he saw nothing as he had been in a different room the entire morning and could not have possibly seen anything. Then allows Aramis to breathe a sigh of relief before Athos begins ‘scream whispering’ at Aramis.
Athos: I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU SLEPT WITH THE QUEEN!!!
Aramis: I thought you didn’t see anything.
Athos: They’ll hang you. Then they’ll hang me for letting it happen.
Aramis: Well, more chance we’ll kill us here and we’ll take it to the grave.
Athos: That’s a comfort.
Aramis: So, you good?
Aramis: I should go back.
Athos: Shout if you need me.
Aramis: Why would I need you?
The assassins found another entry to tunnel into. Two Musketeers, the Queen, and Mother Superior venture down to cut them off. These guys really could use the invention of a revolver or gun with a clip.
Sober and concerned beyond expectation, King Louis comes racing up the stairs. While the Cardinal escorted by a number of Red Guard move down the stairs. From there, the Cardinal executes his plan to pin this whole thing on the Count. Louis almost strikes the Count, but instead settles for throwing them (the German group) into the Bastille.
In the cellar we are faced with an age-old dilemma. Two bullets, four bad guys. With the first shot, Aramis brings that number down to three. With a little time on their side, Treville, Porthos, D’Artagnan and their group of hobos arrive outside the convent and are welcomed by nuns. Despite a couple hobo casualties, the ‘Musketeers’ dispense with the bad guys in short order. Leaving Gallagher vastly outnumbered.
Gallagher, at a serious disadvantage tries to escape. Athos close behind, catches up and with the click of his pistol’s hammer, Gallagher stops dead in his tracks. Athos gives him an ‘out’. “Give me the name of who hired you and I’ll spare you the hangman’s noose”. Gallagher refuses and reaches for his pistol. Athos puts an end to that charade rather quickly.
Mother Superior at Gallagher’s side was able to secure one little breadcrumb. He offered the money he had in his saddlebag for repairs to the convent. In the saddlebag was a box with very little money in it. Another clue was obvious to Athos. Pinned to the inside of the box was an obscure flower. “…it’s something much bigger. That flower is the signature of a woman who works for the Cardinal”-Athos
The Cardinal pays a visit to the Bastille and the Count being held as the prime suspect. The Cardinal does his little song and dance. Pins the Count against his own desperation. Which ideally puts the Cardinal in a position to save the Count’s daughter (wink wink).
When the Queen is finally returned to the palace, the King and his men await her. She enters ceremoniously. The King is so relieved that twice he attempts to ignore the customary protocol. He genuinely wants to run to her, but convention would frown upon such an act. The look in her eyes is much less joyous. I would imagine because being near Aramis is much more favorable than being near King Louis. At least in her mind. He is able to have an honest moment sharing his fears of her demise. This reaction in him seems to warm her heart enough, for the moment.
The Musketeers knowing what they know now, stand in the room quiet while the Cardinal gets all of the public praise for getting a confession from the Count. Which doesn’t sit well with the Musketeers. Athos approaches the Cardinal. Congratulates him on his work. Mentions the ‘woman’ and vows to not rest until she is brought to justice, and the person she works for.