Warning: Spoiler Alert
Although The BBCA premiered the first season of “The Musketeers,” last June, the network broadcast the premiere of season two on Saturday night, a welcome addition to the Television schedule, as we bide our time waiting for shows to return from their Fall or Winter Hiatus. The British version of the Alexander Dumas classic, showed us multi-faceted versions of characters, well-known by the public.
The series took great care in showing the contrasts in Paris back in 1630, as Royalty and Land Barons, surrounded themselves with opulence, while the poor lived in some of the most rancid dwellings in the history of humanity. We see both extremes, through the eyes of the Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the newest member of the King’s Musketeers, D’Artagnan.
For those of us wondering how Peter Capaldi could handle being the latest incarnation of Doctor Who, on the BBC classic, as well as play the part of Cardinal Richelieu, as he did in the first season of the series, the answer appeared in the opening seconds of the episode, he won’t. We are sitting in a church at the funeral of the main adviser to French King Louis XIII, as we see the Monarch looks desolate and very much alone with the Cardinal gone from being by his side.
The next scene brings us to rolling fields, as the Musketeers appear on horseback, they’ve been sent by Captain Treville to meet with an unidentified agent, at the local village inn, who will make himself known to the soldiers. Suddenly the men become aware of a party of other men, who have a prisoner that they’re about to hang, the Musketeers ride to the party to find out what’s going on and see that the prisoner has a hood over his head and his hands are bound.
Athos asks the leader what’s going on and he’s told that they’re hanging the man as he killed was the local innkeeper, a man beloved by the village. Aramis says, they’re not going to lynch him, instead he’ll get a trial before the local magistrate, then tells the villagers to untie their prisoner and take off his hood. Any sympathy that the three veteran soldiers have for the prisoner evaporates as his hood’s removed. Athos spits out the man’s name Rochefort and he responds, that it’s the Musketeers, as if his day wasn’t already going bad enough.
D’Artagnan asks his mates who the man is and he’s told he’s one of Richelieu’s Lieutenants and imprisoned in Spain. Rochefort explains that he escaped while they attempted to transfer him to another prison. Athos looks at the villagers and tells them to kill him and he starts to get back to his horse, Rochefort says they can’t just leave him and Porthos responds they’re late for a meeting with an agent at the inn. Rochefort tells them, he’s the agent and he has urgent news for the King.
Athos apologizes to the villagers and says they’re going to have to take him with them, but the leader refuses, saying Rochefort must pay for his crime. Porthos steps up and asks to please not make things more difficult, when a man about two-thirds his size attempts to throw a punch at the Musketeer, Porthos swats him away like a mosquito. Although the villagers clearly outnumber the soldiers, the Musketeers are taking them out easily without even using weapons. Rochefort climbs one of the Musketeer’s horses and tries to sneak away, when the leader said enough take him with you and Rochefort shot the man straight through the heart, then galloped away. They catch him quickly and bind him to all four horses, forcing him to walk while they all ride.
Back at the palace, we see a maid running as fast as she can with a bowl of apples and we hear a woman screaming. We then hear a doctor telling Queen Anne to bear down, her baby’s almost out, one more push and we see the future King of France being handed to his mother. After all’s gotten cleaned up, the Queen’s Ladies In Waiting are surrounding the foot of the bed, when Louis comes in to get his first look at his son and he falls hopelessly in love.
The following scene, takes place in the main room of the palace as Queen Anne dressed in full attire and her son join her husband. Louis asks her if the activity’s too much and she replies her place is by her husband’s side. The King walks over to Captain Treville and tells him that things haven’t been the same since the Cardinal’s death, he relied so heavily on his counsel. He tells the head of the Musketeers, he needs a man he can rely on and he believes Treville’s the man.
Knowing full well what the Monarch’s alluding to, the Captain says he doesn’t understand. Louis says he wants him to become his special counsel and a member of his court and he believes he foresees a time when Treville will get named First Minister and take the place of Richelieu. The Captain stammers and stutters, then says he’s overwhelmed at the honor, but he believes he can best serve the King leading his Musketeers.
He says he lacks political and diplomatic skills, but the Queen interrupts him, telling Treville both are skills he can learn and he’s being far too modest. Queen Anne saw right through Richelieu and knew he manipulated her husband, Treville, incredibly loyal to the King is a good man, who would point Louis in the right direction on matters of major importance.
Capaldi moving on and the death of the Cardinal, gives the show-runners some room to play with as the characters are no longer the same as in the Dumas novel. However, putting Treville as the voice whispering in the French Monarch’s ear, would deviate too far from the original story and change the entire story-arc of the series. So the scenario that seemed too good to be true, proved that it was exactly that. Louis now feels betrayed by the Captain of his Musketeers, saying that Treville refused to step up to serve his country and he had cut the King to the quick.
The Musketeers return to the palace and hand Rochefort over to their Captain. He tells Treville that French General De Foix’s, imprisoned by the Spanish in the same prison he was held at. The French military and the Royal Court, thought De Foix died in a battle assisting Sweden, but Rochefort says that’s why his body was never found. He tells the Captain he believes that the General can be rescued and Treville tells Rochefort that De Foix’s like a brother to him.
We watch Constance and D’Artagnan in bed together kissing each other passionately, she tells him she loves him and he tells her the same, when suddenly we hear another man’s voice. It’s Constance’s husband Bonacieux, and she suddenly realizes she’s standing outdoors between clotheslines, on which sheets are hanging. He asks if she’s okay and she tells him she was just dreaming. He tells her to try to avoid talking to any of the Royal Family, as she’ll show her inferior breeding. He then preens as he says to her that the King summoned him to the palace and Constance smiles at his joy. They enter the carriage sent by the palace.
Rochefort’s presented to the Royal Couple and it turns out that Queen Anne and Rochefort are old friends, as he tutored her about France when she first came from Spain to marry Louis and she’s pleased to see him. Suddenly a man with a Spanish accent enters the Royal court and demands to talk to the King and one of the King’s men announce the arrival of the Ambassador from Spain.
He demands that Louis relinquish him to the Ambassador at once and says the Cardinal never would have allowed it, which was the wrong thing to say, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. The King gets up from his throne and stands toe to toe with the Spanish Ambassador, screaming at him for invoking Richelieu’s name with his body barely in the ground.
He tells the Ambassador that he won’t turn over Rochefort and the Spaniard tells Louis to realize what he’s doing, with that comment Rochefort slugs the Ambassador in the jaw and says he’ll address the King with respect in his presence. The Ambassador asks if Louis’ going to allow Rochefort to get away with his actions and the King tells him, he wished he’d done it himself. As he leaves he asks to talk to Rochefort alone and the rest of the Royal Court exit quickly and quietly.
Queen Anne meets with Bonacieux and Constance, completely ignoring him, calling Constance by name and says that D’Artagnan speaks about her in glowing terms. Bonacieux asks the Queen if she’s referring to the Musketeer D’Artagnan, then asks if they’re to speak to the King. Anne tells Bonacieux she summoned them and it’s to offer Constance a position as her confidante and messenger. She asks the husband if he’d be alright with that, as Constance would now live in the palace and he says that would be fine.
We move to the office of the Spanish Ambassador to Spain and we find out that Rochefort’s secretly spying for Spain, that’s how he got out of prison. He tells the Ambassador to call his Governor at the prison and arrange for He and General De Foix to escape, but for the four Musketeers to get killed. That way Louis will think he’s a hero and win the King’s confidence.
As the rescue party prepares to take off they realize that their mission will have one of two outcomes, as General De Foix knows all the military strategy France would utilize in a war against Spain. The General must get rescued or killed so that the Spanish can’t torture the information out of him. When they reach an area near the prison Athos sends D’Artagnan to scout out the prison to find out what the others will face. As soon as he rides off, Porthos gets hinky, saying he smells a recently doused fire and they’re ambushed by Spanish soldiers.
The four split up into two pairs and quickly overpower the Spanish soldiers, but as Rochefort and Athos move forward, Rochefort makes eye contact with a Spanish soldier and tells Athos it’s all clear. Athos moves forward and has his pistol shot out of his hand by the Spanish soldier. He tells Rochefort to shoot him, which he’s forced to do when Aramis and Porthos arrive. They take the opponents uniforms and ride to the prison pretending to return the escaped Rochefort.
D’Artagnan dives into a reservoir and realizes it leads to the prison grounds, but there’s a wooden fence, blocking him from swimming through. He removes one of the posts allowing him to swim through and as he comes up for air, he realizes he’s in the bottom of a well. He climbs the sides and just as he nears the top, an opposing soldier sends the bucket down to get himself a drink. D’Artagnan hugs the sides of the well as the bucket goes down, but just as the bucket nears the top, he pulls on the rope, stopping the bucket. The soldier looks inside the well and the Musketeer knocks him out with a punch to his face.
He grabs the soldier’s uniform and runs into the prison changing clothes as he runs. He suddenly meets an attractive young blonde woman and he tells her he’s with the Musketeers and he’s there to rescues General De Foix, the woman’s the General’s sister Lucie De Foix and takes D’Artagnan to the room he’s held in.
The General’s playing chess with the Spanish Governor when D’Artagnan and Lucie break in and overpower the Governor. But they’ve no choice but to wait for the other three Musketeers and Rochefort to show up to help them escape. De Foix tells him that a guard comes by once an hour, the Musketeer says if his comrades survived they should arrive by then.
They hear the guard rattling his keys trying to open the door and D’Artagnan aims his pistol at the General and apologizes. However Porthos over powers the guard and they rescue the others. Lucie slaps D’Artagnan across the face and the General tells her the Musketeer was doing what he had to.
They escape the prison but their only way out is a rope and pulley system that runs across a giant ravine. They send the General over first, then Porthos, followed by Lucie, then D’Artagnan, followed by Aramis and the tied-up Governor. The Spanish soldiers start shooting and Athos and Rochefort use belts to propel themselves across the ravine. As soon as all reach the opposite side, Porthos cuts the rope, sending a Spanish soldier falling to his death. A bullet hits De Foix, but goes through his side, without hitting any organs. Aramis staunches the bleeding and they ride off with the Governor as their prisoner. Just before they head off, General De Foix stops Porthos and asks him his name and the General grows a bit pale when he hears it. Porthos asks if they’d met before and De Foix responded I don’t believe so.
After riding for hours, the party finally dismount and take a break from their travel. Athos helping the General off his horse congratulates him for being back home in France and being a free man once again. The Governor starts shouting that this is an act of naked aggression and demands to be released immediately. Athos tells him all in good time, he’ll be turned over to the Spanish Ambassador once they reach Paris, a situation Rochefort doesn’t want to take place. He tells the Governor to hit him then steal his horse, he’ll distract the others, the Spaniard knocks him to the ground with a blow to the chin and runs to the horse. Rochefort pulls out his pistol and kills the Governor with one shot. He tells the others the prisoner tried to escape and left him no choice.
Upon returning to the palace, Louis’ delighted with the rescue and gives Rochefort all the credit. He says that the Red Army’s still without a commander since Richelieu passed and asks Rochefort if he’d like the post. Rochefort lays the flattery on thickly as he quickly accepts, Louis says he’s glad some of his staff are willing to stand up when needed and stares at Treville.
Treville and De Foix talk privately and the General asks if Porthos is the General’s son. The Captain said he searched for the boy and his mother for years, but Porthos finally found him. De Foix says he needs to tell Porthos that he’s nearing the end of his life and doesn’t want to die with a guilty soul.
Rochefort now looks like a man of power with his new haircut and black outfit as he meets again with the Spanish Ambassador. Although things didn’t work out as planned the Ambassador’s still pleased with what Rochefort accomplished. He then tells the Spaniard that the Queen loves him and the King trusts him and he’ll soon drive a wedge between them that will destroy France.
The Story Continues Next Saturday Night at 9:00 pm on BBCA.