Marianne Oldham

All posts tagged Marianne Oldham

Photo: Courtesy Of BBCA

Photo: Courtesy Of BBCA

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Back in motion picture’s infancy, when folks gathered at their neighborhood movie theater, to enjoy silent films, the audience took to hissing at the screen, each time the villain of the piece appeared. This viewer’s tempted to engage in that archaic tradition, each time The First Minister and Captain of the Red Guard in France Rochefort, appears during an episode of the BBCA Original Series “The Musketeers,” shows his face, as he’s amongst the most despicable characters, ever portrayed on the small screen.

The former lieutenant to the late Cardinal Richelieu, Rochefort spent the last several years in a Spanish prison, finally released as a spy and sent back home to obtain information about the Royal Court. Equal parts, master politician and toady, he’s become the most trusted adviser to France’s dimwitted Monarch, King Louis XIII, convincing the King, that Rochefort’s the only man in his Royal Court he can trust.

We’ve known since early in season two, that Rochefort carries an unrequited love for France’s Queen, Ann of Spain, whom Rochefort first met when she was but a girl of 14. He was sent to Spain, to educate the sister of the Spanish King, the language and social graces of Paris, to become the eventual bride of Louis, after their marriage got arranged. Though at least a decade older than Ann, Rochefort fell hard for the future Monarch and believed she felt the same about him. He gave her a jewel encrusted Crucifix, which she promised to  cherish forever.

What complicates matters even more’s the fact that Rochefort’s certifiably insane, even the most evil creature can get convinced to abandon their schemes, if one appeals to their self-interest; convincing the evil-one they will benefit more, by cooperating. However when dealing with someone whose stark-raving-mad, there’s no logic left behind, they’ve abandoned the idea of things going back to normal.

Season Two opened with the death of Louis’ most loyal adviser and surrogate father figure Cardinal Richelieu (portrayed in season one, by the great Peter Capaldi, whose now preoccupied riding in the TARDIS with his gal-pal Clara.) In the first episode, with the Queen’s urging, the King approached the Captain of the King’s Musketeers Treville, about becoming his new adviser. Treville politely declined, saying he’s a soldier not a diplomat, disappointing Louis XIII greatly, while questioning his Captain’s loyalty.

Rochefort got rescued and brought back to the Royal Court by the Musketeers, impressing the King with his brashness and his seemingly undying loyalty, to Crown and Country and named him Captain of the Red Guard, Richelieu’s former soldiers. He’s spent the entire season doing his best to appear in the best light as possible, while pointing out errors allegedly committed by the Musketeers, causing Louis to lose respect for Treville, stripping him of his rank and his soldiers.

Before continuing with our story, Marc Warren who portrays Rochefort’s done an amazing job with this role, conveying the evil and insanity, within the character, without turning the First Minister into a cartoon. Throughout the season, he exercised restraint with the part, until finally coming unhinged in the previous episode, expressing his love for Ann and attempting to force himself on her. A timely entrance by the Queen’s special adviser Constance Bonacieux, stopped the attack by Rochefort and Ann stabbed him in the left eyeball with a six-inch pin, apparently blinding him.

Rochefort, always had his own agenda after returning to Paris, he’d eliminate the King, marry Ann who truly loved him and rule the nation as a regent until the Dauphin could take the throne. However, earlier this season he became suspicious when he saw the Crucifix he gave Ann, around the neck of the Musketeer Aramis, a gesture of thanks for saving her life last season. However he eventually pieced together that Ann and Aramis were intimate and after she stabbed him said he would see her tried for treason for sleeping with a Musketeer.

The latest episode, begins minutes after Rochefort got stabbed, realizing the eye’s useless he has a maid get him a leather eye-patch to cover it with, he tells Louis he suffered a hunting-accident and the King likes the look on his First Minister. Constance gathers the Musketeers, telling them what Rochefort did to the Queen, holding back Aramis and telling him that Rochefort knows about Ann and his tryst.

The Musketeers tell the Red Guard soldiers to clear a path and they accompany the Queen to Louis’ quarters and the King blows a gasket when he sees Ann’s brought in an armed regimen with her. Rochefort’s playing things cautiously, accusing Ann of treason due to a letter she wrote to her brother, the Spanish King asking for help after Louis got kidnapped earlier in the season. She tells him why she wrote it and that she did at Rochefort’s behest, Louis asks like a pompous fool, ordering her back to her quarters and telling the Musketeers to return to their garrison.

Time for the “Big Reveal,” for the Musketeers, only Athos knows about Aramis’ relationship with Ann, but with the walls tumbling around them he needs to let Porthos, D’Artagnan and Treville in on his secret. They all gather in Treville’s quarters and after Aramis stammers and stutters, Athos reveals that their mate slept with the Queen, they’ve barely processed that, when Athos says there’s more and Aramis admits the Dauphin’s his son.

Porthos grabs him to bludgeon him, but suddenly realizes it’s his friend and hugs him instead, Treville’s not as accepting, saying that the next King Of France! Athos says he’s yet to tell them the worst, Rochefort’s aware and fixing to turn them in. Treville say’s they’re lost, but Athos, says he might know a way.

Rochefort enters the Queen’s quarters and orders Ann’s Governess Marguerite to take the Dauphin to Louis’ quarters, saying the Queen’s not fit to care for the Royal heir. Both Constance and Marguerite and Constance argue with Rochefort to no avail, Marguerite apologizes to the Queen. When they’ve left, Ann says to Constance that Louis will take her word over Rochefort’s.

The Musketeers meet with Milady de Winter and she tells them that Rochefort’s a spy for Spain and she killed the Spanish Ambassador at Rochefort’s behest. The soldier’s head back to the Palace to take the Queen to the monastery she hid in last season, Milady makes plans to meet with Athos later to show her estranged husband where Rochefort keeps his most important papers. Unbeknownst to all they’re getting trailed by Catherine, Athos’ late brother’s fiancée, who wants to kill Milady for destroying all their lives.

The Musketeers take Ann to the monastery, but Constance refuses to go, so she can keep an eye on the Dauphin, she tells D’Artagnan, that Marguerite’s a friend of the Queen and will insure her safety. Constance will find out later that Marguerite’s not in a position to help anyone, as Rochefort’s got her deeply involved in his coup-attempt.

The Court physician Doctor Lemay, gives the King a mild opiate to help him relax and it does the job, soon he’s telling Rochefort he’ll summon Ann and yell her he forgives her, she didn’t cause any harm. The First Minister’s unhappy to hear that Louis’ mellowed on the situation and decides to add a little poison in place of Lemay’s opiates. Marguerite sees Rochefort make the switch, he tells her if she talks she’s dead.

Sister Theresa, welcomes Ann and tells her she’s  got a room as long as she needs it. The Queen thanks her and says she’s never countered on the Sister’s help more than she is right then. She goes into her quarters and shuts the door.

Catherine catches up with Milady and attempts to hang her, but Athos waiting in the shadows, saves de Winter and knocking Catherine’s pistol to the floor below him. He tells Catherine, Milady’s helping him on a mission to help save France, but she scoffs at his statements, saying he’s still in love with her.

The pair get to Rochefort’s office and de Winter shows Athos where the important papers are kept, they find nothing incriminating, but take his stamp and a couple of letters, when they hear him approaching. Milady shows him a hiding place behind a bookcase that Richelieu installed, Rochefort doesn’t detect them and leaves, the couple overcome by the close quarters kiss each other passionately.

Louis swallows the poison, Rochefort only put enough him to sicken and scare the King and it worked. Rochefort finds out Ann’s left the palace but seizes Lemay and Constance. Marguerite lies through her teeth, saying she overheard the Queen plotting with Lemay and Constance to kill the King. Louis says he can’t bare to look at them and sends them away.

Athos returns to the monastery with word that Louis got poisoned and Ann insists on returning to the Palace. If Louis survived, he’ll need her by his side and if he didn’t she must protect her son. However before they go, they get Sister Theresa to forge a note by Rochefort and attach his seal to it. Porthos takes the message to Paris.

Rochefort has an executioner cut off Lemay’s head in front of Constance and she sinks to her knees, in horror and pain. The First Minister says she can save herself by testifying against Ann and he’ll let her think about it over night, putting her in a cell.

Marguerite sends Ann a message, saying the King survived and she must return. She trusts her Governess, but when they arrive the Musketeers and Ann realize they’ve gotten lured into a trap. Ann’s confined to her quarters and Aramis to a cell as Rochefort tells him sleeping with the Queen carries a steep price. Next Saturday’s the final episode of Season Two, it should be a blockbuster!

The Story Continues Next Saturday at 9:00 pm on BBCA.

Photo Courtesy Of BBCA

Photo Courtesy Of BBCA

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Many people try to run away from their responsibilities, I guess if you lack a conscience, you can do something like that without any remorse. Perhaps I give my fellow human beings too much credit, but I sincerely believe, even many of those who successfully leave and never get found, still have trouble sleeping at night, due to the guilt that they feel. The past however, tends to catch up with most people, even in France, back in 1682, as Athos found out in the latest episode of the BBCA Original Series “The Musketeers.”

Athos is the least approachable of the Musketeers, as well as the most intimidating. He plays things close to the vest, he’s the angst-ridden strong, stoic type. He’s the first among equals, their unspoken leader and it’s a thankless role in many ways. We found out last season, that Athos lived the life of a nobleman, he was a Count and owned a village as well as the family estate. He walked away from his life after his wife, whom we know as Milady De Winter, killed his brother. He ordered her death via hanging, but she made a deal with the executioner that spared her life. Athos still has to get her out of his system.

Milady was spot-on when she told him recently, he’ll never stop loving her. She’s his addiction and so far he’s lacked the strength to kill her himself, which I guess is a testament to his humanity, as well as the thing that keeps him from being happy. He tries to bury himself in fighting evil and when things are peaceful, he buries himself in a bottle. This latest episode, concentrates on the unfinished business left behind, when Athos left his home.

We see two men dragging an unconscious man by the arms, his feet dragging in the dirt, they bring him into a building, binding his hands and feet, then tie him to a chair. Water’s thrown in the man’s face, he wakes up and we realize it’s Athos. He asks his captors who they are and where they have him? Someone pulls out a blade and he says if you’re going to kill me, at least show me the courtesy of telling me why.

A voice from the crowd in front of him says they mean him no harm, then a young woman opens a door, letting sunlight stream in, she asks if he recognizes them now? His eyes begin to focus and he realizes it’s Bertrand the Innkeeper in Pinon and his daughter Jeanne. He asks what they’re doing and Jeanne said this was their only choice as Athos refused to answer his letters. They need him to come back and take his place as Lord of the Manor and leader of their village.

Back in Paris, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan, tell their former commanding officer Treville, their concerns about Athos. He asks why they’re coming to him as he’s just another Musketeer now, illustrated by his cleaning up horse dung. Besides, he says Athos’ drunk somewhere, Aramis responds that they checked all the taverns and he hasn’t appeared in days. Treville says well the quicker we get this done, the quicker we can find him, gives the shovel to D’Artagnan and walks off with the other two soldiers of the King.

They search his room and they see letter after letter to Athos, from Bertrand asking for help, Treville says it’s a family matter, no concern of theirs. D’Artagnan stops him from leaving, saying that Pinon’s less than a day’s ride, Treville says he’ll go, but not as their commander but a fellow Musketeer. D’Artagnan slaps him on the back and says, what ever you say Captain.

Athos tells the villagers that he’s not going to listen to complaints tied to a chair, they cut his binds off and he goes outside to se if he recognizes where he is. He quickly sees, that he knows this place all too well, this is Pinon. He screams to them he left this place how dare they bring him back there. Jeanne responds that he’s the one to blame, this is his land and he’s abandoned it, the soldier counters with just work the land and live off your crops, the foods all yours. Bertrand’s daughter informs him that Baron Renard, burns the crops and poisons the rest, that he wants Athos’ land. Suddenly he shows up with some of his men and his son.

Renard must have many descendants who emigrated to the United States, and now are among this nation’s most wealthy citizens, as his lies and accusations, sound strikingly, like comments emanating from the One Percent in our era, about the poor. He called them lazy parasites and thieves, he’s just being a concerned neighbor and tried to restore order. Athos replies, he’s certain they can work it out like gentlemen and Renard and his son dismount from their horses and go inside to meet with Athos, Bertrand and Jeanne.

The conversation didn’t begin well, as Athos told Renard, he’d renounced his title and was no longer a Count. The Baron, dumbstruck and angry, couldn’t believe his ears. He told the Musketeer, that he can’t do that, it goes against the natural order and it’s his God-given birth-right. Athos responds that God wasn’t involved and then Renard asked who owned the land? The soldier responded he did, it’s his family’s land and he’s the rightful owner. He then said all he wanted was Renard’s word, that he’d leave these people in peace. Renard extended his hand and promised to treat them just as they deserved.

As he and his son walk out the building, the son says his father promised him the land. Renard basically calls his son a complete dope, then says he said he’d treat the people how they deserved to be treated and in his mind, they’re vermin. Athos walks out at that point and the Baron says he’s no longer royalty, that means he’s a peasant and he has to bow to his betters. Two of Renard’s men try to take him down, he quickly takes them out, then a group surrounds him and he holds his own until somebody hits him with a blunt instrument and he blacks out.

He regains consciousness to find himself tied to a crossbar by his hands, his feet dangling in midair. He looks over and sees a woman of means standing about 50-yards away, dressed very sharply in a blue suit and hat, pointing a pistol in his direction. The son comes over to whip Athos, but Bertrand attempts to stop him, ending up getting whipped instead. At that point the woman fires her pistol cutting the rope, that’s tied Athos to the crossbar, and he hits the ground. Renard says soldiers are coming lets book and grab the girl, they take Jeanne as prisoner and ride away. The Musketeers ride up a few minutes later, but the Baron’s men are too far ahead.

Pretty predictable what happens next, Athos asks his fellow Musketeers what they’re doing there and they respond to help. Athos says this land and his past life are meaningless to him and this isn’t his fight. D’Artagnan, says he may not care about the land, but what about the people and he walks past him. Porthos blocks his path and says if he heard these words from anyone else he’d think they were scared. But I know you, you fight for the people and you fight to the death. Athos looks Porthos in the eyes and says not this time and Porthos lets him pass, the Musketeer gets on his horse and rides away.

Treville and D’Artagnan, will stay with the villagers and have them collect all their weapons, Porthos and Aramis get directions from Bertrand where the Baron lives and they go to rescue Jeanne. Bertrand gets emotional as they start to leave and Porthos assures him they’ll get his daughter back safe and sound.

Athos rides a couple of miles, then stops when he gets to a field. He starts to daydream about he and Milady romping through those same fields, him trying to catch her, then the two making love in the grass. He decides to visit the Family Estate, burned to a charred hulk, last season by De Winter, as she attempted to kill her husband.

He walks inside, pushing away boards to enter a room and suddenly sees Milady, right after she shot his brother Thomas to death with a bullet to the heart. She tells Athos, he made improper advances and she had no choice, but she’s dragged away by two of the house servants, begging Athos to help her.

Suddenly Athos hears a woman’s voice calling his name, it’s the woman who shot the rope earlier, but this time he recognizes her, it’s Thomas’ fiancée Katherine. Turns out her titled father’s business sense was miserable and all their assets got taken right after he died. She tells him she’s living in one of the servants quarters at his estate, she didn’t think he’d mind.

She takes him to the one room cottage she lives in and the Musketeer’s jaw nearly hits the floor, you live like this he asks her. She says she Exists like this, she’s become quite self-sufficient, she hunts and traps her food for every meal. She then says that De Winter’s the cause of all her sorrow, she took everything away from her that meant anything. She tells Athos, he did the right thing in hanging her, she hopes she’s burning in Hell. He tells her she’s still alive and she’s the King’s mistress and Katherine slaps his face, saying he has no honor.

Porthos and Aramis find Renard’s home, where the men are all downstairs drinking and Jeanne’s tied to a poster bed and gagged, they quickly untie her, just before Renard’s son goes to check on her, due to the knotted sheets hanging out the window, they assume that’s how she escaped and plan to track her like a fox. They run from the house yelling and laughing taking off in horseback, while the three of them emerge from a room across the hall. Porthos says he didn’t think it would work, they then take Jeanne back to Pinon.

Treville and D’Artagnan, sit at a table as the villagers bring in their weapons and a sorry lot it is. Dull axes, even duller blades, sticks, some farming equipment and one pistol, that looked ancient in 1682. D’Artagnan pulls Bertrand aside and asks if this is really all their weapons and the Innkeeper says yeah. Treville says they can’t beat Renard with this stuff, they’d barely scare the birds. We have no swords and no firearms, suddenly Athos walks in and says there’s plenty at the house, he and D’Artagnan, load up a buckboard wagon and ride to the estate.

Athos explains that all royalty’s supposed to keep a militia, his father stocked an armory and he maintained the tradition. The rooms filled with scores of swords, pistols and barrel after barrel of gunpowder. They load all the stuff onto the wagon and ride back to Pinon.

When they arrive back, Athos goes into the building where all the villagers gathered. He apologizes for not telling them he was leaving or answering the letters. However, he says that they’re too reliant on his family and have to start taking initiative to make their lives better. He says if they defeat Renard the next day, the land is there’s with all getting an equal share.

Treville, takes the floor and says when it comes to war there’s two solutions. You can sue for peace and get the best deal you can, or you can fight. But if you fight, you’d best be sure, your cause is worth dying for. Now you folks are fighting for your homes, your families and your lives, what’s Renard fighting for. Now we’ll fight with you if you want to battle, meet us at dawn.

The five soldiers find themselves alone at sunrise and Athos says they’re not coming let’s go home, when a boy about twelve shows up. Soon an elderly couple and Bertrand and Jeanne arrive, then the whole village turns out. Porthos says well looks like we’re staying, but how we going to turn these folks into soldiers?

Aramis gives shooting lessons, while Treville teaches some men how to battle with small trees, whose ends got shaped into points. They’re very ragged at first, then they start improving, with Bertrand, the first to hit the target with his shot.

They then build a barrier around three sides of the village, giving their opponents just one path to use, which has no cover, or seclusion. Treville tells all the villagers to wait for his command before they pull the trigger. Katherine, who refused Athos invitation to join them suddenly arrives, she crouches down near Athos, see’s an enemy in the bushes and kills him with one shot, Aramis then does the same. Athos mentions something about him turning his land over to her, but she believes she’s getting the whole estate.

Renard’s men start charging, Treville holds the command until they’re about 25 feet away and screams fire and the Baron’s men start hitting the ground like bags of cement. More men start coming and some climb the barrier, soon wishing they hadn’t as the Musketeers and the villagers beat them bloody. Renard calls for his men to retreat and regroup. Treville  says reload your weapons, tend to the wounded and repair the barrier, this isn’t over.

Later Renard rides over waving a white flag, with his son by his side. He offers Athos a deal, sign over the land to his son and the people will get spared. Athos says it’s no longer his land and Jeanne responds, that’s right this land belongs to us now. We don’t intend to give up and we refuse your deal. Katherine’s face loses its color, she says you’ve given the land to the peasants and Athos nods and says, yes and to you as well. She runs away.

Preparing for the second wave, Aramis and D’Artagnan, bury kegs of gunpowder in the dirt right in the path that the enemy will use. Aramis asks if he’d seen this work before and his mate replies he’s never seen it fail. Treville calls for his two men to take their positions and again tells the villagers to wait for his command before they shoot.

As the enemy starts charging, Aramis shoots at the gun powder kegs and they explode like land mines, each keg taking out bunches of soldiers. The Baron and his break the barrier and get inside the perimeter and everybody but Renard start fighting but they’re badly outnumbered. They get down to one man, Renard’s son who calls out Athos. The duel ends quickly as the Musketeer knocks the sword out of his opponent’s hand, then knocks him to the ground, his sword resting on the younger Renard’s neck. The son says do it, kill me, Athos responds don’t tempt me.

From behind him Athos hears Katherine’s voice telling him to drop his weapon, she’s got her pistol aimed for his head, the soldier drops his sword and gun on the ground. She asks Renard’s son what he’ll give her for Athos and the Musketeer asks what she’s doing. She says she can’t breath in a world where De Winter lives, so she’s trying to salvage something that will give her happiness, even from the Renards.

The son reaches into his sleeve, pulls out a small dagger and attempts to stab Athos, but Katherine shoots him dead, then runs away. The Baron runs to his son’s side who starts saying he doesn’t want to die and Renard says remember your stature courage son, the son whimpers and dies and Renard falls to pieces holding his son’s body, his body racked with tears as he repeats, My poor son, my poor son. Katherine goes back to her room and takes out a pair of pistols that Thomas left her, could she have plans to head to Paris to kill Milady?

Athos thanks his fellow Musketeers for their help and convincing him to do the right thing. He gives Bertrand a letter and his ring and tells him he’s now the Mayor of Pinon. The soldiers ride away, with villagers lining both sides of the street, nodding inn respect to Athos as he rides by.

The Story Continues Next Saturday at 9:00 pm on BBCA.