The Musketeers 2.03: Living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
Hello, and welcome to another bout of safe, sane and consensual swashbuckling, with some thoughts on The Musketeers 2.03: The Good Traitor:
We find Rochefort relaxing in his hideously tacky shag palace, complete with bedlinen from House of Fraser's new Bachelor Bastard range. Unfortunately, nobody loves Rochefort as much as he loves himself, so he's had to hire a wench who caters for kinky cosplay requests involving mega-cleavage and panniers so wide that she can probably store a packed lunch in them. He also makes her read out highlights from his own self-insert fanfic involving him and the Queen declaring their undying pantsfeelings, so let's hope she's being well paid for the privilege. (BTW, is there also a service that offers home delivery of rent boys who dress up as Musketeers? Asking for a friend.)
Meanwhile, Treville also has a late-night visitor, in the form of Tariq Alaman, a Moorish general trained at the Iñigo Montoya School of Enthusiastic But Questionable Spanish Accents. Military genius or not, he nonetheless fails to spot that Athos and D'Artagnan are in the room too. Does Tariq have trouble seeing stuff that's just off-screen or were they hiding under Treville's curtains?
The King is not happy to be woken up early for plot reasons but cheers up when he finds out it involves Explodey Things. All the flying polystrene rocks he wants can be his, as long as Tariq's daughter Samara gets rescued from eeeevil Spanish people before... well, Spain happens. There's also the small matter of this week's MacGuffin, which is a code-deciphering thingy. It's a teensy bit like The Imitation Game, only far less likely to get any Oscar nominations.
Meanwhile, Marguerite finally gets a scene with someone who isn't Aramis. Unfortunately, it's all about the fact that the Dauphin, a.k.a. Babymis, is poorly, which is indicated by someone having put loads of blusher on him in the night. The King and the royal doctor want to cure the baby with Advanced Man-Science (TM) and Leeches, and are nasty to Constance (boo!) for having Lady Thoughts, even though her suggestions are the most sensible. This subplot also gives Aramis a reason to brood attractively and loiter at doorways like a particularly handsome draught excluder.
We find Milady demonstrating her preferred method of clothes-shopping, which is to hang around in a fashionable district with a dagger and hope for the best. Considering how hard it must be to stab someone without getting the dress soaked in blood AND find a discreet place to change and do her hair, one wonders why she didn't just rob someone and go shopping with the proceeds. Still, she manages to blag her way in to see the King, despite the baying crowd of bystanders waving petitions, presumably regarding crucial issues such as "Subsidized haircare for peasants with no lines!" and "Where are our shirtless scenes this week, goddammit??".
"The King of Spain swore he loved me..." - Congratulations to Tariq, you win the Slashiest Statement of the Week award. Unfortunately this was another royal relationship that ended in tears, which must be foreshadowing for what happens when you make out with the monarchy. Are you listening, Milady?
I'm disappointed but unsurprised to find that there wasn't any follow-up to the terribly thrilling scarf-pulling scene of last week. Nonetheless, I am tempted to creatively interpret Athos and D'Artagnan's trip to the marketplace as a spot of post-coital carrot shopping (suggestively shaped vegetables: bound to spice up any relationship!).
Discounting the rude-looking objects, however, the marketplace scene is a bit of a bust. Aramis is tragically distracted by babythoughts and his own luxuriant Eyelashes of Angst, Samara shows she's handy in a fight, Porthos gets a crossbow bolt to the thigh (ouch) and an unexpected kidnapping, Athos does some rather impressive swishing, and several peasants and many innocent vegetables are crushed in the fray. Aramis then lies blatantly about why he cocked up and gets disproportionately angry with Tariq, ostensibly over Porthos, but we all know it's GUILT (TM). Even Athos's meaningful stares aren't working on him anymore; he really needs to take Aramis aside and give him a darn good shake. Possibly with tongues.
Samara now has Porthos to keep her company in captivity, but fortunately he's highly entertaining when he's wounded. They share a spot of nice character stuff, explore the anaesthetic qualities of poetry (at least it's not Vogon poetry, which has pretty much the opposite effect), and conclude by auditioning for Ye Olde French Casualty together.
Oh dear, Rochefort gets real life mixed up with his own fanfic and accidentally tells the Queen he fancies her. How embarrassing! He does manage to fix the situation after a fashion, but I'm disappointed he didn't go for the option: "I love you...Tube. Especially Gangnam Style and that cat playing the piano."
Unconvincing Promise of the Week: Louis's "Bring me that cipher and I will never say a harsh word of the Musketeers again." Ha ha... no. Treville looks at him as if to say "Yeah, right, you big lying man-baby. That'll be the same day that Aramis joins a monastery and D'Artagnan gets his own hat."
Oh dear, the bleary-eyed Constance is so stressed that she decides to go into the Dauphin-napping business, without leaving so much as a Post-It note behind to explain herself. Fortunately Rochefort is feeling so smug about his monarchical macking skills that he doesn't ask Constance what that bulge is under her cloak, so she isn't obliged to claim it was a large and wheezy kebab.
Meanwhile, the King and Milady enjoy an intimate dinner for two, witnessed only by servants who hang around for the adulterous flirting but make a discreet exit at the first sign of praying. Milady toys with the King's cherries (quite literally - it really IS suggestive fruit and veg week, isn't it?) and finally gets him where she wants him: i.e. on the dining room floor. Then poor Anne is definitively crowned Queen of the Awkward Moment when she walks in on her husband's under-the-table negociations.
Okay, time for some action to get this thing wound up. D'Artagnan sneaks off to rescue Tariq from Nasty Racist Spanish Guy, a Mexican stand-off happens indoors (well, a Spanish/Moorish/French stand-off), and Athos and Aramis have fun watching D'Artagnan trying to bash down a door by bouncing up and down against it like an overexcited bunny rabbit.
Rochefort charges down the launderette with his lank-haired heavies, who are apparently not permitted to look as attractively tousled as Musketeers do. Perhaps the Red Guards have a standing order that nobody is allowed to upstage their commander's hairdo? Then he gives Constance a slap (boo!) and an execution order (double boo!) and plans to take all the baby-helping credit for himself (there are not enough boos, or indeed booze, in the world).
Meanwhile, Tariq gives EVIL SPAIN some real talk about racism and stops SPAIN HAPPENING again. Unfortunately, he also stops himself existing due to BIG EXPLODEY THINGS. This is highly unfortunate, to say the least.
In the middle of Constance's slow-mo exit to the gallows, the doctor fortuitously turns up and tells everyone she was right all along. So, panic over. Constance gets to look relieved, Babymis gets to feel better and Aramis gets to look gratuitously handsome in a church. But is the King happy? No, he is not, because he does not have shiny new explodey things to play with and somehow it is all the Musketeers's fault AGAIN.
Samara departs on her gap year to Morocco, and Porthos engages in another spot of daddy-related foreshadowing. These two made a sweet pair but I'm kind of glad they went with a heartwarming brother/sister thing rather than a cheesy kiss-up situation.
By the way, folks, has anyone remembered to free Marguerite from the palace cells or is it still officially her fault?
Overall: Lots going on this week, but rather too much of it was empty action and EVIL SPANISH STUFF that nobody really cares about. A good week for Porthos, and Samara was a sweetheart, but frankly I want to see more of the Muskeboys interacting with each other like the BFFs they are and having a laugh, instead of stalking about in formation and brooding in corners, as prettily as they do that.
Next week: Eleven sweaty men battle for glory against another eleven sweaty men! No, it's not an unexpected plot twist in the war against Spain: it's the BBC choosing to show Cambridge Utd versus Man United in the F.A. Cup fourth round, instead of another episode. Boo. However, the Musketeers WILL be back on Friday 30th January, when there will be ladies, axes and general uproar. I do hope you'll join me then....