The Musketeers 2.02: The royallest swinger in town
Cheers to everyone who said nice things about my first Musketeers review last week! I shall endeavour to keep hammering 'em out for the rest of the series. Here are some thoughts on episode 2.02: An Ordinary Man:
"You there! Take off your clothes!" - Blimey, it's good to be king in Musketeerland, isn't it? Unfortunately, Louis chooses to use his great powers with great irresponsibility, aiming them at a passing peasant and not at any of the people I'd choose to disrobe if I were in charge. Hmpf.
Fortunately, this week's plot is NOT that the King has suddenly become as shallow as me, but that he fancies a night on the town with the Musketeers, trying to be Louis from the Block and getting down with the boozing masses. But despite thinking that poor is cool, he can't even do his coat up without help. I found myself hoping that D'Artagnan wasn't obliged to provide similar aid later in the evening when the royal bladder needed emptying. (One shake or two, your Majesty?) The rest of the Musketeers stand around awkwardly wondering when it's time to go home, and it almost comes as a relief when the King gets dragged off into slavery. At least they won't be able to hear his embarrassing remarks from Spain.
Meanwhile, Aramis has missed the lads' night out in order to focus on his latest plan: copping off with Marguerite as an excuse to spend time with his royal lovechild. He is correct in thinking that if he goes AWOL, everyone will assume he's off being slutty somewhere (Treville certainly falls for it) but it's not very nice to Marguerite, is it? To be fair to her, she's a tad suspicious of his motives, despite being understandably distracted by the whole "ridiculous level of hotness" thing. Currently I am hoping that she turns out to be a trained ninja as well as a governess and so can threaten his family jewels in a way that will put the existence of any future baby Aramises (Aramistakes?) in serious doubt.
Treville does a LOT of frowning this week, especially when he finds out his lads have lost the king. Think of it this way, Treville: unlike with certain members of the British monarchy, at least you don't have naked Instagramming or racist fancy dress to worry about. Nonetheless, he's the one who has to go to the Queen with "oops, we seem to have mislaid your husband" as an excuse. Rochefort sees this as an excuse for sidling up to the Queen (boo) and being nasty to Constance (double boo).
Hold your noses, because it's time for the Muskeboys take a sentimental trip down to the local morgue. Viewers of last series will remember that this is Athos's favourite spot for a first date, but this time there's no time for flirting: they've got to march manfully around the town, figuring out this week's plot and getting busy with chains and red-hot pokers. Meanwhile, D'Artagnan and the King are having no fun on a chain gang, and an assorted set of craggy character actors are gurning and snarling and being surprisingly Scottish everywhere.
Then Treville has to go to the Queen AGAIN and say "oops, we didn't just mislay your husband, he's been sold into slavery". Poor chap, he spends more time apologizing than a British Rail station announcer. Meanwhile Constance and Queen hold hands (aww), and Rochefort's coat seems to get shinier in every scene. By the end of the series, he'll be able to roast a turkey in it.
Oh look, Milady's back, wearing an outfit that the fashion magazines are probably calling Autumnal Outlaw Chic and living in a surprisingly clean and tidy cave (bijou bolthole for two, plenty of room for worthless trinkets, scenic views of the fittest men in the camp, bring your own telescope). When D'Artagnan claps eyes on her, I was highly amused by his impressive range of "WTF?" looks (as pointed out by the BBCOne Twitter account). Perhaps he's just surprised to see that she's invented solar-powered curling tongs three centuries early.
"What about ME??" - Hee, that line is a perfect encapsulation of Rochefort's character. Of course, he'll never understand that it's Not About Him. I also noticed that Rochefort and the Spanish ambassador together are remarkably similar to Pinky and the Brain, only with smaller ears and even less likelihood of successfully taking over the world.
Louis's peevishness on discovering he's not as popular as he thought reminded me of Blackadder II. Put it this way, your Majesty: when people slip in what dogs have left in the street, they do tend to say "Whoops, I've trod on a Louis..."
Speaking of Blackadder, Rochefort's definitely got a hint of Lord Flashheart about him. "Hey Queenie, you look sexy. Why don't you write to your brother, the King's mortal enemy, and give me some blackmail material I can hold against you later in the series? Also, tell Constance to get rid of her clip-on ponytail in the next scene. I prefer it that way. Woof!"
Back in the woods, it's Milady to the questionable rescue! Unfortunately Louis is atrocious at running away unless he's got a valet to carry him. Meanwhile, the Muskeboys have finally reached the same bit of woodland, but so has Gus the evil landlord, bringing his unwanted Evil Man-Cleavage (TM) and some extra Rent-a-Henchmen. Loads of shooting happens and nice Pepin (a.k.a. The Only Other Prisoner With A Speaking Part) gets it in the back. Oh dear.
It's Milady to the questionable rescue again, but this time with added "oops I fainted and must now snog the King when D'Artagnan isn't looking!" Say what you like about Milady, but you can't question her solid commitment to shagging her way through the cast of this show. She probably goes home and ticks them off on a bingo card. Then who should turn up but her ex-husband and his mates. Thank goodness there's another massively long shoot-out before things can get too socially awkward.
Something definitely needs to be said about the unexpected highlight of this episode: D'Artagnan ripping Athos's scarf off. Maybe not in words, though: more in the form of some sort of aroused growling noise. Personally, I like to think Athos took D'Artagnan straight home afterwards and showed him EXACTLY how impressed he was by his performance in the field.
But yes, straight out of leftfield comes possibly the slashiest thing that's happened on this show so far. Who told them that what we needed was hot guys ripping each other's clothes off? Whoever it was, please write back to the BBC and tell them we need MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING. (Salacious footnote: D'Artagnan must have known that scarf would come off in one pull, because accidentally strangling your mate in public is never a good look. It's therefore my head-canon that it's not the first time he's pulled it off like that...)
Treville paces the church and wonders if he's about to deliver his 78th profuse royal apology of the episode and whether this one may quite literally kill him. But it's okay, folks: here comes the King and the Musketeers have even helped him into a pair of clean trousers and spruced up his ringlets for the occasion. Does Musketeer training include advanced hairstyling skills these days?
So King Louis has learned to be a nice person now, right? Wrong. He's even more of an irksome little shit than before, and displays it by giving D'Artagnan the official Worst Thank-You Present Ever: "Here is a man to execute in my front room! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DON'T WANT IT??" Rochefort, on the other hand, is only too happy to do a bit of extra stabbing before lunch. D'Artagnan has to make up for the social embarrassment by going out to be nice to widows and orphans. And he's given Athos his scarf back, too. That boy is so considerate.
Overall: Not a particularly exciting story for much of its length, but took a definite upward swing towards the end, if only for purely libidinous reasons. A good episode for D'Artagnan, however, showing how he's grown up in story terms as well as more subjective female-gazey ones (hem hem).
Next week: Guest-stars with outRAGEous Spanish accents, and Rochefort starts turning into Spike from Buffy The Vampire-Slayer, what with wearing a leather coat, trying to flirt in an evil fashion with Buffy the Queen and copping off with her robot double lookalike....