- "I'm fighting fit today!" yells the King as he enjoys a spot of recreational swordage with Treville. Of course, this reckless statement tempts the wrath of the TV gods who immediately activate his incurable cough of death and strike him down with lethal force. Alas poor Louis, dead from Tempting Dramatic Fate™.
- Treville greets this turn of events with the traditional cry of "The King is dead – shit, hide the King!" He grabs the Dauphin, now automatically upgraded to Mini-King, and hands him over to Athos for safekeeping, adding that Aramis should NOT be told about this, perhaps in case he stages some sort of Babydaddies 4 Justice protest or decides the best way to protect the Queen would be to lie on top of her and move up and down vigorously. Not wishing to argue with this reasoning, Athos rides away with the mini-King on his horse, saying: "Hold on tight, you'll like this." Coincidentally, I have a recurring dream in which Athos says the same thing to me, but we're not on a horse at the time...
- Not surprisingly, Queenie is irate when she finds out Treville's stolen her offspring, but there's no time to argue: the Duke of Lorraine's armies are
up his sleeviesright outside Paris! Alongside them, Grimaud is scowling on a horse, and Gaston has gone power-mad with the curling tongs and is working a look that combines Marc Bolan, Adam Ant, a petulant spaniel and an overdecked tea-table.
- Down at the garrison, Porthos and Aramis are having a tiff because Aramis's first thought is "
ShagHelp the Queen!" and Porthos's is "FOR FUCK'S SAKE ARAMIS". Athos, meanwhile, is being rubbish at hide-and-seek and hands the Mini-King over to a startled Constance and a now-convalesced Sylvie, who at least gets the satisfaction of rubbing some of the muck she's found on Athos's shelves on the Dauphin's face for camouflage purposes (doesn't that man EVER dust?). Retrospectively, I reckon they should have disguised the Dauphin as a sock and shoved him under Athos's bed: the rest of the episode would have been much simpler.
- Despite the fact that Treville seems to have been running affairs of state single-handedly for weeks AND reading the King fairytales when he goes beddy-byes, a council of other ministers suddenly appear to read the King's will. Plot twist: Queenie isn't regent – Treville is! Those must have been really good bedtime stories. Yes, the trouble with being good at being in charge of stuff means that people do tend to put you in charge of stuff, although Treville's divide-and-rule tactics with the Muskeboys are already earning him a lot of side-eye, from both them and me.
- Treville's first decision as regent is a no-brainer, however. Marcheaux and your minions, you're all sacked!
"We did hope you'd take it like a man," says Porthos, understandably assuming that Marcheaux would deal with unemployment by immediately becoming a rent-boy. Fortunately, they're in a pub so there can be a classic bar-room brawl, in which Marcheaux gets a nastily dislocated shoulder (ouch) and goes down to Porthos's Vulcan Ear Grip. Athos even turns up for the finale, working the devilish hat angle known as Ultimate Man of Mystery (But My Peripheral Vision Is Impaired So Let's Hope I'm Not Attacked By Ninjas On The Ceiling).
- Accompanied by accidental monarchist Sylvie, Constance takes the Mini-King to hide in the now-empty pub from episode 3.
Nobody but Athos knows this, however, because the first rule of Regent Treville is "DON'T tell me where you hid the Dauphin", and the second rule is "And especially don't tell the Queen, even if she's staring right at you and is obviously really annoyed." Even more controversially, Treville's next idea is to defuse Gaston by granting him a pardon. "The world's gone mad," says Queenie, who should probably spend less time on 17th-century Twitter. Treville's also got personalized missions for the Muskeboys, as follows:
Porthos and Aramis – take this pardon to Gaston.
Aramis – NO VISITING THE QUEEN, NO REALLY, I MEAN IT.
D'Artagnan – find a decoy Dauphin.
Athos – stay there and look gorgeous. Oh good, you're doing it already.
- Down at Treason HQ, the assembled antagonists are not happy campers. The Duke of Lorraine is getting fed up with Gaston's whining; Grimaud's spent a ton of cash on armies and now wants to hire the Red Guard, and yet he can't afford a qualified first-aider and has to shove Marcheaux's arm back in its socket himself; and Gaston doesn't give a shit about his late bro and will only come to the funeral if he's promised a
- Just as regally wilful in his own way, the Mini-King decides to become a mini-Bucky Barnes, escaping from his hidey-hole and running away in search of PLUMS. (Historical spoiler: under the reign of Louis XIV, plums will be the new carrots!) Constance and Sylvie drag him away to Constance's old house, but alas, they're quickly running out of former episode locations to stash him in. Where next, the Cardinal's secret cupboard?
- Ooh look, Treville has a swishy new coat to convey his new status ("I'm the Regent: basically I rule."). Gaston falls for Treville's promise of cash and a modest palace and falls even harder for Operation Fake Dauphin (extra points for the symbolic puppets on show as they pull his strings!). In the confusion, Aramis wangles some sympathy time with Queenie and then squabbles with Athos over being left out of this week's plotline. "What happened to one for all?" he asks pertinently, since we all know that the Muskeboys are Stronger Together™.
- Treville goes to see Duke of Lorraine at his massive campsite (hi-de-hi, forces of rebellion!) and chats about possible independence for Lorraine (#LORREXIT) while Porthos and Grimaud make awkward conversation outside, with Grimaud boasting about the size of his coffers and Porthos deducing that the chip on Grimaud's shoulder is basically because he wants to play with the posh boys but they won't let him. While Gaston and the Duke get suspicious about Treville's motives, Grimaud realizes the Mini-King must still be in Paris and sends Marcheaux to find him. Silly Grimaud, you should REALLY have asked for references from Marcheaux's previous employers before you gave him any difficult jobs.
- So Marcheaux tries to convince his unemployed henchmuppets to join him in a game of Dauphémon GO, but they've been in the pub all day and don't give a toss until he starts offering cash prizes. Also slow on the uptake today is Athos, who belatedly realizes that Aramis was right and all this secrecy is wrong, and therefore decides to tell D'Artagnan everything in a stage whisper in a large room full of mourners, possibly hoping that they're too sad to eavesdrop on dramatically sensitive conversations.
- Guilt-tripped by Queenie, Constance agrees to the Dauphin to a church where his mum can get a glimpse of him. As the resident voice of reason, Sylvie spots that this is an incredibly poor idea, but when she goes to fetch Aramis, Marcheaux overhears (gasp!) and makes it to the church on time for an attempted King-napping. Luckily, Aramis swings to the rescue, and Aramis and Queenie collectively realize why nobody told them about the plans, i.e. they both do crazy shit without thinking it through. Come to think of it, given the crappy view that the Queen had, Constance could have brought a cabbage in a cape to the church instead and saved everybody a good deal of bother.
- While Porthos gets the job of distracting Gaston with ever more unlikely promises (more cash, control of the army, a new Playstation and a pink fluffy unicorn of his very own), the other three Muskeboys have made friends again (hooray!) but sadly there's no time for sealing their renewed friendship with tonsil hockey (boo) because Grimaud's realized how useless Marcheaux is (I told you so!) and is now leading the Dauphin Hunt himself.
- With literally nowhere left to hide, Constance suddenly remembers the existence of the laundry from back in season 2. As I suggested several paragraphs back, disguising the Dauphin as a dirty sock is suddenly not such a daft idea after all, is it? Anyway, she bribes a laundry lady and D'Artagnan hides under the floorboards with the Mini-King, who is luckily the world's quietest and most amenable child, at least when there are no plums within sniffing distance. While Athos and Aramis have some flamboyantly hatted synchronized swordage outside, Grimaud searches the laundry, but oh no – Laundry Lady breathes a sigh of relief at the wrong moment! The result is painful, especially for D'Artagnan's shoulder, but it doesn't seem to slow him down much, and the steam from the laundry has made Grimaud's hair go hilariously fluffy, so I think we can all tell who's the real loser here.
- Off to Camp Lorraine for the finale, everyone! The Duke doesn't want anything more to do with the "tiresome and vindictive child" Gaston, Gaston finds out Treville's been bullshitting him, and for a glorious moment it looks like Treville might have sorted everything out... well, until Grimaud turns up with D'Artagnan and the Dauphin ("you're MY mini-Me now, cloaky boy!"). The Duke tells Grimaud to go to hell, Grimaud stabs him and suddenly there's a MASSIVE BRAWL. Treville runs off with the Dauphin, bundles him onto a horse with Porthos... but oh no, Treville's been hit by a bullet, right on the button marked SLOW-MO RAGE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS™. As Athos and Aramis arrive, he's firing guns and flinging knives at every henchlackey within a half-mile radius, but Grimaud takes him out with a final shot, just as Athos delivers the statutory NOOOOOOO!. Bloody Grimaud scuttles away AGAIN and there's only time for the three remaining Muskeboys to gather around their dead dad in a trauma-induced haze.
I've spent so much time over the past few weeks fretting that something terrible might befall one of my lovely Muskeboys that I totally forgot to worry that something terrible could happen to Treville. I mean, the man seemed indestructible and was going to lead France into a golden age of fairness and democracy
and not having to watch Versailles... but now he can't. Then again, if SOMEONE has to die, I want all the Muskeboys to live and all the ladies to live, so I suppose poor old Treville gets the short straw. Alas, great leader, you did your Muskeboys proud. And in fact, there is already a statue of Treville in existence (or rather, his real-life inspiration), which is rather fitting.
- In conclusion: Bookended by twin deaths, one signposted and one shocking, this was an action-packed hour. I never like it when the plot obliges the Musketeers to work against each other so I'm delighted that everyone's on the same page now and am hoping for a finale full of just desserts and justly deserved rewards. Is that too much to hope for? Quite frankly, I am emotionally exhausted, and yet somehow I have to go through it all again on Monday? Crikey.
And on Monday 1st August at 9pm, it's the LAST EPISODE OF THE MUSKETEERS EVER. See you shortly afterwards for a gin-soaked debriefing...