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The Musketeers - The Hunger & Brothers in Arms - Review: "Justice in this world"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.02 "The Hunger"
Directed by: Andy Hay
Written by: Simon J. Ashford
Air date: 11 June 2016

In "The Hunger" we are presented with the current state of Paris during the war with Spain. There's no open fight but with the arrival of refugees, food shortage, the general mistrust and false accusations, it doesn't take much to start a conflict between the people in the streets. After the Governor of Paris conspires with the Duke de Beaufort, the main provider of food for the city and the man with the increasing debts, the refugees, seeking a safe place in Paris, are accused of stealing the grain and murder. In truth, the robbery is staged by Feron, Grimaud and the Duke, who want to get a higher price for the food when selling it back to the King, making money on other people's desperation. D'Artagnan and the cadets stay to protect the refugees from the angry crowd, but when the Red Guard arrives to arrest some of the rioting refugees, he's also taken captive with them.

The Castle
Taking advantage of other people's misery, hunger and death, is something I don't take lightly so watching Feron's plan at work made me think the worst of the character. Rupert Everett is doing an incredible work at portraying the Marquis. Never at ease with his pain, yet able to create such chaos and sense of power around him. Not just another villain for sure. Also, I do like the contrast visible between Feron and Grimaud. With Feron as the smart, quiet negotiator, trying to get rid of his pain, even at the expense of clouded mind and Grimaud as the cold-hearted "creature", a man of practical nature, taking his strength from suffering. Interested to see how this partnership will evolve in the future episodes. As it always happens, the King doesn't see through Feron's lies and manipulation. But I am grateful to see him seek Treville's advice first. As bad as the things are between the King and the Queen, it's already such a progress with the King actually listening to the one advisor he can actually trust. This year especially the friendship between the King and Treville seems stronger than ever before. And Treville does his best to fight for a fair trial for each of the accussed, taking a stand against Feron in front of the judge and calling things by what they are, "a mockery of justice". As for the Queen, we only get to see her for a moment in this episode, when the King informs her of the Musketeers' return to Paris. Judging by his comment about Aramis, he surely knows the truth...

The Prison
Meanwhile, after getting arrested, D'Artagnan gets to know some of the refugees better and through Hubert, he starts to understand their cause, realizing that fighting against the unjust enemy and unfairness makes them far more similar to each other than he expected. After a smaller role in the premiere, this episode is especially important for the youngest of our Musketeers. He's beginning to show more of his leadership skills when standing up for the people with the cadets by his side. And it's always great to see how important what's good and just in this world is for him. Makes me think of the episode "An Ordinary Man" from last season and how much d'Artagnan has grown as a character in my eyes after that hour. Him caring and fighting for what's right is definitely one of the best things about our hero and every time he gets more screentime like that, he gets to show his best self once more.

At the streets of Paris
Perhaps one of the most important things in the episode is the introduction of Sylvie, a refugee and a strong fighter for justice and truth. Her scenes with Athos quickly show a connection between the characters and a start of the new chapter in the Captain's life. I'm glad Sylvie started out her story not as a romantic interest but as someone willing to stand by all the things she believes in, not hiding in the shadows but bravely fighting for the people she cares about. Makes her story truly her own. Also, she's quickly finding her place on the show, looking at all her interactions with the Musketeers, not just Athos. There was a quiet moment of friendship between her and Aramis at the end there as well, when she gets to say goodbye to her father. I wasn't the fan of the idea that Sylvie might be a romantic interest for Aramis as well, so I'm glad it was quickly dismissed. She's clever and knows how to get what she wants. Complete opposite of Leon, the spy and a traitor willing to sell out the people who cared for him for a better position, in the end getting blamed for everything that happened.

At the garrison
And finally, the Musketeers. I liked that nice moment at the beginning, with Aramis training with Athos and Porthos. Despite all that years in the monastery, he was actually doing better than expected. Some things are not easily forgotten, it would seem. Later in the episode, Porthos and Aramis continue to be my favorite duo. Their plan to make people talk was easily a highlight of the hour for me. "No more breaking legs." These two! While Aramis joined Athos, Sylvie and the others soon, Porthos followed a hunch that lead him to the stolen grain, just in time to bring it back to Paris and stop Feron's plans for the prisoners. Way to make entrance, Porthos! Never change. One more thing to mention from the episode, the conflict between Constance and Marcheaux seems to only escalate, now with d'Artagnan also learning what kind of the man the leader of the Red Guard truly is. "Your death will not be honorable" certainly seems like foreshadowing for the next episodes. Though something tells me things are bound to get worse before they get better... Which leads to the first official meeting between Grimaud and the Musketeers. Both sides are quietly aware of how they stand against each other but they talk in the most formal way, ready for the fight that awaits them all.

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.03 "Brothers in Arms"
Directed by: Roger Goldby
Written by: Simon Allen
Air date: 20 June 2016

In "Brothers in Arms" King Louis sends the Musketeers on a mission to bring his exiled brother, Gaston, the Duke of Orléans back to Paris. The things quickly go wrong when Gaston forces the Musketeers to stop at a nearby inn where is then robbed of the letters that can potentially cost him everything. In retaliation he kills three men standing close to him before the Musketeers are able to stop him. But once he gets to the palace, the hunt for the thief begins and it forces the Musketeers to choose whether to follow the orders from the King or stand by the good men demanding justice for their fallen friends.

The palace
Both Treville and Feron are taken by surprise when the King decides to mend bridges with his brother after exiling him for treason 3 years earlier. Clearly the relationship between Feron and Gaston is not a good one, in fact, the two seem to truly hate each other, wishing the other will fall. They do eventually find a way to work together, though it doesn't take very long for that to change. Feron sees the opportunity to find the King's enemies and bring them on his side, using the letters stolen from Gaston. Meanwhile, Treville begins to worry about the state of King's mind, at one point even telling Athos that "the King is not himself". As he tries to get Louis to see reason he learns the truth about King's health. Louis reveals that he's dying to the shocked Treville and Feron overhears the news. Ryan Gage does an amazing job in this very emotional scene as the King talks about wanting his little son to know and remember him. Thus explaining the reason why he brought Gaston back to Paris, to have his family by the dauphin's side, to keep his memory alive. Treville's quiet breakdown as Louis leaves the room, also speaks volumes about their relationship. Despite everything, Treville truly loves and cares for the King, being one of his only true friends in the world. Desperate to honor Louis' wishes he goes to the pub alone, trying to bring peace between the palace and the soldiers.

Meanwhile, Queen Anne finally gets more of the screentime in the episode as she tries to get through to the King and reunites with Constance. I missed these two so much! Their friendship was easily one of the highlights of season two and it's a shame it doesn't get much of the chance to develop this year. Their honest conversation tells so much about their characters, things they don't often show or admit. Anne's feeling all alone without any friends by her side and Constance tells the Queen how she feels about bringing a child on this world. Such a sad, yet important scene. Also, loved seeing the Queen confronting Marcheaux when he crosses paths with Constance again and then later when she's talking to the King's two brothers. Hopefully we'll get more of these powerful moments with her in the next episodes. They always remind me of one of my favorite scenes, back from season one, when the Queen faces the Cardinal after his treason is revealed. This episode also marks the reunion of Anne and Aramis, as he stops for a second to watch his son play. The meeting isn't a happy one, there's too many painful emotions between the two and they part ways after a short exchange. Considering the proximity of Feron and Gaston, it's good these two didn't really get into a longer conversation. Aramis' choice to see little Louis though, delays his encounter with the King, which given the latter's recent behavior can only be a good thing.

The Musketeers
D'Artagnan continues to work with the cadets, giving them advice on how to fight and overseeing their training, clearly making a good impression on the Captain Athos. But the things in Paris are making Porthos miss the war. It's no surprise, especially as the thief of Gaston's letters turns out to be the wife of the pub's owner, Josephine. A desperate woman trying to protect and support her loved ones, keeping the tavern open. The men there are all war veterans, with no pensions, barely suriving with what they have. She's stealing what she can, without anyone knowing, just to keep things together. Grimaud's cruel idea is to attack and arrest everyone from the inn at their weakest hour, during the funeral of their fallen brothers. It's a truly emotional moment for all the soldiers and I loved that sign of support from Aramis, as he helps the others pray when their loss makes it too painful to go on. As the Red Guard arrives, the conflict leads to another tragic death and only Treville's appearence is able to stop the fight that is about to take place. In the next confrontation however, Christophe and his men take Treville and Porthos hostage, as a way to negotiate with the King. Athos takes their conditions to Louis but he chooses to listen to Feron, who is offering Red Guard's attack on the inn, leaving Athos little time for a rescue mission first, to try to save Treville. Eventually Grimaud makes matters worse and it comes down to a fight between Red Guard and the soldiers, with the Musketeers choosing to help the latter. During the struggle, Christophe's wife can't stand her guilt anymore after starting this horrible turn of events and she finally confesses the truth to d'Artagnan. When the Musketeers realize they're out of options, Constance and Sylvie bring more people to help them out in the fight. Together, they manage to win, but not before Josephine dies, an honorable death in her husband's arms, after taking a stand with her loved ones, who end up never finding out about what she's done, thanks to d'Artagnan.

In the end, the King finds out about Gaston's plan to betray him when the Musketeers bring him back the stolen letters and he sends his brother away, with Feron visiting him and the two exchanging threats one last time. Surely, it's not the last time we're going to see the Duke of Orléans, as he's already plotting his revenge...

Notes, thoughts and quotes:
Character of the Episode: d'Artagnan ("The Hunger") & Treville ("Brothers in Arms")
Best Duo: Porthos and Aramis & Treville and Louis
Best Fight: The Musketeers stand united with the soldiers against the Red Guard
Most Emotional Scene: The King tells Treville he's dying
Best Reunion: Constance and Queen Anne
Best Introduction: Sylvie
Best Guest Character: Christophe
Most Missed: Still Milady

Memorable quotes:
1. Nortier: "I've never killed a Musketeer". Porthos: "You never will".
2. Queen Anne: "Why is my son out here with you?" Feron: "Majesty. The King, he is asleep, but he wanted the Dauphin and his two uncles to become the best of friends." Queen Anne: "And how can you be friends when he is over there and you're here?"
3. Aramis: "Whatever happens, I've got your back." Porthos: "I know."
4. The King: "I was nine years old when my father was assassinated. I can scarcely recall the sound of his voice. My son will be just six. I must spend every possible moment with him or he will forget me."
5. Constance: "I see babies going hungry. I tell mothers their husbands aren't coming home from the war. It's one thing to be a Musketeer's wife, I don't know if I'm brave enough to be a Musketeer's widow. And I know I don't want to raise a Musketeer's orphan."
6. Lucien: "The price is bound to go up. The people of Paris have no bread. Desperation is always lucrative."
7. Aramis: "We should have a little talk with the trader. He could benefit from our special brand of our tact and diplomacy." Porthos: "It's been a while."

Favorite to Least Favorite Season 3 Episodes Ranking:
1. "Spoils of War"
2. "Brothers in Arms" - Very moving story with interesting characters. Also, we get to find out the truth about Louis' health and not one, but two important reunions take place in the hour. And finally, I really loved seeing all the Musketeers and Treville stand united with the soldiers, making a stand against the Red Guard. Sometimes just having each other's backs is enough.
3. "The Hunger" - Good episode, but not one of my favorites. Had to re-watch to remember all the details. Still, a good introduction for Sylvie and a great portrayal of the new Paris.

Stay tuned for the review of the last episode "The Queen's Diamonds", which will be posted in the next few days. And don't miss all new The Musketeers which airs on Saturday July 2nd at 8.30pm on BBC One in the UK!

And now, what did you think about "The Hunger" & "Brothers in Arms"? Any favorite scenes or quotes in the episodes?

Justyna JJ Kubica
24. SpoilerTV Writer. Loves Movies (especially Marvel Cinematic Universe), TV Shows (The 100, Agents Of SHIELD, Teen Wolf, Sherlock, Person Of Interest, Supernatural (especially 1-5), The Musketeers, Agent Carter, The Flash, Doctor Who, Fringe, Psych and many more) and Books (Harry Potter!). Fantasy & SciFi geek! Scene Of The Week articles author. Writes reviews for Doctor Who, Sherlock & The Musketeers. Member of SpoilerTV team since 27th November 2011.
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