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The Musketeers - Spoils of War - Review: "Coming Home"

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© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.01 "Spoils of War"
Directed by: Andy Hay
Written by: Simon J. Ashford
Air date: 28 May 2016

After such a long hiatus, it's so good to finally have The Musketeers back. Especially as the show's final season (!) starts with such a great premiere! It's been 4 years and things have certainly changed. The war with Spain is still ongoing and the Musketeers have spent quite some time away from home. Meanwhile, Aramis chose to keep his promise to God and stayed in monastery, adjusting to a quiet life of a monk and taking care of the orphans. And then there's Paris, where the new characters take their residence and Constance with Treville do their best to keep things together.

The Musketeers
We start the series with an opening sequence of the new life of Athos, Porthos and d'Artagnan. They're fighting against a larger and better equipped Spanish army, waiting for the support that never comes. As serious as these new circumstances are for them, some things remain the same, with Athos determined to lead and save his men, Porthos strong and ready for a fight and d'Artagnan using a first possible chance to openly attack the enemy, true to his courageous but impulsive nature. United and skilled, the Musketeers manage to take down the enemy's defences and win the battle. As they're leaving the battlefield, Athos notices a distant figure of a man standing among the dead. Quite a way to introduce the new villain - Lucien Grimaud. Moments later, he's already travelling with the kidnapped general and the stolen gunpowder, and kills the soldiers standing in his way. The murder is witnessed by the group of orphans and their guardian, none other than Aramis. Lucien and his bandits decide to make a stop at the nearby monastery, before making a deal with the Spanish. That's when the Musketeers follow him and meet up with an old friend. And together they make a stand against the enemy, protecting the monks and the children while working their way back home.

First of all, it looks like Athos found his calling after becoming the new Captain of the Musketeers. He's exactly what they need and even though they're at war, he seems to be far more in peace with himself than before. Seem that after Milady left (this time ending on good terms with him) Athos got a new beginning, as the one who holds the group together and offers the good advice when it's needed. I especially enjoyed his scenes with Aramis and the way Athos gave his friend time to figure out what he wants to do and showed up just when he needed to talk.

Speaking of Aramis, how calm and quiet his new life became... After all the deaths, the people he loved and the ones who loved him, he's trying to protect the others by staying away from them. And even though his faith is strong, his head and heart leave him conflicted as he can't quite adapt to the new simple world. He's a Musketeer even after spending so much time away from the fight. Seeing his friends and fighting alongside them, reminds him of that, shows him that he's at his best when he's with his brothers-in-arms.

Unlike Athos and d'Artagnan, Porthos has a hard time accepting Aramis' return. He really missed his best friend. Porthos is visibly hurt by his choice to leave and it takes a little more time for them to reunite. Those two are probably my favorite duo on the show so it's no surprise that their final action sequence is my favorite scene of the premiere. So good to see them laughing and facing the enemy together. Another great part of the episode for Porthos has to be his interactions with the little girl. He has such a big heart and is clearly wonderful with kids. He's so ready to start a family of his own and I'm sure he'd be amazing at it.

And finally d'Artagnan! It's hard to believe how he has grown since the moment we met him. He's now the husband, the war hero, the brave Musketeer. So glad to see him happy with Constance, these two certainly need a break from all the tragedy to stand united against all the trouble that's about to start. And with everyone, including a number of new enemies, back in Paris, everything is about to get worse.

At the palace
When we ended the season two, Captain Treville finally accepted a new position at court, by the King's side, and after the Queen was cleared of all the charges against her, it seemed like everything is going well for the royal couple. I think I expected to see them back to their friendship from the early episodes of the show, or at least on generally better terms but the time hasn't make things easier for the King and the Queen at all. They've grown far more distant than ever before. Louis is focused solely on the Dauphin, barely paying the attention to those around him. The two are clearly very close and it's impossible not to see how much the King loves his son. Even though, considering his interactions with Anne, he must at least partially suspect that Rochefort's accusations weren't all that wrong. At one point during the episode, the King suddenly collapses, only to quickly turn it into a part of the game. Didn't seem like nothing to me...

As for the Queen, she always looks so sad, lonely and visibly trapped. It makes it hard not to feel for her. Not only is the King practically ignoring her, she's the Queen of France at war with her birth country - Spain. She doesn't even have Constance by her side and all that's left for her is to care for her son and stand up for herself in every conversation with men like Marquis de Feron. She's staying strong though and their interaction ends up being one of the great moments of the hour.

Feron, the King's illegitimate brother, struggles with a worsening pain from degenerative spinal condition, the family disease. It doesn't stop him from actively plotting against his family though, as we find out of his connection with Lucien Grimaud. Those two certainly have an interesting partnership and all the dynamics are already so much different than in the previous seasons. In fact, the list of this year's villains appears to only grow bigger as the episode goes by.

Streets of Paris
While the Musketeers fight in the monastery and tensions get high at the palace, there's one more place where the action takes place in the premiere. Constance finds herself in a new role this time, she's taking care of the garrison and the new cadets, and quickly makes an enemy out of the captain of the Red Guard. There were always conflicts between the Musketeers and the Red Guard but with the corrupt Feron acting as Governor of Paris, things are getting even worse. After the Red Guard humilates the young cadets, Constance (with Treville's help) searches for a way to get back at them and ends up with a quick win but a clear escalation of the issue in the longer perspective. I understand the instinct to do something against them but to be honest can't see anything good coming out of this plan, other than a short moment of victory with the humiliation of the Red Guard. I missed the friendship between Anne and Constance, and would be glad to see more of Treville's new role, rather than this acting on anger. I'm very much excited for how the things will change now with everyone back in Paris.

Notes, thoughts and quotes:
Character of the Episode: Aramis
Best Duo: Porthos & Aramis
Best Scene: Porthos and Aramis blow up wagon of gunpowder
Best Change: Captain Athos
Least Necessary: Constance's plan against Red Guard
Best Aww Moments: Any scene with King and Dauphin & Porthos and Aramis with the kids
Best Introduction: Lucien Grimaud
Most Missed: Milady

Memorable quotes:
1. Feron: "You know, sometimes you don't look Spanish at all." Anne: "Sometimes you don't look like a bastard."
2. Luc: "Your name's Porthos? After the hero in the stories?" Porthos: "Stories? I was named after my mother's father." Luc: "You are THE Porthos." Aramis: "THE Porthos. This is THE Athos and THE…" D'Artagnan: "D'Artagnan." Luc: "The stories were true." Athos: "Our reputation precedes us."
3. Athos: "The only way out of here is to take out that cannon." Porthos: "We need a plan." D'Artagnan: "Attack." (runs) Porthos: "What? Hey!" Athos: "I hate it when he does that."
4. Aramis: "She wants to know if you're a giant." Porthos: "I won't eat you because I'm not hungry... yet."
5. Aramis: (praying) "I thought I understood your plan. Now you... seem to be showing me another path. In the middle of all the danger and excitement today, you were closer to me than at any time in all my years here. I've never felt so... alive. This is what you made me. A Musketeer." Athos: "You are many things, Aramis... but a monk is not one of them."

Favorite to Least Favorite Season 3 Episodes Ranking:
1. "Spoils of War" - First episode of the season and it's already a solid start. Glad that all the Musketeers are back together in Paris. Great performance by all the actors and a special shout-out to Rupert Everett & Matthew McNulty for the powerful introduction to their characters. Very much excited to see the rest of the show!

Don't miss all new The Musketeers which airs on Saturday June 11th at 8.30pm on BBC One in the UK! The episode info can be found here.

And now, what did you think about "Spoils of War"? Any favorite scenes/quotes in the episode?

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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