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The Musketeers - The Queen's Diamonds & To Play the King - Review: "On the Wrong Side"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.04 "The Queen's Diamonds"
Directed by: Nicholas Renton
Written by: Jeff Povey
Air date: 25 June 2016

A truly interesting episode. I'd say it was a particularly funny hour if not for the tragic twist with Pauline at the end. Things sure are different this season. I do wish we'd get better conclusion for some unanswered questions and to see the impact of the stories like this one, with Aramis' old friend. It was such a sad, sudden and hopeless ending, to be honest...

"I should have taken you with me"
Let me start with the serious and emotional part of the episode. First of all, we rarely get to hear much about the background stories of the Musketeers. So the reveal about Aramis spending his early childhood in a brothel where his mother worked definitely took me by surprise. And though I'm not sure if this seems in line with everything we've learned about him so far, it does put some of his actions in a different perspective right now. His brother-sister relationship with Pauline was a nice reminder of his brighter side, but in the end it only added to the heavy weight he's been carrying around since last season. After a moment of happiness and hope, things went terribly wrong when desperate, to keep a secret about her past from French nobleman she wanted to marry, Pauline killed her blackmailer, on the day that her wedding was supposed to take place. Thus turning a potentially great story about second chances to a sad reference to Milady's story and a statement about two kids with tragic background becoming truly broken spirits in their adulthood. The final shot with Pauline breaking down, begging her fiance to marry her and realizing she lost everything, was such a heartbreaking view that I found myself forced to look away. This one is not a story about hope for sure.

"All for one?"
Luckily, the tragic story of Pauline wasn't the only focus of the episode. The hour also featured the return of a season one character, Emile Bonnaire. His interactions with the Musketeers, especially Porthos, were so entertaining that they made me realize how much I missed this more playful and fun part of the show. At the beginning of the hour the Musketeers are tasked with finding the thief who stole the diamonds of Louis' sister, the Queen of England. Though the quest seems completely hopeless at first, it takes just one glimpse of Bonnaire for the guys to identify the guilty party. And then the mission to return the jewels to the rightful owner begins. The visit at one Lady's home ends up being especially hilarious part, starting from D'Artagnan looking for Serena, only to realize it's a horse, not one of the Lady's daughters and getting hit in the face. And ending with Athos, Aramis, Bonnaire and Porthos running around trying to take the diamonds from the horse. Priceless! The entire sequence is absolutely funny and I highly recommend it in times when a good laugh is needed.

The mission to retrieve the stolen jewels also leads the Musketeers to a dangerous fight where Bonnaire saves D'Artagnan's life and gets badly hurt. Porthos' hatred towards the guy also provides quite a comic relief when he patches up Bonnaire's wounds before they make one final stop - at Pauline's, who gets one of the Queen's diamonds as a wedding gift from her fiance. In a recurring theme of the Musketeers having doubts about their orders, first Porthos leaves one of the jewels to the poor and then, at the confrontation between the Musketeers and Pauline and her fiance, Athos aims his weapon at Aramis who refuses to take away Pauline's gift. I certainly didn't expect such a tense situation between the two. I honestly don't believe any shot would happen there, even if Pauline didn't give back the diamond, but I still felt it all went completely wrong and was 100% with Porthos who didn't want to take part in his friends' confrontation and chose to leave the room. Really love this character, by the way, such a scene stealer, even more so in this episode. In the end, the diamonds were returned and Bonnaire's partner turned out to be his new wife who also happened to be Queen of England's servant. The two are granted a pardon from the Queen and after giving back the money from the diamonds' sale walk away free and in love. Who would have thought? Bonnaire actually did get another chance at the end, at least his story seems to have a happy ending.

" a serpent in the night"
And finally, some notes on the other events of the hour. Feron spends an entire episode keeping dutch financier occupied as he's waiting to meet the Queen of England and buy the invaluable crown jewels from her. Governor of Paris also manages to secure a loan for himself, though he lies the money will be used for King's gift for his wife. A great as Rupert Everett is in this role, I'd rather we skip all that scenes and made more time for the Musketeers. What's interesting though, despite his plans against the King, Feron admits to Grimaud at the end of the episode, he's quite conflicted about the idea of Louis dying before him... Grimaud, on the other hand, embraces the news quickly, after his earlier meeting with Sylvie who took an active role in taking care and speaking about injustice to the people of Paris. Speaking of Sylvie, the very beginning of the episode, with Sylvie and Athos' romantic encounter really took me by surprise. Though there was a connection between them in the past weeks, I didn't expect it will become something more this quickly. Now it officially seems Athos changed a great deal since season two. Even despite their argument later in the hour. Constance, on the other hand, finally reminded me of her old self and I was glad to see her caring, but tough nature in display like that. Her scene with Bonnaire was one of the best in the episode. And finally, things at palace this time were really well done. Louis making all the smart choices and the best face expressions when seeing his sister, Bonnaire and his wife, Caroline, is the King I actually like. Especially as Ryan Gage continues to shine in this role. Would definitely welcome more of such scenes in the future!

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.05 "To Play the King"
Directed by: Roger Goldby
Written by: Ellen Taylor
Air date: 3 July 2016

In this episode, Feron and Grimaud, with the help of Red Guard organize a prison break at Chatelet as a distraction to keep everyone occupied while they use one of the prisoners, Joubert, to steal the King's gold reserves. Meanwhile at the palace there's a huge celebration for Dauphin's 6th birthday and the Musketeers end up chasing through the streets of Paris a number of escapees who got out during the chaotic fight at prison.

Feron and Grimaud, now both aware of the King's illness, need the funds to make their plan, that involves bringing Gaston back, work sooner rather than later. Grimaud's patience especially seems to be running out. I have to say, so far, these two are far more complex and interesting villains than the insane Rochefort ever was. And both actors are doing an excellent work with the characters! This hour Feron almost lost everything when the dutch financier arrives to collect interests from the loan he gave to "the King". As Treville watches him closely and leaves the proof of Feron's lies in the King's room, it's only a blind luck, in a form of Borel who burns the letter regarding the loan, that saves him from the reveal. The plot to steal the gold, the interactions with Treville, even the murder of the financier Van Laar didn't really surprise me. The scene of his pledge to the future King however did. I do wonder if there's any truth to his "May God forgive me". Unless he's an excellent actor, Feron did seem at least partially emotional and sincere in that short moment. Didn't last long but there's certainly a potential there.

Feron's plotline, in comparison with last episode, was far better done here, the King's however - not particularly. It's understandable that knowing he's going to die soon makes him wish his beloved son will remember their time together. Other than that, his choices in the hour didn't win him any points from me. I was glad to finally see a quiet moment between him and the Queen. I really miss the times when these two actually seemed to be friends, back in the beginning of the show. They were never a true couple but they could at least talk and support each other. Anne admitting how lonely she is without him was such a sad part. If only things could get better between them... But looking at his reaction at the end, after Aramis saved Anne, doesn't seem like they have much of a chance. Regardless, Queen Anne has many great scenes in the episode. Loved how she stopped Feron from getting to the letter from Van Laar, suspecting him of plotting something against Louis. And despite her visible dislike towards him, she couldn't stand the spectacle with him being forced to kneel before the King when he can barely stand. She was also really clever and managed to handle Borel for a while. Always great to see her in such an active role. Also, her concern for the people as the King prepares their son's birthday surely gives the chance to all the starving and poor men of Paris and France.

Meanwhile, Aramis and Constance get to save an innocent woman, wife of the locksmith, blackmailed by Grimaud to help break into King's vault, Athos encounters Sylvie and they eventually reunite, and D'Artagnan meets Borel, sick and desperate former soldier, runaway from Chatelet who believes he's the real King of France. D'Artagnan feels sorry for him and instead of bringing him back to prison, he gives the man a chance to stay with the nuns, not knowing how dangerous he truly is. Borel ends up killing the sisters who helped him and breaks into the palace, then finds and attacks the Queen. Luckily the Musketeers come to her rescue and Aramis saves her when D'Artagnan can't bring himself to take a shot. In the end, he's forced to kill Borel and is left feeling (similarly to the others in the episode before) like he's fighting for a wrong side. It's a very emotional and important episode for youngest of the Musketeers. It's a shame he doesn't get to talk things through with Constance though. These two don't seem to get much of the time together like before... Both Luke and Stephen Walters (playing Borel) did an excellent job in the hour. So many great performances on the show! With only few episodes left, I miss them all already.

Notes, thoughts and quotes:
Character of the Episode: Porthos (in 3.04) & Queen Anne / D'Artagnan (in 3.05)
Best Interactions: Porthos and Bonnaire & D'Artagnan and Borel
Biggest Change: Athos, for better and worse
Most Emotional Scene: Pauline's breakdown & Queen Anne talks to Louis & Feron's pledge
Funniest Scene: Meeting Serena
The Cutest: The Dauphin (helping Feron after his fall)
Best Return: Bonnaire
Best Reactions: King Louis (in 3.04)
Best Save: Aramis saves the Queen (again)
Biggest Shift between episodes: Feron (for better) & King Louis (for worse)

Memorable quotes:
1. Athos: "Aramis, shoot the horse". Aramis: "Serena. No, I'm not shooting a horse." D'Artagnan: "Wait. Give me the rope. Shame on you, shooting a horse, Athos."
2. Feron: "No one ever hears you coming, do they, Grimaud? You're like a serpent in the night."
3. Emile: "Look, can I have your word from one gentleman to another?"
Porthos: "You, you're not a gentleman."
Emile: "No. But I am gentle. So from this one gentle man to you four gentlemen, can we guarantee that upon receipt of the desired information, you're not going to toss me into the street?"
4. Treville: "Feron. I've been looking for you."
Feron: "Now you've found me. Well done."
5. Aramis: "She's not the Queen. She's not the Queen! She's an imposter."
Borel: "No, no, no. You're trying to trick me."
Aramis: "No. I swear it. She is."
Borel: "What? What? She's what?"
Aramis: "She's mine."
6. D'Artagnan: "I shot a sick and desperate man today."
Athos: "Who wanted to kill the Queen."
D'Artagnan: "Why do I feel like I'm fighting for the wrong side?"

Favorite to Least Favorite Season 3 Episodes Ranking:
1. "Spoils of War"
2. "To Play the King" - Seems like the episodes are getting better each week. Even though there are some issues with the plot overall, I did enjoy the hour quite a lot, hence the position in the ranking.
3. "The Queen's Diamonds" - A+ for Bonnaire and Porthos, and Serena but not so happy with how the things ended (abruptly) with Pauline & Feron's storyline.
4. "Brothers in Arms"
5. "The Hunger"

Stay tuned for the review of the last episode "Death of a Hero", which will be posted in the next few days. And don't miss all new The Musketeers which airs on Saturday July 16th on BBC One in the UK!

And now, what did you think about "The Queen's Diamonds" & "To Play the King"? 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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