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The Musketeers - The Prize - Review: "Civil War"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 3.09 "The Prize"
Directed by: Sue Tully
Written by: Dusty Hughes
Air date: 30 July 2016

Reviews so far:
Episode 3.01 - "Spoils of War"
Episode 3.02 - "The Hunger"
Episode 3.03 - "Brothers in Arms"
Episode 3.04 - "The Queen's Diamonds"
Episode 3.05 - "To Play the King"
Episode 3.06 - "Death of a Hero"
Episode 3.07 - "Fool's Gold"
Episode 3.08 - "Prisoners of War"

The finale of the series truly begins in this hour where we have to say goodbye to two characters and great actors who were on the show from the very beginning. Saying goodbye is never easy. It's emotional, bittersweet and often heartbreaking. And the episode is one of my favorites this year for sure. When the King dies, the future of France is left in question as Treville is put in charge and Gaston, Duke of Lorraine and Grimaud prepare to attack.

King Louis has always been quite a difficult character to root for, at least for me. With his often lack of sympathy, compassion and understanding he was never too high on my list of favorite characters on the show. However, there were moments when his love for little Louis, friendship with Treville and consistently incredible performance by Ryan Gage, made me change my mind for a while. His story ends suddenly, though the King has been preparing to die for the entire season, as Louis gets a little stronger and spends his time on training with Treville. The King seems finally at peace, he enjoys a short sword fight and waves at the Dauphin before collapsing and taking his last breath with Queen Anne, Treville and d'Artagnan by his side.

Like a soldier and a Minister that he is, Treville acts quickly and predicting the danger the next King of France finds himself in, he calls for Athos and orders him to take Dauphin and hide him somewhere where no one can find him, not even Queen Anne or Aramis. It's a tough decision that Treville is not afraid to make. And to be honest, I felt quite conflicted by this choice, with both arguments for and against such actions. On one side, it's smart and logical, on the other, it's a secret that only creates chaos and causes additional pain to the Queen, making her act emotionally and dangerously. Secrecy has not worked well for the Musketeers in the past and I don't believe it does in this case as well.

It's a long, painful and challenging day for Queen Anne. Despite their issues, she is genuinely hurt by Louis' departure, she holds him in her arms as he fades away and promises to protect and care for their son. Her day only gets worse from there, when she learns of Louis' choice to change the Regent, feels betrayed by Treville and desperately looks for her son, scared for his safety. Anne does her best to stay strong but her actions inadvertently put the little King in danger. The conflict between the Queen and Treville is heavily felt through the episode and makes me wish things were done differently, especially seeing how they both have France's best interests in mind. Treville himself feels that the King's choice was at least partially a way to hurt the Queen and is not comfortable with that fact, trying to make peace with her. He is very much shocked by his new position but immediately starts to plan a way to stop the civil war in Paris, doing his best under these new strange conditions. And his first order is to disband the Red Guard, leaving only the loyal men defending France.

Meanwhile, Athos chooses to put the Dauphin in Constance's care. It's actually a very obvious choice, given her history, making me quite surprised more people didn't really think of that possibility. I'm glad that before the show ends we got to see more of Constance back in action in this hour. She has been such a powerful and interesting character in the past two seasons and is barely visible in most of this one. Such a shame. Anyway, here she takes the role of the little King's guardian and protector. Together with Sylvie they hide the boy from those searching him in the city. Meanwhile, Aramis clearly worries about the Queen and little Louis. They're the ones he wants to protect the most, but considering his emotional state, Porthos tries to keep him in a safe distance from the two. Eventually Aramis meets with the Queen, both realizing the other doesn't know where to look for their child...

The news of the new Regent spreads and some people are beginning to see the advantage of choosing a hero like Treville, instead of the Queen with Spanish roots. Gaston wants to move quickly on Paris and Duke of Lorraine agrees to help him as long as he promises to give him back his title and make Lorraine an independent province. Meanwhile, Treville works to grant pardon to Gaston, a decision the Queen doesn't support. Treville later sends Porthos and Aramis with the pardon to the Duke's camp, giving them a chance to take a closer look on his army. Gaston agrees to ride to the castle with the Musketeers, to "pay respect to his late brother" and to see what he left him in the will. Treville's peaceful way of resolving the conflict is to turn Gaston and the Duke against each other, making Gaston promises he does not intend to keep. I have to say, I never noticed how much Anne seems to hate Gaston until this episode, she couldn't even look at him when he got in her way. He was always an enemy plotting against her and Louis but she can usually hide her feelings from people like him, just not in this case it seems.

The main part of the negotiations between Treville and Duke of Lorraine takes place soon after the meeting with Gaston. Unlike in Gaston's case, new Regent sees the Duke as an honorable man and wants to work on a true agreement with him. While the two negotiate, Porthos meets with Grimaud, pointing out how the Duke doesn't need a man like Lucien. Treville's plan appears to be working, with the Duke and Gaston's conflict growing. Grimaud, seeing through the Regent's plan, chooses to act on his own, going after the little King. Speaking of, Aramis and Athos argue when Aramis wants to learn where the Dauphin is hidden and his friend refuses to share the information with him. "What happened to "One for All"" part was very hurtful to hear. It makes an impact on both Athos and d'Artagnan and gets Athos to question the choice to hide the truth about Louis' whereabouts from Aramis.

Anne, meanwhile, goes to Constance, after the Queen realizes she's the one hiding the child and she demands to see her son. It's another conflict that I don't enjoy seeing. All the secrecy leads to a number of painful interactions between friends and as Athos says at one point it's simply wrong. Constance agrees to let the mother make sure the little one is alright, but from the safe distance. Their meeting at church, though, is interrupted by former Captain Marchaux and his men who overhear the conversation between Aramis and Sylvie when she tells him about the location of this meeting. Luckily, Aramis gets to the church just in time to save Louis. If only it lasted... When Aramis goes to get his friends' help later, the Musketeers quickly get on the same side, but the boy is taken by Grimaud while d'Artagnan gets hurt trying to protect him.

In the final minutes, Treville and the Duke agree on the peace terms and Gaston is dismissed with nothing. All seems well until Grimaud initiates another fight when he brings the new King and d'Artagnan to the Duke's camp. The Duke stands by the deal with Treville and gets killed by his former partner, Grimaud. Gaston escapes in the middle of the struggle. And in the end, Treville gives up everything to get Louis safely out of there. He gets shot multiple time after leaving the boy with Porthos and bravely fights till the last breath. His loyal Musketeers arrive just in time to say goodbye, telling him he saved the King... It's the ultimate sacrifice. Though his choices were not always the best, all he ever wanted was to protect the King and his family, watch over the Musketeers, to fight and to do his duty with honor and leave things better than they were. And in the end, he did. He saved the life of the new King of France, brought much needed peace for the country and fought bravely till the end. Treville's last stand, when he exchanges looks with Porthos and tells him to take the little King and go, knowing what it means to him was done beautifully, even though it's completely heartbreaking. The music stopped there for a second and I have to say, it's one of the saddest scene of the entire series, the hardest of goodbyes. Hugo Speer did a spectacular work on the show, this episode even more than ever before. And it's almost the end...

Notes, thoughts and quotes:
Character of the Episode: Treville
Best Interactions: Treville & Porthos
Most Heartbreaking: Treville's last stand
Most Painful Conflicts: Aramis and Athos & Constance and Anne & Anne and Treville
Biggest Surprise: Treville is the new Regent
Best Improvement: Constance
Biggest Fool: Gaston
Best Plan: Negotiating peace with Duke of Lorraine

Memorable quotes:
1. Louis: "You know, Treville used to teach me how to fight when I was a lad. Seems like I've surpassed him." Treville: [to d'Artagnan] "He forgot everything I taught him. But I will say this, he never lacked courage."
2. Gaston: "How could my brother have been so stupid? He has defiled France. Appointing a commoner as regent. Treville..." Duke of Lorraine: "Your brother was not a fool. A Spanish queen is hard to love, but Treville is a hero to the people."
3. Aramis: "Treville's plan has worked. Gaston believes your son has been taken out of Paris to safety." Anne: "Where is he truly? Please tell me you know." Aramis: "I don't..." Anne: "Of course. They haven't told you either. Treville took him the very moment the king died." Aramis: "Who's with him?" Anne: "I hoped it was you."
4. Aramis: "What happened to "one for all"?"
5. Athos: "He was right." D'Artagnan: "What do you mean?" Athos: "Aramis. One for all. All this secrecy is wrong."

Favorite to Least Favorite Season 3 Episodes Ranking:
1. "Death of a Hero"
2. "The Prize" - Great emotional episode with the hardest of goodbyes and powerful performances by the cast. My biggest regret here would only be the number of conflicts and once again a secrecy between friends. Never works well for anyone.
3. "Fool's Gold"
4. "Spoils of War"
5. "To Play the King"
6. "Prisoner of War"
7. "The Queen's Diamonds"
8. "Brothers in Arms"
9. "The Hunger"

And now, what did you think about "The Prize"? Any favorite scenes or quotes in the episode?

About the Author - Justyna Kubica
24. SpoilerTV Writer. Loves Movies (especially Marvel Cinematic Universe), TV Shows (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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