The Musketeers: 104 The Good Soldier” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Just when it seemed that The Musketeers had finally found its footing, this week delivered perhaps the worst episode yet. But being nothing more than a filler episode, perhaps this was to be expected.
This episode didn’t do anything to advance any parts of the show’s main stories and is in fact pretty forgettable. The plot, revolving around a deserter named Marsac returning, claiming to know the truth behind a massacre of some Musketeers five years ago. This also coincides with a visit from the Duke of Savoy, the husband of the King’s Sister.
To be honest, I can’t really say anything of importance happened this week. In fact, you could probably skip this episode and still be up to speed. The story itself was a good idea. The Musketeers beginning to distrust Captain Treville could have worked brilliantly, but here it just felt too forced. It’s hard to pin down what exactly didn’t work in the story, but it certainly didn’t work. Perhaps it was just that it wasn’t that engrossing? Certainly many elements of the story could have worked but in the end they didn’t. In my mind, it seemed as if this was the idea for two episodes quickly put into one. Many elements of the story just didn’t come together. But hey, at least Treville is doing something now at least.
The emotional weight of the episode was obviously lying on Aramis’s shoulders. While it was good that Aramis is getting some development, his story didn’t feel all that interesting. If there had been some reference to this massacre before it may have worked better. Another thing is that this episode seemed to be struggling to find something for the other Musketeers to do. Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnan felt like dead weight this week only contributing because we expect them to be there. Perhaps the episode would have been better served by sending the other three off somewhere and focusing just on Aramis? When it came to the end of the episode, with Aramis stood over Marsac’s grave, I just realised. I didn’t care.
The Duke himself was a pretty great villain. He seemed to be receiving a lot of focus, which gives me hope that he will return later in the series. His presence as the ruler of a key strategic point against Spain should certainly come into play later, if the series is indeed building up to a war. The revelation that his wife, the King’s sister, was in fact a spy feeding information back to Paris was rather inspired and is a narrative move that needs exploring more in a future episode.
The acting, again, was brilliant elevating the rather poor material this week. Capaldi was once again let loose and allowed to chew the scenery as Richelieu, in fact, I don’t think any of the scenery was left after this episode. Capaldi did an excellent job this week. He certainly helped a rather poor script which makes me hopeful for his upcoming role as a certain Time Lord. But this episode also reminded me that this show will lose a lot without Capaldi, with him now confirmed not to be returning for the second series. Hopefully the show will prove it can stand without Capaldi in the coming weeks.
D’Artagnan and Constance did a little more flirting this week as their romance continues to blossom. The scene at the end certainly seems to confirm that the feelings are mutual in some way. I have no doubt that this romance will cause a lot of trouble later in the series. One question I have though is this. What are all the other Musketeers doing? It’s a rather large barracks and it’s filled with Musketeers, yet Treville always seems to entrust everything to our lead characters. It’s only a small niggle, but still a valid one.
So yeah, this episode was pretty dull and pretty forgettable. But the acting still made it enjoyable. I can only say this; it’s not an episode I will be rushing to watch again.