The Musketeers: 105 “The Homecoming” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
After a very disappointing previous instalment and a two week break due to the BAFTAS, The Musketeers got itself back on form in a very entertaining instalment. While still being a filler episode, we were able to get to know Porthos a bit more; something I felt was a great improvement on the previous episodes.
The plot itself was a mixed bag. While parts of it were interesting, the rest of it dragged a little. Porthos’ segments started out interesting, but it quickly became apparent that the episode was focused on the mystery more than developing Porthos as a character, which disappointed me a little. In a show like The Musketeers, we need the characters to be well developed otherwise we don’t care about them during stories like this. The four leads are still just character archetypes. D’Artagnan The Hero, Athos The Loner, Aramis The Ladies Man and Porthos the Comic relief. Only Athos has received significant development and is still the only one who feels like a fully rounded character. The others… don’t, which is where the show seems to be failing a little. The mystery itself was pretty entertaining, even if it was clear that Charon was heavily involved from the start. The thing that struck me as odd was the episode revealing that the Cardinal was involved when at the end of the episode; it didn’t really add anything to the story.
As to the episode’s supporting cast, they were airght. I was one of the many who found Ashley Walters gave a very mediocre performance in his guest spot in Doctor Who last year and again, I found him to deliver a very mediocre performance here. Meanwhile, Finoa Glascott gave a pretty great performance as Flea, an old flame of Porthos. Now, of course their relationship was doomed not to continue from the start with this being a filler episode and thus not doing anything to change the status quo, but I found Flea to be an interesting character. She shared some great chemistry with Porthos and, if the ending suggests anything, we may not have seen the last of her which leaves me hopeful for a return in the future.
Emile de Mauvoisin was a weak link in the story I found. The character seemed to just be there to tie the various plot threads together and to distance Charon from the Cardinal somewhat so he could stand on his own as a villain. In fact, he was probably there just to give everyone else something to do for most of the episode. I felt the story could have been tighter and more interesting if the character was removed in favour of having Charon working for the Cardinal. It would have stopped the plot from meandering so much and instead devote more time to Charon and Porthos’ relationship.
But, despite its problems, the episode was still a lot of fun. The action scenes were really well directed by Saul Metzstein (who has quickly become one of my favourite directors in British Television). Everything flowed brilliantly and the episode was shot very stylishly. Perhaps we can take note that even if The Musketeers can sometimes falter in the plot department, its action scenes will deliver.
Perhaps a small gripe I have is with the Court of Miracles itself. It looked so much like other parts of Paris that it didn’t feel like a unique location. In fact, it looked a little dull. Perhaps if the location injected a little colour or felt more alive it would have elevated the material somewhat.
Perhaps it’s because I really didn’t enjoy the last episode. Maybe it’s because The Musketeers hasn’t been on for 2 Weeks, but I really enjoyed this episode. While it certainly didn’t reach the heights of some of the previous episodes, it was still an awful lot of fun. “The Homecoming” really put The Musketeers back in my good books as a must watch show on Sunday nights. Roll on next Sunday.