The Musketeers: 106 “The Exiles” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Who knew that an episode revolving around a kidnapped baby would be one of the best episodes of The Musketeers yet?
I can’t help but wonder if this episode was partly inspired by The Man in the Iron Mask. Considering both revolve around a ploy to replace the king with a previously unknown relative, it would be a surprise if writer Ben Harris wasn’t partly influenced by this. But the plot worked pretty well this week. I spent most of this episode wondering how the two plotlines would coincide, but as soon as Marie showed an interest in the child it became quite clear what the plan was. But even then, the plot was tight and enthralling. Which is more than can be said for a few other episodes of the Musketeers. When it seemed that baby Henry had died, I was shocked and gasped out loud. Even though a few seconds later I realised it was a trick, I was amazed at how invested the episode had me.
I’m going to take a moment to talk about Marie. She was a fantastic villain. I am positively overjoyed that she didn’t die at the end of the episode. She was an excellent foil for the heroes and provided a new villain the heroes couldn’t publicly fight. The King isn’t going to side with the Musketeers over his own mother. Probably. Tara Fitzgerald (who some of you may recognise from Game of Thrones) filled Marie with lots of menace and glee. In fact, she was almost a female Richelieu. Several times in the episode I got the sense that Marie is going to be our new villain to replace Richelieu in the next series, since Peter Capaldi won’t be able to return for obvious reasons. And that gives me faith in the show. For a while I’ve wondered if the show could survive without Capaldi and Marie’s introduction has given me a lot of faith that it can. In fact, I’m excited to see what Series 2 will bring. And her wardrobe. My god her wardrobe was brilliant.
In my opinion, this episode was the first episode where everything worked. Everything felt right. It seemed as if the show had finally discovered what worked and pulled out all the stops for this episode. All of the main cast gave some of their best performances and were bolstered by excellent writing from Ben Harris. He really understood the characters, their personalities and the dynamics between them. If he doesn’t return for a future episode, then I’ll be disappointed. Amy Nuttall was a brilliant addition as Agnes, the mother of baby Henry. What could have been a very annoying character became likeable and quite endearing. Her story with Philippe was rather touching and sad. Agnes was a really likeable character and I’m quite happy to say that she’s the best one-off character in the show so far.
Andy Hay’s directing was another great thing about the episode. Hay gave the episode a really stylistic flair that I found really interesting. The shots were great and really well framed. While his direction was not as memorable as Saul Metzstein’s or Toby Haynes’s, it still made an already excellent episode a joy to watch unfold.
I have very few bad things to say about this episode. It is certainly one of the best of the lot so far. Everything in this episode just seemed to work. The villain, the story, the characters, the direction. It all seemed to work perfectly with tangent with each other, something that cannot be said for previous episodes. If The Musketeers can keep putting out episodes of this standard, then things may turn out just fine for the show.