The Musketeers: 109 “Knight Takes Queen” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
The series is nearly over. The Musketeers has been an excellent fixture of Sunday nights for the past nine weeks and now it’s nearly gone. So perhaps it’s best that the show reminded us exactly why we love it so much before we reach the inevitable dramatic conclusion next week.
Cardinal Richelieu stepped up his game this week. An attempt on the Queen’s life is certainly his biggest and boldest plan yet. We saw the team split into two this week. Athos and Aramis tried to protect the Queen in a Convent while D’Artagnan, Porthos and Treville tried to find out who ordered the attack while in other places the partnership between Richelieu and Milady seemed to be reaching it’s breaking point. Despite this seeming like a lot to cram in one hour, the episode handled it magnificently. The various plotlines were given equal attention and care with no weak link in the script. As of today, I feel like this is the most tightly plotted and brilliantly paced episode of The Musketeers yet. Well done to writer Peter Mckenna for making it all work.
A huge development this week was of course Aramis sleeping with Anne. Of course, as soon as this happened it’s pretty clear that this decision will come back to bite both parties later. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Queen gets pregnant and it being revealed it’s Aramis’ baby not the King’s becomes a major plot point next series. The relationship was portrayed pretty realistically and it was easy to see how both of them could have acted on their lingering feelings for each other. Both were in fear of their lives and grieving the death of Sister Helene. It was an interesting character development that I can’t wait to see impact the characters in the next series, assuming it doesn’t come into play next week in the finale. And of course, the Musketeers now know Richelieu can’t be trusted and if Athos’s final warning can be taken literally, then they won’t rest until the Cardinal’s crimes are exposed and he is brought to justice.
Mention must be made to this episode’s guest stars. They were really well-written and of course well-acted by their respective actors. Alice Pattern was brilliant as Sister Helene. She helped create an excellent, well rounded character with limited screen time. And be honest, who didn’t shed a tear when she died? Another excellent performance came from Gabrielle Reidy as the Mother Superior. She was tough, strong and interesting. What could have been a forgettable, one note character turned into a brilliant and memorable character. She came out with some of the episode’s best lines and was one of the better things of the episode. And she injected some of the episodes best humour. Athos calmly pointing the pistol the Mother Superior was holding away from himself earned a chuckle.
The leads did another excellent job this week. But don’t they always? Peter Capaldi fantastically portrayed a man losing his nerve. He was incredibly nervous that his part in the assassination would be found out and this came out brilliantly in his short scenes with Milady. Santaigo Carbera did an excellent job as well. He added a lot of character and depth to Aramis this week, helping him stand out more from the other Musketeers.
Director Andy Hay excelled. It can’t be easy to direct a siege on a limited budget, but somehow he managed it. And it looked great. Some brilliant choices of camera angles made the episode feel grander, larger and look like a movie. I certainly hope Hay returns for the second series and gets more directing jobs in the future as this episode looked marvellous.
Another shout out to Murray Gold. His score was once again magnificent. The tune playing over Sister Helene’s death was brilliant and makes me long even more for a CD release so I can hear Murray’s excellent music for this show in full (come on BBC!) A slight problem was the emotional track of Helene’s death quickly cutting to a more action style track. While this is probably a fault on part of the editors it sounded really harsh to my ears.
This was another excellent episode. Now we only have one episode left, so hopefully the show can keep it up for a big, and probably emotional, finale.