The Musketeers: 110 “Musketeers Don’t Die Easily” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Wow. Just all I can say. Wow. That was brilliant. Probably the best episode of The Musketeers yet, this finale was big, emotional, tense and thrilling.
Focusing on wrapping up the various hanging plot threads, this was a rather neat finale that provided a satisfying conclusion to most of them. Primarily dealing with the fallout from last week’s episode, this instalment saw Athos seemingly lose his mind, attempt to kill Milady and shoot D’Artagnan. It was a great opening to the episode. Meanwhile the Cardinal desperate to erase any evidence connecting him to the assassination attempt on the Queen and Milady had also apparently convinced D’Artagnan to join the Cardinal against the Musketeers. Then there was the twist that it was all a ploy by the Musketeers to get the damming evidence implicating the Cardinal in the assassination plot, which if I’m honest I should have seen coming.
Athos’ death being faked in order to convince Milady of D’Artagnan’s loyalty to her was a nice touch and led to a very hilarious funeral as Aramis and Porthos interrupted Treville multiple times to embellish on Athos’ life. Meanwhile Athos was sat in a bar, wearing a big hat. It’s not the best of disguises Athos! Some people would think you weren’t even trying to lay low. Milady meanwhile, apparently anticipating everything, kidnapped Constance to use her as a hostage to draw the Musketeers into a trap and kill them. To say there was a lot going on is an understatement. But the script felt tight, neat and nothing felt surplus to the story. It was a perfect finale. Nearly everything was wrapped up and what wasn’t promised an interesting story for the second series with big game changing moments feeling natural instead of forced.
Another excellent thing about the episode was the characters. All of them were superbly written. All of them were three dimensional and showed lots of emotion and development. At the end, I felt like all of the characters had developed since the first episode which is brilliant (I hope you’ve been taking notes Atlantis).
And can I mention that Peter Capaldi scared me tonight. His utter fury and contempt being spit out with such anger at poor Maime McCoy made me terrified of the Cardinal. Capaldi has always delivered an excellent performance in the show, but this episode was hands down his best yet. And perhaps it’s fitting that it is considering it will also be his final appearance on the show. I’m a bit disappointed writer Adrian Hodges didn’t provide a final ending for the Cardinal. I for one was expecting the Cardinal to go to that flying blue box in the sky before the episode’s end. With the show still filming when Capaldi discovered his casting as a certain Time Lord, I’m surprised a new scene sending off the Cardinal wasn’t written. A scene of Milady killing him in revenge for him betraying her would have been nice or even a scene of the Queen sending him into exile for his crimes leaving open the possibility of a return. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Capaldi has already filmed his exit but it’s being saved for Series 2. But regardless, the show won’t feel the same without Capaldi and he will be sorely missed.
Milady was the real villain this week. Throughout the episode we saw her begin to get more and more desperate to kill our heroes. All of this was done with excellent grace by Maime McCoy. McCoy has been one of the strongest performers on the show and I’m secretly glad Milady did not meet her end allowing her to return next series. Having read the original novel, I was interested to hear Athos mention England as a possible location for Milady to run to in exile. I may be getting ahead of myself, but could this mean Milady will return next series with a certain Duke of Buckingham in tow?
And special mention to the four leads. They’ve been constants throughout all 10 episodes of the show ad have delivered strong performances every week without fail. So a huge well done to all of them! And of course a massive well done to Alexandra Dowling, Ryan Gage, Tamla Kari and Hugo Speer, a truly magnificent supporting cast.
One of the only flaws this week was the directing. A turn to the shaky cam style was not needed in my honest opinion. In the final fight it made it very difficult to tell what was going on. I know some people like this style of filming, but for me, it just takes me out of whatever I’m watching every time. It’s hard to see what’s going on making the action confusing. Come on. I thought Transformers 2 proved that this filming style doesn’t work in huge action scenes? But everything else looked brilliant with the final shot of the Musketeers riding into the sunset, while cheesy, was particularly memorable. Murray Gold delivered another fantastic score, revisiting many of the major themes from previous episodes while still creating a unique feel for the episode. If BBC doesn’t put together a soundtrack release for this soon, then I’ll be majorly disappointed.
So, when all is said and done, this episode was brilliant, truly a perfect finale despite a few quibbles. As the long wait for Series 2 begins, we can at least look back over this first run of episodes as, while not being perfect, very entertaining. And perhaps it’s fitting that the last episode of the series featured the Musketeer motto we all know well: “One for all! And all for one!”