The Musketeers: 206 “Through a Glass Darkly” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Heads or tails? That was one of the central themes of last night’s Musketeers. Or more accurately, the question of fate and if we control it. Introducing a strong villain, great storylines, advancements of several major plots and, most importantly, a sense of real peril made this perhaps one of the strongest episodes of Series 2 yet.
Marmion equally turned into one of the show’s strongest one-off villains. Many are either forgettable, not that well developed or are simply evil for evil’s sake, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him be well developed and actually have a strong motive for doing his evil deeds. Marmion was unsettling to watch. His obsession with the game, the choice between one and the other and of course the coin flip conjured up memories of Two Face from Batman. And it worked wonderfully.
Marmion was memorable and terrifying at times. The fact he’d willingly kill an innocent baby just for what he believes to be vengeance made him pretty scary. This was all helped by a wonderful performance by Leo Gregory. If there wasn’t one thing better than Marmion, I’d quickly label him the highlight of the episode. Also I’d like to commend the BBC marketing for keeping his villainous role a surprise. Last week’s trailer heavily implied Milady would be the villain for this episode so a different villain was a nice surprise.
And the thing that’s stronger than him was of course the atmosphere of the episode. The sense of unease built through the opening was amazing. Growing dread began to build all the way through the episode until the action kicked off. Even then the sense of unease never left. In fact it helped to build remarkable tension throughout the entire episode. I can’t quite recall when The Musketeers was this gripping. The episode just grabs your attention and leaves you hooked. Perhaps it’s because you’re not quite sure who among our heroes is going to make it out. Sure Athos, Porthos, Aramis, D’Artagnan, Louis, Anne, Rochefort and the Dauphin are all safe, but Treville, Constance and Katherine are all fair game. But this episode was surprisingly deathless. Well… apart from a few nameless court members and the villains.
I’m not saying any of the leads should die, but let’s face it Treville is hanging about waiting for the moment to die when it’ll be the most dramatic and provide the ultimate angst for our four Musketeers. It’s the job of all mentors. I have got the feeling Treville is going to go. His conversation with Athos about potentially moving on pretty much confirms this. In the laws of film and television clichés, Treville is pretty much doomed. Just a shame there isn’t a handy Balrog about so our favourite captain can go out in the most amazing way possible.
But I haven’t spoken about this week’s big development. D’Artagnan and Constance finally declared their love for each other… err… again. But now they’ve decided to be together. And if next week’s trailer is anything to go by Constance will finally tell her husband he and his moustache are not wanted. It was great to see some focus back on our central couple again. Here’s hoping things stay good for them. Who am I kidding! This is drama. It won’t.
And not to be outdone by Marmion, Rochefort stepped back into the fray and reminded us why he terrified us back at the start of the series. Rochefort felt dangerous. His murder of Marmion was a spine chilling scene that firmly set Rochefort as a worthy successor to the Cardinal.
I’d also love to say that the direction in this episode was stunning. Andy Hay did an excellent job this week. The shots were all beautifully filmed and framed. I don’t think the directing has been this good on the show since Saul Meitzstein’s work. The episode just looked magnificent. Please bring Andy Hay back for more episodes!
Overall this was probably tied with Emilie as the best episode of the series yet. It was tense, thrilling and perhaps the most gripping the show has been in a long while. If the show can keep this trend of developing its one-off villains, we could be in for a lot more episodes like this in the future, which can only be a good thing.