The Musketeers: 208 “The Prodigal Father” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Well it’s all kicking off now isn’t it? Rochefort, after a failed attempted rape of Anne, has revealed her affair with Aramis and along the way acquired his most iconic fashion accessory. And now we seem to enter a two-part finale with everything kicking off.
But what about this episode? Well, it was very misleading. With Liam Cunningham putting in a stellar turn as Porthos’ long lost father Belgard, it was very hard to see how this episode might develop. Belgard was a really intriguing character, eventually being revealed as a chessmaster. A man determined to be on top no matter what and using words to twist the truth to suit his ends. He’s almost a variation of Varys and Littlefinger from Game of Thrones (quite funny as Liam Cunningham is also from Game of Thrones). His blatant manipulation of Porthos quickly dismisses any belief he ever cared for his son. That… and threatening to kill him as a baby. Belgard was a pretty strong villain in this regard. He quickly emerged as perhaps one of the most contemptible villains on the show alongside his daughter and son-in-law. The whole trio were irredeemable. It’s nice to have some complete monsters on the show for once.
This episode must be commended for giving some strong character development for Porthos. All series he’s been questioning Treville’s secrecy and now it’s out in the open, Porthos was forced to choose. He was effectively choosing between his fathers. His birth father or his father figure. And of course Porthos chose Treville, his father figure, over his true father, perhaps reinforcing a strong theme of the series: Family goes beyond blood. You choose your true family. It’s great that Porthos has finally put his grievances aside and the Musketeers are now finally firmly united. Just in time too.
I must give great props to the set department this episode. The interior of Belgard’s estate was dark, musty, broken and ultimately reflected the man who resided within, a shadow of its former self. This episode was dark, gloomy and quite gothic at times. This led to a very unique atmosphere for the episode that stood it out from other episodes. The lighting was top notch as well. Everything was trying to make the audience uneasy. And it worked perfectly .
And… err… let’s talk about THAT scene. Attempted rape is something that just is a bit surreal to see on The Musketeers. They seem to be making full use of the later timeslot. Luckily Rochefort got a blade to the eye before things could go any further. But even still, this was Rochefort at perhaps his scariest in the series yet. Gone was the cool, cold demeanour. It was replaced by pure rage that would stop at nothing. It was terrifying.
Meanwhile the subplot of Lemay proposing to Constance out of the blue felt… out of place. Considering it only lasted two scenes, it makes you wonder why it was included. Perhaps only to give Constance second thoughts about getting with D’Artagnan. As if the two needed ANOTHER reason to be apart when things start looking up for them at last. The fact it was quickly introduced, dealt with and never mentioned again just made me scratch my head as to why it was included in the first place. It seemed to serve no narrative focus and just felt like it was there to pad the story out.
Regardless however, with Anne’s blessing that Constance will not be turned away if she marries D’Artagnan, Constance then decided that she didn’t care about what people said and committed to beginning a relationship with D’Artagnan. Which is what, the third time she’s done that now? Here’s hoping the two will actually stay together this time.
As for Milady De Winter, it seems she’s having a bit of fun playing both sides of the Musketeers/Rochefort conflict. It’s rather good to see her seemingly waiting to see who’ll win before committing to one side. Doesn’t hurt for her to keep her options open. However it certainly appears that her lingering feelings for Athos may be drawing her to The Musketeer side. But is it a ploy? Is she making us think she still loves Athos when she really feels nothing for him? Or does she still after all this time love him? It’s up for debate and will probably be cleared up in the final two episodes.
So all in all, this episode was a great one. It resolved one of the long running plot arcs this series and then quickly set the others into motions for what promises to be a pulse racing two part series finale. So next week can’t come quick enough. Oh wait… we have to wait two weeks. Again. BBC really like to taunt us don’t they?