The Musketeers: 310 “We Are The Garrison” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
“What lies ahead of us, I wonder?”
“It really doesn’t matter.”
“Not if we face every challenge the way we always have. With great passion… hearts that stay true to all they hold dear. Courage, no matter how many enemies lie in wait for us. Faith… that daylight will always follow the dark.”
“Above all else.”
And just like that, after three years The Musketeers comes to a close. Three series, thirty episodes, unexpected cast departures, poor scheduling, changing showrunners, a fluctuating budget – you name it. The show has been through it. Much like its heroes, the show has been fighting a good fight against impossible odds. The Musketeers may not have been the massive hit the BBC had originally envisioned, but it has emerged as one of the most consistently entertaining shows the network has put out over the past few years. Yes, the BBC has much better shows, but The Musketeers held its own. It was no Doctor Who, Sherlock or Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, yet it found its own niche and thrived. And now it’s all over. Cancelled too soon? Perhaps. But yet, maybe it’s good the show came to an end before it outstayed its welcome? Nevertheless, after three great series it’s time to see how the finale fared.
I must say, I’m surprised. The Musketeers Series Three has been defying expectations all through its run, perhaps emerging as the show’s strongest series, delivering fantastic episodes. And We Are The Garrison was no exception.
Unlike the Merlin finale, where a stellar first part was let down by a disappointing second part, We Are The Garrison lived up to the expectations set by The Prize and may have perhaps exceeded it. Every loose end was tied up nicely, every character got an ending and everything ended with a nice feeling of finality. While the producers were quick to assure fans that the show could return in the future, doing so would only be at the risk of ruining this perfect ending.
The endings the character’s received were perfect. Athos got the happy life he always wished for with a woman he loves and a child on the way, D’Artagnan became captain of the Musketeers and the hero he always wished to be along with a life ahead of him with Constance, Aramis has a position where he can be with Anne and his son and Porthos is a general in the army, has a wife and has proven that people from low birth can ascend to the highest positions. I honestly couldn’t think of more perfect endings for these characters. Perhaps the only issue I found was Porthos’ relationship with Elodie which couldn’t help but feel forced to give Porthos a love interest. Yet regardless, Howard Charles and Lily Loveless had great chemistry and managed to sell the relationship.
This episode was filled with massive surprises. When it looked like Constance had died within the episode’s opening ten minutes I was shocked. Constance dying is often ignored by various adaptations of Alexander Dumas’ books, so I was quite surprised to see an adaptation willing to “go there”. However this turned out to be a tease and she was fine but the team did an excellent job and playing with audience heartstrings. Indeed, the entire opening attack on the Garrison was thrilling. An attack of such wanton cruelty was perhaps one of the most despicable actions we’ve seen Grimaud take. Add in that this set, the Garrison, has been present in almost every episode of the show so seeing it destroyed was a pretty big shock. It also helped signify that it really was the end for the show. That this was it. It contributed greatly to the sense of finality in the episode.
Another excellent thing about this finale was how every character got a chance to shine; from the four heroes to even Milady. It reminded us how much we love these characters and letting everybody have their moment even for at least one scene was a rewarding experience. Milady would have felt out of place in her quick cameo, but cleverly it was used to tie up a loose end, namely Gaston who died in a particularly chilling way. It turns out, that amongst many other things, no one can die like Gaston! Yes, I’ve been saving that Disney reference all series.
Special mention has to go to Matthew McNulty as Grimaud. Grimaud has perhaps been the Musketeer’s most physically threatening villain and came incredibly close to besting Peter Capaldi as the show’s best villain overall. Grimaud was perhaps the most complex villain on the show, with his motivations for doing something never being quite clear. Grimaud was a mystery and the show liked to play on this. The almost supernatural way Grimaud was used added so much mystery to him, notice how he always seemed to vanish into thin air?
The final confrontation between Athos, D’Artagnan and Grimaud was gripping to watch. The crypt really seemed massive and hammered home that Grimaud could be anywhere and strike at any time. It led to an incredibly tense final battle as Athos took on Grimaud alone. The battle was great, but sadly a little too short. I wouldn’t have minded it being a few minutes longer but it was great to see nonetheless. D’Artagnan’s fight with Marcheaux was also great. It was satisfying to see someone as slimy, vile, greedy and uncaring as Marcheaux get his comeuppance for his crimes.
The standout of this episode however was the closing five minutes. Set to a wonderful piece of music by composer Paul Englishby (called “Series Three Finale” on the official Series 2/3 soundtrack), the track visited all of our principal characters in their new lives while Athos gave a wonderful speech. The sequence was amazing and really managed to provide a perfect ending to the series. I must admit, tears came to my eyes seeing these characters finally earn their happy endings they’ve been fighting for.
Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Howard Charles and Santiago Cabrera have all delivered excellent performances this series. But special shout out to Pasqualino, who gave a truly phenomenal performance in this episode especially while breaking down in tears while toasting to Treville. Tamla Kari, Thalissa Teixeira, Alexandra Dowling and Maimie McCoy have also been excellent. This cast has been amazing and they will be sorely missed from television screens across the world.
The Musketeers has been an excellent adventure from start to finish, and I am proud to say its finale was a perfect conclusion to the show. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. Director Udayan Prasad and writers Simon Allen and Simon J. Ashford should be proud. They’ve brought the show started by Adrian Hodges to a phenomenal conclusion. This episode was truly perfect, an excellent farewell to a show mistreated by the BBC. There’s truly nothing more to say apart from a final “One for all… and all for one!”