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The Musketeers “Sleight of Hand” 

Photo Credit: BBC / Larry Horricks
Photo Credit: BBC / Larry Horricks

I love a good villain and Jason Flemyng‘s Vadim is intelligent and cunning. So the Musketeers know they’ll have to come up with a clever plan to fool him into thinking D’Artagnan can be trusted enough to become his ally. They decide to have D’Artagnan participate is a duel, which is illegal. He’s arrested and ends up in prison, much to the disappointment and derision of the other Musketeers, who aren’t in on the scheme. But Athos, Porthos and Aramis trust D’Artagnan to do his job. Captain Treville thinks he’s young and in need of proving himself and thwarting Vadim’s plan is worth his life.

But everyone has underestimated Vadim, even his own men. They thought Vadim wanted to kill the King and Queen to start an uprising when in reality he just wants to rob the royal vault. The most brilliant part of his plan? He told D’Artagnan exactly what he was going to do. In fact, he told him during their first encounter. The secret to a good trick is to make people “look the other way.” Because Athos did his homework and talked to Lavoie about Vadim, he knows his true goal – but only after they discover the bombs are duds. D’Artagnan manages to slip his restraints, but can’t prevent the gunpowder from igniting and providing Vadim with his escape route. He mortally wounds Vadim and D’Artagnan plus the trio (what I’ve decided to call Athos, Porthos and Aramis instead of typing out their names every time) recover the crown jewels after Vadim dies.

We’ve also got some interesting romantic complications in play. Milady believes D’Artagnan is half in love with her already. She tells Richelieu she’ll be able to persuade him to abandon the Musketeers. Even though she betrayed him in the last time they met, she saves him when he’s in trouble now. And it’s clear he can’t really think clearly around her if all he wants to do with her is make out after she’s killed two Red Guards. But Constance is also gaining ground in his affections. D’Artagnan persuades her to act like his mistress in front of Felix so that he won’t blow his cover. She’s reluctant, but she doesn’t want to see him hurt. Later when the trio talk to Constance’s husband Bonacieux, D’Artagnan apologizes to her for causing so much trouble. But she admits that his presence has saved her from boredom.

Photo Credit: BBC / Larry Horricks
Photo Credit: BBC / Larry Horricks

Thinking Adele has chosen Richelieu over him and left Paris, Aramis starts a bit of a flirtation with the Queen after he saves her life. I think it would be extremely difficult to resist his charms. Have you seen him? He’s got women like Suzette offering to polish his sword, but Queen Anne should remain beyond his reach for many reasons. The Queen is clearly kind but naive, and has already started forming an attachment to Aramis. It’s hard to doubt a man’s intentions when he throws himself on a bomb for you – even it if turns out to be a dud. And from what we’ve seen so far there is no love between the King and Queen. I hope Aramis treads lightly because if Anne falls for him, it’s going to cause serious problems.

The Musketeers airs Sundays at 9/8c on BBC America

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