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The Musketeers “The Homecoming” 

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

I’ve really enjoyed the last three episodes of this show: “Commodities,” “The Good Soldier,” and tonight’s “The Homecoming.” In “Commodities,” we discovered why Athos has led such a tortured existence and how Milday de Winter fits into it. I do have a question, though. Are they still married? I mean, she didn’t die. I don’t imagine any circumstance in which they can reconcile, but I’d still like to see them interact again and soon. In “The Good Soldier,” we get a glimpse of how Aramis was five years prior. We already know he’s a bit of a scoundrel and very good with a musket, but now we understand (even more) how fiercely loyal he is to his fellow musketeers and how important it is for him to see justice done. In “The Homecoming,” we learn where Porthos is from and why he had to leave to seek a future elsewhere.

Porthos isn’t sure how old he is or when he was born so, as a child, he decided to pick an arbitrary day to celebrate his birth. His birthday celebrations include too much drink – which isn’t a surprise – but when he wakes up in the street it’s in close proximity to a dead body. The Redcoats take him into custody and the judge decides to make an example of him since he can’t remember enough of anything to mount a defense. He’s to be executed immediately, so Captain Treville departs for the palace at once, determined to get a stay of execution while D’Artagnan, Athos and Aramis (hereafter referred to as the trio) think of a way to stall. They’re helped immeasurably when a small group of armed men ambush Porthos and kidnap him. D’Artagnan manages to kill one of the kidnappers and they discover the mark of a criminal on his neck. Aramis knows where they’re heading – the court of miracles, so called ” because entering it opens the eyes of blind men and gives more cripples the use of their legs than our lord ever did.” The court of miracles is considered a blight on the city of Paris. According to Richelieu, it’s a miniature kingdom of professional thieves, highway robbers, whores and beggars. All the more reason to get rid of it, right? But how.

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

Aramis questions the woman Porthos bought a drink for from the night before. She remembers a young man who was having an argument, only because he didn’t look like the type to have a drink there. And when Aramis and D’Artagnan examine the alley where the deceased was found, they can’t find a drop of blood so they know the victim wasn’t killed there. When they go to see the coroner, they discover the identity of the victim. Jean De Mauvoisin was a son of the nobility. After examining the wound Aramis determines that the shooter was standing only about a foot away when he fired. This was no accident.

Charon is the reason Porthos managed to avoid the noose. They grew up in the court of miracles together and there was no way Charon would let his old friend go down for this – whether or not he actually committed the murder. Despite that, both Charon and Flea think Porthos forgot about them, but he insists he never fit in there and that’s why he had to leave. Yes, he was good at being a thief and he enjoyed it, but he needed something else – a different kind of brotherhood. Charon wonders where those friends are now, even though he knows one of his comrades came looking fo him.

Treville urges the trio to go and speak to the elder De Mauvoisin to find out what kind of company he kept. It turns out they are the bearers of bad news because De Mauvoisin didn’t know his son is dead. He tells them Jean was a gentle soul with no enemies. When they ask to see his room, De Mauvoisin tells them Jean no longer lived with him. After D’Artagnan and Aramis find Jean’s room ransacked and Protestant papers left behind – when his father is a prominent Catholic, no less – they go to visit a local Protestant church. The pastor, once a mercenary until God found him, assures them that Jean was no Catholic. His father only converted to win favor at court, but that didn’t sit well with Jean’s conscience.

Charon and Flea urge Porthos to get out of Paris, even though he wants to stay and clear his name. But it’s dangerous, so Charon tells him it’ll be safe to slip away during a celebration he’s planned for the next day. Even though Flea is still upset with Porthos for leaving, she has no interest in keeping her feelings in check. They sleep together, but she makes him promise not to utter a word about it to Charon. She did love Porthos, even though she never said it. She knew they were on different paths even back then.

The key D’Artagnan stole from among Jean’s possessions opens a door in the church that leads to a basement. Thinking they’ve finally found the stash of gunpowder Jean purchased, they’re a bit disappointed to only find a printing press. One of the ink barrels is filled with gunpowder, but when Ahthos shows the pastor the receipt for the gunpowder, he tells them it’s Jean’s name, but it’s signed my his father’s hand.

The trio returns to De Mauvoisin’s and force his servant to show them his personal papers. They discover De Mauvoisin has been buying up all the real estate in the court of miracles, but until rents start being collected on those properties he won’t see any return on his investment. Later De Mauvoisin assures Richelieu  that he has something planned for the court of miracles. He’ll help them get rid of that blight on Paris and simultaneously restore his fortune overnight. When Athos confronts De Mauvoisin about the handwriting later, he doesn’t deny it. Treville demands to know when his plan is to go into effect. Seeing no way for them to stop it,De Mauvoisin tells them at midday. The trio doesn’t have much time.

Charon is De Mauvoisin’s inside man. He was paid handsomely to smuggle the gunpowder in – and he’s the one who knocked Porthos unconscious and left him in that alley to be accused of Jean’s murder. But before the court of miracles can be destroyed he’s getting himself and Flea out of there. She hesitates so Charon demands that Flea make a choice. It’s him or Porthos. Charon flees after Flea reaches for the gun and it goes off. She’s wounded but ok, so Porthos chases Charon down to his quarters. Charon confesses that he stayed because he wanted Flea and without Porthos around he thought he had a chance. If Charon leaves now, Porthos promises not to come looking for him. But that’s not good enough for Charon and he comes charging after Porthos, seemingly to stab him in the back. Aramis runs him through and even though Charon is dying, he seems at peace. He told Porthos he was getting out, and now he has.

De Mauvoisin murdered his son in vain. He gives Treville his full confession, exonerating Porthos and tells Treville that despite everything he’s still a gentleman. It won’t be necessary to arrest him. He knows what he needs to do. Treville leaves his musket and De Mauvoisin does the rest.

Random Thoughts

I usually don’t do a straight recap, but I loved this episode and wanted to get all the details down. Since Porthos is so touchy about his background, as Aramis points out, the guys didn’t know much about where he came from. They know he’s a loyal friend and fierce in a fight, but it was nice to see this other side of him. Despite his feelings for Flea, I’d be surprised to see Porthos return to the court of miracles. He knows he doesn’t belong there, he knows that place isn’t good for him. He’s found his calling in being a musketeer and they are his family now.

I love them all equally, but I think Athos became my favorite character. I love that he knew the danger and went looking for Porthos anyway. He may have an overdevelopment sense of friendship when it comes to his fellow musketeers, but I like that. I also like that he was the guy to stop the court of miracles from being blown sky-high. He incapacitated De Mauvoisin’s servant and prevented him from lighting the kegs. And I’m totally ok with the trio lying to Porthos when he asked if they thought he’d done it. To be fair, it was only D’Artagnan who doubted him. But he doesn’t know Porthos the way Athos and Aramis do. So I’ll give him a pass this time. I don’t think he’ll ever doubt Porthos again, however, so I doubt he’ll need it.

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

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