Cardinal Richelieu’s enemies just keep coming out of the woodwork, but I never suspected he’s made such a powerful enemy in Rome. And even though they know it would be one of the Cardinal’s greatest pleasures to disband the Musketeers, the guys keep coming to his rescue – something that Richelieu never doubts. While I loved that storyline (because, Peter Capaldi plays the Cardinal with such a delicious deviousness), my main focus was on Athos and Annabelle Wallis‘ Ninon De Larroque. From their first encounter to their last, I was invested.
We already know that Athos was married and had to sentence his bride to die. Since “Commodities,” I had wondered when Athos and Milady would cross paths again. Of course it happens when the Comtesse is hitting on (and simultaneously insulting) Athos. On an errand for the Cardinal, Milady hides her face from her former (or is it current? She didn’t die, so I think they’re still married) husband, but she can still see their connection. I love that Athos seems both charmed and disarmed by her. She promises to let him search the premises for Fleur – without objection – if he’ll tell her why he’s so melancholy. Athos insists he be allowed to keep his secrets and Ninon lets him search her house anyway. He can find no evidence of Fleur and goes to take his leave. Before he can she kisses him and asks him to come back for dinner with her that night.
Their date doesn’t start off all that well though. Athos takes her to the morgue, where he shows her the dead body of Therese. He tells her she’s responsible for Therese’s death if she encouraged the girl to be reckless. She assures him she did no such thing and as Athos walks her back to her house, she tells him she sees marriage as a curse. Athos is in complete agreement and tells her he’s done with romance.
When they return to her home, the Red Guard are there and find Fleur and a number of other young ladies, who had been in hiding. Athos seems to think the Comtesse is getting what she deserved, but it’s Aramis who’s the voice of reason this time. He tells Athos Ninon was protecting her girls, not deceiving him. As she’s taken to jail, Aramis gives her the cross he’d been given by the Queen. He tells her his God will not abandon her.
At trial, Fleur is asked to testify against Ninon. She does and refuses to let the Cardinal twist her words. When the Cardinal calls Milady, posing as Madame de la Chapelle, he finally gets the story he needs that will allow him to condemn Ninon to death and seize her assets. But Athos causes a scene when he calls Milady a liar in open court. But it’s not enough to get the Comtesse’s sentence reduced or commuted. It’s the presence of the Queen that gives Ninon a bit of a reprieve. Unless Richelieu is able to get a confession, she will not be burned at the stake as a witch. Just as the Cardinal declares that she has made such a confession, he goes into a fit. They discover he’s been poisoned, but not at the hands of the Comtesse or Fleur. It’s Rome that wants him dead. They know they can’t control him or bring him back into the flock, so they revert to old papal tricks to try to take him out.
Richelieu, having just been reminded of his own immorality, is less eager to send Ninon to her death. He seizes her money and land and agrees to provide her with a small income if she remains quiet. She tells him her voice will never be silenced, but that he’ll never hear it. Athos has a rather touching goodbye with her. Although neither are the marrying kind, the Comtesse thinks she could’ve loved him.
And speaking of declarations, what about D’Artagnan’s profession of love to Constance? It took me (and her) by surprise, but I’ve been rooting for these two since the series began. The clothes start coming off quickly, so I think we know where this is going. But we’ll have to wait until next week to see if they actually did the deed.
Also, it’s really none of the Queen’s business if Aramis and the Comtesse are lovers. But with that question, she shown her hand. She’d better take care to hide her feelings lest someone working (or spying) for the Cardinal discovers them.
A few great lines:
Comtesse Ninon De Larroque:”I know who you are. I’ve often seen you at court and thought how handsome you are. There is a melancholy aspect to your looks that I find intriguing, but it’s probably only mental vacancy.”
Milady: “You do realize you’ll never be Pope.”
Cardinal Richelieu: “I never really cared for the idea. It’s an Italian club and largely a clerical position. I prefer something with a little more influence.”
The Musketeers airs Sundays at 9/8c on BBC America.
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