Millions of viewers will be sighing this week, as the BBC’s historical – but far less loyal to textbooks – drama, The Musketeers, came to an explosive finish. As we leave behind the adventures of D’artagnan, Porthos, Aramis and Athos, let’s explore the journey, laughs and moustache-twirling highlights of the show.
The series finale came together as a nice, bow-tied conclusion to what has been a topsy-turvy season and, if I’m completely honest, show.
Looking back on the series as a whole, the chemistry of the four actors was what held the show together so firmly, meaning that the storyline, and the exaggerated replicable villains, sometimes went unnoticed. The writers know how to create one-liners and drama, but after a while you start to roll your eyes at how many fatal stab wounds are healed quickly, and how many corrupted politicians one country can have.
On second thoughts, perhaps that was the most realistic aspect of the show; the number of frustrating, power-hungry men.
Having spent at least half of the series sighing, I’ll look back on The Musketeers with more fond memories than criticism. The group dynamic was brilliantly cast, and the actors really worked well alongside each other. The high-spirited D’artagnan stole the show in the finale, with Luke Pasqualino bringing me to tears within the first five minutes. Seeing D’artagnan grow from a revenge-driven young man, to a loyal husband, friend and musketeer was a lovely journey to watch unfold. His relationship with Athos, Porthos and Aramis was a brotherhood that truly grounded the show, and his wife, Constance, was always a pleasure to see on-screen.Speaking of the lovely ladies on the show, we had a fantastic new addition from Sylvie, a refugee leader and Athos’ new partner in crime, and life. After Athos’ unfortunate love story with Milady de Winter ended last season, Sylvie was everything I ever wanted for the Captain. She was headstrong but kind-hearted and compassionate, and could handle herself in a fight. When we met her, she held a gun up to Athos, so obviously we were all expecting them to fall in love pretty soon afterwards – which they did. It was a charming love story, and one that both characters deserved.
Porthos finally managed to settle down with the wonderful Elodie. The lazy writing around Porthos has been a constant complaint of mine throughout the show. Granted, he had a lot more focus and screen-time this season, but it didn’t excuse the lack of development prior to that. So, yes, Elodie was a perfect fit for Porthos, but I’ll always be aggravated that the writers didn’t care to progress his romantic storyline as much as they did with the other musketeers.
The plot this season, as always, stretched out a little too long to be enjoyable. The villains became dull with their monologues and dramatics, the threats over-done and heard before. However, this season the villain became villains, as we met more political figures that threatened the peace of Paris with war and bloodshed. The king’s exiled brother, Gaston, was slimy and almost as irritating as his older brother. The mysterious Grimaud was that villain who always escapes death enough times that he’s basically invincible. The Captain of the wicked Red Guard, Marcheaux, continued to fuel the feud between the musketeers and the guard, which concluded in the finale with a pretty epic but shocking one-on-one fight between D’artagnan and Marcheaux.In terms of other surprises, the destruction of the garrison was definitely one that shocked me. The place had been the characters’ home and workplace, where they bickered, laughed and raised their children – I mean, cadets. There was a heart-breaking tragedy in the finale that had me in tears, as we watched Constance break down after losing one of the cadets in the garrison’s fire. The opening of the finale was probably the strongest that the show has been in a while; the tension, the emotions and the acting were all superb.
Before I finish, I must mention another stand out element of the series. The costume department created some stunning pieces for both the men and the ladies of the show. Anne’s dresses were exquisite, and the new uniforms of the musketeers were sharp, flattering and although historically inaccurate, the steampunk-like outfits were always a highlight.
And on that note, we must bid our heroes a fond, yet slightly glad, ‘au revoir’. The characters’ arcs were completed nicely, and in such a joyful way that I’m pleased another series couldn’t ruin their happiness.
And, after all, the people of Paris must be used to the constant threats and evils by now. I’m sure they’d get just as fed up of the clichés soon enough.