The Musketeers:1.05 - Homecoming
After a break in the schedules last week for the Baftas, the Musketeers return all guns blazing in another narrative driven episode. A lot of the character driven storylines so far have focused on Porthos, who as a result is the most well rounded of the Musketeers and this episode was no exception. Porthos wakes up drunk in a street next to a dead body and is arrested for the murder, despite not remembering anything. Through his trial, we are shown some of the night’s events in flashback, a useful dramatic technique to bring us into the story, with Porthos being sentenced to death. Armed masked men rescue him and the Musketeers track him to the court of miracles, where they are unable to go any further. The Court of Miracles it transpires is a well-known fleapit in Paris where the beggars and crooks and whores live.
In an uncanny coincidence, the King and Richelieu are discussing ripping down the court of miracles as part of improvements to the city. Whilst the Musketeers try to investigate the case, the King grants a stay of execution. In the course of their investigations they find the murdered boy was from a prominent Catholic family, and he was a secret Protestant, which draws the Musketeers into a web of religious divide. It is also discovered that Emille De Mauvoisin (an excellent turn by Anton Lesser as the dead boys Father) is embroiled in Richeliues plotting to destroy the Court of Miracles. Charon played by Ashley Walters, who brings his trademark bad boy swagger to the role, the leader of the Court of Miracles is the one who has taken the courts money to destroy the land. This episode is all linked to corruption, land ownership and status, with religion leading the Musketeers down the wrong path.
There are questions of redemption throughout the episode as Porthos returns to the place of his birth. Of jealousy as Charon shoots Flea (played by Fiona Glascott) over her emotional involvement with Porthos, and in turn he dies in Porthos arms. Whilst the overall themes throughout the episode are of status, with the noble trying to restore the fortunes of his ailing dynasty, of Charon trying to sell out the Court of Miracles to build a better life for himself, and for Porthos, trying to forget the Court of Miracles as he successfully escaped to become a Musketeer and leads a better life to the one he started out in.
There is even a subtle nod to the traditional Musketeer motto, which has yet to be uttered in this season, with the Musketeers and D’Artangnan confirming that they never doubted Porthos innocence. With well-rounded supporting characters, an intelligent plot, and some subtle red herrings to throw the Musketeers and the viewers off the scent, this is another great episode. It’s just a shame there wasn’t more of Capaldi’s Richelieu, who is still the undoubted star of the show.