SLIDER

The Musketeers, Season Two (2015)

 
In 2014, BBC invited us to again journey on another classic adventure with their take on the legend of the noble Musketeers. Season two snuck up on me and then instead of opting for seeing the series sooner, I went with the U.S DVD release. Let me just say, it was worth every single delay.  

King Louis (Ryan Gage) and his court are in a bit of an uproar. There is a gap in his council and without a person to fill it the King is looking more foolish than usual. With the post left vacant by the cardinal’s untimely death, the King is ready to insert his control, and offers it to Captain Trevelle (Hugo Speer). Not one to engage in politics, Trevelle turns down the generous offer, altering his future in not just the Musketeers but his usefulness in the eyes of the King.  The Musketeers find themselves with a greater problem when they are tasked with recusing a French prisoner held captive in a seemingly impenetrable prison. This leads them to meet with Rochefort (Marc Warren), a man with a plan to help them with their comrade… or is he? His long history with the Musketeers makes them leery, but at the bequest of the King – and their Queen (Alexandra Dowling), who has a history with Rochefort, they are obligated to work with him.  

Meanwhile, D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) secures a position for Constance (Tamla Kari) in the Queen’s court. The two have parted ways, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to keep Constance as far from her husband’s reach as he can. Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) is having trouble keeping his distance from the son he cannot openly love – and he uses the child’s governess (Charlotte Salt) as a means of keeping the baby under his watchful eye. Porthos (Howard Charles) goes in search of discovering his parentage. Something Trevelle knows the truth of yet refuses to confess. Then there is Athos (Tom Burke). Broken still after discovering the once upon a time love of his life, Lady De Winter (Maimie McCoy) is still alive, Athos struggles with seeing her as the King’s new mistress. But fate may yet offer these two broken lovers a second chance.   

Now that the basics are written and out of the way, it’s only fair to warn you all. This review is likely to, potentially, maybe feature some seriously silly fangirl moments. I think it’s safe to say, I haven’t fangirled over a series of this genre since Robin Hood. Much as I enjoyed Merlin, even it could not compete with the first season love I had for the former. BBC previously undertook the robbing-from-the-poor and sorcery legends in their respective series, which is what I often liken this latest effort to. It’s got the same quality, cheeky humor and “feel” to it as their prior productions. Fortunately where it has drawn the line (up until now) is following in its predecessor’s footsteps by turning into a dark, moody kind of drama. This season certainly is darker, but it’s got too much good going for it to be considered depressing. Like the end of season one, the guys continue to suffer the consequences of their actions when it comes to the women and loves of their lives, but fortunately for fans, one of them does get a happy ending before the screen fades to black.   

 
If you’ve not yet discovered this series, what are you waiting on? If you like “old-fashioned” swashbucklers (think more like The Musketeer with Chris O'Donnell, 2011's cheeky The Three Musketeers or Disney’s pirate series), then you’d love this. If you enjoy BBC drama in general, you’ll love this. If you like fun adventures, you'll love this. It’s got an unforgettable sense of style, really. It’s all old-fashioned sentiments and charm, yet has unique qualifiers all its own; I even read an article that called it a contemporary re-telling, which it isn't in the sense of being set in our modern times. BBC definitely doesn’t leave it up to question that this is set back in the 1700’s, but the costumes take a modern approach as does some of the weaponry. Still, I don’t care a fig about any discrepancies there. What I do care about are the titular characters. I pretty much love them all. These dudes are hard to forget and each episode chips away a bit more at their backgrounds. From Aramis’ loving something he cannot have or Athos’ regretting the way things turned out in his past, passions and tensions continue to mount and keep viewers intrigued.  It also doesn’t hinder anything watching them in the swordplay battles.  
 
 
Fans of season one will notice some continuing threads that keep to stringing us along, and character interactions that are oftentimes forbidden. The cast continues to be strong and everyone has a really good camaraderie. We see Perdita Weeks (Honeysuckle’s sister) and Ed Stoppard (Upstairs, Downstairs) guest star and also get to see a completely different side to Marc Warren (Ballet Shoes) for these ten installments. The king continues to be flakey (seriously this dude needs to be dethroned), Porthos finally gets his own story and Aramis makes a decision by season’s end that just might break your heart. But with a third season already filming and an impressive new cast list forming (Rupert Evert and Mathew McNulty), there is little doubt in my mind that this show will continue to delight in its third season.  

Have you seen this season or watched this drama? Have you any thoughts about the good, bad or ugly of its sophomore season? What is your favorite thing? Share your thoughts - or fangirl enthusiasm, down below.
 
Content: there are multiple battle scenes and deaths. Men are shot, stabbed or murdered for no particular reason. One man is executed by having his head cut off [off-camera]. There are at least two sex scenes. One of more “graphic” and is a dream sequence, the other is a sweet scene of a married couple in bed conversing. A married man is seen consorting with his mistress on two or three occasions in various states of undress, we also see Aramis in bed with his mistress once or twice. There is some minor profanity. Depending on the episode the rating would fluctuate between a PG or TV14.

6 comments

  1. This sounds so fun! And I loved 2011's Three Musketeers! :)

    xx

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    1. It sure IS fun, Sarah. I'd love to know what you think if you see it. Pretty sure you'd enjoy if you liked the 2011 film version. Plus, this has more time to develop things being a series. :)

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  2. As this series has progressed, it has impressed itself upon me as the most engaging and interesting adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' original creation I've seen yet. One of the elements I appreciate the most is the fact that since this dramatization is done in a TV Show format, there is a lot more room for in-depth characterizations, as well as allowing us to spend more time with the titular awesome foursome!

    In every adaptation I have seen, Aramis always comes out on top as my favourite musketeer, and this show is no exception. I also have to admit to, so far, liking him and Anne the best in the ship department in this version of the story. I'm really hoping the next season builds more on their connection, though the season finale did not look promising. Is there a particular character arc you found most compelling this season, or anything you really want to see done in season three?

    In regards to your last paragraph, I couldn't agree with you more when it comes to King Louis; every episode, I think 'ok, there is no way he can be any more of a blind idiot', and then he goes and proves me wrong. And don't even get me started on Rochefort; his whole fixation on Anne was creepiness at it's most intense, though I did love seeing how he got his eye-patch. The evolving friendship between Anne and Constance was also really lovely to watch unfold.

    God Bless,
    Eleanor Rose

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    1. I agree, Eleanor. I do enjoy nearly all of the Musketeer adaptions I've seen. (Save for the goofy 70s - or was it 80s? - version that was slapstick funny up until the final moments when it killed off a lead character. Like, what!?) But in TV format, we do get to know everyone so much better and I appreciate/like that.

      Aramis is definitely always a favorite for me as well. I think here, they sort of "switch places" being a favorite depending on the stories. I'm not sure if I have a favorite ARC, overall... I do love Anne (she's become such an important character) and Aramis, and like you, would love to see more with them. I actually wrote a piece about an Anne and Aramis' scene when they see Constance and D'Artagnan finally admit their love (after the hostage storyline). It was kind of an important moment for them... both seem to realize they can never be together. But... the end showed them exchanging lingering looks. And then, Aramis decides to leave. *sigh* Glad he'll be coming back.

      As for S3, I'm excited (in a different way) to see Rupert Everett as the baddie. He could pull off having lots of fun with this role.

      Rochefort was indeed creepy at its most creepiness! Ugh. I couldn't wait for that dude to be gone. But then there was a lot of good in season two as well - including the friendships. Where Louis is concerned... I'm not sure there is much hope for him. ;)

      Thanks so much for sharing, Eleanor.

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    2. Having watched every episode of Seasons 1 & 2 at least 3 or 4 times since my last comment, I have found so many more things to love, starting with D’Artagnan and Constance. I'm so happy they end season 2 in a much better place than 1, and if there is anybody who could handle being the wife of a Musketeer, it would be Constance. Another aspect I greatly enjoyed was seeing Milady actually working with the Musketeers in the last few episodes, and that sprinkle of hope for a second chance between her and Athos, however short-lived.

      I have indeed also read your Musketeers Romantic Moment post on Silver Petticoat, and really adore the scene you chose. The inflection in Anne’s voice as she replied ‘Yes she is’ to the King was just.….I actually believe that it is the utter impossibility of their love, the indescribable and unspoken nature of it which makes it all the more beautiful. And, like you, I am so relieved Aramis isn't gone for good.

      But, as much as I love the romance, the real draw when it comes to this show is definitely the bond that exists between these four men, five if you count Treville. I greatly enjoyed the expansion of his character's involvement this season, and how they spotlighted his importance as a father-figure to Porthos. Also, though they are all close, I’ve always felt like Porthos and Aramis share an extra-special friendship, as do D'Artagnan and Athos, and I loved how season two brought that out more. That last scene was just a classic Musketeers moment, and left me with the biggest smile.

      Season Three should indeed be very interesting, and I'm also excited to see Rupert Everett and Matthew McNulty as completely different characters to what I've seen them play before!

      God Bless,
      Eleanor Rose

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    3. Re-watching these should be a must for me as well, Eleanor. They're such entertaining pieces of fluff (and really, there is LOTS more to them than mere swashbuckling entertainment). Given BBC's treatment of romance in prior "family" series like this, I'm so nervous for the state of D'Artagnan and Constance. I'm hopeful the writer's will give them an ending with happiness, but we shall see. For now I'm pleased they're together and happy - and like you say, Constance is the one lady who can handle being married to a Musketeer!

      All of the amazing back stories in this prior season was fantastic. The fact that Treville got to show more of what he's made of was great and like you I liked getting more of Porthos background. Either way, the level of heroism and friendship is above and beyond good. This is what good TV is! :)

      Here's hoping we both enjoy series three - it can't come soon enough.

      ...so glad you came by to share your updated thoughts. :)

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