The Musketeers, Season Three (2015) – BBC’s Swan Song of the Dumas Adventurer

Monday, January 2, 2017

Though the adventurous classics like Dumas’ The Three Musketeers have been remade time and again, none have been quite as memorable as BBC’s series. The final season came in on a cloud of despair and darkness, but there were moments of good to be found should you want to discover them.

War is raging, and the men protecting their king are being greatly affected. In particular the Queen’s brave Musketeers are all being affected much differently. Athos (Tom Burke) is now more than merely a soldier, he’s a leader as Captain to the protectors. Porthos (Howard Charles) feels the weight – both emotional and physical, of the war and is dealing with the strain of feeling abandoned by one of his brothers in arms. D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) has left behind his wife, Constance (Tamla Kari) to fight for his King.

Back home in Paris, those left behind are also battling a war. Constance understands the evil of the Governor (Rupert Everett), a man who not only shares blood with the King (Ryan Gage), but also has his ear. This worries Louie’s Minister Treville (Hugo Speer), and the King's wife, Queen Anne (Alexandra Dowling). When the Musketeers are summoned to Paris, they are again reunited with Aramis (Santiago Cabrera), but the cost of what they return to may ask too much of the battle weary men.

As with anything BBC brands, this third season of their (generally) lighthearted reboot is (all adventurous) pure brilliance. If you aren’t a fan of the “sillier” side of swashbuckler’s, this probably won’t be your cup of tea. ‘Musketeers’ steers clear of the kind of humor I consider “slapstick” (The Mask of Zorro) but it also isn’t as “heavy” as the likes of The Man in the Iron Mask or The Count of Monte Cristo. Humor does play an important role, but neither genre is ever abused. The writer’s don’t allow for cringe-worthy humor (aka “silly”) nor do they embrace the darkness of the era.

This series isn’t afraid to be different than some of its peers. Where other Musketeer adaptations (both popular and obscure) have followed the more traditional route, this series works in DNA unique to its vision. One of these qualifiers being the contemporized “feel” of the production. This especially applies to the costuming which is all about the leather. (Not that I’m complaining, mind you, as our iconic and heroic leading men look quite dashing sporting this look.)

With hints of the steampunk genre, the costume design is fabulous. From the men in their tunics and weaponry to the women in their fierce and much less “buttoned up” (traditional to the era) style, everything stands out. Then there is Anne’s ensembles, which are, of course, a cut above the likes of Constance’s character. Her costuming is breathtaking and beautiful, especially more so because of the blending of feminine and fierce, a coupling that somehow works because of how everything is constructed.

Aside from the visualization of the series, the impact of this season is unforgettable. Because this is the last season of The Musketeers (*tears*), the writer’s held nothing back. From the perspective of the emotional impact, I don’t think the first two seasons come close to matching this. Every story and character is brought full circle in this series as we laugh and cry with, herald and reprimand these beloved characters. Flaws and all, we fall head over heels for each of them, and root passionately for their respective happy endings. Though there is heartbreak leading up to it, I was pleasantly surprised that, thankfully, the writer’s do gift this reward to us, and more importantly their characters. Everyone is given peace if not a perfect end.

Though we only got three series of this action-er, we can thank the likes of Robin Hood and Merlin for spurring BBC to give us an adaptation of Dumas’ classic. Following in its predecessors footsteps, I can easily say The Musketeers is my favorite of the bunch. It has humor (but not too much), great sword fights (um, who doesn’t love these!?), romance (*swoon*) and best of all, a great deal of heart. That’s something you might not bargain for when starting on this, but it’s present and makes the journey worth every heartbreak.

Content: There are 2-3 scenes of a sexual nature, at least one of which depicting an unmarried couple sleeping together. There are sword and knife fights. Men are impaled by swords or shot. The series opens on the battle field amidst much death (bodies are seen). Throughout the series, various battles ensue. 


  1. I've been slowly (so slowly!) working my way through season one. Now that I no longer have Hallmark Christmas movies consuming my time (sob!), maybe I'll get back to it! Happy to hear it ends well!

    1. Right? I know what you mean, Becky. I'm so sad our Hallmark Christmas flicks are over... but I'm so going to be watching the Winterfest movies too! :)

      Hope you enjoy The Musketeers. It's a fun, romantic and sometimes bittersweet series that is really, quite good. :) Let me know what you think when you finish the series!

  2. I have been waiting on pins and needles for your opinion on this, the bittersweet last season of The Musketeers, and you did not disappoint! Summing everything up so beautifully, I agree with everything you wrote. I especially want to thank you for devoting an entire paragraph to pointing out the exceptional costume design work done, as this was just one aspect of the last season that impressed me the most, (especially Aramis and Athos’ hair!)

    As for the romance, I am curious to know what you thought of Sylvie and Elodie; I myself really enjoyed the inclusion of these fierce and strong women who ended up being the perfect matches for Athos and Porthos, though I would have LOVED to have seen Porthos and Elodie share a few more scenes than the ones we got. And, of course, I was over the moon with how things ended for Aramis :)

    And the villains; I absolutely loved what Rupert Everett and Matthew McNulty did with Feron and Lucien, but the one I really ended up hating the most was Marcheaux; how do you think they stack up against Richelieu and Rochefort?

    Lastly, like you, I applaud and adore the full-circle feeling to this whole season, and nearly cried with relief that the writers gave us and the characters the endings (or beginnings?!) they deserve. Also, that we finally got to see some one-on-one scenes between Porthos and D’Artagnan (although I would have preferred for Milady to have been in more than just two episodes).

    God Bless
    Eleanor Rose

    1. Hi, Eleanor! I'm so glad you came by to share your in-depth thoughts on this series. I was quite anxious to get my thoughts down on paper too. :)

      The costume design in this series is out of this world good - even if it is modernized. I still love it.

      Ideally, I would have liked to talk about Sylvie and Elodie, but well, I'd have probably gone on (and on) once I started so I limited myself. That said, I adored their addition to the show, and like you really wanted to see more of Elodie in particular. I thought her character had potential to be a great addition to this show, and would have been a really good companion (to see, experience and watch on-screen) for Porthos as well. Instead we had to sort of color our own story for them.

      OHMYGOSH! Everett and McNutly were such good villains... though I will admit to wishing the later had been vanquished a whole lot sooner than he was. ;) (He was torturing my Musketeers far TOO much.)

      I like the stipulation that this ending is more a beginning. This is something I like to say about the "happily ever after" conclusion. In retrospect, it's really more of a beginning that it is an end. :)

      All in all, like you, I'm so happy with this season. Naturally, I could have seen it go on and on, but if it must end, this was the way to do it. Bravo to the writers, cast, and everyone involved. I think, their fans are happy. :)

  3. I didn't like this season as much as the first two (not enough Athos and Milady!) but I thought they rounded it all off well, and I'm sad it's gone :( I wonder what they'll do for the next Robin Hood/Merlin/Atlantis/Musketeers style series? They're running out of legends, haha

    1. Bummer! That's never fun. At some point I'd like to go back and re-watch this series from the beginning. It's been such an entertaining show to watch. Like you I really felt this final season was well done. If it had to end, this was the right way to go about it.

      Yes, they are! I hope they do replace this with something similar though. BBC does these adventure series too well (although by far this is my favorite because the end didn't break my fan girl heart).

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Catherine. :)


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