A blast from the past but not enough boom!
(C) BBC / Larry Horricks
It’s Porthos’ turn of the spotlight this week as his birthday celebrations lead to an accusation of murder after he wakes up lying next to a dead man who’s been shot. With Porthos (Howard Charles) too inebriated to remember the victim, the judge sentences him to death. But before he gets to the gallows he’s abducted to the Court of Miracles – the slum streets where he grew up and left to become a Musketeer – by his old friend Charon (Ashley Walters).
The episode itself wasn’t as thrilling or engaging as some of the previous episodes, in parts it dragged, and felt more like Aramis, d’Artagnan & Athos were in a police procedural set in Paris – An unfortunately quite a predictable one too. However, amongst the tedium it had some moments of greatness, mainly from Anton Lesser as Émilie De Mauvoisin, the father of the French dignitary Porthos is accused of killing. Never an actor to give a bad performance or anything away to soon, he played his grief and then anger and bitterness perfectly.
It’s been mentioned before how Porthos fought the hardest to become a Musketeer, yet this episode really shines a light on how much he sacrificed personally including his love for Flea (Fiona Glascott) and the drive he must have to have become the man he is now. It’s quite sad he doesn’t even know when he was born, that he just picked a random date and goes some way to explain why he believes so much on the “brotherhood” of the Musketeers. Interestingly, Captain Treville seems to care more about honour than justice by leaving his gun De Mauvoisin to shoot himself and reinforcing the untrue stereotype that stature makes a gentleman rather than character.
A mediocre episode lacking in any real direction and suffering from a failure to include the female characters. The Cardinal and the King got a brief scene of humour but again not really fleshed out. I’d only just realised on rewatch in the episode I’d also forgot all about the Queen too. The earlier episodes seemed more an ensemble piece but of late it’s more a structure of ‘the character of the week.’ I’m all for character lead stories but it needs to be done plot and script.