‘The Musketeers’ Season 3 Episode 5 review: ‘To Play the King’

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Word of advice: if you’re thinking of moving to Paris, don’t travel back in time and move there when the Musketeers were about.

Especially if this week’s episode is anything to go by.

Case in point: prisoners are breaking free and causing chaos as they go, while the Red Guard apparently have failed to subdue them (mostly because, it turns out, they’re not really trying) and the Musketeers attempt to do the same.  But, lo and behold, we’re not even at the opening credits yet and we learn that Grimaud and Feron are behind it all anyway!

Turns out they need one prisoner, Victor, to help them steal the King’s gold reserves, as he was the chap who designed the safe in the first place.  I suppose the mass prison break is a convenient distraction, but surely a bit theatrical at the same time.  But then, what do I know about stealing royal gold reserves?  I still have to have a normal job, so the answer is obviously nothing.

Meanwhile, Feron is in a spot of bother over a rather large sum he borrowed from a Dutch financier.  No wonder he’s concocted a ridiculous scheme to get at the King’s gold.  But he’s understandably agitated at the possibility of Louis finding out that a cool couple million have been borrowed in his name, and also understandably keen to keep this information away from the King.  Good luck with that, pal.

Proving that desperation makes silly saucissons of even the cleverest men, Feron goes ahead and murders the financier in order to get out of his debts, which I suppose is one way of going about it.

But there’s good news too…  It’s the little Dauphin’s birthday!  And it’s so cute!  Look at him in his doofy little regal wig!  (That said, I saw a kid with a mullet at the park opposite my house today, so I suppose in fairness it could be much worse.)

Meanwhile, D’Artagnan tracks down an escaped prisoner who turns out to be a former soldier whose apparent trauma has led him to cope by alternately believing himself to be King Louis.  Interestingly, however, he seems to have some not inconsiderable insight into the plot to steal the King’s gold.  And he’s far from harmless, so leaving him with some pleasant nuns was probably a bad call.

Even more meanwhile, things start to go even more wrong for the baddies as the prisoners are escorted back in just as they’ve managed to break into the reserve.  Bad luck, baddies.  Better luck though, I suppose, that Borel has managed to sneak his way into the King’s rooms, and for some reason decided to burn the offending debt collection letter, put on an especially fetching wig, and feel decidedly more regal than he looks.

Fortunately, the Queen is not fooled by his new outfit, and the Musketeers save the day, but my gosh, that was complicated.


Aired at 8.30pm on Saturday 2 July 2016 on BBC One.

> Buy the complete Season 1-2 box set on Amazon.

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> Read more by Sami Kelsh on her website.