[This is a review of The Musketeers season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]
In this week's episode, entitled 'Commodities', The Musketeers continues to perform an exquisite balancing act between the episodic and the serial. With the help of Battlestar Galactica alum James Callis (Emile Bonnaire), this series remains a must watch for your summer viewing pleasure.
BBC America's action-adventurer does not possess the massive ensemble that Game of Thrones commands, but like the aforementioned HBO juggernaut, writer Adrian Hodges knows how to craft his characters well. Since the series premiere, each week has provided new insight into our four heroes, as well as its supporting cast.
This is where we get back to episodic versus serialized television. With the success of shows such as ABC's Lost and Fox's Sleepy Hollow, audiences are demanding more stories with large overarching plots, filled with mysteries aplenty to uncover. While procedural CBS giants like The Mentalist and the CSI franchise are still successes, the episodic formula is slowly becoming a thing of the past. In 'Commodities', Hodges has created a stable template for showcasing how both models can be used to keep the audience engaged, while still contemplating what will happen next.
Until now, Porthos was theMusketeer we knew the least about. Howard Charles has had some fine comedic moments with his fellow brothers, but 'Commodities' puts his wide range of acting abilities on display. It has now been revealed that Porthos' mom was once a slave, who moved to France after she was freed. His anger at finding out Bonnaire's connection to slave trading was a moment of great tension between him and the Musketeers. As Athos stated, slavery is a horrible institution, but it's not against the law. These men are commanded to uphold the law of King Louie, but what happens when those laws effect one of their comrades? Their ploy at the end to turn Bonnaire over to Spain was a small taste of sweet justice for Porthos. Callis, as always, is a great addition to any production he's in, so hopefully this won't be the last we see of him.
While Porthos had his time to shine this week, it was Athos who stole the show, with Tom Burke giving a strong performance as the heartbroken Musketeer. Our bewildered leader's trip back home was more painful than we could have imagined. Hodges and company inform us that Athos comes from a French noble family, with a beautiful home in a small country town. As with any small town on television, there are dark secretes buried beneath the still and peaceful landscape. While some mysteries are explained, others remain unanswered, like why Milady killed Athos' brother. The lovely assassin says she did it in order to save their love, but why? Milady and Athos' embrace while the mansion burned to the ground was heartwarming. Love still exists between those two, and now that Athos is aware that she is still alive, what does he do?
Each week The Musketeers gives its viewers exciting action set-pieces, followed by just the right amount of mystery and intrigue to keep one guessing until the following week. What do you see in store for our heroes as the season progresses? Stay tuned to find out.
The Musketeers continues with 'The Good Soldier' next Sunday @9pm on BBC America.