'The Musketeers' Learn a Lesson in French Diplomacy

Aramis reunites with an old friend, while the Duke of Savoy's arrival causes political tension in 'The Musketeers' season 1, episode 4: 'The Good Soldier'.

[This is a review of The Musketeers season 1, episode 4. There will be SPOILERS.]


The Musketeers keeps up its brisk action-packed pace with this week's episode, entitled 'The Good Soldier'. Even with all of its chivalrous ferocity, the series always gives us moments to reflect on the more intimate details. These meticulous details are found in a "who-done-it" mystery, as the Duke of Savoy's (Vincent Regan) visit to France threatens to shatter the peace with Spain. After a failed assassination attempt upon the Duke's arrival, Aramis is reunited with a former Musketeer (Marsac) he thought long gone.

A mystery, mixed in with some spy and espionage goodness should be enough to carry any hour of television, especially with a talented cast such as this; however, the meat of this week's episode can be found within the title itself. What does it mean to be a good soldier in a world controlled by an all-powerful monarch, like King Louis? This charge of being a Musketeer for king and country drove Marsac insane, as his quest for vengeance became his undoing. If it wasn't for the help of his friends, Aramis would have shared the same fate as his fallen comrade.

Putting the plot aside for a bit, let's talk about The Musketeers continuing success at featuring some of the best character-actors of any series currently running. This week, we're graced with veteran Vincent Regan (300), who plays the power hungry Duke of Savoy. Regan's menacing eyes and his constant fierce nature make him the perfect antagonist for the boys in blue (well, minus d'Artagnan who is still a Musketeer in training). The more surprising of the two new characters featured would have to be the gorgeous English-born Phoebe Fox (Black Mirror). Her resume is not nearly as impressive as Regan's, yet she easily holds her own as Savoy's wife.

The twist at the end revealing her to be a spy for France was a nice touch and hopefully, that means we'll see more of Fox as the season progresses. Like last week's episode, 'The Good Soldier' is more of a self-contained story, but that doesn't mean creator Adrian Hodges and his crew have forgotten about the bigger picture for their first season.

Constance and d'Artagnan's budding relationship appears to be a part of that big picture. Luke Pasqualino (Snowpiercer) and Tamla Kari (Being Human) on-screen chemistry is superb. Their romantic interest in each other is constantly teased, but not in a patronizing way. It would be nice if Constance's husband was featured more often, so we could get a better idea of what d'Artagnan is up against.

This was a good standalone episode for The Musketeers, but Milady de Winter's presence was missed, as she is one of the more dynamic characters. We're nearly half way through this first season, so what have you enjoyed most about this exciting new series on BBC America?

The Musketeers continues with 'The Homecoming' next Sunday @9pm on BBC America.

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