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'The Musketeers' premiere recap: Secrets, swords and a lot of swagger

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Friends and Enemies” | Aired June 22, 2014

This isn’t the same Three Musketeers story that you know. Yes, there is sword fighting, defending the King and loyalty between comrades. Just be prepared for more sass and style. Feel free to grab the similarly named candy bar as you settle in for an hour of action-adventure costume drama at its finest.

The show opens on a rainy day in France in 1630, as two men arrive at an inn on horseback. The younger one heads to the stables to tend to the horses, while the older goes inside to secure lodging. We learn that the younger of the men is D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino), and he and his father are on their way to Paris to petition the king regarding taxes. But before his father can start checking into a room, more guests appear, armed with guns. One masked man, claiming to be the Musketeer Athos, demands everyone’s money and jewelry before fatally shooting D’Artagnan’s father. The last word he can tell his son is the name of his murderer.

The show shifts now to Paris, and the viewer is introduced to each of the Musketeers. We start off with (the real?) Athos (Tom Burke), who appears to have fallen asleep with his best friend, a bottle of liquor. For Athos, the best part of waking up is drinking more and then dunking your head in a bucket of ice water. Then he shows us all the things you need to be a true Musketeer: A tilted hat used for style and effectiveness? Check. A sword, complete with swashbuckling moves? Check. A walk with confident swagger? Check.


We follow Athos into a pub where two men are playing a card game. One of them is a red guard, a solider who serves the cardinal, and the other is the Musketeer Porthos (Howard Charles). The guard accuses Porthos of cheating and attempts to start a duel. Initially Porthos is empty-handed, until he finds a fork. The two battle it out, with Porthos actually overpowering the guard using only that utensil, until Athos grows tired of watching and ends things early by knocking out the guard. He also finds out that Porthos actually had been cheating.

Finally, we’re introduced to Aramis (Santiago Cabrera), who is giving a lady a personal tour of his battle scars. Before they can continue on the journey, they have to part, because Aramis is not supposed to be there. The only way for him to leave is by jumping out of the window. He manages to toss most of his weapons, except his pistol, which is kicked under the bed, and narrowly escapes being found. The woman turns out to be the mistress of Cardinal Richelieu (Peter Capaldi), who serves the King and hates the Musketeers.

The trio is summoned by Captain Treville (Hugo Speer), the commander of the Musketeers, to look into the disappearance of a group of Musketeers who had been on a confidential mission for the King.

Meanwhile, D’Artagnan is on a mission of his own: to track his father’s killer and avenge him. He finds himself in another lodging house, where one of the questions the innkeeper asks him is whether he has lice or crabs. The house is clean, she tells him, as she calmly kills a roach. Dinner, clean water and soap are all extra, but the use of the communal towel is free! He’s soon taken in by a mysterious lady dressed in red who arrives with a Spanish gentleman, and is lured into his bedroom. She reveals that she has marks on her neck from a man who tried to hurt her in her past, so D’Artagnan nobly promises to uphold her honor with revenge (as if he doesn’t already have enough on his plate).

When he wakes up the next morning, he’s alone in bed, but the pillow next to him is bloodstained and stabbed with a knife. There’s a commotion outside and D’Artagnan walks out with the knife in hand, only to see that the man the lady had come in with the night before has been stabbed to death. Looks like you’ve been framed, buddy.

He jumps out the window and runs from the accusing crowd. To hide, he grabs a young woman and kisses her. Constance Bonacieux (Tamla Kari) is not amused and starts to put up a good fight of her own — but then D’Artagnan collapses from his injuries. He awakens in Constance’s house, where it’s revealed that she’s married.


Back in Paris, King Louis XIII (Ryan Gage) is trying to enjoy a little shooting practice, but Richelieu ruins his plans by informing him that there are reports that the Musketeers are stealing and killing. Treville denies this, saying that there are no Musketeers missing or unaccounted for. The tension between the two men is obvious, and the King appears to be just a pawn between them. Richelieu is angry that despite the fact that he counsels the King on everything, the Musketeers are beyond his control.

In the meantime, the man calling himself Athos strikes again, killing a wealthy couple, and tells their driver that Athos has spared his life.

D’Artagnan finally reaches the garrison of the Musketeers and finds the trio. He calls out Athos and challenges him to a duel. (“Hello. My name is D’Artagnan. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”) Athos is all, Who the heck is this kid and WTF is going on? D’Artagnan attacks while Athos calmly defends, with Porthos and Aramis comically commentating. They eventually join in because D’Artagnan cannot be stopped, and is determined to take on all three to avenge his father’s death. The fun is halted, however, when Treville arrives to say that Athos has been arrested for robbery and murder.

The quick trial in front of the King and Queen consists of Richelieu reading out the list of charges against Athos, and providing witnesses such as the innkeeper and driver, who say that Athos was the man they saw. The King orders Athos to be executed, to the delight of Richelieu.

Porthos and Aramis manage to convince D’Artagnan to come with them to find the false Musketeers. It happens so fast that even Constance can’t believe how quick they turn him around. (“This morning you tried to kill him, and now you’re best friends?”) D’Artagnan brings them back to the first inn, where they uncover the body of the man he shot. It turns out that while there are two bullet holes on the coat, there’s only one on the body, leading them to believe this coat belong to the missing Musketeer.

In jail, a priest comes to Athos and asks him to confess. But the only confession he has is that the woman he loved died. A brief memory of a blue flower and a woman in a blue dress follows.

Meanwhile, Richelieu is approached by a visitor, the mysterious woman who had been with D’Artagnan, known just as Milady (Maimie McCoy). He asks for her help to discredit the Musketeers, though he hadn’t wanted the murder of her companion. She hands him the missing letters from the King, and he asks her to find out who the owner of the pistol is.


Later, Richelieu and the King discuss relations with Spain, with Richelieu saying war is inevitable, as France must resist Spanish aggression. Since the Queen is Spanish, the King wants peace. He confesses that he had written letters to his brother-in-law, the King of Spain, for a peace treaty. Richelieu says he can’t serve such a man and starts to leave, but the King gives in and begs him to stay, saying he’ll do anything to make him happy — including disbanding the Musketeers.

The trio finds the bodies of the missing troupe, shot and stripped of their uniforms. Porthos finds Spanish gold on the ground and says this is the second time he’s seen it in a week. The other time was in that card game with the Red Guard. Upon finding him, the trio then proceeds to try to make him confess, with the help of a musket and discussing which organ of his Aramis might hit. He finally confesses that the captain of the Red Guard was the one who killed D’Artagnan’s father and the one that gave the orders to do everything.

With a plan to sneak into the guards’ headquarters and capture the captain, they use Constance as a distraction to get inside. Hilarious banter follows as Constance, dressed as a lady of the night, tries to barter her services, but instead uses words that the guard doesn’t follow and offers herself for too low a price. Once in, Aramis suggests that surprise will be the best plan, but D’Artagnan bursts in, shouting revenge. Even though the guards outnumber the Musketeers by dozens, the trio manages to take almost everyone out immediately.


This fight scene showcases each of the three members’ fighting styles. D’Artagnan is very emotional in his fighting. Porthos uses more of his fists, with punches and kicks. Aramis is showy in his swordplay, using his cape and swashbuckling with style.

D’Artagnan finds the captain and begins his “avenging father’s death” duel, part two. He finally manages to hold down the captain, but Aramis tells him not to kill him, as they need to bring him in for questioning. Just as D’Artagnan turns his back to walk away, the captain lunges at him with a knife, but is killed immediately by D’Artagnan’s quick reflexes. They find the stolen uniforms; with the confessions, this is all the proof they will need.

And they need to bring that proof quickly, because Athos is being led to a firing squad with Milady watching from a window. He shouts for his death to come quickly, but then the Musketeers arrive with his release, signed by the king. There’s great rejoicing, and a nod of understanding is shared between him and D’Artagnan.

The scene then shifts to Richelieu, who is out for a ride with his mistress in the snowy woods. He shows her the pistol and says that she has deceived him. She yells out that she loves Aramis, just before Richelieu shoots her. Richelieu then goes to the jail cell where guard who confessed is being held. The guard says that it’s a good thing he didn’t tell them the truth, that Richelieu was the one who really was in charge of all this. Richelieu offers him a drink to toast to his loyalty — which ends up being poisoned.

The episode ends with Milady entering a confessional booth to speak with a priest about how there was a man she loved in the past. She asks why God abandoned her. The priest tells her she is an abomination, which puts her in a rage, and she ends up choking him. It turns out the man she was talking about was Athos, and she’s the woman in the blue dress from his memory.

Wow! There was so much happening in that first episode! This is a great introduction to everyone and to the show itself. I really enjoyed all the subtle humor in the writing. The chemistry between the three Musketeers is nicely played, and bringing D’Artagnan into the mix should be interesting. There’s also obvious chemistry between him and Constance (even though she’s married). Also, what’s going to happen between him and Milady? Plus, what about the revelation at the end, about her and Athos?

Also of note: Unless they were fans of The Thick of It, this is probably the first introduction many American viewers will have to Peter Capaldi’s acting prior to the new season of Doctor Who. He’s playing such a smarmy bad guy here that it’ll be a major switch when he takes over as the Doctor later this summer.

I did notice that no one actually speaks with a French accent, but otherwise, the show looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and adventure. It’ll be great to see more interaction between the four main guys, as well as how they’re going to handle Richelieu trying to take them down. Prepare for a swashbuckling summer!

The Musketeers airs on Sundays 9/8 C on BBC America. 

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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