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'The Musketeers' fan recap: Athos, the reluctant hometown hero

Season 2 | Episode 5| “The Return” | Aired Feb 14, 2015

Athos fans, our time has come. While this season has been great, it feels like something has been lacking. There’s been a lot of drama but not a lot of fun, like there was in the previous season. Tonight’s episode went back to basics. Just the four guys (and their captain) out in the country away from Paris. As much fun as having the villains in the show, it was completely refreshing to get the Musketeers out of their normal setting. Tonight’s episode brought back two of the best things from last season: fun and a brooding Athos.

Poor Athos. He disappears, and everyone just assumes he’s gone off and gotten drunk again. To be fair, we haven’t seen him hungover once in this entire season so far. Then again, it’s a known trait of his, so it’s not a surprise that this is the assumption that Treville (who is now just a regular Musketeer shoveling poop) immediately makes.

It turns out that Athos DID get drunk, but he’s also been kidnapped by the tenants of his estate. As the Comte de la Fare, Athos is in charge of the people and lands that make up his family home. But because he has wanted to forget about his life with Milady, he has neglected his duties. The letters sent to him begging for his help had been ignored—so his tenants, including the innkeeper and his daughter Jeanne (Linzey Cocker), felt kidnapping was the only solution. Athos is definitely not happy to be back home.

Even when he discovers that his neighbor, the Baron Renard (Miles Anderson), has been burning the lands and poisoning what is left causing his tenants to starve, Athos still doesn’t care. He just wants to get away from all the painful memories the place holds. Renard arrives along with his son and they strike a deal. As Athos has renounced his title, he’ll give the lands over to Renard who promises to treat the tenants as they deserve. Unfortunately, it’s all in how he words it, as Renard has no regard for peasants. Since Athos has given up his title, he now gets the same treatment. Tied up and about to be whipped, Athos is saved however by a woman who shoots him down and the Musketeers arriving. Renard’s men take Jeanne with them.

The Musketeers are ready to help out the tenants, but Athos is still dead set on leaving. It doesn’t mater that everyone is calling him a coward or even that Aramis is enjoying the countryside. Then again, D’Artagnan is the only one who really knows about his past, so this is a bit understandable. Plus we get moody, brooding Athos, which is pretty hot.

He returns to his former estate, where he’s overcome by memories of his life with Milady and is also greeted by Catherine (Marianne Oldham), the shooter from earlier. You can’t help but feel sorry for Catherine. She was supposed to have married Athos, but then he instead brings home Milady and marries her. Then she becomes betrothed to Athos’ brother, but Milady kills him, so that ends that. She has no money, is tainted by bad luck, and is forced to make a way for herself. She sees Athos finally return, which she sees as a way to return to her former life, as she sees herself still of nobility and of higher rank than the tenants. But even that rug gets pulled out from her when later on she learns that he’s giving everyone the land, not just her. Plus she finds out that Milady, who has essentially ruined her life, is still alive, after thinking she’s been dead all these years. That’s the final straw for Catherine, who now has a new purpose in her life.

Aramis and Porthos successfully rescue Jeanne from Renard’s men, who were about to gang-rape her. D’Artagnan and Treville find out that the tenants have weapons to defend themselves. Athos returns after a change of heart and offers up his family’s armory. He realizes that the people shouldn’t suffer for his mistakes. With some training, the tenants become ready to fight the battle against Renard and his men. Athos promises that he will give the land to them if they can defend themselves and defeat Renard. Everyone wins in this situation (except Renard)!

When Renard’s men come, they are surprised to find that the tenants are defending themselves. This isn’t going to be the easy fight they thought it would be. The Musketeers are helping, of course, but it’s also quite remarkable how good of a fight the rest of the folks are putting up. They are truly loyal to Athos.

It all comes down to a final fight between Athos and Renard’s son, who clearly is outclassed by Athos’ fighting skills. Really, Edmond’s attempts to attack come across like a child trying to imitate what he’s seen on TV. Athos can sense this and knows he can defeat him easily. However Catherine, still bitter about everything, pauses the fight as she holds him at gunpoint, angry for being deceived. This causes Edmond to attack Athos and Catherine to shoot him. Despite all the cruelty Renard has shown throughout the episode, it is a bit sad to see him weeping over his dead son.

Justice as finally been served and the Musketeers can now return to Paris. Athos appoints the innkeeper as the mayor and gives him his ring, showing that the Comte de la Fere has given him this authority. The tenants are grateful and Athos can now leave this land behind in peace.

Aramis: This is just what I was born to do!
D’Artagnan: You mean protect the innocent to fight against injustice?
Aramis: Oh, that too. But mainly, you know, just to fight. To risk everything, put it all on the line. How else do I know that I’m truly alive?

THIS is what has been missing in the last few episodes, and it was very refreshing to see it back. More episodes like this, please!

Bonus: Athos with a cape:
Tom Burke Athos Cape

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