Synopsis of “The Prodigal Son” (episode 2.08 of The Musketeers): Porthos learns the truth about his parents and demands answers from his newly discovered father, but the information he receives makes him question his place in the Musketeers regiment. As the eighth of ten episodes, “The Prodigal Son” is placed in the position of either resolving or beginning to resolve several plot lines that have been running through the second season—and some of the resolutions seem to indicate The Musketeers may have been heading toward a series-ending conclusion in case there wasn’t a renewal for a third season. However, the series has been renewed for season three—which begins filming in the Czech Republic next month. One of those season-long plot lines involves the identity of Porthos’s father—and, as the title of this episode (“The Prodigal Son”)* indicates, that subplot is resolved. The identity of Porthos’s father became an issue in the first episode of the season, “Keep Your Friends Close,” when General de Foix (whom the musketeers rescued from a Spanish prison) recognized Porthos as the son of a man he and Captain Treville served with more than 20 years earlier. The mystery of the identity of Porthos’s father was not nearly as significant as I thought it would turn out to be—especially considering how this plot point had been alluded to throughout the season each time Porthos and Treville were together. In fact, I had become tired of seeing Porthos roll his eyes and speak harshly each time he interacted with Treville. With all that buildup of negativity that Porthos was directing at his captain, I thought the identity of the Porthos’s father would be a bigger revelation than it was. However, after all of that intrigue, Porthos’s father turned out to be . . . Davos Seaworth from Game of Thrones. As Belgard in The Musketeers, Liam Cunningham delivers his lines in a manner so similar to the way he delivers his lines in Game of Thrones that it seemed as if I was watching a mashup of the two series. It was as if Porthos and his deceased mother had originally come from Westeros. Obviously, if I wasn’t a fan of Game of Thrones, Cunningham’s performance in The Musketeers would not be an issue for me, but the similarity between his portrayals of the two characters stands out because I have seen other actors do a better job in portraying similar characters differently. For instance, Australian actor Damon Herriman did an excellent job in creating a distinction between the two American redneck idiots he has played—Dewey Crowe in Justified and the “roadkill driver” in House of Wax (2005). He even used slightly different southern accents in the two performances, which is all the more impressive because I’m sure Herriman has a distinct Australian accent. His Kentucky accent as Dewey Crowe is very convincing; however, I lived in Louisiana for five years and he did not nail the accent in House of Wax at all—but he still turned in two distinct performances as a backwoods, southern redneck. Part of the problem in “The Prodigal Son” is Cunningham’s accent, which is identical in both roles as he uses his natural Irish accent—which, fortunately, is not a thick brogue. In fact, there are times when all of the British accents in The Musketeers (some English and some Gaelic) take me out of the story as I notice the oddity of hearing French characters speak in heavy British accents. However, I’m not calling for the British actors to do French accents in The Musketeers, as that would probably be even worse—and I’m certain it is just as odd in the rest of the world to hear international characters in Hollywood films or TV shows speak in American accents. I can usually tune out the British accents in The Musketeers but “The Prodigal Son” required a greater effort for me—not because of Liam Cunningham’s slightly Irish (but mostly just “British”) delivery. The biggest problem in “The Prodigal Son” was Steven Cree’s thick Scottish brogue as he played Porthos’s brother-in-law Levesque. Each time his character spoke, Cree’s accent took me out of the moment, as I would suddenly think: Is Levesque supposed to be a Scotsman who has come to France and married into Belgard’s family? I kept waiting for some sort of in-story exposition that would explain why Levesque had a thick Scottish accent, but that exposition never came. I even started coming up with my own explanation—such as, despite the character’s name, I considered the possibility that he fled his native Scotland and brought his nefarious business to France where he married into Belgard’s aristocratic family. That “nefarious business” is part of the suspense surrounding Porthos’s father—a sex slave auction house that the musketeers bring down. The concept of slavery or servitude is the leitmotif of the episode, as we learn Porthos’s mother was a servant in the family manor when Belgard was a young man. He claims to have loved her (and married her), but that she and Porthos were taken from him in an abduction scheme orchestrated by his own father, who opposed the mixed-race marriage and progeny. However, Belgard’s tale is a twist on what actually happened. It was Belgard himself who arranged for the removal of Porthos and his mother from the family estate before his father could disown him. Other plot lines of the season are similarly heading toward resolution with only two episodes remaining. All of these other season-long subplots involve Rochefort’s scheme to remove the king and be with the queen. He has been in love with Anne since she was 14 years old and he was tutoring her on French customs. At that time, she apparently gave him reason to believe that she felt romantic love for him as well. However, recent evidence has suggested to Rochefort that Anne is having an affair with Aramis. Legally, Aramis is guilty of treason for having had sex with the queen. It might also be that Anne is guilty of treason due to her marital infidelity. However, despite the circumstantial evidence he has gathered (he does not have solid proof), Rochefort gives her a chance to commit marital infidelity with him rather than with Aramis. As an agent of Spain who is attempting to bring down the French government, Rochefort is already guilty of treason—so one more act of treason by having sex with the queen would be inconsequential. Obviously, Anne rejects Rochefort’s declarations of love—first with a slap across his face and later with a needle to his eye. Unsurprisingly, he then tells her he intends to report her infidelity to the king—who is just foolish enough to believe anything Rochefort tells him. However, there may actually be a valid reason for the blind gullibility Louis has regarding Rochefort. I may have been a bit hasty in my review of “A Marriage of Inconvenience” (2.07) when I criticized the contrivance of having Louis stay in his bedroom for the entire episode so that he wouldn’t spoil the plot the writer had planned. Having the king remain secluded for the episode’s plot to work was a contrivance, but at least it has continued into “The Prodigal Son” and has been given more plausibility by this episode’s writers: Susie Conklin and Adrian Hodges. Rather than refusing to leave his bedroom until Milady de Winter leaves the palace, the king is now keeping to his chambers due to Rochefort manipulating him into paranoia by poisoning his mind—and probably his food as well. Louis admits to fearing death by poison more than he fears all else, and (judging by the preview scenes of the next episode) it looks like his greatest fear is coming true. It seems that if the series had not been renewed for a third season, Rochefort would end up being killed by Aramis in two more episodes—but not before the king was also killed (or greatly incapacitated) due to Rochefort’s efforts. If season two had ended with the king’s death (10 years before his historic death in 1643), Aramis and Anne’s son (presumably Louis XIV) would become king and Anne would then have to reign as his regent until he came of age—which would also be historically accurate except for the years in which Anne would begin her reign as regent. Of course, the series would probably have ended with Aramis as Anne’s consort—perhaps involving a mirrored wedding ceremony involving D’Artagnan and Constance. When the series eventually does conclude, the situations I imagined might still be how the characters end up. However, we are fortunate that there is at least one more season of The Musketeers before my series-ending scenarios might occur. For now, we have two more episodes of this current season that will show how Rochefort’s machinations are resolved in a way that still allows the principle characters to continue into the third season. * IMDB has the title of this episode listed as “The Prodigal Father,” but the actual title is “The Prodigal Son.” Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response The Musketeers 2.09 “The Accused” - Psycho Drive-In March 21, 2015 […] this episode and the previous episode (“The Prodigal Son”), there have been so many revelations there is no way the series can return next season with a […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.