The Musketeers The Good Traitor

First shown BBC1 17 Jan 2015 written by Lucy Catherine & Adrian Hodges, directed by Marc Jobst
A double plot involving kidnapping and more Spanish shenangins makes up episode 3 which is less boisterous than its predecessors but develops several storylines. It seems as if the subterfuge between France and Spain is to be a theme of the season; here the tricksy Spanish ambassador has engineered a kidnap in an attempt to win back a nifty super explosive and a sort of early translator both held by Spanish General turned traitor Tariq Alaman. However things don’t run according to plan and an attempt to rescue Tariq’s daughter Samara goes awry ending up with her re-capture and that of an injured Porthos too. They seem to be kidnapping one Musketeer a week now!

Nobody wanted to choose the King for the football team

Meanwhile concerned Constance decides to half inch the unwell Dauphin to the laundry (honestly this will all make sense) while the King messes about under the table with MiLady. That what I’ve just described doesn’t turn out to be one of those farce like episodes that used to pop up in Merlin is down to a slippery turn from Mark Warren, a fun one from Ryan Gage and some gory action.
The time slot that last year seemed unsuitable now fits The Musketeers like a velvet glove though some might argue it is becoming gratuitous. I wouldn’t agree; when the camera lingers on extras being skewered it emphasises the risk and the episode is careful to acknowledge the innocent deaths that take place in a market place battle. So it balances out. The revised format has also allowed more fluidity of plots; having Constance in the palace, making Rochefort far more mobile than his predecessor and introducing much more Spanish trickery have all helped up the quality.
Some of the performances in this episode are delightful; Ryan Gage’s King oscillates from preening monarch to infatuated child to concerned father as he tries to control situations swirling around him. Antonia Thomas gives her best feistiness as Samara and there’s a larger than usual chunk of screen time for Howard Charles’ earthy Porthos too. The scenes of the two of them locked up in a cellar are particularly well done. Mark Warren has stolen the show in much the same way as Peter Capaldi did last year and this week Tamla Kari’s shows more of the sort of mettle that made Constance such a strong figure last season.
If the ratings are low then that probably means the show is in danger but it would be a shame if that factor alone is the decider on whether to commission another season. So far we’ve had three out of three hits and if the series can entertain even when watched, as I did, on a dodgily buffering iPlayer then there has to be something going for it.  
Oh, the laundry? Well the steam helped the baby breath and totally recover from its illness and bizarrely seemed to be open all night.

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