TV REVIEW: The Musketeers, S1, Ep 5: The Homecoming

Waking up in the middle of a road next to a dead man isn’t exactly the way you’d want to end your birthday celebrations now is it? For Porthos, that’s exactly what happens as all-night revelry ends in a deadly mystery as he has no memory of what transpired. As he’s taken away, we see glimpses of the previous night’s festivities and even we don’t know what truly occurred.

Now on trial (or a joke of one) for murder, hope for a lenient judge goes out the window as Porthos is unlucky enough to get a bigoted one instead. Looking to make an example of him, he sentences him to immediate death by hanging. Treville tells the other musketeers to stall them but before they can, a group covered in capes & masks takes out the guards and make off with Porthos. They’ve taken him to a run-down, lawless section of Paris called the Court of Miracles, where apparently, our biggest musketeer grew up. Athos takes it upon himself to infiltrate it and while D’Artagnan & Aramis search for evidence to prove Porthos’ innocence before the King’s guards can find him again.

In Miracle-land, the appointed “king” Charon is an old friend – and the king’s “lady” named Flea turns out to be Porthos’ ex-girlfriend who he reluctantly left behind. With weighty looks thrown around, cue the soon to come love-induced shenanigans. But what turned the thief into an honorable soldier? As Charon and Porthos reminisce, the former omitting the fact that Athos showed up to bring his friend back, While chatting, an attempt is made – but on whose life? Charon is shot and we learn that Porthos wanted more of a life than what the Court of Miracles could give him.

Turns out that the young man, Jean de Mauvoisin, was just a scapegoat for his father’s greed and the elder de Mauvoisin killed him for refusing to carry out his plan. Trying to bring the family’s name (and bank account) back into the black, the Emile used religious fervor as an excuse to set up his son, buying up seemingly worthless property in the Court of Miracles and blowing up its current occupants – with inside help from Charon. Charon wanted to escape the misery of the Court just like Porthos did – except the latter didn’t resort to killing the entirety of the Court’s population to do it.

We’ve only had small hints of Porthos’ past shown to us up until this point, so the deeper dive into where he grew up as an orphan gives us a bit more insight into his character. I was hoping we’d get that as I felt a bit short-changed that his tale was shoe-horned into Athos’ storyline.

Howard Charles was fantastic as was Ashley Walters as Charon – the juxtaposition of what Porthos could have become if he’d stayed and Charon if he’d left, was nicely played out in parallel to the plights of the poor, the desperation of the rich on the brink of poverty and what both would do to gain a better life. Again the ladies are pushed to the wayside and we’re halfway through Series 1. While the show continually grows and entertains, there’s not much time left to explore those characters and work out how Richelieu’s machinations will be revealed. Still – I’m throughly enjoying the show, are you?

Rating: 4/5

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