Salut and vive le roi. Episode eight. Are you ready for this? Lots of things happened last episode. Sophie and Eléonore are on the way to the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, after Fabien let them go. The Church, or rather Cardinal Leto, is not happy with Louis and the other way around. The Chevalier engaged in forgery. Bontemps spilled the beans and we now (officially) know who Mask Man is. Louis, I am your father… and everything behind this sentence will be very full of spoilers.
“I am your father” repeats Mask Man, who no longer wears his mask, and Louis shoots him a piercing gaze. Philippe, a little in the background, looks… a mix of slightly shocked, yet also kind of believing. Louis orders Bontemps to remove Mask Man, I shall continue to call him that, out of his sight and remains back with Philippe. The faithful servant leads Mask Man through dark corridors and I can not quite say if this is supposed to be the palace or not. I guess it is. Bontemps shows Mask Man into a dark timber-framed room, featuring some chairs and a table, as we hear his voice from the off talking about how some secrets are best buried deep.
After a very fabulous night shot of Versailles, we return to Louis. He appears to be in a broody mood, which is no surprise since he has just discovered he has not right at all to that shiny palace or anything else. The royal stare is fixed at Bontemps, who appears to be sitting, while Louis stands. “You were at the heart of this conspiracy.” He is indeed seated and that makes my etiquette-senses ring alarm. “It was no conspiracy, Sire. As the King’s surgeon and confidant, my father passed a terrible burden to me and for your families protection, I carried it. It is my duty.” Philippe is present as well, standing by Louis’ side with a ‘Oh, c’mon.’ expression, and urges Bontemps to tell them who Mask Man really is. “He was a good friend of the King… and the Queen. As you know, they were married twenty-three years and remained childless. The King lay with another woman, but it too was fruitless. It tortured him that he may never produce an heir… but the Queen was determined to find a solution. So together, they arranged for your father… to share her bed.” Philippe approaches with a ‘I will punch you in the face’ expression. Why was he put into prison? “He wasn’t initially… but after one son was born they wanted to be sure… so he lay with the Queen again…. but then, with two healthy sons, the King changed his mind. “ So, they put a mask on his face, asks Philippe. “It is one thing to know the secret, it is another to have proof made flesh. It was decided no-one should ever see his face.” Louis inquires who else knows about it and the answer is… Louis XIII, Anne d’Autriche, Daddy Bontemps… and the Vatican. Louis casts a glance up to the gilded ceiling and inhales deeply. “The Church was content to protect the secret so long…so long France would remain its ally.” “But now they wish to destroy me with it.” Philippe steps closer to the mask… what shall they do with Mask Man now? Louis steps closer as well. “We keep him locked up.”
Intro. Bontemps walks up the Queen’s Staircase and runs straight into Fabien. Are you avoiding me, asks Fabien. No, Bontemps has urgent business. Fabien wishes to know when Bontemps feels inclined to explain a thing or two… like where the prisoner is now. Fabien does no longer have to worry about it, but he does and stops Bontemps. Fabien killed three men, he says, and Bontemps returns he and the King are pleased about that, but they are things, knowledge, even they have no free access too. Yet it is their duty to do as commanded.
Broody Louis has relocated himself to the council chamber. Luckily, Bontemps stands guard outside, because Cardinal Leto appears and is eager to see Louis. Leto hints he believes Bontemps has brought Mask Man to Louis, thus Louis being aware of his identity, and that it must have been shocking. Enlightening, says Bontemps, and Leto returns he has learned something too. Namely who he can trust and who not. The Cardinal demands to see Louis and is reminded of protocol by Bontemps… but then the door opens and Louis appears, not really surprised to see Leto, and asks the Cardinal inside the council chamber. You know, the table covered in blue fabric appears to be a copy of the one in the King’s Council Chamber at Versailles, but I believe it does not actually date back to XIV and is newer. I do really like the design of the walls and the sets look all very glorious.
Anyway, Leto breaks the silence after a short staring contest and asks Louis if he not, at times, longs for a quieter life. As in the life he would have as peasant-boy. Louis does not, but he fears for France with so many dark forces conspiring. France might be lost without him. That is exactly why Louis should listen to the Cardinal now. All his wishes can become true. He can create a French Empire, he can rule the Colonies, he even can become Holy Roman Emperor. (They were elected and Mazarin actually tried to get Louis elected, but it did not work out.) The Church can help… but then Louis must let the Church made all political decisions. Louis laughs. The Vatican could be Louis’ greatest ally, if he let it. Louis ain’t impressed. The Pope might represent God on earth, but Louis is born of God, he says. “But you and I, both know that is not true.” “I am who you see before you. I am Versailles. And I have all the power I need. ” “Not if the truth comes out.”
Let’s have a look at that, shall we. Louis XIV was indeed Versailles, for Versailles was modelled after his ideas and Louis is in Versailles’ very bones… but Versailles is not France. Our show Louis has a serious problem, because show Louis has no claim to anything. While as illegitimate son of a King, he would have an ever so slim claim. He has nothing as illegitimate son of the Queen. Under those circumstances, after Louis XIII’s death, the throne should have gone to Gaston de France, since he had only girls, it would have then gone to the next highest ranking Bourbon heir. The first Prince of the Blood, which at this point was a gentleman named Louis de Bourbon, better known as le Grand Condé. As Henri de Navarre became Henri IV de France, his heir until 1601, as the future Louis XIII was born, was Henri de Bourbon, his first cousin-once-removed. Henri de Bourbon was the father of le Grand Condé. It is the Bourbon blood that matters and show Louis doesn’t have Bourbon blood.
Mask Man, in company of Philippe and Bontemps, attempts to shave himself, but his hands shake too much. Philippe takes the razor from him and helps. Philippe looks over Mask Man’s shoulder as the blade moves over the latter’s throat. Mask Man looks a bit scared to get his throat cut open. Bontemps senses no danger and leaves the two of them alone. It looks very father-and-son-y. They smile at each other.
Notre-Dame’s bells ring as we see Guillaume’s sister (What is her name? I forgot.) and Bastien leave a building. Bastien utters concern. He thought they would go confront the King. They will do that, but first they need to gain the support of the people. They sweep into a printer’s shop and present the printer in charge with a piece of paper on which a protest song is written. The printer hesitates, saying it appears they look for trouble, and that trouble will find him as well if someone should find out he printed such a thing. That won’t happen, says Guillaume’s sister (Jeanne? I think her name was Jeanne.), and Bastien adds the King has gone far enough now. The printer shrugs, the King does what Kings do, but is eventually persuaded to involve himself in this case of lèse-majesté. Lampoons were nothing new to Louis XIV. He had to deal with a lot of those and a whole lot of those came from the Netherlands. Towards the end of Louis’ reign, as things went down hill, there was a very saucy lampoon demanding someone should chop his head off and be done with it, like the English did with their King back in the days. The probably most famous lampoons of Louis’ reign were the mazarinades. As the name hints, they were not so much directed against him, but aimed at his Prime Minister Cardinal Mazarin. It is estimated there were around 5000 of those and the probably most famous one was attributed to the quill of Monsieur Scarron, who later married the future Madame de Maintenon.
Back in Versailles, Philippe has finished shaving Mask Man and both behold the result in a table-mirror. “I do not recognise myself.” Neither do I, returns Philippe. He was a noisy child, says Mask Man, and touches Philippe’s cheek. He smiles insecure, maybe faking it, as he promises Mask Man protection and skips out.
Philippe joins a still very broody looking Louis in the royal bedroom. “You must go to him, brother.” “I have more important matters to attend to.” “What could be more important than speaking to our father?” Philippe moves closer to Louis. “He is here. Under your roof. You can’t pretend he does not exist.” “….and if he didn’t?” Philippe eyes his big brother. Louis turns to the doors. “We could send him to the Colonies. Let him live out his last days in peace and comfort… it is the least he deserves.” “He jeopardises our very existence. He was found once, what if the Church finds him again?” “He is our father. We owe him.” Louis taps his foot twice on the ground and the doors connection bedroom to council chamber open. Ministers and Bitchenon wait. Philippe follows.
The King only wants to deal with the most important matters, he says, they ought to keep it brief. Colbert starts with good news, Marie-Louise and Charles II had sex. Philippe looks touched on behalf of his daughter for a second. (Marie-Louise wasn’t blessed with any children, for her husband was not able to produce one.) Anything else? No? Louis turns to leave, but is stopped by Louvois to be informed that a lot of Protestants families are leaving Versailles, and France, families with important names. They take their money with them, adds Colbert, to remind Louis that he had been warned about it. The King wishes to know who has granted them permission to leave and Louvois replies that no-one did. They just leave. After somehow acquiring passage. Louis wishes…border patrol… to have a closer look and turns to Fabien, telling him if someone in Versailles helps them Fabien ought to find out who it is. Louis leaves, without paying attention to Maintenon. She hates that. I like it.
There is lots going on in the salons as Louvois waddles in. People laugh and talk, some play cards, but all fall silent as they hear the melodic voice of Monsieur Louvois. Protestants, he says, are leaving without permission. Thus all Protestants at court are confined to the palace. Madame d’Angers joins the Chevalier in a corner of the room. He wears green, which suits him, and doesn’t at all look happy. With plenty people around and rather loudly, Delphine blurts out how the Chevalier did not take enough care to conceal his criminal activities. He did, but it looks like her friends did not, he returns. Ah, if they knew it was him, he would have been arrested by now. He smiles with a uncaring air (While probably remembering his time in prison.) and that doesn’t change as she says she is the one at risk. She ought to have faith, he returns, and that doesn’t really calm her nerves.
I’m quite calm today, thankfully, which explains the lack of ranting so far… but I’m getting there. Back to Louis in the royal bedchamber. He gazes out of a window towards the courtyard as la Maintenon enters, walking as loudly as a peasant-woman, and moves close to touch his cheek in a loving gesture. He was missed at mass this morning. He breaks her kiss and moves away. He had to deal with things. She looks rather pissed off. Is it something that bothers him? “Do you know who you are?” Of course, she does. “But how can you tell? …how can you know it is not just a fiction? An invention of those around you? What if everything you know is made up of lies… and you are not who you think you are… but who you have been told you are.” She wants to know why he talks that way. “I thought this place meant the world to me, but what if I’m wrong? What if it means nothing?” Versailles means everything to him, she says, he can not doubt that. He lowers his glance in thought as she urges him to tell her what is going on. Maybe he will, at some point, the King returns, and nods towards the door in a not so subtle gesture to make her leave.
Cardinal Leto has summoned Bontemps, who appears at once and inquires what he can do for the man in red. Leto admires Bontemps’ loyalty, but considers it to be misplaced. He can make up for it with his dedication however. It is clear to see that Bontemps wishes his King to be successful, thus he should go and talk with him. Bontemps can make Louis understand and accept the friendship offered by the Church. If Louis does not comply, there will be awful consequences. (Am I the only one getting bored with Leto?)
Louis kneels on the balustrade surrounding a basin and dips his be-ringed fingers into the water. Then looks up and sighs. This must be all very terrible for him… but I don’t really care. This whole thing is a mess, it does not captivate me, the created drama is meh and does not really make sense… plus it is rather insulting, not just for Louis XIV, but for France. (I joked with Jules, before I saw season 3, that it might be the last season, because otherwise the people of France, who are very protective of their history, might start a new Revolution on the set of Versailles. Remember in what a huff they were, the whole thing was filmed in English and not in French? This is a million times worse.) Bontemps joins Louis by the fountain to tell Louis that the council is waiting. What. It is little things like that, which raise my level of frustration. Stupid phrasing once more. Louis, rightly so, tells Bontemps they ought to wait. Bontemps continues by lecturing Louis on how to King and adds that Cardinal Leto urges Louis to accept his proposal. Louis, rightly so, looks very angry now. “You spoke to an enemy of France without my permission?” “The Cardinal requested…” “You, of all people. I thought I could trust you after all that has happened.” “You can, Sire. My loyalty to you will never waver.” Louis turns his back to Bontemps, hoping that will always be the case.
Monsieur Fabien has seated himself in his cellar living room and inspects some… papers…. ah, it’s the forged documents. We see him next with Colbert and he points out how Colbert’s signature is on all those documents… (They copied that very well. You can find a sample signature here.)… that is not possible, says Colbert. It looks like his signature, but he did not sign those papers. Who did it then? He does not know. Maybe a Protestant friend. You are known to be one, says Fabien. It was not him, insists Colbert and suggest Fabien to look for someone with low morals, who might have forged the signature. Colbert lifts a glass as Fabien leave and looks like it suddenly dawned on him who has low morals…
… the person in question is in the garden and in conversation with a gentleman regarding business. As payment is handed over, we see Colbert approach. The Chevalier tries to save it by loudly talking of a lost bet. Colbert asks if the game, by any change, is called something like ‘escaped’. The Chevalier gives him a ‘I have no idea what you are talking about’ look. Monsieur Colbert is not fooled and continues, asking about that chocolate-maker and how his business is going. All is well… Colbert interrupts, loudly. There is no chocolate-maker called Venel, but there is a Cavanel and that guy vanished a month ago. What if the name on the document Colbert signed has been changed? The Chevalier shrugs nonchalantly. Is he aware of the punishment for forgery? The Chevalier pauses, then says there is no evidence against him…. instead it appears like there is evidence against Colbert, whose signature is on the papers. “Your Protestant sympathies are well-known, Monsieur Colbert, and your signature is the proof. Remind me again, the penalty for forgery?”
We stick with the Chevalier, who has in the meanwhile taken his coat off and gained possession of a glass of wine. Madame d’Angers is with him and I wonder whose bedroom they are in… she is seated on the edge of the bed, wearing chemise and morning gown, as he drinks nervously. Does he think Colbert will tell the King? They will soon find out. They may be arrested any minute and be hanged for it, says the Duchesse, yet he looks uncaring. Nothing like danger to get one’s mojo going, returns the Chevalier. What should they do now? Well, there are three options, he says. They could turn themselves in, run away… or he could tell her how he really feels. Strange timing, she says, and they lock gazes. She holds her hand out to him and he sits down next to her. The Chevalier admits to be terrified. They have nothing left, but each other now…. she leans in to kiss him and fumbles with his shirt, before removing it. Her chemise follows and he beholds her naked body. She reaches for his hand and places it upon her bosom, as if he needs help to locate said place. Sexy-time.
The real Chevalier de Lorraine had fathered a bunch of kids by then, thus knew his way around a female body… while show Chevalier and the fictional Duchesse d’Angers are having a merry time, Cardinal Leto appears to be more on the gloomy side of things. He is seated at his desk and apparently had a desire to see Colbert, who appears thus. Leto is worried about Louis, Colbert returns that is something he does every day. I laugh, for the first time this episode. The Cardinal doesn’t fear for Louis health, but his spiritual well-being… that is nothing Colbert can help with. Louis, argues Leto, has not been the same since the demise of the Queen and if he is not himself, France is not stable, which in turn makes Europe a little unstable as well. (Does that mean we will find him a new wife now?) Colbert agrees with the Cardinal, who then adds it is time Louis marries again. (Ha.) Colbert is glad about the suggestion, he had a look at fitting candidates already… and Leto interrupts him. Appears like he has someone in mind and that someone is a certain Isabelle de Bragance or Isabella of Braganza, Infanta of Portugal. “Ahhhhhh…” goes Colbert as the name is dropped and that is all of a reaction he is permitted to have before Leto continues, arguing that with Spain being now on Louis’ side, by means of the marriage of Marie-Louise and Charles II, such a match would unite the whole peninsula… create a French-Ally-Empire… and that is not something one would think Leto would suggest. I am suspicious. Would Portugal agree to that? Leto will make it happen, because it is what the Vatican wants.
Guillaume wanders through the busy Parisian streets and past people reading some paper. A lot of people read that paper and one copy of it is nailed to a pole, reading: Le peuple vit dans la pauvreté, le roy vit dans le luxe, non a la gabelle. The people live in poverty, the King lives in luxury, no to the gabelle. If you are wondering what the gabelle is, it is a highly unpopular tax on salt. In its original form, the gabelle was a tax on agricultural and industrial goods, for example sheets, fabrics, wheat, spices and wine. From mid-14th century on, gabelle meant the salt tax. Why was it so hated? Because it affected everyone. Everyone needed salt… and the gabelle was constantly raised, especially during war times. Guillaume removes the paper from the pole and storms off with it to his workshop, where he finds Jeanne. He presents her with the paper and inquires if she has seen it yet. No, but she is impressed. Guillaume thinks it is foolish. It will only cause more suffering. It can’t get much worse, says Jeanne and skips merrily aside. “Promise me you are not involved in this?” “For God’s sake.” There are not doing too bad right now, says Guillaume, but this could be their ruin if she were involved. Is business all he can think about, asks Jeanne. No, he is worried about her. She does not care. Silly thing. (I think she is kind of supposed to be a new Claudine type of character, but Claudine was way more likeable.)
Liselotte amuses herself in the gardens as she is approached by Colbert. He needs to talk with her about something delicate and she is all ears at once. The King is not happy and since both of them plan to see him happy again, by getting him married to someone who is not a ex-Protestant scarecrow, they should hurry a bit with it. Liselotte wishes to know of Colbert has found someone. He has and forwards Leto’s suggestion. He presents Liselotte with a portrait of the Infanta… and we need to talk about it. It looks like a typical Jacob Ferdinand Voet portrait, the style, the gown, the hair. It looks like a mix of all Mancini sisters. It does not look much like Isabelle de Braganza, it looks more like her mother Marie-Françoise-Élisabeth de Savoie, a granddaughter of Henri IV, thus a cousin to Louis XIV. Liselotte seems interested, but fears Louis will not in the mood for marriage talk at the moment. That is why they shouldn’t tell him yet, says Colbert.
It is night-time again and Versailles is beautifully illuminated. A certain ex-Protestant scarecrow enters a packed salon, nodding left and right with the typical holier-than-you smile on her lips. (Every time I see her, I wonder what on earth happened to all of Montespan’s kids, which were living at court… then I remember that they, like many other important people, do not exist in this show.) Colbert whispers with Liselotte about the marriage plans. Saying they do have the full support of the Vatican, which does surprise her a little. They have to stop their whispering as the scarecrow, nose high in the air, suddenly stops by their table. Colbert rises and excuses himself, Liselotte politely invites the creature to join her at cards. The invitation is declined and a surprised acting Maintenon asks if Colbert hurried away because of her. Nonsense, says Liselotte, they were just chatting and she also tells her what they were chatting about. Maintenon’s fake smile shines. “Even though that might be none of your concern?” “The King’s future should concern us all.” “Of course, but such matters shall be discussed through proper channels.” There is a lot to consider after all and it may take months of even years. Many years. That may be as it is, but they have found the perfect bride already and the Church backs it. “May I remind your Highness that his Majesty gave me responsibility in this affair.” Liselotte knows and as Catholic as Maintenon is, she would surely never dare to question the wishes of the Church. She would not do such a thing, says the scarecrow, but there should be no haste and someone should be sent to Portugal to ask around. Nup, says Liselotte, Louis should meet the Infanta in person and decide then. She has been invited already. Right.
In the meanwhile, Philippe waits like a servant in a servant corridor until a servant hands him a plate, with which he vanishes through a secret door to serve his father Mask Man. Fabien spots him. Philippe has also brought Mask Man a pair of glasses to help him read, like a doting son… while he doesn’t give a flying unicorn about his own son and daughter. When can he see the King, asks Mask Man. Philippe leans casually back. “I think he is scared of you.” “He doesn’t wish to see me?” Philippe shakes his head. Can he convince Louis? That will be difficult. Forward a message then? Philippe takes Mask Man’s hand, of course he can do that. I can totally understand show Philippe’s interested in it all, because he never really knew what it is like to have a father…. but it is still a little strange to have him not care at all about his children at the same time.
Long time no see, Louis reclines in a bath tub, as the door to his bedroom opens and Maintenon enters, dressed in chemise and dressing gown. “Having trouble sleeping?” “I sleep better with you by my side.” Louis remains silent and has a sip of wine. “There is talk of your remarriage, Sire.” “Have they nothing better to think about?” “It is your duty. It is a matter that you will have to consider.” Louis does not care, Maintenon steps closer. “You are not yourself, Louis. Something is troubling you. It pains me to think that you would keep something from me…” She reaches to touch the damp royal curls and Louis backs away. “Leave me alone.” She hesitates… he does not want it to be this way, but it is this way. “You will sleep alone again tonight.” What an unhappy pair, ey? First he tried to get her and she was all ‘Oh Lord, my morals’, then he got her, now he stays away in order not to spill the beans about daddy. She thinks he isn’t interested anymore and that she is just a name on a long list, that she has spread her legs for nothing.
Jeanne wanders the dark streets of Paris and is sneakily followed by Guillaume, who spots her enter the workshop of a printer. He sets out to Versailles to meet Louvois. It appears he told Louvois everything, also that Jeanne is part of it, and requests that she will not be harmed. Louvois tells him not to worry about it, for the King will reward him and have merci on his sister. (What’s the bet that she will be executed in public?) Guillaume and Louvois enter the council chamber. The Ministers and Maintenon are present and loudly declare how this paper is treason and needs to be dealt with at once. Treason or truth, says Louis, and walks out. Telling them to deal with it as they see fit. Maintenon rushes after him for a bit of a scene, her expression clearly says she can not believe what just happened. “What in God’s name is wrong with you?” “You seem to forget you are addressing your King.” “That man I just saw in there was not my King. What has happened to you?” Louis looks down. What happened to the King who made decisions, wanted to create an empire? The King born of God? “Perhaps I am not the King you thought I was.” She grabs his chin, I gasp. “Look at me. I do not know what it is that you are keeping from me and I do not care. What I do care about is your dreams, your ambitions.” (I do like that she seems so power-hungry, even more power-hungry than Montespan.) He might have forgotten them, but she has not. Angry Maintenon stomps out.
Fabien lurks about outside the council chamber and is joined by Bontemps, who tells him the printer responsible for the pamphlets has been found and something must be done at once, for the sake of the King’s reputation. We are in Paris in the next scene. Jeanne is about to leave the shoe shop and stopped by Guillaume, who wants to know where she wants to go. To see a friend. He locks the door quickly, she can’t go tonight, she needs to stay. She has no clue what is going on. The King knows about the pamphlets and there might be trouble soon, says Guillaume. How does he know? He does not answer that question and just urges her to stay. “Oh my God, what have you done?” We see what he has done, as the printer’s shop is stormed, searched, destroyed and the printer arrested. Jeanne managed to get out and rushes to the scene, urging Fabien to let the printer go. He can’t do this to decent men, she says. They are guilty of treason, he returns. They are good people, is he one? Fabien steps closer and recognises Jeanne. She has shown him kindness then and he should return the favour now, she says, but Fabien orders the men to be taken away. Arrest me too, urges Jeanne, and is told by Fabien to remove herself from the scene. The pamphlets they burn contain the truth. Does he want to burn the truth? Guillaume appears and drags Jeanne aside, who rewards the heroic action with a slap to his face. It is all Guillaume’s fault and he is dead to her now, an angry Jeanne says, and everyone hears it. Guillaume has to flee as the people, including Bastien, start to throw stones at him.
Back at Versailles, a silent Louis sits at his supper table, while Philippe watches. If Louis can not come to a decision regarding their father, Philippe has an idea. Mask Man ought to leave tomorrow and sail for the Colonies. This way Louis would no longer have to worry about it. They can send him away, but the actual problem remains, argues Louis. “You have to let him go. There is no other option.” What if they do that and the Vatican manages to relocate him? They will use Mask Man to destroy Louis. Philippe suggests Louis should speak with Mask Man, but Louis remains quiet. “Our father sends you a message. He says he can answer your question.”
… but before any questions can be answered, Cardinal Leto appears and hands the King a paper. “Is this a joke?” It is not. We do not see what the paper contains, but Louis ought to sign it and by signing it give the Church control over France otherwise there will be consequences. I sigh, loudly. The Church wants to excommunicate Louis, the Pope apparently already agreed. Louis ought to sign their terms or they will kick him out and tell the world about Mask Man. I sigh again, even louder. A smug Leto leaves. I am honestly bored with the Church part of the story-line. Louis XIV did indeed have troubles with the Church and their ambitions, while they had problems with his ambitions, but you can already guess that is blown way out of proportions again.
Time to answer the question. Louis appears in Mask Man’s attic chamber and he doesn’t even have to turn around, to know who just graced him with his company. How did he know it was him, ask Louis and Mask Man tells him he walks like a King. “Am I a King?” “You were born to a Queen.” “That does not make me a King.” Mask Man turns and rises. “You were a King from the moment you took your first steps.” “You knew me as a child?” He did and Louis was a rather stubborn child. Louis informs him of Philippe’s idea regarding the Colonies. “Is it a risk you are willing to take?” Louis diverts from the topic. “My brother said you could answer my question.” He can. “What do I do with you?” He ought to look into his heart and if he is who he really is, he will know what to do.
Louis has returned to his bedroom and tried the iron mask on. His breath is fast and hitches, his eyes are wide and hint panic. He takes the mask quickly off and hurls it at the mirror in front of him. The sound of shattering glass alarms Bontemps. The King, with fast breath, declares he has no clue who he is anymore. Bontemps eyes widen. Louis is his King, he has always been. He is King. He is not, says Louis, he is nothing but a bastard. Louis sinks down and Bontemps kneels down beside him. You are born of God, says Bontemps, Louis has a destiny and nobody can take that away. Does he really believe that? Knowing what he knows? He does. How can he be so sure about it? “I have faith, as should you. ” Staring teary-eyed Louis. He needs proof.
King and valet gallop trough a forest and climb up a cliff, overlooking a river. “Behold the Kingdom of God. If anyone ever needed proof of the Lord’s power, I would bring them here.” Louis removes his coat, then his vest, talking of how everything dies and is reborn. Christ is the proof of that. Bontemps is worried. “You told me that my destiny was divine. Let’s find out.” Louis stretches his arms out… and off he jumps… off that huge cliff… into the river…
I do have the desire to do likewise at times. I do understand his motivation/reasoning in regard of being reborn/if God allows him to survive that it is proof that he is favoured by God aka God approves of him, what he has done, what he plans to do…. but I still find that rather silly… and no, historic Louis XIV did not jump off a cliff, although plenty of people probably wished for it. I go and make some tea. See you next episode.