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Thoughts on Versailles, Episode Ten – Party like 1660

Thoughts on Versailles, Episode Ten


La Grande Finale, of Season One at least.

It rains and thunders. Louis rises from the bed of la Montespan to retire to his own and is joined by Marie Thérèse. Like Bontemps says, this is indeed highly unusual.
The secret door opens again, perhaps Montespan wants to sneak into the royal bed as well, that would have been funny…. it is Minette, covered in blood and coughing out even more of it. She left her bed, or rather that of Monsieur and his company, to seek aid from Louis. Does she despise her husband so much that even now, when coughing blood, she has to drag herself to Louis instead of waking him? Does she think her husband would not help? You could explain it with her being madly in love with Louis, I guess, or trusting him more.
Monsieur wakes and finds his wife gone, the sheets bloody, more blood on the floor. He follows the trail and finds her in the bedroom of his brother. He rushes to her side, never minding the blood. Louis is reminded by Bontemps of the fact that he must leave the room at once for his own safety, just as Fabien enters with the guards. They try to seize him, just like in Episode one, but he breaks free… Minette asks him to stay, of course she does. A meaningful exchange of glances and… he leaves.

Claudine arrives and we see Minette in obvious pain ask Claudine inquiries what happened. Marie Thérèse says Minette herself said she was poisoned and has a pain in her side. Left or right side? Marie Thérèse says left, Monsieur says right. It was the left, Marie Thérèse says, and reminds Philippe he was not there as it started.
Of course he was not since his wife decided to drag herself through half the palace instead of waking him. You might think what I say here lacks a certain sympathy for her, I try to have some… it is difficult. I was watching this, as all other Episodes, with Jules again and Jules actually said she feels bad for her to some degree, and does not want to do so. I can’t even quite get myself to that. Does that make me a bad person, I wonder…. or am I just too much Team Monsieur and due to it way too much influenced in my thinking by all the little things she, the historical Minette, has done to make him suffer? Things are mostly overlooked when one reads about her or, for some reason, are made to appear less terrible when she did them in comparison to Monsieur doing them. She is always portrayed as some sort of angelic person, while he is mostly the pervert. She was no angel and he was no pervert, both had flaws.. I guess I’m too biased in this matter…. bear with me.

Philippe says again it was the right side and she always complaint about it. She did indeed. Madame was always of a delicate health, as we already said. She was pale, by 17th Century standards something every noble aimed to look to distinguish themselves from the sun exposed working class, but she was unusually pale at times.
She never ate much either. If you compare Minette’s figure to the ideal form a woman back in the days aimed to have, Minette was quite the stick. While Madame de Montespan, the ideal of beauty for quite a while, and other Ladies had curves and bosoms, Minette was what we would call a rather lean model today.
Before she left for Dover, she hardly ate anything but broth and drank a couple of cups of milk a day along with chicory water, usually cooled, due to reported  digestive problems.

It was chicory water as well that she drank on June 29, 1670.
Minette was in Saint Cloud along with her husband. She would have much rather went to Versailles with the King, but Monsieur insisted she would come to Saint Cloud with him. He was still annoyed at her because of the whole England thing and the Chevalier was still in exile as well. Monsieur knew Minette would prefer to trip to Versailles, where she could be in company of Louis and be praised by the court, and thus ordered her to Saint Cloud with him. It was terribly warm outside and Minette had trouble to sleep, by itself nothing unusual. She had a habit of bad sleep and taking strolls during the night when she could not sleep, never minding the weather.
After she returned from England, she seems to have been of quite stable health for a while, but upon returning to Saint Cloud, she started to complain of pains in her side and stomach. Pains she suffered from 1667 on, sometimes more, sometimes less.
On said day, she had a bath in the river, as usual, and walked the gardens afterwards with little motivation and appearing quite melancholic. Around five o’clock, she had a glass of iced chicory water from her own cup, a cup that only she used. This will be of importance later on. Shortly after drinking the chicory water, the pains she suffered became worse and put her into quite the agony.
“Ah! What a pain! What shall I do! I must be poisoned!”, she cried out as she was taken to bed and demanded an antidote from the swiftly called physicians. Monsieur is called as well and rushes to her side. Madame explains the chicory water must have been poisoned. As we already said, poison was the very thing everyone suspected if someone suddenly took ill. Monsieur orders the chicory water to be given to the dogs and after drinking it, they show no signs of poisoning. Everyone takes a deep breath and Minette is given contemporary treatments for colic, as well as anti-poisons. The physicians assure Monsieur it is only a colic, yet the thought of poison remains and everyone in the room watching him rather closely. Could he have poisoned her? He is beside himself with worry and does everything he can to help his wife. Everyone notices this and so he is swiftly dismissed as possible culprit. Madame is rather touched by the display of tenderness and worry.
The King is informed and hurries to Saint Cloud, along with the Queen and Madame de Montespan. Madame talks with the English ambassador in English, the word poison is heard several times and Monsieur is told a colic could last for several days, as Minette seems to suffer more and more. He calls for the Bishops and the Extreme Unction is performed.
Approximately nine hours later, around three in the morning, Madame dies.

In this Grand Finale, we see a suspicion of poison as well and the Palace is put under lockdown at once, while Minette’s screams echo though the corridors.

Rohan takes advantage of the situation and suggests to take the Dauphin for a ride, he is without a doubt behind the poisoning. Louis suspects nothing and allows his dear friend to take his son into the forest for a ride, so he may not hear the screams of Minette. Back in the royal bedroom, we find Athénaïs and Monsieur, still in his nightshirt…. I want to hug him… while outside the Ministers argue about what to do and whether it is poison or not. Entree Philippe, he blames his brother for everything, for sending Minette, for her being ill, it was his idea, was it not? Athénaïs enters and he seems to blame her too, partly. It makes sense. The new mistress would, of course, want to get rid of the old ones… the question is to which degree.
Back to Rohan, he gets dressed as a maid enters, the very maid we saw serving Minette before she took ill, the maid wants money.

On a corridor, Montcourt runs into the Chevalier, he looks nervous, and they are joined by Cassel. The three talk of Fabian questioning everyone and how they cannot be seen together anymore. I take a deep breath. Good God, no. Please, for once, make him have nothing to do with it. Just once.
As Montcourt leaves the quick gathering, he spots Rohan talking of taking the Dauphin for a ride, and along with Rohan, he spots that ring.

Fabien, in the meanwhile, questions everyone who could have something to do with Minette’s illness. We see, among others, Sophie with him.
Philippe, now dressed, heads back to Minette and is lectured by Louis on the way. What Louis says there, is his very essence, but also not quite what Philippe would want to hear in a moment like this and if it wasn’t enough already Bontemps enters and informs both Minette wants to see Louis. He also confirms it is poison.
Louis follows Minette’s wish, never minding protocol, and the pain he has upon seeing her can hardly be ignored.
Montcourt is questioned by Fabien and Montcourt subtly hints on Rohan, but Fabien is more interested in Montcourt’s belt and the angels on it. “I saw angels.”, he gets the idea… unfortunately not that of the involvement of Rohan.

Louvois is questioned next and finally one thing that irritated me a bit is answered. I was quite wondering why he was so very opposing towards basically everything Louis said. He was opposing because Louis told him to be so. Smart move there.

Montcourt’s time has come. This is a scene, awesome as it looks, I disagree with, or rather my historical thinking brian does so.
We have Louis and Fabien in one room with Montcourt, the doors closed and guards in front of them, and confronting the latter with the death of the southern noble family along with all the others who died on the road to Versailles.
Montcourt denies everything and Fabien quotes the very line Montcourt just said to him, it does fit Montcourt himself quite well, but we all know who he meant with that by now. Fabien still does not. Louis accuses him of poisoning Minette, he shakes with anger…. and they get into a fight. Now, while this makes sense for show Louis, I can not help to wonder if the actual Louis would have taken such a risk. There are guards outside. Call for them. I don’t think he would have risked his life, especially after seeing Fabien stabbed on the floor, not even for personal revenge on Montcourt. He is France, after all. You can of course disagree with this, like you can disagree with the rest of my ramblings as well.

Back in the royal chambers…. I had a bit of the sobs there at this Louis and Philippe scene. Despite everything, there is so much love there and I feel like the show could have needed one or two moments more like this. Of a Philippe, who is not a raging ball of cuteness and more of an adorable ball of cuteness.

Minette won’t survive and asks to be brought to the gardens, so she may be surrounded by her favourite flowers. It would cause her too much pain and so the garden is brought to her. She lies in bed, heavily breathing, surrounded by flowers. It looks a bit like a funeral. I’m touched. I see her face. Louis’ face. Philippe’s face. A tear runs down his cheek. I can not stand to see it. See him sad.
Minette takes her last breath.
Louis fights with tears. Does he blame himself for it? For what happened. For what he had done to his brother. For loving Minette.
Philippe, you can see it in his eyes, does so and leaves.

That would have made for a most awesome end for Season One already and would have left us all in emotional distress for a year. I think I would have preferred it even to the actual end of Season One we are approaching now with Fabien waking up.
We saw him passing out after being stabbed by Montcourt and find him now, band-aided, with Montcourts voice in his mind. He gets it now.

The court says farewell to Minette, the Chevalier along with them. What does he think right now? You can probably guess what I hope he does not think in that very moment…. the look on his face makes me suspicious. If you know the story of Minette, and the rumours that started as soon as she died, you know what I mean.
Monsieur enters, he does not look at his dead wife, and tells the Chevalier they are leaving and never coming back….
They walk down the opulently decorated corridors, I do really love how they walk in step with each other here, towards the entrance of the chateau… and are stopped.

The King does not want his brother to leave, his brother wants to hear nothing of it, or the fact that already now, Louis talks of a new marriage for Monsieur. Louis is so much King again.
I watched that scene a couple of times already now and it leaves me with an odd feeling for Season Two. Dear writers, don’t make a Frondeur out of him, I beg you. He would rotate in his grave, if he still had one.

Now to the Grande Finale of the Grand Final….. as Louis, deep in thought, lets his glance roam over Versailles… the Dauphin is kid(dauphin)napped.
I bit too fantasy for my taste.


I hope you enjoyed my rambling to some degree. I’m certainly looking forward to more rambling next Season and thank you all for reading my patati patata and if you don’t have enough of it yet, there is a Summary too.

Merci beaucoup.