Are you ready for the next episode? We are at episode five now, which means we are half way through the last season of Versailles…. and everything behind this sentence will be full of spoilers. Last episode, we saw our King being not so kind to the peasants, while Monsieur attempts to trick Bontemps into believing he dropped the Mask Man quest. The Chevalier acted gallant with the Duchesse d’Angers and Sophie let some insect loose in the Queen’s bed, which crawled into her ear….
Before we get started, I tried to figure out what sort of insect that was, but until now I couldn’t not find out. Jules has no clue what it could be either. Maybe they will tell us in one of the following episodes, but if you happen to know what that thing is, please let me know in the comments or message me on Twitter. I really want to know what that thing is.
Madame de Maintenon has returned to Versailles and people can not quite believe it, at least they ogle her as if they can not believe it. She saunters through a gilded door and into a room where Louis already awaits her. She is welcomed home and Louis presents her with a shiny ring, which he places on her ring-finger. She sighs. They kiss. He promises there will be no other chick apart from her from this very moment on and she in return promises that she will help him achieve greatness. I don’t think he needs her for that. (A personal note: I share Liselotte’s opinion on Madame de Maintenon. Never liked her. Will never like her. She was the scarecrow of Versailles.)
We stay with Louis and follow him to the council chamber. The Ministers and Fabien are already there, so is Maintenon, which is now made a permanent member of his council. Hurray. Madame de Maintenon had quite a bit of influence on Louis XIV. As he got older, he often talked with his Ministers while she was present, or council was held in her chambers, but she was not a member of his council. Historians argue how far her political influence on him went, some say more some say less, she at least had a big influence on his private religious matters as well as matters of the court. People back in the days were already not sure how far her influence went. I guess her feud with Liselotte is a good example that she had private influence over the King. On we go… Philippe, open-mouthed, does not really agree with the decision of his brother, while the rest applauds. Monsieur Fabien has learned that this di Marco, the grim-looking Priest, had a very white vest. Louis is not quite sure that the Priest is doing in Versailles then and orders Bontemps to stay close to the man. Colbert has good news. An Ottoman trader has arrived and promises riches. Maintenon adds that one has to see beyond religion, so the Kingdom may flourish. Louis is impressed.
His expression changes as there is a sudden ado by the doors. It’s the Queen and she demands entry to see her husband. She storms in, yelling, and Louis wants to know what all of that is about. She wants to speak in private and the rest is dismissed… he tells her that she does not matter to him anymore and is only there to serve as link to Spain. “I am your wife, not a commodity you can trade with.” She betrayed him, by sleeping with Leopold, he says, and therefore she is pretty much nothing to him anymore. “YOU TALK TO ME ABOUT BETRAYAL?” Popcorn.gif. He humiliated her over and over by showing his mistresses off and dares to talk of betrayal to her, she argues. She only did one mistake. She wants to apologise and gasps for air, before collapsing.
We return from the intro to leeches in a glass. (Leeches are so very eww.) Liselotte rushes to the Queen’s bedside to see what is going on. Nobody wanted to tell her anything. She is relieved to hear that Marie-Thérèse only felt a little dizzy and this feeling is now gone. The Queen attempts to get out of bed, but is urged by a doctor to remain where she is. Liselotte comes to the rescue and is thanked. Marie-Thérèse wishes more people at Versailles were like Liselotte. The latter asks if Marie-Thérèse has spoken to the King and how he reacted. “No doubt he is laughing at me now.” “I don’t think he would do that.” The Queen cups Madame’s cheeks. “Oh my dearest, what would I do without you?”
Our grim-looking Priest kneels at prayer in his room as Bontemps enters. (Are those Montespan’s former rooms?) Bontemps clears his throat to get di Marco’s attention in order to inquire if Versailles has been to his liking so far. In di Marco’s order they pay no attention to the needs of the flesh. Fine then, says Bontemps, let me know if I can do something for you. Di Marco forwards greetings from Cardinal Leto and Bontemps returns he can not remember to have met the Cardinal in person. You guys have a long-standing arrangement, says di Marco. “….Why are you here?” “As precaution.” “You may return to Rome and tell the Cardinal it is not needed.” The Vatican does no longer trust Bontemps as it should and Monsieur knows too much, says di Marco, as if he already plans how to best kill Monsieur without causing too much fuss. And Bontemps himself, has become quite careless.
We go to the salons. Every time I see images like this, I wish I could travel back in time to join Louis XIV’s court, where I would last about five minutes before being removed for acting against etiquette. We see Sophie as the presence of the King is announced by Bontemps. Le Roi sweeps in with la Maintenon and Liselotte and the Chevalier gossip about what they see. Maintenon’s new gown is greeted with “Finally she has learned how to dress like a King’s mistress.” That woman was always a she-wolf disguised as a mouse, figures the Chevalier, and Liselotte adds it is very indecent to parade her around, while Marie-Thérèse is ill. Meanwhile, Eléonore whispers to Sophie that Louis is only parading Maintenon around to humiliate her. How can he chose that old cow over her? Eléonore is sure that Louis actually wants her in his bed and not Maintenon. “If the King wanted you, he would have you.”
Back to the council chamber, where Louis meets with the Ottoman merchants. Louis does not lack silk and spice at Versailles, surely they must have noticed. They are not here for silk and spice, they offer a trading network. Colbert murmurs that this, controlling the trading routes to Europe, would add a pretty penny to the royal-purse. Louis dismisses his Ministers for a word in private with the merchant and once they are gone, tells the merchant what a brave move it was to come to Versailles. “Why are you really here?” The merchant is actually an agent and came to forward a suggestion of Sultan Mehmed. The Sultan is not fond of the Emperor and thinks that maybe they can bond over it. He wants to move towards Vienna and asks for Louis’ support. Louis could not possible help a Muslim nation in a war against a Christian one… but he will consider the matter.
Fabien strolls into his cellar, after supervising a corpse being dragged out of a swamp. Philippe waits for him already. Fabien tells Monsieur the Bastille governor has been found and Philippe wants to know what the man said. Nothing. The dude is dead. Monsieur thinks the man was killed because they spoke with him and Fabien agrees. Someone knows they are getting close to discovering something. Someone is watching them. Fabien thinks that unlikely, for he would know if it were the case. What about Bontemps? Bontemps knew they spoke with the man and Philippe saw him hide something. He was also the one who told them the Macquart story. Fabien thinks Bontemps is not the type of man to turn murderer. What if it was a command by Louis? No, says Fabien, that is his job. But what if Louis tries to keep it a secret even from you, adds Monsieur… and Fabiens mood changes at once. “Bontemps would do anything to protect the King, would he not?” Fabien remains silent for a moment, before he jumps up from his chair. They should talk with Bontemps at once. Monsieur stops him. They can not just talk with him about it, two men are dead already. Fabien argues that the matter should be brought to Louis. No, says Philippe. He does not trust his brother not to be involved in it and asks Fabien if there is news about the symbol on the dagger. Not yet.
Madame de Maintenon, slightly nervous, admires her reflection and her new gown in a mirror as the Duchesse d’Angers walks in. The latter compliments her on her outfit, to which she replies she only tries a new fashion. Maybe to celebrate your new status? Maintenon is humbled and honoured by the King’s trust. The Duchesse finds it good that she is back, because the King was acting a bit strange with them, the Protestants, while she was away. Her friend, Monsieur de Puy, has been thrown into prison for no reason. The King always has good reason, says Maintenon. Then he is wrong. La Maintenon advises that there are some matters, on which one should stay quiet. But we are friends, are we not? Surely she could speak to Louis about Monsieur de Puy. Nup, Louis has enough other things to deal with. “Then he should stop thinking he is God almighty himself.” “I should remind you the King is God’s representative on earth.” Why then does he think the Protestants are a danger to him? “Perhaps that is God’s intention. It is not for me to speak for either of them.” I hope she will act according to that last sentence, but I doubt it. The Duchesse is shocked to hear such words from her friend. What on earth happened to her? She is again who she once was, says Maintenon, and the Duchesse returns that is not true. She knows who Maintenon once was, she was one of them and it is stupid to deny that. Madame d’Angers presses a book, I guess it is a Protestant Bible, into Maintenon’s hands and leaves.
We stay with her and watch her promenade in the gardens (Vaux) with Louis. That golden shimmering statue you can see in the background is one of Hercules and it is huge. Louis is glad to hear the Queen is feeling better, but does not care too much about his wife being troubled. They all have one or two things that bother them, he says, and asks Maintenon what hers is. She has no more secrets that she keeps from him, but admits that she was wrong with something. One must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God and she now knows how. To atone for her past life, she must not beg for forgiveness, but reject that past. (As if it did not exist, or what? That is something she would do. ) Her dark days were during her life as a Protestant, she says and I roll my eyes. It annoys me a lot how they twist and alter time-lines to the point that it does not make sense… want to know why? Maintenon was educated in protestant spirit, but converted already before she married Scarron. If she had not converted by then, she would not have been able to marry him, because he was Catholic. So, she was a Catholic as she married him and was one as he died. Can you see where I am going? Show Maintenon blames her whore days on being a misled Protestant, when, according to basic logic, she must have been a Catholic already by then. Anyway, he tells Louis he is right to be cautious of them, because they dare to question him and that he was sent by God to rule France. That de Puy said it out loud and it is what the rest of them think. He was chosen by God, she says, and Louis agrees. It is time to let them all know.
Back in the council chamber, we have Louis telling everyone that something must be done about the Protestants. They may be only few, but a handful is already enough to lead the others astray. It is better to act, before the roast gets spoiled. The Protestant matter must become a matter of priority to everyone. Colbert does not really see what Louis’ problem, is for none of the Protestants caused any ado. They are loyal subjects and their faith a private matter. Maintenon butts in to make Colbert aware of the fact that the Protestants are not quite agreeable to what she calls the natural order. “They challenge the authority of Priest, Pope and his Majesty as our God chosen King.” Louvois agrees, they are all dangerous as long as they share a faith with William of Orange. Colbert raises a brow at Louvois… they should act with caution, the Protestants pay taxes after all…. Now Bontemps butts in too to remind Louis of the Edict of Nates once more, which ensures freedom of religion to the Protestants. Louis does not understand why they are so hesitant. He is a reasonable man and not cruel. Oui, says Maintenon, nobody wants to kill them, but we should help them to see that they are wrong and assist them to return to the Catholic faith. Exactly, says Louis. He wants a list of all Protestant businesses and that the owners should be made aware that he would appreciate, for the sake of their souls, if they would convert. It will certainly not be bad for their businesses.
Colbert and Louvois leave the council room. Colbert is pissed off that they have to listen to a woman now. Louvois is fine with that, while Colbert worries what will happen if she talks Louis into ignoring the advice of his Minsters. Louvois argues that Colbert is only pissed, because it will mean he will have to work harder in the future. Monsieur Colbert works night and day already. Louvois is not sure, but thinks they should be at least more vigilant. That won’t be enough, adds Colbert, they should be up in arms. The Edict of Nantes is in place to protect minorities, like the Protestants, and if the King tears that up…. God knows what might happen next. Maybe new Wars of Religion. Louvois is a bit dumb-struck and shuffles/waddles after Colbert… did he just suggest they should act against Louis’ wishes? No, but it is religious bigotry. It is their job to do what is right.
Let’s talk about Henri IV and the Edict of Nantes, shall we? Henri IV, the grandpa of Louis XIV, was the first Bourbon to place his behind on the throne of France and his way there was not an easy one. Henri became heir to the throne of France as the younger brother of Henri III of France died. He was quite familiar with the family of Henri III, because he married his sister Margot… for which he had to change faiths. Henri IV was baptised a Catholic, but grew up as a Protestant, fought the Catholics in the Wars of Religion, converted to marry Margot (The wedding took place at Notre-Dame and he was apparently not permitted to enter the church for his own wedding.), then he converted again to support the Protestants, became the heir of Henri III… and converted once more to take the throne. After his final conversion, Henri remained a friend of the Protestants and he did something which was supposed to finally end all the ado between the two faiths. He signed an edict which granted the Calvinist Protestants of France, known as Huguenots, substantial rights like general freedom of conscience, amnesty and the reinstatement of their civil rights, in order to end the so long-lasting religious wars that teared the Kingdom into two and caused so much bloodshed. This edict became known as the Edict of Nantes and was signed in April 1598. It was a damn fine thing to do, what was not a damn fine thing to do was the Edict of Fontainebleau, signed by Louis XIV in October 1685. Many Catholics were not necessarily fine to have Protestant neighbours and Louis XIV himself was not that fond of them either as he grew older. So, with the Edict of Fontainebleau, he took the rights his grandpa had granted away again…. and that was not too great for France. Huguenot churches were destroyed, schools closed, people were prosecuted to convert or leave France. A lot of people decided to leave and took with them their smart minds and knowledge of important techniques, which had economic effects, because the ones that left France brought all that knowledge to other Kingdoms.
Back to Versailles, where Bontemps is on the way to somewhere as he is stopped by Fabien to inform him of a murder. Fabien desires to know if Bontemps knows who could have killed the Bastille governor and Bontemps returns that Fabien should focus on the security of the royal family and not some Bastille governor dude. “The Queen has fallen ill. Have you ruled out the possibility of a poisoner?”
Monsieur has made his way to the palace chapel (Fontainebleau) to speak with Bossuet about the dagger, or rather the symbol on it. The death of the devil, he says, he has read about that a while back. Monsieur wants to know if he can find talk of that in the Bible and Bossuet says it is only hinted there. The real story is part of the apocrypha. Oh dear. For those of you not familiar with the term apocrypha, it means as much as “hidden” and consists of parts of the Old and New Testaments, which were not deemed fit, for various reasons, to be included in the Bible. They are kept in the Vatican and some people believe they contain dark secrets that could cause the fall of the whole church…. like did Jesus have a love-child with Mary-Magdalene. Bossuet also says he has seen the symbol on the dagger before in the Vatican archives and remembers it belongs to an ancient sect called the Knights of Damascus. Those knights had a very specific aim, to protect the Catholic church and destroy its enemies. Without merci. Great. Probably what Philippe thinks as well as he leaves the chapel and notices he might have been watched.
Night has fallen over Versailles as we return to the royal bedroom. Louis is fast asleep for once, but Bontemps is not and sneaks out. How dare he to leave the King unattended. What if Louis has a thirst and nobody is there to present him a glass? Etiquette forbids the King to reach for something himself, it must be presented to him. It appears Bontemps has other things to do. Or he simply can’t sleep, which is no reason to leave the King alone. Bontemps has made his way to that private and very dark chapel (I think that is modelled after a room at Vaux.), and is joined there by di Marco. Bontemps prays to get rid of all evil, I bet he means di Marco, who thus asks Bontemps to be shown to the prisoner. Monsieur Bontemps does not want to speak about Mask Man in the palace and di Marco returns he doesn’t have to speak, just listen. No. Priest dude should better listen. Bontemps is not someone he can command about. “There is a higher authority to which we both must answer.”
The sun rises in Paris, while the tannery/shoeshop workers say a prayer for the friend they lost. Guillaume enters with a note from Versailles. Said note says they should consider to change faiths…. of course they are Protestants. It appears simply letting them be pissed off about the tax issue was not enough for the writers. Jeanne does not even wish to think about changing religions, Guillaume looks like the believes it would be the best for their business.
Meanwhile, Bontemps led the grim-looking Priest to Mask Man. The latter is handcuffed and seated on the floor, which is something Bontemps is not at all happy about. He helps Mask Man to sit down on a chair. He has protected Mask Man all his life and won’t allow anyone to mistreat him…. and then we have Mask Man speak for the first time. He has very much of an accent and asks if the King will soon end his suffering. Louis knows nothing about him, says Bontemps, and it will stay that way. Right, I do have two ideas who Mask Man could be. The first idea was some sort of brother or look-alike of Louis, which has been hidden away. The second idea, which i find even worse and to be honest very impertinent, has sort of confirmed itself with Mask Man’s accent. I do not know who exactly he is, but I think I know what his role is/was.
And I think it is a good point to tell you a bit more about the legend behind that story now. First of all, the only direct account, meaning from someone directly involved, that speaks of something like a masked prisoner does not say it was a mask of iron, but a mask of black fabric, like velvet. That account, written in 1698, comes from a lieutenant of the Bastille, who also says the prisoner was ordered to wear the mask by Monsieur de Saint-Mars, who was the new governor of the Bastille and had brought the prisoner with him. In the show we are story-wise somewhere in the mid 1680’s right now. In 1711, Liselotte mentions the same thing in a letter, saying she has heard of a prisoner, who apparently must always wear a mask, even when eating or sleeping. The first mention of an iron mask was by Voltaire in his Questions sur l’Encyclopédie of 1771. Voltaire also said the man was a brother of Louis XIV. Alexandre Dumas then used that story, a good hundredth years later, for his Musketeer Saga. We will talk about rumours regarding the identity of the man later on. (I guess next episode.)
We return to Louis, who is surprised to see his brother at the table set for the royal lunch in the royal bedroom. Louis XIV had the habit to eat his lunch in small company, while his supper was a big affair. (More about that here.) Philippe want to know of Louis invited Monsieur di Marco to Versailles and Louis says there is no reason why he would do that. Maybe because Louis is closer to the Vatican than people believe, figures Monsieur. Louis thinks Philippe got a wild imagination and should better be grateful for what Louis has done for him. After all, he is now part of his council and that is something he always wanted….. now he has it, as sign of trust, he does not care for it anymore. Philippe doesn’t care for the brotherly reproach either and jumps up. “Why is the Vatican holding the Man in the Iron Mask?” Louis shakes his head and laughs. “My dear Philippe, since that bang on the head your behaviour has been erratic. Sometimes alarming. This madness must stop.” Finally someone says what I have been thinking all the time. Louis needs his brother at his side and not chasing after a phantom. He is afraid he is losing Philippe. “I fear it is I who is losing you, brother.” says Philippe and leaves all disappointed about the lack of interest Louis has in the mystery.
The Duchesse d’Angers and the Chevalier stroll the gardens. Madame d’Angers wonders if she is really expected to do nothing in regards of Louis’ treatment of her fellow Protestants. There is not much that can be done, says the Chevalier. She is unhappy to see her name on a list and worries what future her nephew’s business will have under such circumstances. The Chevalier casually mentions he thought about changing faiths (Dear Lord.) so they have more in common. (How desperate that character is.) But of course, they way things are currently… he would not do it… but what about her becoming Catholic? “You don’t know me at all, do you?” “I know you most intimately.” “We had sex. Don’t imagine that gives you access to my heart.” He looks a bit hurt and points out that her position at court would be secure if she were to marry him. “I need no man. And I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last specimen on this earth.” I guess I’m supposed to feel sorry for him now, but I do not. The thing I feel sorry about is how a fabulous historical character has been turned into a…. heap of smelly mule poo. He was one of the most eligible bachelors at court, high-ranking, with splendid family connections, quite the fortune and a princely title, which would have been applied to a wife. The way he is written in this show degrades him to a silly nothing.
On we go. Guillaume has travelled to Versailles and runs into Louvois. Actually, Guillaume wanted to speak with Monsieur, but now he tells Louvois what moves his heart. He is a loyal Frenchman, served as soldier, and now serves the palace, but he is afraid he might lose everything now, because he is a Protestant. Lucky you, says Louvois, he needs boots for the soldiers and Guillaume should make them. If he changes faiths.
We stay with Guillaume and have him arrive back at his workshop. Jeanne wants to know if Guillaume has spoken to Monsieur. There is no need for that, says Guillaume, there is only one thing that must be done. Jeanne smiles and says they will be able to cope… but that is not what Guillaume means. He tells her they have been offered a contract that would secure their business, thus the workplaces of all employees, for decades to come. His sister guesses correctly that a change of faiths would be necessary for it and gets in a mighty huff about it. It’s just saying a few words for a bright future. Guillaume argues that it would be good for all of them, especially the men working for them, but Jeanne believes that all he wants is money. She would under no circumstances deny her faith. Not should he.
Philippe, annoyed as usual, enters his bedroom and finds Liselotte and the Chevalier seated on the bed. He greets them with an utterly charming “So what earth shattering challenge will I be wrestling with today?” If I were Liselotte, I would now tell him to fornicate away and get a grip. They have been discussing matters of the heart, says the Chevalier, that is nothing Philippe would understand. Liselotte adds the Chevalier has fallen in love and there is a hint of surprise on Monsieur’s face before he asks if the object of love is the Chevalier’s own reflection in a mirror. It is the Duchesse d’Angers, says Liselotte. Philippe blinks, the Chevalier in love with a woman… that is too silly to be true. Liselotte, by far the most historical of them all, gets called away and tells them not to discuss the juicy parts until she is back. Monsieur looks as if he wants to flee the room as well, at least the prospect of being alone with the Chevalier does not appear to please him too much. “You have somewhere to be?” “Somewhere else.” “I’m not trying to seduce you… I just hoped we could still talk to each other without rank.” Philippe sits back down, as far away from the Chevalier as he can, yet he seems to be a bit more relaxed now. “So, how have you been?” “Busy. You?” “After a fashion.” “How’s your love-life?” “Solitary.” “Ah, the true love that never lets men down.” Philippe sort of whispers “You are really in love with that woman?” The Chevalier sighs “I don’t know.” Philippe can not quite remember what it feels like to be in love. “Well, that makes me feel marvellous. Thank you.” returns the other Philippe with a small smile. Philippe knows that is was good to be in love… but it’s been a while…. and wants to know what the problem with the Duchesse is. The Chevalier is not sure how he can convince her…. “Don’t say anything. Find a way to show her.”
Back to Liselotte, who walks into the Queen’s bedroom. Did you know that in the first layout of rooms of Versailles, the rooms of Monsieur were straight under those of the Queen? I think I mentioned it before somewhere. Our Queen lies sort of sideways on her bed and looks very much high. She feels fabulous and is rather hungry. Liselotte and Sophie have to join her for some feasting. Liselotte appears glad to see the Queen back on her feet, but her expression changes as la Reine attempts to down a glass of wine and spills it all over her linen night-shirt. She takes said shirt off, in a room full of people, and Liselotte, very worried, tries to get her back into it. La Reine is going mad. Her doctor comes closer and touches her arm. (We are at 5k words now. Will I ever finish this review?) “Touch me again and I will tell mother.” (If I am not wrong, the Spanish court etiquette did not allow that doctors touched the Spanish Queens.) Marie-Thérèse can hear her mother in her head and tells her she will soon come to her. (Her mother was Élisabeth de France, sister of Louis XIII, and she died in 1644.) The doctor returns and attempts to get her into bed…. plenty of queenly yelling…. she can hear whispers and touches her cheek, as if she can feel something there which should not be there. We know what it is. One of her eyes turns blood-red and she walks back to her back, whispering “What is happening to me…” over and over. She falls on the bed and her whole body cramps. The doctor thinks she is possessed by a demon and I think ffs. Or hfr. How f…… ridiculous. What is this Hollywood nonsense? What’s the bet that Louis will cast the demon out? I guess the writers have to bring an example for the whole chosen by God thing.
Bossuet confirms the doctor’s suspicion about a demon to Louis. He wants to know if it could be poison, but the doctor dismissed it. Liselotte urges Louis to visit his wife, but Bossuet thinks it would not be wise. They must perform an exorcism. Only the power of God can cast the demon out…… what did I just say?
The doctor might have dismissed that the Queen was poisoned, but Fabien can not. He meets Marie-Thérèse’s Spanish lady and ordered her to tell him who was when in the Queen’s chambers before she fell ill. Rumours of the demon issue have reached the salon in the meanwhile. Eléonore eyes a very nervous Sophie all suspiciously. The latter leaves the salons and is spotted by Fabien, who has by now a bit of a list, and wants to know why Sophie was spotted outside the Queen’s rooms the night before she fell ill. Eléonore comes for the rescue, saying that Sophie was looking for her, because she always gets lost in the palace.
Both of the saunter away and to Sophie’s rooms. She plays nervously with a perfume bottle. Eléonore, after doing some bum saving, wants to know what Sophie really did there. She only wanted to talk with Marie-Thérèse. Strange, thinks Eléonore, why did I have to lie for you then? Eléonore doesn’t buy the story and threatens to tell Fabien at once that Sophie is acting strange. Eléonore ought to do what she tells her, says Sophie, and outs herself as a agent of Leopold.
We return to the Queen. She is in bed, tossing and turning, and bound to the bed on arms on legs…. I have honestly no idea how I am supposed to stay polite here, but I will try. She shouts for the King as Bossuet reads some Latin and sprinkles her with Holy Water. (I take a deep breath.) In return, Marie-Thérèse begins to yell a whole lot of biblical insults regarding Louis. Bontemps and Maintenon exchange glances and she rushes out to Louis, telling him he ought to go and see his wife. “Show her Godliness.” He does so and enters her chambers to sit down on her bed. “Be still. Peace be upon you.“… he touches her brow….. “Return to me.”….. she calms. He has cast the demon out. It is a miracle. (This scene is so full of perfect acting. It could not be better acted. But what on earth is this nonsense story? Why? And why not use fictional character, of which we have plenty, to do something like that? Why butcher the story of a historical character for the sake of some ridiculous drama?) What the writers want to tell us here, is that the King, sent by God and blessed by Him, was thought to have the power of healing… and you can read all about it by clicking here.
Madame de Maintenon and Louvois enter the salons to make the courtiers, which were not present in the bedroom, aware how the King has just cast the demon out. Everyone applauds. The Chevalier is there too and used his chance to talk with Maintecow… pardon, Maintenon to asks if she can do something for the Duchesse d’Angers. She says that maybe if the Duchesse would change her faith, she might be allowed to remain at court… and adds that the Chevalier’s services as party-master are no longer needed. His eyes go round, the King has appointed him as such. Oui, says Maintenon, he might have done that, but he trusts her judgement and if she says he is dismissed, then he is dismissed.
It is the next morning, the church bells call for mass, and Monsieur di Marco leaves his room. Monsieur was already waiting for it and sneaks in at once to search di Marco’s belongings, spotting the dagger-symbol. He is interrupted by some noise and rushes to church as well. It is rather full there, for a lot of Protestants are present to renounce their faiths. Madame d’Angers is not there, but Guillaume is.
From morning-glory, to midnight creepiness. Monsieur di Marco walks past a large fountain as Monsieur shouts after him he knows exactly who Monsieur di Marco is. A Knight of Damascus. Monsieur di Marco draws a dagger at once. Good thing Monsieur came armed as well. He draws his rapier and both engage in a bit of fighting, where Philippe nearly gets drowned in a fountain. He manages to grasp Monsieur di Marco’s dagger, the some sort of dagger he has found in the forest, pretty much last second and knocks him back with it. “Who is the Man in the Iron Mask?” “The King is not chosen by God.” All of the hints we got so far, point towards the twin/look-alike theory…. but I think they mean something else.
Marie-Thérèse lies on her bed and is joined by Louis. It appears she has gone blind. She knows that she is dying and she thought she would be afraid of it, but she is not. She knows God will embrace her soon. Her life was not meant to be a happy one, but it does not mean that she does not love Louis. “You hold no regrets?” Only that she will not be able to see the sun rise over Madrid one last time. She asks if he will ever forgive her and Louis looks a little unsure, then says he should ask her to forgive him. She does. “We are all sinners. We did not choose this life, but do our best within it. You are a man like any other.” Her voice shakes as she asks if he remembers their first meeting. She was so nervous and afraid, but Louis smiled at her, only a little, but enough to ensure her that he was a good man. He should smile more often. (You can read about their first meeting here.) They should pray together now, she says, and begins to cramp as he takes her hands. Remember your heart. This scene is very touching and full of emotions…. if it were not for the fact that the writers decided to poison her with some bug that crawled into her brain, which then made her appear possessed, I would feel very emotional now… but I can not…. because I do not understand why her story had to be twisted like that for a bit of stupid drama. The historical Marie-Thérèse was not poisoned, nor possessed, she died of natural causes due to an abscess which formed under her left arm. The doctors treatments only weakened her and the abscess began to show signs of septicaemia. She endured a lot of pain and apparently said “Since I have been Queen, I only had one happy day.” shortly before she died. Only she knows that day that was.
The King has removed himself from the presence of his dying wife and stands in the gardens (Vaux) in front of a large fountain (Featuring a huge golden crown.) While the courtiers don veils and read the Bible, rosaries are taken out of drawers, and veiled ladies walk the corridors. The Queen is dying, the reign of Madame de Maintenon begins. Louis looks up at the night sky and asks God to give his wife peace. Marie-Thérèse takes her last breath as the sun rises over Versailles again. She smiles as she feels the warmth of the sun on her face.
Louis has remained at the fountain all night and is now joined by Bontemps, who informs him that la Reine est mort.
And now I have to take a deep breath again, because we see Marie-Thérèse being washed and dressed to Lie in State on her bed, while Louis, looking somewhat touched, joins Maintenon in his rooms and is then somewhat touched by her, which leads to him finally having free access to what is under her gown. (Liselotte enjoyed to call Maintenon a Zotte. That’s German and means a female being with lacking body hygiene and unwashed/neglected pubes.)
What can I say as final sentences on this episode? I think a lot of thinks, none are too polite. I think its very sad what Marie-Thérèse was turned into to, meaning her role last season as well, and how they made their story end. Nothing to do with history anymore. But hey, I should be used to it by now, shouldn’t I?