Here we go with episode nine, which means Versailles season 3 is almost over… and everything behind this sentence will be very full of spoilers. Last episode, we had Jeanne engaging in criminal acts, the Chevalier having some sexy-time, Philippe being a doting son, Liselotte plotting with Colbert… and the King jumped off a cliff.
His Majesty is under water, in a deep black noting, his eyes are firmly shut and he appears to be sinking. We get a glance at the royal boots and some seaweed underneath them. He is close to the ground of the river (Basin.) as suddenly hands emerge from the seaweed and attempt to grab his boots. He stirs and looks down, then up, where a sudden light appears and shines on his face. Louis struggles and breaks free. He swims up and emerges, taking deep breaths. I hope he feels sufficiently reborn now and that Bontemps will fetch him a towel.
Louis looks dry again as he heads up the Queen’s Staircase in company of Bontemps. And it appears he has proof enough now, at least he tells Bontemps so and says he ought to make preparations. The King saunters into the rooms of his brother, who broods by the fireplace with a glass of wine. Philippe’s mood changes to rather pleased, as Louis informs him they will go to see Mask Man, whom he still calls the prisoner, together to set him free. Philippe suggests he can place Mask Man into a carriage himself, so he can be brought to a port and from there to the Colonies, but Louis says no to that. Mask Man must remain in France. How can they allow his freedom then? There is only one way to end this, says Louis, and Philippe looks shocked at once. Mask Man is their father… does Louis really imply what Philippe thinks? He does. “So say it then… call it what it is…. murder.” Mask Man is a threat to them and all they created, they need to protect what has been created. For as long as Mask Man lives, the Church can use him to destroy France. This is not just, says Philippe, Mask Man already sacrificed so much for them. Exactly, returns Louis, what Mask Man wants is to be released from the burdens. “God has delivered our father to us. His fate is in our hands, but we must shoulder this cross together.”
While the intro plays, let’s have a look at the threat level. Show Louis fears that the Church could shoo him off his throne by means of revealing the father issue and using the father as proof. The Church was rather powerful, but the question is would that actually work? If they got their hands on Mask Man, who doesn’t really look much like either Louis or Philippe (The lovely Tess pointed that out too in the comments of the last episode.) how can they proof parentage? They can only say it is like it is, but for that they could also take a random guy. Mask Man, for the sake of his children, would probably never confess and after giving up so much already, as Louis points out, torture wouldn’t change that. Mask Man’s life would be over either way. Are there documents proving the story of the Church? There should be letters at least, those of Bontemps to Leto or stuff like that, but probably nothing with an official seal on it. No written confessions which contradict the official and by the way true story of how Louis XIV was fathered. Bontemps letters would prove nothing, for they are probably vaguely written and it could be argued that they are faked. Bontemps wouldn’t say a word either. So, the real danger is discredit. If they drop the father story, all other sovereigns who have a problem with Louis and his ambitions can use that for their advantage. They could do that no matter if the story is true or not and they could do that even if Mask Man was dead.
Back from the intro, a nicely clad Mask Man is led into the golden bedchamber of the King. Louis and Philippe await him. They are more alike than they might think, says Mask Man, as he beholds the two of them. Louis informs his father they wished to have a moment together, as a family, and their gazes move to the table in front of them. Three glasses of red wine and a silver tray with a small vial on it. Philippe looks touched, Louis looks kingly, Mask Man is happy to see them together. They share their duty, says Louis, and Mask Man reaches for the glass prepared for him to toast both of them. The brothers reach for their glasses and lift them in salute as Mask Man downs his poisoned wine. They do not drink and set their glasses back down in perfect brotherly sync. Mask Man looks kind of relieved and moves to the windows to take a seat in the royal arm-chair. He thought he would never see daylight again and now the sun shines golden onto his aged face. He sucks a breath in. The Mask was a curse every hour of the day and he could not sleep at night, but now sleep comes to free him. Philippe’s lip wobbles. Louis looks as if he tries his best not to have a wobbly lip. “I thank you…. I thank you, my sons…..” are Mask Mans last words before he dies on the royal arm-chair.
As night has fallen, we see the brothers outside in company of Bontemps in front of a wooden cross. Philippe mourns, Louis is calm and with a firm expression, Bontemps turns to see Fabien lurk by a tree. Louis is the first to move away from the grave, Bontemps follows him, and a weeping Philippe sinks to his knees in front of the cross. (If you want to read about the Man in the Iron Mask story and who is presumed to have worn it, click here. If you want to read about the real Fabien, click here.)
We stay with Louis and see him walk into the council chamber, where Ministers and Maintenon await him. There is a time for love and one for hate, he says, and his tone and posture imply that he was indeed reborn. They must look forward, he says, never mind the past and reunite France and its people again, once and for all. Colbert looks pleased with that and inquires if a royal wedding wouldn’t do the trick… Louis is more interested in the people than marriage and now Maintenon looks pleased. We should move troops to the borders then, argues Louvois, for the Emperor has stopped the Turks and will surely turn his attention back to Luxembourg now. (What Louvois refers to is the Battle of Vienna or Schlacht am Kahlenberg, which took place on 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The Habsburgs, Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Lithuania arrived late and missed the action.), and the Holy Roman Empire teamed up to defeat the Ottoman army. Louis was asked to send troops as well, but declined. At that point he was busy with what is called the War of the Reunions. It was a short conflict and started with the question of whether a peace treaty, which granted Louis XIV possession of several towns, was executed properly. Meaning, if all of the rural areas around those towns, whose borders were not laid down in detail, were in Louis’ possession as well, as it should be. The rural areas provided the towns with food. So, a commission was set up to check the matter and it was decided that it was not the case. Louis annexed Alsace and later the independent town of Strasbourg, which served as door for Imperial forces into Alsace and France. After that, he also wanted Luxembourg and launched an attack, but paused his attempts in 1682 because he figured it would not be good to attack a Christian Kingdom, while an other Christian Kingdom was attacked by Ottomans.) Louis turns to Louvois, saying they need to take Luxembourg before Leopold gets there then… and what about the forgery? Fabien has not found anything concrete yet and is ordered to look harder. In the meanwhile, the Edict of Nantes should be revoked, says Louis. I think we talked about that in a past episode already. Colbert appears rather shocked, the edict was created to protect the people, people of all faiths. We have tolerated Protestants for too long already, butts Louvois in. Colbert explains how it would not be good at all to do such a thing and is interrupted by Bitchenon. France is a Catholic Kingdom and they can not be one family, if they are of a different faith. Louis agrees, for it is religion that divides them… apparently.
Jeanne is still pissed off and takes the shoe shop apart. Bastien wanders in, asking what the hell she is doing. Teaching Guillaume a lesson. Bastien doubts they will ever see him around again. He stops her, saying she should focus her energy on something else. In the meanwhile, Guillaume has prettied himself up, combed hair and fine clothes, and roams Versailles. Is that one of Philippe’s old coats? Guillaume enters a salon, where he is greeted by Louvois… who hands him a document making Guillaume a nobleman. He calls him Monsieur du Pas, I think, and I do not really fancy to think about what title he was given there. Maybe we will find out. So, let me just say that it was indeed possible to be ennobled, titles could be bought and in some cases be gifted. Guillaume bows his head as Louvois gives him an encouraging shove deeper into the salon. A lady eyes him at once and he also eyed by Philippe, who appears less broody now that Mask Man is dead. Guillaume could be quite the success at Versailles, says Philippe. The two of them chat about the sacrifices that had to be made, like Guillaume having to change faiths. He was a soldier and a tradesman… now he is noble, so what. Does Guillaume regret anything? He did what he did to survive.
Bontemps seeks out Fabien in his cellar apartment. Tense atmosphere. Does he have news on what is going on in Paris? The printer has been dealt with. Awesome, but they should keep an eye on what is going on there. Even tenser atmosphere as Fabien steps close to Bontemps, who then says he saw him sneak about last night. “The prisoner must have been very close to the King.” “The unfortunate soul took his own life and with his life, his story. He must never be spoken of again. Is that clear?” Intense Fabien staring.
We go back to the Parisian streets, where Bastien hands Jeanne a bit of paper and urges her to read it. He can’t do that, she says, as she reads the paper to Bastien. All Protestants must turn Catholic or face the consequences. Versailles reads the same paper and appears equally shocked. Especially Madame d’Angers, who addresses Louvois and asks if Louis really believes he can do such a thing. The King is trying to unite France, she should be glad. She is obviously not glad at all…. and I sigh once more very loudly…. as Louvois declares all Protestants are confined to their rooms from now on. The Chevalier watches as Madame d’Angers heads to her rooms with utmost dignity in her step. Fabien creeps up on him and startles him. Both of them are not in the best of moods and exchange some words, before Fabien points out the Chevalier appears to be close to the Protestants. Yes, but he is still a loyal Catholic. That might be as it is, yet he is known to bend the rules and perhaps he even has some skills people don’t know of. Like forgery. The Chevalier appears to be shocked to be confronted with such an accusation and Fabien suggests it would be better for him to remain in the palace.
A carriage approaches Versailles and out steps a young woman, whose gown and hairstyle appear to be influenced by Spanish fashion. Since Colbert and Liselotte await her, I guess it is the Infanta. Isabelle-Louise de Portugal or Isabella of Braganza was the only child of Peter II of Portugal and his first wife, the French-born Marie-Françoise-Élisabeth de Savoie. She was born in 1669 and since we appear to be time-wise in like 1683, she should be around fourteen years old… but looks in her mid-twenties. She is very pretty anyway and I am once more reminded of what I said as Marie-Louise was sent to Spain in the show, without being first married to proxy. The same applies to Isabella, who at that point was the sole heir of her father. He would never ever send her to France in company of only one lady for some sort of pleasure trip that might end in a marriage. Way too dangerous. Liselotte welcomes Isabelle, who seems to be of a character similar to Liselotte herself, for she does not make long speeches before coming to the important parts. Her father gave her all necessary papers, but she needs advice on her duties and how to dress, she says. Liselotte is amused and says they will get along very well and Isabelle should not be nervous about meeting Louis, for he will find her awesome.
Louis watches with Maintenon at his side from a window… and it appears Louis has no clue what is going on, because Maintenon has to explain it to him. There is no way he can not know, because his agreement is needed before something like this can be started. He has to utter his interest first. Liselotte has planned it all, says the Scarecrow, but Louis does not believe it. Liselotte does not mingle in politics. Someone else is behind this plot, as Louis calls it.
The mastermind, Cardinal Leto, sits as usual at supper as Louis joins him. (Why is he like always eating?) Leto mumbles something with his mouth full to Louis about having his food brought to him from home. Does he have no trust in the French cuisine? It is too rich for him, says Leto. Louis thinks Roman wine is too tart. What about the proposal from the Vatican? Louis would enjoy to talk terms first. He is not really in a position for that, mumbles Leto, but Louis ignores him. His niece is now Queen of Spain and he indeed would like to call Portugal his own… but he shan’t marry the Infanta for that. Leto eyes Louis. The Church wants to build alliances with blood and not to spill it. Louis will find a way to take Portugal. Maybe, but this marriage is in the contract with the Vatican and without it, the Vatican might spill the beans. I wonder for a second why they would make that a term and then think the reason is simple, it would mean that the Church would control all three countries via Louis and have a huge army this way. Now Louis eyes Leto, saying he is the son of Louis XIII and Anne d’Autriche, there is no man alive to proof it otherwise. Leto leans back with a piercing glare, somewhat shocked. If that is so, he should leave at once, says Leto. The Pope needs to know that, so Louis can be excommunicated as soon as possible. Louis disagrees and guards appear at the doors. “You dare treat a servant of Rome as your hostage?”
Having dealt with that, Louis relocates himself to the chapel where he observes people recanting their faith, before he heads outside. Louvois happens to be there too and congratulates Louis on getting so many to recant, before he asks what should happen to those who do not. Louis wants a list of names. Does he not wish to discuss it with the council first? He does not.
Large white X’s are painted on doors by a group of Musketeers, marking Protestant inhabitants. Fun fact: during the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, during which thousands of Protestants were killed, the Catholics placed a white cross somewhere on their garments as a sign of being a Catholic. Madame d’Angers hears something scratch outside her door and opens it, to find a black X painted on her white door.
Glorious night shot of Versailles. Louis and Philippe hang over the backs of chairs and stare at the burning fireplace. Philippe is sick of the thought of who they have become. He looks to Louis and adds he makes a mistake by treating his people so poorly. (So now he worries about the Protestants and still doesn’t give a shit about his son and daughter.) He does his duty, says Louis, after much prayer and thinking. “You are behaving like a God… but you are not even a real King.” Louis knows exactly who he is. He was chosen by God to rule. He follows God’s will by acting against the Protestants and certainly does not do it to please the Church. “Bullshit. You are making it up as you go along.” God didn’t choose Louis, says Philippe, nor did God chose him. They are just another pair of squabbling brothers and Philippe does no longer need to obey Louis. Philippe turns to walk out and is grabbed by an angry Louis, who orders him to do as he is told. Nup, says Philippe, which leads Louis to wrap his fingers around the princely throat and wrestle his brother down. They stare at each other and Philippe challenges Louis to go on, in order to find out who of them is really favoured by God. Louis has already killed their father, says Philippe, killing him will not be harder. Philippe pushes Louis back and says with a voice full of hatred they should find out which of them is Cain and which is Able. ( Cain, the older brother, killed Able, because he thought God favoured Able more.) Philippe storms out. Louis looks utterly shocked. I find this, like many other things, very insulting for both of them. It paints them in a very wrong picture.
The Chevalier walks into Philippe’s bedchamber, which happens to be filled with half-naked men. (I have to remind me again that I only have to finish this episode and do one more after that, for I fear the scene I am about to witness will be not pleasant. I feel like it gets more and more frustrating to watch and write about with every episode.) The Chevalier looks around, beholding the nakedness, and approaches a gloomy looking Philippe seated at a card table. “Ah, the good old days.” Philippe looks at the other Philippe and informs him he was not invited. The Chevaliers voice softens as he says he thought Philippe might be able to help him, but seems otherwise occupied. Philippe glances up, anger in voice, and asks what he wants. The Chevalier’s voice changes to annoyed as he asks of Philippe noticed what is going on in Versailles. I’m having fun, says Philippe, but the Chevalier does not buy it….Philippe turns his attention to the man seated opposite of him at the card table and accuses him of cheating. He did not cheat, says the other Philippe. “Yes he did. I saw him.” I sigh. Philippe flips the table over and repeats the accusation, he shoves the man, who shoves back, then punches him in the face and gets punched back. Hard. Philippe falls to the floor…. and instead of going wild on the guy to beat the shit out of him for punching Monsieur, the Chevalier holds Philippe back. Our historical Chevalier would have knocked the guy out. The naked compagnons leave the scene, or rather are sent out by Liselotte in morning gown and chemise. She slams the door shut and walks to her husband, who has seated himself on his bed. (Both Liselotte and the Chevalier have their arms crossed as they stand before Philippe, which gives them a look of unity.) C’mon then, says Liselotte, but Philippe doesn’t know what she wants. He owes them an explanation, adds the Chevalier. Philippe sees nothing to explain. Whatever went on, it changed him, says the Chevalier… and Philippe somehow takes that as an attempt to be brought back to do the Chevalier’s bidding again. That is not his intention, says the Chevalier and is told by Philippe to fuck off and leave him alone. Now Liselotte speaks up, saying it is hardly fair to say such a thing and they deserve better, while the Chevalier looks very aghast. “What’s the problem? I am who I am meant to be.” Philippe’s voice shakes as he says he is the Pleasure-Prince, who is merry and enjoys to party. “You are a lot more than that.” “Am I really?” The Chevalier speaks in subdued tones, saying he does not recognise Philippe anymore. “Neither do I.” (Same here, but that does for a lot of characters on this show.) Philippe begins to cry and Liselotte moves to sit by his side. “Louis has done this to you, hasn’t he?” He is doing it to them all, says the Chevalier. You can’t give up, says Liselotte, you have to talk with your brother, you are the only one he listens to. “He’s gone too far. I can’t reach him anymore.” The Chevalier steps closer and puts a finger under Philippe’s chin to lift his gaze. “Whatever your brother has done to you, it is a damn shame.” The Chevalier leaves the room with firm steps. Is somebody finally going to punch Louis? I hope so.
It is daylight again as Madame de Bitchenon joins Cardinal Leto for a chat. She feels honoured to speak to him, but can’t imagine how she could help. He has been told she is the one who knows the King’s mind the best and she looks quite flattered. She does, but lately he keeps much to himself. The King should have gone to consult Leto about the Edict of Nantes, says Leto. Maintenon’s expression changes as she asks if he does not approve the measures taken against the Protestants. “As Guardians if Europe, the Church only wishes to maintain a stable peace.” Is that so, even after he was pro-war? Yes, because Louis challenged the authority of the Church. He does not, says Maintenon, it is a display of his loyalty. “I wondered what he could see in a low-born-noble such as you, if only our princesses shared your faith and intellect.” What Louis does pleases the Pope, adds Leto, but he needs to marry the Infanta. “The King makes his own decisions.” “And if he does not comply, he will be excommunicated.” Surely she does not want that to happen. You know, the Church never pressured Louis to remarry nor did they threaten to kick him out if he does not. After the Queen died, he considered marriage to a European princess, Portugal was one option, but he decided against it. For one, because he didn’t really had an interest in it and also to avoid problems in the future. Louis had a grown son, who was married and had a son by then, so the throne was secure. If he had married and fathered another son with his new wife, it might have cause problems later on in regards to who was entitled to what.
After she has finished to chat with Leto, Maintenon joins Louis in the chambre du roi aka his bedroom. Is she disturbing him? She does not. She was thinking she might, because he was acting strange with her. His reply comes in form of a kiss. He was busy, says Louis. With the Vatican? Indeed, they are a bit annoying. Hm, says Maintenon and steps back, that is why you must marry the Infanta. The Church would grant him full support then. They would control him, returns Louis with an irritated voice. He needs the Church and the Church needs him, argues Maintenon. He won’t agree to their terms, insists Louis, saying it is a war. Maintenon raises her voice and he looks a bit shocked. It is a war he can not win, she says, they will kick him out. She raises her chin. What a big sacrifice this is for her. I guess I am meant to feel sorry for her. “You spoke with Cardinal Leto. You. The only one I can truly trust.” “The Church is a terrifying enemy. You dare not defy them.” He feels betrayed, she wants him to think about it. He could have it all. Yes, but that means he can’t have her then. It is worth the sacrifice, she says, but he disagrees. He has to do what is right for him and France, she says and stomps out. You know, a lot of people think she actually pressured him into marriage and that he agreed partly to get her to shut up about it. That was three months after the Queen died and Portugal was not the bride.
Back to Madame d’Angers, who gazes out of a window as the Chevalier enters her chamber. She reflects on what the Protestants have to endure now. “Then it is a good time for you to leave. ” She turns to look at him. “I can’t even leave my room.” He says he could do something about it, but she returns it would mean defeat. “Sometimes I wish I was born with morals. ” “We are all born with morals, only some of us chose to keep them.” “Maybe that’s what I love in you.” “Maybe that’s why we can never have a happy ending.” They look at each other and she leans in to kiss him, which is interrupted by approaching steps. A group of people enters the room. What is that about? “Protesting. The only way we know how.” He backs slowly away as the others gather in a prayer circle.
Louis is busy praying as well as Bossuet is shown in by Bontemps. “Choices, they are what define us as human. Wouldn’t you agree, Bishop?” Louis has followed the Church, who is a wise and loving mother according to Bossuet, all his life. “My mother had wisdom of her own. Even when faced with an impossible dilemma, she understood her duty. More than the world will ever know. God gave us his Holy Church, but it was men who based it in Rome, yes?” “Saint Paul himself.” What if the interests of the Church are not that of France? Whose side would God pick? Bossuet can not answer that question, but he can say that as King, Louis was chosen by God. “And if this King would become the leader of our Church? It would require a Bishop of great authority, one that would only answer to the King.” Bossuet lets a little laugh out and nods.
The chapel is filled with people as Louis strides down the aisle, wearing a garment that is supposed to look like the robe of the Knights of the Holy Spirit, while Bossuet proclaims Louis to be supreme leader of his Church and France. I guess what we just saw it their way to link the show with the Gallican Articles of 1682, which denied that the Pope had dominion over things temporal and affirmed that Kings are not subject to the Church in civil matters. They also reaffirmed the authority of a General Council over the Pope and insisted that the ancient liberties of the French Church were inviolable and asserted that the judgement of the Pope was not irreformable. Fabien does not like what he sees and sneaks out, while Bontemps watches him. Leto doesn’t like what he sees either. This scene looks very glorious. It might be one of the most glorious ones. It is very regal and everyone looks fabulous. It is worthy of celebration… and I would do that, if there weren’t so many other things that are worthy of a bin.
Fabien has gone to the stables and Philippe is there as well. Observant as Fabien is, he points out at once that Philippe missed the ceremony. He also knows why Philippe can’t endure the presence of his brother. It has all to do with the prisoner, doesn’t it? “He is dead now. Why do you care?” Philippe swings his behind on the back of his horse as Fabien explains he has devoted his life to his family and because of that, Philippe needs to tell him the truth. “The King is not who he claims to be, is he?” Philippe remains silent and rides off.
I sigh once more as the back of Cardinal Leto appears on the screen. I dunno about you, and you are free to find that story line very interesting, but it really really really bores me to no end. And it drags on and on and on…. which I guess is one reason it bores me and also because plenty of interesting and important topics, like the Sacking of the Palatine, only get brief mentions or half an episode, while this fiction seems endless…. and as I write that, it appears as if Leto is finally leaving Versailles. There are servants carrying a chest down the stairs. I am hopeful. Louis voice forces Leto to turn around. The King hopes Leto enjoyed his stay and asks him to forward greetings to the Pope. Leto will make sure to tell the Pope everything, Louis can bet on that. Fabulous, then the Pope will surely understand that Louis can not be kicked out of his own Church. He should also tell the Church that Louis is grateful for the offer, but no longer in need of the Pope’s support. The Pope will have a chat with Leopold then, says Leto. He can do that, returns Louis, as things are he plans on taking Portugal regardless. Leto warns Louis to be careful and Louis thanks him by offering his hand for a kiss… or rather by allowing Leto to kiss the ring on the royal hand, which was placed there during the ceremony, just like the Pope does. Leto kisses the ring and warns Louis again, today he might be victorious… but tomorrow he might not be on the winning side. I need a tea break now, the laptop is burning hot and so is the room in which I am currently seated.
On we go with Madame de Maintenon, Liselotte and the Infanta strolling through the rooms with purposeful steps. I find it a proper scandal that Maintenon actually walks in front of Liselotte and the Infanta. Both outrank her by miles. Both are parts of royal families and she is a Marquise, one with influence, but still a Marquise. It appears Maintenon is leading the other two ladies to the King. The Infanta is quite nervous to meet him in person. They are admitted into the bedchamber of his Most Christian Majesty and Liselotte takes the word to introduce the Infanta. (When introducing people, always introduce the higher-ranking person to the lower-ranking person, by saying the name of the higher-ranking person followed by the phrase of introduction and then the name of the lower-ranking person.) The Infanta looks very Queen-ish and Louis greets her with a compliment on her looks. She thanks him, forwards greetings from her papa and hands a map of documents over. “Tell me, would you marry a King who has separated from the Vatican?” She would, it shows strength of character and she likes men who can think for themselves. Louis is being highly inappropriate now and I am sure the real Louis XIV does not approve of such behaviour at all. He was a man with perfect manners, especially when it comes to ladies. Not to mention that this is a big insult to her whole family. But this Louis here asks the Infanta if she has ever been with a man before, perhaps in order to make her dislike him. I dislike him very much for it. It is very out of character… but then most things are. She looks at him quite irritated and answers with a no. Louis gaze goes to Maintenon, then back to the Infanta and he asks her if it is really true that she has not slept with a man before. (Let me remind you, that were we are time-wise right now, the Infanta is actually in her mid-teens. Younger than Eléonore.) The Infanta replies with a maybe one or two…. which is beyond stupid to say, especially when you remember what fuss Marie-Louise had to endure in this show and gives Louis reason to dismiss marriage at once. As always etiquette and rules are only implemented when they can be used to create drama. Louis thought as much and the Infanta argues it means she has some skills. At least you are honest, says Louis, and is asked if he intends to continue taking lovers. He smiles, amused, and calls her refreshing but a little too bold. Then adds that Madame de Maintenon will help her prepare her for the wedding. (He plays them both. I guess it is not secret who he will marry in the end.) Before the ladies leave, Louis addresses the Infanta again to tell her the answer to her question is no. (Of course it is, since he will marry who he will marry.) Maintenon has a sad at the prospect of not sharing Louis’ bed anymore when he marries the Infanta. Remember what she had a sad about at the start of the season? That he slept with other women while being married. How things can change.
Colbert looks like he has a sad too caused by a belly pain? At least he has a hand resting there as Louvois joins him and Fabien is also present. Has Louvois met with the King in Colbert’s absence, asks the latter and is told yes. Was it about the Protestants? Colbert shouldn’t be so squeamish about it, returns Louvois. Colbert isn’t squeamish, he says, he got morals. The King wants them all to be on one side and it is about time Colbert joins that side…. Louis saunters in. Louis is surprised to see Colbert, for he heard Colbert was unwell (A reference to the stomach pains Colbert had to deal with for the last years of his life.), but Colbert considers it his duty to attend to his King. Louvois has a list of Protestant families in Paris which do not play along and Louis says they should be confronted. Confronted, asks Colbert, and Louvois explains him it means they will be arrested and their possessions destroyed. Colbert find this not to be a good idea, but Louis orders Fabien anyway to arrest them all, the rich, the poor, and the rest. Without warning or mercy. Fabien has not like the idea either and Louis inquires if he did not understand the orders. Intense Fabien staring followed by him placing his rapier and dagger on the blue clad council table. Fabien tells Louis politely to fuck off and leaves the room, leaving Louis seeking eye contact with Bontemps and Colbert with a ‘I told you’ expression.
We stay with Colbert and have him approach the Chevalier, who is in conversation. Colbert steals him away for an urgent chat, which makes the Chevalier fear for his safety. Whatever he is accused of, he says, Colbert has no proof. He is not in trouble, returns Colbert, but the Chevalier’s friends are. That also includes the Duchesse d’Angers, who we now see with the Chevalier, and refuses to leave the country. He urges her to go. “But this is my home! I am a loyal subject. I am as French as you!” The Chevalier grasps her by the shoulders and explains that the King has ordered all Protestants to be arrested in a couple of hours. Her face falls. Even those outside the palace? Yes. Madame d’Angers heads for the doors of her rooms, she must go to see her father. There is no stopping her, so the Chevalier assists in getting her to the stables and both mount horses. Not dangerous at all for either of them.
Back to Louis and Bontemps. Louis sent the latter to look for Fabien and is told Fabien is nowhere to be found. Ah, well…. Louvois can oversee stuff then, he got no morals anyway. Are the troops ready? They are… and it appears Philippe has left Versailles, says Bontemps. He went to Saint-Cloud and Bontemps inquires if Louis wishes him to fetch his little brother. No, Philippe is not one for battles anymore. (Saint-Cloud is much superior to Versailles.) We see an army of mounted musketeers crossing a stream and bridge next.
Fabien is already in Paris and roams through the streets in search of maybe Jeanne, as he is spotted by Bastien. Monsieur Fabien asks where Jeanne is and Bastian look theatrically around, then says she is not anywhere to be seen but he can forward a message. That message has to do with the dagger in his hand, for he swings it at the unarmed Fabien, who has no difficulties fighting him off. And Jeanne appears asking Fabien what the hell he wants. To warn them. Why? Has she changed her faith? Never. Then she must leave Paris at once. Bastien finds Fabien not trustworthy. “Ignore me if you wish, but you should know a storm is coming.” Damn right, says Bastien, and fixes Fabien with the fiery passion of an angry peasant.
The sun sets over Versailles, while Maintenon lectures the Infanta on etiquette she hardly follows herself. She looks a little offended by the Infanta’s suggestion she could act as her lady-in-waiting, as if the task is below her. (Something like that was actually suggested to her and she declined, saying the task is too great for her and she is too humble to accept. It was not with the Infanta, but the Dauphine and the position was dame d’atour.) A merry Infanta skips away and Liselotte remains in the room with la Maintenon, who has seated herself in the meanwhile. So much for etiquette. Neither has she asked Liselotte for permission to sit nor has she the right to sit without invitation. The fact that she looks rather sad doesn’t change that. Liselotte asks if she feels alright and is told Maintenon feels a little flushed. Liselotte, kind-hearted as she is, offers Maintenon to serve as sorrow-sharer and is rebuffed at once. It was not her idea, says Liselotte, the Church was behind it. Maintenon considers this to be only a silly excuse, she knows Liselotte had a part in it. Now there is serious self-pity going on as she says the King could never marry someone low-born like she is. They are all just a commodity, says Liselotte, and they all are supposed to do what the world expects them to do. That is all Maintenon has ever done and now she lost the man she loves, because God wills it so. Marriage is a bit like death, argues Liselotte, one can not escape it. Both look at each other, before Liselotte rises and leaves Maintenon to sob.
In the meanwhile, Louis stares at a fireplace in company of Bontemps. He rises suddenly and declares he only wishes to do what is best for his country. Bontemps adds that Louis does what he believes in. Yes, but that made him lose Philippe and Fabien. Bontemps states that Louis has the full power on his own terms for the first time, he can question himself, but that doesn’t change that he has won. Not really, says Louis, and we return to Maintenon in silent prayer. I guess it is wedding time now, what a surprise. Bontemps enters and makes his presence known by clearing his throat. He informs Bitchenon that Louis wants her and leads her to the royal bedchamber. Louis waits with Bossuet in front of the royal bed and doesn’t want to waste any time. Telling her he wishes to marry tonight and it does not dawn on her, although it should, because if he was inclined to marry the Infanta that would be celebrated in a lavish affair and not in the middle of the night with only Bontemps as witness. Maintenon wants to fetch the Infanta, but Louis stops her. She still doesn’t get it, although she is usually acting so very smart. I guess this ought to make me feel romantic. Louis steps close to her to ask her for her hand. She looks touched and happy. Embracing. Le roi est pleased.
The scene changes and takes us back to Paris. The earth shakes. Wild musketeers race through the streets. Some of them dismount and storm houses marked with the giant white X’s to drag people outside. Unlike them, Bastien has not been asleep and watches from the shadows. He and his friends have taken Fabien as captive again. He is tied up and looks grim. Bastien informs everyone he is inclined to cut Fabien’s throat, but Jeanne tells him to shut up. Fabien told them the truth. The screams of women echo to them and they race outside, where a musketeer attacks a female and attempts to rape her. Bastien races to attack the musketeer and a brawl ensues. One of the musketeers fires and I think for a second it is Bastien who goes down, but it is not. Bastien ushers Jeanne away from the scene and both rush into the shoe shop. The scene changes, we know see Chevalier and Duchesse race over a meadow in moonlight, while musketeers lead a group of people out of a chateau and set it on fire. A merry Louvois watches. Back in Paris, Bastien fights a musketeer and manages to knock him out, as Jeanne is grabbed by a non-musketeer looking guy, who orders Bastien to step away. Apparently the dude wants her for something…. and is knocked out by a wild Fabien. The three of them flee. The Chevalier and Madame d’Angers arrive at the burning chateau, as the group of people is herded into a fenced carriage. A man is dragged aside, a Priest to be precise, and she tries to reach him, but is stopped my armed musketeers. The Chevalier, showing finally a bit of balls, yells at Louvois as the Priest is shot. Where is your Protestant God now, asks Louvois. “My God will curse your King for this.”
Said King is busy walking down the aisle with his Queen of Bitches. We see the facade of a dark Saint-Cloud, here again represented by the facade of the lovely Vaux-le-Vicomte, inside sits a lonely Philippe in an otherwise people-free salon. The Chevalier and Madame d’Angers are shown into a not so cosy cell. Louis puts a ring on Maintenon’s finger. Philippe sobs. People are beaten and property burns. Jeanne, Bastien and Fabien watch. Louis snogs Maintenon… the King must be stopped, whatever it takes, says Bastien as Paris in illuminated by fires and burning houses… end of episode.
Before I go to make myself another cuppa, we need to talk about those last scenes. You might guess that it is all blown way out of proportion again. Even if totally insane, Louis would never order valuable property to be destroyed. He would seize it for the crown and turn it into money or have it for his own collection. Setting fire to timber houses in Paris looks very dramatic, but is something totally ridiculous. It could turn the whole city into dust, including the royal properties. I mean WTF. Yes, the Protestants were persecuted. Louis thought that he could get them to convert this way, but he ordered no violence. Some of his men did not stick to that order and did bad things. Yet Louis did not order those bad things, as it is shown here. Nor did Louvois go about to burn chateaux. The Chevalier was never arrested for mingling with Protestants, that whole story, as well as the Duchesse d’Angers, is total fiction. Mask Man is fiction and if you still wonder who the father of Louis XIV was, it was Louis XIII. Cardinal Leto and the whole Church story is fiction. Louis and Philippe had their ups and downs, but again their relationship here is fiction. Liselotte played no part at all in seeking a new wife for Louis. What is not fiction is that Louis XIV indeed married Madame de Maintenon and you can read all about that when you click here.
I see you for the season and series final and thank you for reading my ramblings. By the way, you can already order season 3 in English on Amazon UK, just click here.