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Thoughts on Versailles season three, episode six…. – Party like 1660

Thoughts on Versailles season three, episode six….

Bonjour. Episode six. Only four to go. I will need vacation after the last episode, because writing the reviews is very exhausting. One usually takes me something between six and nine hours…. and everything behind this sentence will be very full of spoilers. Last Episode, we saw the Queen perish and the now widowed Louis finally found out what is under Madame de Maintenon’s gown. Monsieur is getting closer in matters of the Mask Man secret and was nearly drowned. The Chevalier is unhappy in love and the King not so fond of Protestants.


George Blagden (Louis XIV), Catherine Walker (Scarron, Madame de Maintenon)

The Queen Lies in State. The walls of her room are draped in black and the first thing I notice are the garments the courtiers wear. Everyone wears a dark cloak above their garments, to indicate that they are in mourning…. but they wear their usual everyday outfits underneath… and I would find it a bit more impressing if the makers had dressed them in proper mourning attire. Especially because this is not private mourning, it is State Mourning, for which special rules applied. A small detail, which would have made things a bit more impressing… and if you want to know what rules applied, you can click here. We see the courtiers walk into the Queen’s apartment to pay their respects, Liselotte sprays some Holy Water, to which she was correctly entitled, as Louis and Madame de Maintenon walk in. La Maintenon wears a bit of a see-through black cloak, while Louis appears to wear black, which is not that correct. Black was the mourning colour for the court, but the King wore purple mourning garments. They approach the bed and you can clearly see in Liselotte’s eyes that she is not at all happy, the King dared to show up together with Maintenon. Both of them glance at the body of Marie-Thérèse and Louis murmurs he was not always to kind to his wife and she deserved a better husband. He misses her. “You will never be alone.” whispers his female shadow and adds Louis has to continue on his way, for it was the Lord who took Marie-Thérèse away, and the Lord has plans.

Outside, Monsieur and Fabien walk the gardens. Philippe shows him were he has hidden the body of di Marco. He didn’t know what to do, so he dragged the body aside and covered it with some leaves. I think he can be glad he was able to do it unseen, for the gardens were, of course, guarded at all hours. Fabien says he will get rid of the body by feeding it to the pigs, because they nom it all. (Hannibal Lecter, anyone? Was it the third movie? The one in which one of his victims planned to feed him to a bunch of pigs.) Fabien rids Monsieur di Marco’s remains of a necklace, it has the Damascus symbol on it, and wants to know what he said to Philippe before he died. “He said the King is not born of God.” Fabien frowns…. “Is he questioning the legitimacy of your brother’s claim to the throne?” Philippe looks shocked and shakes his head a little… what has all of this to do with the Vatican? Fabien has an answer… the Church is always fond of dark secrets, which it can use to keep control. They must check the records at once, not just those of the main line of the House of Bourbon, but also of all its branches. “Every family has its secrets.

We return to Louis after the intro. The King thinks he must make a move now, even if it will not be to his advantage, because his claim to Spain and Spanish territories is no more…. and that is not right at all. Marie-Thérèse revoked all her rights, for herself and her kids, before the marriage, but that was deemed invalid due to the fact that her dowry was never fully paid. It was argued that since the dowry was not paid, one could not expect her to stick to the revocation of her rights. Which thus means, the claim to Spain and Spanish territories was not just only her right, but also that of her kids. Louis seems to have forgotten that he has a son and how the claim lives on through said son. On top of it, Marie-Thérèse died in 1683, at which point the Dauphin was already married and had a kid himself, that kid has rights to Spain as well. Apparently the Cardinal with the bad table-manners is on the way to attend the funeral on behalf of the Pope. Colbert points out that with Marie-Thérèse’s demise, the Emperor seems to have the better claim now. That is true and the reason why Louis wants the Cardinal to approve of his plan to have Charles II marry his niece, Marie-Louise d’Orléans. That won’t be easy, says Louvois, the Vatican thinks Louis to be too ambitious. This is why, says Louis, he must make sure the Cardinal sees him as a friend. The question is how he should do that… and of course, his female shadow has the answer to that question. By making clear that Louis does not tolerate Protestants at his court, the Church will look upon him with kinder eyes. They should be punished and that with much ado and for everyone to see. Colbert can not believe what he just heard. “A punishment. Without a crime.” “Well, that is a cross they will have to carry.” It will be seen as provocation, says Colbert, and Louis wants to know what the Protestants could possibly do about it. Take up arms? No, argues Colbert, they will leave and ruin the economy. Many of them are skilled workmen, traders, doctors, lawyers, and carry vast knowledge. Louis does not give a flying unicorn. If they want to leave, they can leave. Colbert lets a shocked little laugh out… how on earth shall they cover the costs? Louis suggests to raise the salt-tax again. They have done so, over and over. Louis argues it won’t surprise anyone then if it is raised again and sends his Ministers away, after asking Colbert if the Ottoman trader is still in Versailles. Louis wants to see him.

We return to the Queen’s bedroom. It was usual practise to Lie in State for a certain period of time, so everyone could come to pay their respects, before the coffin was brought to Saint-Denis to Lie in State there, so the people could pay their respects. Sophie is in the black draped bedroom and whispers a “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” as Fabien sneaks to her. Saying it must be hard for Sophie, after all she was friends with the Queen. Oui, she was, and asks Fabien if he still thinks Marie-Thérèse’s demise was not due to natural causes. He does still believe it and presents her with the ivory vial that hosted the insect thingy. (Still don’t know what it is.) Sophie gasps. It was a gift and she is glad he saved it from being tossed away. A gift from whom? She does not remember. “I have known a lot of murderers. There is always one thing that betrays their guilt. Their eyes.”

Liselotte sits at lunch and devours some sausage as Maintenon butts in to present her condolences. Ah, if one door closes, a other opens. Maintenon wishes to know what she means with that. Liselotte drops her fork. The Queen is gone, which means Maintenon has the King all for herself now, which creates the urge in the latter to explain how the King belongs to no-one. Well, at least not until he needs a new friend…. “Surely, you do not imagine that the King will remain unmarried?” She may have him for now, but that will change soon and then she will be nothing more than a name on a list of former conquests. Maintenon is pissed off and shocked. Liselotte bites into her sausage… and I am glad Maintenon drops into a curtsy here, or I would have to talk about how Liselotte outranks her.

Colbert enters the council chamber with the trader. Louis has prepared something for the trader, which he should sign at once. The document grants Louis the monopoly on the trade routes and in return, Louis will turn blind if Austria should be invaded. The trader signs the paper and is accompanied out by Colbert. As they pass through the corridors, the trader makes the mistake to mention where he will board a ship…. and that is heard by Sophie. Note how nobody is wearing mourning anymore, when they should all be in Deep Mourning.

Cardinal Leto arrives at Versailles and I wish he would look a little bit more like Jared Leto, because that would be a very pleasant sight to behold. He makes his way up the staircase, huffing and puffing, and is followed by several gentlemen of the Church. Bontemps comes to great him and offers to take the Cardinal to his rooms. He would rather see the King first and asks who Bontemps is. The latter thus introduces himself and the Cardinal stops on the stairs. “So you are Bontemps. Do you know who I am?”Of course.” Cardinal Leto wants to know where di Marco is, for he expected di Marco would come to greet him. Bontemps has no clue and is ordered to locate him.

We stay with Cardinal Leto and see how Louis kisses his hand as sign of respect, before the Cardinal forwards the Pope’s condolences. Louis does not seem too pleased by the Cardinal’s remark of how the Queen has died before her time, and tries to get rid of him, but the Cardinal turns by the doors to ask if there is news from Leopold. Louis doesn’t know any news and he is utterly surprised to hear Leopold will attend the funeral of his wife.

Madame d’Angers saunters into the salons and is steered aside by the Chevalier. He thinks he might not have made himself, or his intentions, entirely clear to her. His desires were very clear, she says and he asks her to forget about his past and reputation. “Fact is… what I’m trying to say…… I think I love you.” Madame d’Angers’ expression changes from amused to serious. The Chevalier continues, he does not just think he loves her, he knows he does and he promised he would help her nephew, but he failed. He can not finish the sentence, for Louvois and la Bitchenon suddenly appear to order the Protestants among the courtiers to hand their French Bibles over… or their bodies and rooms will be searches for this objects of sin. (What.) The Duchesse is not impressed at all and heads towards Louvois and Maintenon, urging her fellow Protestants not to do as they are told. “First you imprison Monsieur de Puy, then you force us to recant, now this. It’s an outrage.” No, says Louvois, French Bibles ain’t good at all. They must be Latin and only the cleric is allowed to interpret them, otherwise havoc would rule. People might start to question things or think for themselves. Can’t have that. The Duchesse wishes to speak with the King about it and is told the King does not want to speak with her. She turns to Madame de Maintenon to inquire why this is happening and is told it is what has to be done, but Maintenon can feel her pain, or so she says.

Bildergebnis für Marie-Louise versailles season 3This next scene is so very ridiculous, that I do lack the proper words to express its ridiculousness to its full extend, so we shall have a look at it before I tell how why it makes no bloody sense at all and is utterly insulting to all parties involved. Here we go…. Monsieur and Madame lounge on a chaise. Liselotte does not understand all the Protestant ado, she was one of them and it’s not like they are the devil in person. (She converted to marry Philippe.) In comes Louis in company of a young lady. Both Philippe and Liselotte have no clue who the girl is. Louis introduces the girl as Marie-Louise d’Orléans, Philippe’s first-born daughter and future Queen of Spain. Liselotte jumps up and runs to the girl “Marie-Louise. I’m Princesse Palatine. Your stepmother.” Monsieur gazes annoyed at Louis, saying he thought they had agreed the girl would marry the Dauphin. “You should see this as an opportunity.” “For you?” “For both of us. She will be introduced to him Eminence Cardinal Leto this evening, at the banquet.” Liselotte chats with Marie-Louise in the background as Louis explains, if the Cardinal approves of Marie-Louise, the Pope will surely say oui to the planned wedding. He saunters out, giving Liselotte the task to prepare Marie-Louise for the banquet and that she now belongs to France. Marie-Louise looks at Philippe as if she is utterly terrified of him. That’s the scene and you guys can not imagine how angry it makes me.

To explain why it makes me angry, we have to look at 17th century parenting. It was common for kids to be given into care of nursemaids, tutors or governesses. And there are two main reasons for it, one being that nursemaids, tutors or governesses were better skilled to take care of small children, especially if the mother was still very young herself, the other that the parents usually had positions at court, either within someone’s Household or representative positions for their own families. It was important that they were available and thus small kids would be in the way. In case of Monsieur’s children, they had a team of people who took care of them around them and lived at various residences, Saint-Germain, Saint-Cloud, the Palais-Royal. Monsieur’s kids did not always live at the same place as he did, but in contrary to most fathers…. he cared a lot about them. He saw them regularly. He was a fabulous father that cared greatly for his kids. To imply that he does not even know his own daughter, is a major insult to his whole person. It is another thing, an essential thing, that is taken away from historical Monsieur for some stupid drama. To imply that Liselotte has never met Marie-Louise before, is an insult to her whole person. She got along very well with both daughters Monsieur and Minette had and met them shortly after their wedding for the first time. They were a bit like sisters is what she said herself. She chatted with them, she read to them, she lived together with them at Saint-Cloud. Monsieur’s kids were utterly precious to him, because they were his future and he had strong bonds to all of them. He honestly would be extremely outraged about this scene. I bet even more outraged than I am on his behalf right now. And he was very happy about the marriage. And his heart broke as Marie-Louise departed for Spain, knowing that he won’t see her again. And how he wished himself dead as he heard she passed away.

On we go, with Louis and Maintenon. He asks if she has an idea how he can lure the Cardinal to be favourable of his marriage plans. After all, she knows how to impress a man with a lot of power. His hands begin to wander as Maintenon tries to come up with something. She guides his hands to her vajayjay. The dude is a Man of the Church and the Church loves power, she figures, power is more important than faith. (Speaking of herself there, is she?) He got his position due to treachery and corruption. The man probably only cares for power and status. He needs to be flattered, she sort of moans. And their vajayjay excursion is interrupted by a loud knock on the door. Bontemps walks in with Cardinal Leto. Perfect timing. The King offers a seat to the Cardinal, an armchair, no complaints there, and asks the Cardinal how he likes Versailles so far. Leto ignores the question, he is more interested in knowing if Louis thinks tyranny is a good thing or not. The Cardinal argues that Louis plans to take over the world and quash Leopold. It is not power that he seeks, says Louis, he seeks peace. If the Cardinal wants to call that tyranny…. he only wants Spain to protect it and he respects Leopold like no-one else does. But the Emperor is not the best choice to protect the Church anymore. Louis says he is in the position to do just that. Leto returns that Louis has no claim to Spain anymore now the Queen is dead. (Lies!) “It is not a question of claim, but of duty. My duty is to defend the interests of the Church. And it is my humble hope that his Holiness will recognise my ambition for what it is. Simply the wish to serve.” Cardinal Leto looks impressed. He mentions the Pope has already approved of the marriage of Charles II and the niece of the Emperor. Louis says he has a better bride in mind, his niece.

Bontemps goes in search for Fabien and finds him in the underground of Versailles. Fabien quickly hides some papers behind his back. Monsieur Bontemps wants to speak with Fabien, because the King is apparently worried Philippe might have gone nuts. That is not his business, says Fabien. Bontemps returns he has seen Monsieur and Fabien talk and was wondering if Monsieur said something strange… for example something about a plot, Bontemps offered his help on the matter, but they found nothing, and he thought Philippe let the matter drop, but it appears he was wrong. Monsieur said nothing about that, says Fabien, but if he should he will tell the King at once. Intense staring. The King is busy, Fabien should tell Bontemps instead. More intense staring. Bontemps makes his way back overground and into the chapel, where he meets with Cardinal Leto in a confessional. Leto wants Bontemps to tell him if Monsieur is still questing. A lot, is the answer, and he is getting closer and closer to the truth. Does the King know? He does not. Where is Mask Man? At a secure location. Good, says Leto, Bontemps is to keep him there until Leto has a need of Mask Man. “Your Eminence… if the identity of the prisoner would be revealed, the consequences would be dire.” The Cardinal knows it very well…. and he will only do it, if Louis gives him reason for it.

Carreño de Miranda - Marie Louise d'Orléans.jpgAfter an awesome sunset shot, we return to Marie-Louise and Liselotte… Marie-Louise looks a lot like Minette in the show, but she actually looked a lot like her papa in a dress, which dismissed the talk that she was actually fathered by Louis. Liselotte questions her regarding the duties a wife has and Marie-Louise replies correctly each time. It is her duty to serve her husband, no matter how silly the request, and not to question him. (Aren’t you glad we have more freedoms today?) Their conversation is interrupted by a doctor entering the room. He has come to glance under Marie-Louise’s skirts in order to figure out if she is still a virgin or not. Yeps. Of course Marie-Louise is not happy about it and refuses to lie down on the bed and lift her skirts. Liselotte tries to persuade her… in vain. Madame orders her maid to fetch Monsieur quickly. Marie-Louise snatches a knife and holds it to the doctor’s throat as her papa walks in. He tries to calm the scared girl…. she begs him not to let the doctor do what he came to do. Philippe slaps Marie-Louise. “Now lie down on the bed.” I don’t think I have to talk much about this, for we all know what utter bullshit it is. It is stupid and done for the sake of introducing more drama. That man you see, that man who is supposed to be Philippe, has nothing to do with the actual Philippe anymore. Alex does a brilliant acting job, but writing job gets worse episode by episode. I actually wonder how Alex could endure to play the character like this. It must have been very mentally exhausting.

It is banquet time. The tables look splendid and feature forks again. Louis enters with the Cardinal and the latter wants to know if Louis, now his wife is dead, has thought of who should become his new wife. He is still in mourning and has not yet considered to marry again. The Cardinal is sure Louis will amuse himself in the meanwhile with some mistress, after all everyone knows he has a vast sexual appetite. Change of topic, the Cardinal wants to meet Marie-Louise now. We see her, looking very sad and scared, walk in with her papa and step-mum. Louis introduces her to the Cardinal and she is stopped to answer some questions regarding the duties of a wife again. He orders her to walk about, as if she was a cow to be sold at a market, which is a great insult to her person and I am once more outraged, this time on the behalf of the historical Marie-Louise. The Cardinal finds her charming, the court looks embarrassed, Louis says it is time for noms.

Fabien was not invited for noms, he is in his cellar rooms and searches some papers for clues. The papers look like court records. Meanwhile, Louis asks his guests to move to the windows, for he has a bit of a surprise. It is no splendid firework display, no his surprise is a bonfire of Protestant Bibles in the gardens of Versailles. How often did I call something bullshit by now? Like 100 times? Well, this is number 101. (I used to feel bad about calling something shit… I do not feel bad about it anymore. Shit deserves to be called shit and there is a lot about it so far in this episode.) The Duchesse d’Angers storms out at the sight, despite the Chevalier’s attempt to stop her from doing it. The Cardinal is a bit irritated, he thought Versailles was full of Protestants and that Louis would tolerate them. Not anymore and many have converted by now, says Louis. How did you do that? “Gentle persuasion.” Leto is impressed about the subtle implication of this bonfire, the implication that Louis is a warrior of the Catholic Church. But Louis must be aware that of the Pope would agree to a Charles II and Marie-Louise marriage, it would not be without conditions. Louis knows. For example, that Louis would have to assist Leopold in case the Turks attack. Of course, says Louis, and asks with a smug smile if that means the marriage can go ahead. The Cardinal has not yet made a decision. (There is a quote by Heinrich Heine saying “Where they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings.“)

Leto has retired to his bedroom after the fête and is about to undress as a maid enters with a bowl of fruit. He thanks her as she sets the bowl down on the table. The maid lifts her skirts to present him with her bare behind. He blinks and approaches…. what is this supposed to mean? He has no interest in such things and dismisses the girl. Maybe they should have sent a boy…. whoops. Did I just say that out loud?

Fabien is still in his cellar apartment and looks at a pile of papers as he finds something that peaks his interest. I can not decipher what it says, but judging by the dates on the paper… it is a paper recording the stillbirths and miscarriages of Anne d’Autriche. Fabien gathers the papers up, he has an idea, and rushes to Philippe. 1619, 1622, 1626, 1631. He points the dates out to Philippe, four children death at birth, and another 7 years until Louis was born. What happened in the meanwhile, he wonders. Philippe thinks his parents tried and tried until his mother eventually got pregnant again. Fabien has a different idea. What if Louis XIII was in so much despair that he had no heir, thinking Anne was unable to give him one, that he produced an heir with another woman. An heir that might be still alive….. wearing an iron mask, adds Philippe, and says it would mean his father took a mistress and cheated on his mother. He has never heard of his father having a mistress…. Fabien knows someone who might know. Both wander through the dark chateau and into the chamber of an old gentleman, who is according to Fabien not fond of court life and spends his days hidden in his room. I have no idea who the gentleman is supposed to be and no name is mentioned. What is clear, is that he was somehow close to Louis XIII. Philippe asks him if his father had any mistresses… the gentleman says he is not aware of something like that. Fabien, in his usual charming manner, calls him a liar and mentions that the old gentleman was friends with the Comte de Soissions and took part in his plot against Louis XIII. It would not be good for him, if Louis would hear about that. (Louis de Bourbon, Comte de Soissons, conspired with Gaston de France, brother of Louis XIII, and others to kill Cardinal Richelieu and replace Louis XIII.)  Pressured like that, the old gentleman says there was a rumour regarding a woman called Louise de La Fayette, a lady to the Queen, who left court to retire to a convent after a liaison with the King, where she was often visited by him. Monsieur figures that she might have given birth to a child, who his father would have legitimised if his mother had failed to give birth to a living child. So, that child would have become the next King. Right. Can you hear that noise? It’s my bullshit sensor. And I am seriously wondering if the writers believe their viewers to be sans brains.

Gaston de France

Where to start? Louis XIII had a brother, Gaston, who he not always liked too much, but was in fact his heir to the point Louis XIV was born. Thus, if Anne and Louis XIII had not produced a male heir themselves, the crown would have gone to Gaston. Since there is nothing saying Louis XIII had no brother in this show, we have to presume he had one. If Gaston had died before Louis XIII, the role as heir would have gone to the next senior Bourbon relative and so on. (Henri IV, a Bourbon, got the crown from Henri III, a Valois, because there were no Valois left and Henri de Navarre was the next senior legitimate gentleman with a claim. The papa of Henri III had in fact 2 illegitimate sons who were legitimised and of which one was still alive at the death of Henri III.) Louis XIII could not have declared a legitimised son, meaning one born outside wedlock, as his legal heir without causing a war among his family and the nobles. Philippe, very aware of family matters and such things, would know that. Every courtier would know that. Shall we talk about Louise de La Fayette now? She was a Bourbon-Busset, an illegitimate branch of the royal House of Bourbon, and served Anne d’Autriche as lady-in-waiting. At that time, Louis XIII was close to a lady called Marie de Hautefort, with whom he is said to have had no intercourse, but was his favourite as in confidant. Richelieu did not like the influence Marie de Hautefort had on Louis XIII and pushed Louise de La Fayette to take her place. Louise was to spy on him, which she did not really want to do. Louis XIII was attracted to her, not so much to her body, more to her spirit. In the end, Louise and Louis got into arguments and she left the court. He in fact visited her there, but it seems… and I say it seems, because nobody really knows what went on in the royal bedroom and it can only be presumed by hints history left us…. that they did not have intercourse. I’m not going to label someone sexuality-wise either, because that is the business of the person and our modern labels did not exist back then, so let me just say that it also seems like Louis XIII floated in both directions and might have had a slight preference for the male shore.

Half-way through. Are you still reading my ado? Louis, in golden breeches and vest, enters the rooms of Madame de Maintenon. They are rather dark, with black brocade walls, I think I read somewhere that her rooms in Versailles were decorated green and red. These rooms here look a bit like a fashionable witch-cove… so perfectly fitting. I do like the black brocade walls a lot. La Maintenon lies stretched out on her bed, dressed in only a thin night-shirt, and Louis approaches. He crawls in behind her and inquires if she is angry with him. She is angry with herself. Louis wants to know why as he bestows some tender royal attentions onto her body. She knows that he has duties and she should not be upset about it, but she is… and all she wants is to be with him, from the moment on she first saw him… now she has him, but he might be taken from her again if he marries. Louis gazes at her, saying that she once promised him he would never be alone and now he promises the same to her. Snogging.

And there comes Leopold. He rides towards Versailles, looking a bit like a young Cassel, and is accompanied by…. let me count… four guards. Which is of course a totally fitting amount, considering he does not ride through slightly hostile territory at all and the distance between Madrid and Versailles is not huge at all. Having reached Versailles, he walks straight into the bedroom of Eléonore and wakes her from sweet slumber. She ought to get up and dress herself at once, for she is to meet Cardinal Leto and it would be better for her if she could impress him a bit. He throws that yellow/golden gown at her that she always wears and spots the Duchesse de Cassel seated at a toilet table in a adjoining room. There is a sugar pineapple on that table, which I have the desire to call my own. Leopold thanks Sophie for her service and how well she performed, nobody seems to suspect her, otherwise she surely would not sit there. That is not quite right, says Sophie, she is under suspicion by Monsieur Fabien, who thinks the Queen did not die of natural causes. Is there evidence? Nup, but Fabien is to be feared. Leopold argues that without evidence, there is nothing to fear and inquires what his Most Christian Majesty has been up to. Sophie does not know, but she saw a trader and heard talk of said trader taking a ship to Malta.

Louis has returned to the bedroom of his wife, she still Lies in State, surrounded by tall candles. Versailles was illuminated by candles of pure wax, which were more expensive than tallow candles, but used because they do not produce smoke and thus are better for the ceiling paintings. Louis glances at the body of Marie-Thérèse as Leopold saunters in and offers his condolences. “Did you really think I would not discover the truth? You convinced to go to Spain to help marry your niece to King Charles. You used her.” “I was not the only one.” popcorn.gif. Louis wishes to know why Leopold came to Versailles. To mourn, says the Emperor, but Louis figures it was not the only reason. Leopold is here to see Cardinal Leto, because Spain. “You read me like a book, Louis…. just like I read you, but I shall succeed.” “No, you won’t. He pays you lip service, but he knows you to be the weak fool you are.” The King turns to leave… “By the way, your wife was a wonderful lover. Such passion. Such imagination.” Louis makes a disgusted and angry face at this hit below the belt and leaves the room.

Monsieur and Fabien gallop towards what looks like a small parish-church in order to check some birth-records. The thought of discovering an older half-brother is not a pleasant one for Philippe. Meanwhile Cardinal Leto and Leopold enjoy the gardens and speak in a quite familiar tone with each other. The topic of conversation is of course Louis. The Emperor is not pleased about Louis’ actions, but the Cardinal returns Louis only wishes to protect the Church. That is my job, says Leopold and the Cardinal ask if he really thinks he is still capable to do it. “Louis serves no-one but himself. He sees himself as God.” He has power, says the Cardinal, power that Leopold appears to lack. A frustrated Leopold points out that the Pope has already approved of a marriage between Charles II and Eléonore and that Louis has no claim to Spain anymore. Leopold should not be too sure about it. One could take it to mean the Marie-Louise marriage thingy…… but I believe he refers to Mask Man and his Spanish accent.

Back at court, Philippe and Fabien search the birth-records. Their search is fruitless, papers spread out everywhere, and of course Bontemps walks in without even really bothering to knock. Intense exchange of glances between Bontemps and Fabien. The latter places a hand on his dagger. Bontemps has come to fetch Fabien, for the King wishes to speak with him, and attempts to have a look at the papers on the table. Philippe covers them.

Fabien is lead into the council chamber, where Louis already awaits him. The King has a job for Fabien. It concerns Eléonore, for she is in the way of Louis’ plans and he does not like that. In other words, Fabien is to kill her. Excuse me, while I do a bit of head-to-desk-contact. This is a bit like GoT. You think it could not possibly get more awesome, but then it does. Just that here, you think it could not possibly get worse, but then it does. At least, Fabien asks if that is not a bit harsh, showing a bit of heart, but Louis does not care. The girl is dangerous. Yep. So, why not get her drunk and pay someone to seduce her? I’m sure show Chevalier would be up for the task, for he appears to do everything for money. No virginity, no marriage. But hey, we gotta prove a point here, don’t we? The point that Louis is a bumhole tyrant.

The Duchesse de Cassel dons a black veil. (If you are a fan of the Duc de Cassel aka Pip Torrens, I can recommend you Preacher. Pip is in season 2 and doing some very brilliant acting there.) Sophie is joined by Fabien in her boudoir, who walks the room silent and with a serious expression. Sophie figures he is there on official business, maybe searching for evidence, but there is something that bothers him. “I’m beginning to question all that I believe in. All I have done. Things I wished I’ve never heard.” He turns his gaze to her and she, with an expression that hints a certain understanding, runs a hand over his stubbly cheek. Kissing. Quick undressing. Bed action. (It’s a bit bizarre to sleep with the man who killed your mother, but whatever floats her boat.) The deed being done, Sophie asks if Fabien will pay her another visit. Tonight, he says. In the meanwhile, there is something she could do for him. The King has an interest in Eléonore and Sophie, being friends with her, could make sure Louis can meet Eléonore in private.

Fabien is just out of the door as it dawns on Sophie that this request might not be for a secret rendezvous, but for something else. She rushes out of her rooms, gown still open at the back, to warn Eléonore. Someone may attempt to kill her, they must tell Leopold at once and Eléonore must depart towards Spain in a swift. She does not want to go to Spain. Then she has to run off to some other place, says Sophie, while Eléonore is not sure if she should trust Sophie. They will run away together then. Now. And in comes Leopold to pick Eléonore up for the funeral. Sophie goes into hiding and Eléonore rushes to Leopold, saying she will not attend the funeral, because she fells unwell. Female matters. Leopold does not want to hear more about it and leaves again with a bit of an ewww face.

Fabien has returned to Philippe’s side, who has finally discovered something in the records. It is the mention of a boy born in 1637, who was named Robert, and whose parents are marked as LB and LLF. Jackpot.

It is not party time for once, but funeral time. We see the court, still sans proper mourning garments, walk down the Queen’s staircase at Versailles. I honestly find it a bit disappointing they did not bother to dress them proper, because that would have been way more impressing. Bossuet leads the procession down the stairs, as Philippe joins Liselotte and the Chevalier last-minute. They do not walk in proper order either, but I shan’t ramble about that. The chapel of Versailles has been decorated for the occasion, but royal funerals did not take place at Versailles. They took place at Saint-Denis. The court lines up to pay their final respects to the Queen, while Louis watches it all from above…. and is watched by his brother. Bossuet, who was famous for his orations and has done them for Minette and her mother, leads the service. He indeed spoke at the funeral of Marie-Thérèse and you can find the oration here. Leopold remains in the background, Louis exchanges gazes with Maintenon. While we hear Bousset speak in the background, we see Sophie and Eléonore flee the chateau. Fabien waits in vain at the orangery and decides to search for Eléonore and Sophie, to find their rooms empty. They are both riding out of Versailles. We return to the chapel and a huge golden cross…. and I do some serious blinking here, because it looks very much like this huge golden cross has a monogram on it. I am irritated. It looks Marie-Antoinette. You can see a MA, like here. While it, if I am not entirely mistaken, should be a MT/MAT (Or a LL&MT), like here. Anyway…… Bossuet has finished his speech and we see Philippe and Cardinal Leto walking side by side. Leto attempts some small talk, but Philippe pays no mind to it. He still has his eyes fixed on Louis and rushes ahead to meet the bro. Louis is irritated to be disturbed as Philippe calls him closer. They must speak at once. “What have you done?” Philippe looks hurt. “I’ve done nothing.” “What’s happened? What’s this about?” Philippe, slightly red-eyed, searches for words…. “We have an older brother.

…and that’s it for this episode. Are you as glad as I am that we are done? I would like to give you a summary…. but I’m a bit lost for words about what is going on here history-wise.


  • Cat

    Hi again,

    thanks for another great review. Written out like this, it actually looks so much more than I remember happening. I must say I’m a big fan of Season 3. The writing is really strong. After a rather weak Season 2 (in my view, of course) we get a firework of stories and opulent pictures. Everything seems to have such a greater contrast.

    I cannot and will not go into every moment – that’s your part 🙂 – just into one. The Slap.
    It was the moment I had anticipated and dreaded the most in the whole season – except for the question ‘Who’s the Man in the Iron Mask?’, of course.

    Some people had discussed the slap and were appalled. So after watching epsiode 1 and 2 I went right into 6 and well, I wasn’t shocked. Maybe because I knew what was going to happen, maybe because I grew up with beatings, but also because this is Philippe we’re dealing with here. Philippe, whom we’ve seen much more violent before. Not an excuse to bend history again, I know. But if you see the slap in its context you might even understand it. At least I do. Marie-Louise was hysterical (especially at the time a disease of us women…). She was threatening the doctor and simply had to be stopped.

    Yes, what happened in that earlier scene where Philippe doesn’t even recognize her, that was downright stupid and bad writing, especially when we remember how at their first meeting in Season 2 Monsieur and Madame speak of ‘visiting the children’. So we must assume they both knew them lol

    The slapping scene reminded me a lot of the flowers scene in Season 1 Ep 1, especially since Marie-Louise (or rather the actress) really is the spitting image of her late mother. I actually found that way to ‘bring her back’ for the audience beautiful and I wonder if it was intended by the writers?

    As to Philippe’s parenting, well yes, he loved his children. They say. I do, however, remember letters by Liselotte, in which she complained that she always had to be the bad cop because Monsieur did nothing of the parenting. He debauched his son and kept his girls stupid. From what I gathered, he was indifferent and did not see his children as children but as dolls, as company in his questionable expeditions in Paris, and as a tool that he used in his quarrels with Madame and with Louis.

    We might agree to disagree here but this is my view and then again we must not forget that this is entertainment, not a documentary 🙂

    • MissyBrown

      Was Marie Louise, the biological daughter of Philippe I or Louis XIV? You need a scorecard to keep up with who is sleeping with who!

      Speaking of the Sun King, he asked Fabien Marchal to kill Eleonore. Marchal didn’t like the job, but if King ordered it, so be it. Fabien Marchal, the killer with a great big heart and nine-lives! The writers made it seem that it was Sophie De Clermont’s idea that she and Eleonore flee the palace, but does anyone else think that Marchal made any subtle hints that Sophie and Eleonore should run away? When Sophie and Eleonore didn’t show up for the meeting, he did search the palace, but it was almost like Marchal knew they wouldn’t be there. He didn’t scream for guards and he didn’t pursue them.

      Not many episodes left so you have to wonder how many people will be killed off? Could the failed act of not killing Eleonore be Marchal’s swain song?

      • Aurora von Goeth

        Marie-Louise was fathered during the rumoured affair of Louis and Minette. Rumour had it, she was Louis daughter, but as she grew older she looked more and more like Philippe. She looks more like him than the rest of his kids, so it is quite certain that she was Philippe’s daughter.

      • .:,

        Something like that occured to me too. I found the scene in Sophie’s chambers odd. Shortly before he was expressing his distrust of her with “eyes beray murderers” talk and then here they talk about trusting each other and that king all of sudden wants to see Eleanor when he started ignoring her and like… What? Just what? So I was asking myself whether he slept with her to make her think she’s got him and he is honest with her to get her do that favour, or he confessed his doubts and then said that ridiculous reason exactly to make her realize Eleanor was in danger. Come next episode I found the straw confrontation even stranger. How did we get to love? I like Marchall’s journey from obedience to rejection of the king, but that romantic aspect was fitted in poorly.

  • Deb Taylor

    This episode sounds particularly awful — Philippe VERY different from his historical character. I, too, pity Alex V. for having to give his all while acting some of these scenes, given the way his character has been written. And, from the best of my knowledge, an illegitimate older brother would be no threat to Louis’ throne, children born out of wedlock could not inherit crowns even if legitimized. So why all the effort to keep this half-brother hidden from birth on? I find myself thinking I will be fast-forwarding through a great deal of season 3.

  • Deb Taylor

    I just pre-ordered the book that you are Jules are authoring. I appreciate all that you do and I am awaiting your reviews — when you are able — of episodes 7 – 10.

  • Mary

    For god sakes are the writers fucking high? What are they doing? Are they just throwing out all the history books to create this piece of crap? I mean for gods fucking sake!

  • Tess

    Blimey, the man in the iron mask turned out to be the half brother of Louis and Philippe (at least for the moment). Who would have expected? I have already begun to suspect that the mysterious prisoner is Philippe d’Orleans himself, abducted in some enigmatic way from the battlefield, while a clever doppelganger took his place at the court. That would explain why Monsieur does not recognize his children and treats the love of his life as if he was a nasty stalker. Admit it, you would also prefer such a plot twist, don’t you? But seriously, some scenes are simply ridiculous. After season 1, we wished to see Monsieur as a father. We should be more careful in making wishes…
    As for the scenes with Philippes together (also in the previous episodes of S3), I still have the feeling that something wrong happened between season 1 and 2. Because Monsieur after returning is not just indifferent or bored. He is clearly angry at Chevalier and can not stand his presence close to him. If the Chevalier did not do anything bad (like a betrayal at a very personal level), it does not really fit the end of season 2. Have you seen the bonus scenes on the Canal+ site? Scene from ep.6 (Monsieur/Chevalier) is a very good example.
    Speaking of bonus scenes. The last farewell of Louis and Marie-Therese, I would like to see it in ep.5. What a pity it was deleted.
    As always, thank you for the review. I love your irony in some places 🙂
    And la Bitchenon… You know it will stick in my mind forever… LOL

    • Daerrina

      It seems like a few things happened between those 2 seasons – also between Fabien and Bontemps. Or maybe Bontemps is a doppelganger, too? Would explain why already early on in the series he seems to have no idea he and Fabien are friends.

  • Irina

    Hi Aurora,
    Do you intend to write reviews for the other episodes, for we are waiting most impatiently.)))
    You do an amazing job here. Thank you for your effort and knowledge.

    • Aurora von Goeth

      I do. I am doing it, but I also got to edit a ebook that is meant to be out very soon. So, there is a bit delay right now. 🙂

  • Dawn Martinez-Byrne

    Louis and Philippe were both noted for their love of children. I must admit I like Tess’ explanation that this is just an impersonator of Philippe and not the real deal. That plotline would make sense. The current one does not.

    As King, Louis could not attend a funeral–except for his own. The Court fled Versailles for Fontainebleu after the Queen’s natural death.

    • Deb Taylor

      I, too, like Tess’ idea on a Philippe imposter. This would be a much more logical, plausible, and accurate-for-the-historical-character explanation that one given in the series for the masked man’s identity.

      And Aurora — thanks much again for your careful and well-informed summaries. I am — rather impatiently — waiting for the rest — but I do understand that you have other work on you schedule.

  • ellen

    I know you are busy editing – but PLEASE continue the recaps soon! It’s easier to watch after reading your fabulous summeries. They are the reason I got back into reading history! Thank you!

  • Deb Taylor

    Ellen — I strongly agree. I prefer to read these summaries first before I view each episode — gives me an idea on what to particularly look for, and what is historically accurate and what is not. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  • Deb Taylor

    Aurora — if I come over to your house and do your dishes, will that help you with your reviews of episodes 7 – 10? Now, seriously, I strongly prefer to read your reviews prior to seeing the episodes. you are such a careful historian — I study your review, then I go read the actual history that is related (perhaps very loosely) to the episode in question. My sister has always been a reader of history, I am now, for the first time, reading some European history as well — I want to thank you for adding a new dimension to our sister/sister relationship.

    • Aurora von Goeth

      Hi Deb 🙂 I try and promise to do them as soon as I can, but it might be a while. Truth is, I’m done with my editing work, but my subscription ran out by now and I can not renew it, because money. So, I do not have access to the last 4 episodes right now. It annoys me a lot, believe me, I would love to finish the season.

      • Deb Taylor

        Aurora — I am sure you must be frustrated — just do the reviews when both time and money permit, we will enjoy them whether we read them now or a little later. Take care of yourself, Deb.

  • Arlette

    Aurora! I hope everything is okay. I am longing for ur reviews ’cause I really enjoy reading them, especially for the historical point of view.!

    I have seen episodes 7 and 8 and i couldn’t stop thinking about what you would have said to all this nonsense. I won’t spoil the show , don’t worry, but I must confess that I am getting more and more annoyed with it. Versailles is a drama with good actors, good costumes and reeeeallly bad writing! It is still entertaining but I can’t stop rolling my eyes every 5 minutes. Alexandre Dumas used to say “You can rape history as long as you give it beautiful children” (On peut violer l’histoire à condition de lui faire de beaux enfants”) Well maybe the writers should have read Alexandre Dumas or at least adapt his books.
    Season 1 was over the top, Season TV was both out of context and out of characters, but Season 3 is a joke , something that even the worst fanfiction would have never done….Grrrrr!

    In fact this is not the purpose of my comment. My concern is the casting of Madame de Maintenon. It is obvious that Catherine Walker is older than Georges. The age gap is about 15 years while in reality it was only 3 years. The main issue is that it changes completely the relationship between the two of them.
    The real louis was in his 40’s when he married Françoise. He was looking for spirituality; love and devotion. They were friends and lovers, but Francoise knew perfectly well to stick to her place. The two of them loved Louis’s illegimate children especially the Duc du Maine.
    The tv Louis looks like a young man looking for a mother
    Tell me what do you think? Sorry for the mistakes, i am french.

  • Anonymous Guest

    This is late, but in season 2, wasnt one of the very first things liselotte talked/asked about with philippe was about his daughters? The very first scene the two met..

    Also in the previous episode about the queen, wasn’t it implied in a previous season (i forgot which) that the queen had a black baby that was secretly brought in a nunnery?

  • Maria Pilar Hoskins

    I love your comments and your historical asides, are you books available on Kindle? Even if in French?

    On pigs and body disposal and some marvellous, marvellous mise en scene and food presentations can I recommend the TV series Hannibal???

    But I must say you should have a very strong stomach! This is TV on the edge.

    • Aurora von Goeth

      Hiya 🙂 Louis XIV, the real Sun King is available for Kindle in English. A bundle of my mistress articles as ebook will be available soon. It’s just waiting to be proof read.

  • Laura Gharazeddine

    Oh. My. God.

    I have yet to see Ep 6. But, I find that if I read your review first, which I always enjoy so much, then when I finally see the travesty…er, I meant, episode, I can handle it a bit better. (Forewarned etc.) I just don’t know from this, if I can handle episode six. Maybe better to wait for 7.

  • Brooke D Maxfield

    Cardinal Leto asks to see Di Marco upon his arrival, but he never asks again. Is it just assumed he is gone/dead and the Cardinal does not care?

    • Xena

      Hi, I have been reading your blog for the past week or so and greatly enjoyed it, particularly posts about Monsieur and Chevalier. You have lost me a bit with the reviews of the show. You are very critical of the third season and very complimentary of the first one, when in fact they suffer from the same ills. The brothers are shown to be far more evil than they really were. In season three Louis kills an innocent girl, when it’s not even necessary. But in season one he orders the murder of a baby. In season three Phillippe is shown as an uncaring father, but in season one he goes around raping women. Neither of them deserves such a portrayal, but you seem to acknowledge it only in relation to season 3.

  • Pierre

    Clearly, Fabien Marchal dropped a hint with Sophie Clermont that Princess Elreanor was in danger, because Marchal did not want to kill Eleanor as he had been ordered by Louis. For Eleanor to disappear would solve both problems. However, I don’t understand how Sophie figured it out, the hint was so obscure.