“You bring women to fight your battles?”
“Perhaps I bring men to fight mine.”
What more needs to be said about Constance’s (Tamla Kari) character development in the second series of The Musketeers?
After the Cardinal’s death, a new foe arrives at court. Rochefort (Marc Warren) – an old friend of the queen who is not what he seems and whose motives are far darker and more personal than the Cardinal’s ever were. With the musketeers there to save the day each week from assassinations, trickery, revenge and whatever else the threat might be, it takes some time to uncover the danger to the king and queen is not someone from afar, but someone they trust.
The opening quote shows how much the characters move on. While Porthos, Aramis, Athos and D’Artagnan (Howard Charles, Santiago Cabrera, Tom Burke and Luke Pasqualino respectively) continue being the musketeers we have come to love in the first series, others are given the chance to shine. Both Constance and Queen Anne (Alexandra Dowling) are proven to be strong characters in their own right rather than just the love interests from the first series and Milady (Maimie McCoy) becomes a more rounded, complex character rather than a cold-hearted killer. Not to forget Captain Treville (Hugo Speer) becomes part of the action rather than the man giving the orders from the sidelines.
The second series takes a leap forward in terms of content and action from where the first ended. The episodes are a lot darker, with the situations having far more drastic consequences than we have seen previously. On some occasions, it seems to go too far; slow-moving episodes with heavy content is not what one expects from the swashbuckling, light-heartedness of the first series. While the series as a whole was good, those episodes were nothing short of boring and certainly didn’t have you wanting to watch the next straight after.
However, this move of content does lead to some inconsistencies. More than one episode has a strong focus on the issue of race, tending to be a Porthos focused episode. While there is nothing wrong with bringing issues to light and forcing the audience to think about it, by the following week, all of the prejudice and racist comments are forgotten. Nothing is said even if they are in a similar situation simply because the focus for that week is different. If the writers hadn’t laid it on so thick in the previous week, they might have been able to get away with it.
Overall, the series was as good as the first. The character development lead to some fantastic dialogue and created genuine laugh out loud moments, a respite needed due to the more serious nature of the threats. With the way it ended, it is clear the third series has been commissioned and looks as if it too could be changing the nature of the show. As long as the consistency remains about thoughts and feelings over topics and episodes stay engaging rather than drifting, I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.