Monday, 29 August 2016

Victoria 1.2 "Ladies In Waiting" Review

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No sooner had the series opener ended, ITV was back with Part 2 for the Bank Holiday and this didn't disappoint, though it seemed a little slow in places.  Such as the downstairs staff getting up to their usual shenanigans to earn an extra shilling or two.  Especially with Penge (Adrian Schiller) seeing it as another money making opportunity when the gas instalment doesn't go according to plan.  Especially when rats fall from the walls and obviously Victoria (Jenna Coleman) hates rats.  Inadvertently this was fodder for Cumberland (Peter Firth) and Conroy (Paul Rhys) to plot some more to have her certified and for a royal regent as Cumberland hastens to add, to be appointed. Things almost go that way when Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) informs Victoria of a vote in Parliament to end slavery in Jamaica, with Victoria thinking slavery had been abolished.

Even though the Whigs win, narrowly, with the Tories still advocating for slavery to remain otherwise the economy will suffer, Melbourne is adamant he will lose next time and thus he resigns as her PM.  She takes this very hard and to heart and thrashes about in the rain with her umbrella, with her mother telling her she should look to Conroy at every opportunity.  But she refuses.  She thinks the Duke of Wellington (Peter Bowles) should be PM but he refuses on the grounds of age. However he puts forward Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay).  A man she instantly dislikes, as Wellington says later, he doesn't have the charm of Melbourne.  Wellington even advises Peel to flirt with her when Victoria refuses him in wanting to appoint at least one or two Tory ladies in waiting.

Victoria puts her foot down, as she will have no friends and doesn't want spies.  He wants her to show no favouritism towards her government, whichever party they're from and maintain a distinction between crown and parliament.  However she thinks if she holds out long enough, she will get back her confidante and friend, Melbourne.  He advises her the same in that she cannot refuse Peel and his wishes as he has every right to ask her to meet that request.  Lady Emma Portman (Anna Wilson-Jones) offers to leave but Victoria insists her plan will work.  As she also sits for a royal portrait for her birthday.

Penge decides the gas must go and uses the rat infestation in the most heinous way possible by telling the Baroness (Daniela Holtz) it will cost to get a rat catcher and that there's no use meddling in the 'natural order' and the gas needs to go.  Mrs Jenkins (Eve Myles) burns her hand whilst attempting to light a lamp and Francatelli  (Ferdinand Kingsley) gives Miss Skerrett (Nell Hudson) some ice for her hand, there's an ice room in the palace.  He also is intrigued by where she goes at night and follows her, pretty sure he's seen her face before.  When she's accosted he realizes she's from Ma Fletcher's nunnery, a place of ill reputation and wonders how someone like her could've gotten work at the place.  Francatelli "never forgets a face" and one would ask why he's so well informed of such a place.  Creep!

Cumberland and Conroy feel they have a case against Victoria after she screams in hysterics when she spies rats on her birthday cake.  Cumberland adding his grandfather had hallucinations.  Her reaction was OTT as Conroy tells him.  She informs her physician she is fine and summons Melbourne to court.  However he still refuses to form a ministry for her as he must do what is right and uphold the constitution, which he so vehemently believes in.  Victoria still has problems with her mother, Duchess of Kent (Catherine Flemming) undermining her and wanting Conroy to help her. Since he is the only one she has.  Of course, adding Victoria doesn't love her.  "Who's fault is that?" Victoria replies.  Her mother giving her a copy of Shakespeare's King Lear with the passage about an ungrateful child underlined.

Wellington informs Melbourne of Cumberland and Conroy's plan and tells him he's the only one who can act since she won't accept a government headed by anyone else.  As she attempts to unveil her portrait, the rope gets stuck and she can't do it.  Melbourne helps her saying he will form a ministry if she asks him too.  Leaving viewers to watch Melbourne some more.  Baroness Lehzen decides not to have gas installed and the staff get their way.  But Melbourne broke her heart and as she said also forsaking her when he practically walked out as her PM.  I mean it was barbaric in leaving her to fend for herself when vultures were swarming overhead ever since she became queen.
It was a little funny when she complained of her chin on the coin (Doctor Eleven (Matt Smith) in Doctor Who was always getting comments and criticisms about his chin! ha)  Another tantrum to add to her list of many.  Liked her purple dress though!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Victoria 1.1 "Doll No 123" Review

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Victoria was a lavish production and an opener which is sure to bring back many viewers for the remainder of the episodes.  It wasn't filmed or written in a way that was boring or tedious but kept up the right amount of info to make it watchable and wasn't loaded with historical facts to make it a documentary rather than a drama.  As you know any production has its fair share of dramatic licence to make it more interesting.

From the news of William IV's death, which seemed to be relished by all at Kensington Place, even a smile on the 18 year old Victoria's (Jenna Coleman) face, as she realizes she is now queen.  Though she knew she would be Queen one day, hence doll 123, as she later tells Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) whom she affectionately calls "Lord M." Doll 123 was the one that she crowned when she found out the news.  However as I was saying, she wasn't groomed for the part of being queen and educated in that extent.  No protocols or royal rules, seems her mother, Duchess of Kent (Catherine Flemming) and Sir John Conroy (Paul Rhys) wanted her to be a 'puppet' queen, with them ruling the roost and telling her what to do.  As will be seen in part 2, as they advocate for a regency by making her out to be 'unwell' in the head (putting it mildly) and unfit to rule. Mad like George III, whose son was regent due to his incapacity.

However she did show herself to be more independent, if naive and inexperienced in matters of court, state, decorum and diplomacy.  Also falling and being enamoured of Melbourne, as really he was her first encounter with a man, she would be infatuated by him, having lived such a sheltered life.  He who was married to Lady Caroline Lamb of Lord Byron fame.

Scandals at court with thinking Lady Flora Hastings (Alice Orr-Ewing) was with child and going ahead and getting her examined, more her heart desires, in hoping she could get rid of Conroy and convince her mother to do the same; rather than thinking with her head and again demonstrated her inexperience and not listening to Melbourne, even though she made him her private secretary.  But at every turn she was under scrutiny and the move to Buckingham Home (as it was then called) still didn't help. Seems her 18 years should have been in preparation for this moment, as I said and yet there was always the doubt that others tried to place on her in preventing her from her own style of monarchy.  Like changing her name to Elizabeth as Alexandrina wouldn't do.  However Victoria was a typically English name.

At least we got a reprieve from the tension during the ads with the Sainsbury's 'ads', I mean the one with placing peaches on pizza, wouldn't do it myself, but it was probably peachy keen that they had a line about peaches in this episode too, where Victoria asks a dying Lay Flora if she'd like some peaches.  "I am beyond peaches!"

Jenna Coleman was at her best with a mix of adolescent immaturity, to wanting power, but in the sense of doing things her way and perhaps learning from her mistakes, finally and to succeed on her own and desperately wanting her mother away from here, taking Conroy with her.  Conroy was menacing as he lurked in every possible nook and cranny, as was the drama in the "downstairs" staff, selling off items from the palace, including her old gloves.  The chemistry between Victoria and Melbourne was apparent, but of course we know from history this went nowhere.  It was rather more an on screen chemistry here between Jenna and Rufus, who looked nowhere near like the real Melbourne.  Also being let loose on the champagne at the coronation ball, choosing her own ladies in waiting, which have nothing to do with her height and finally learning how to salute the Household Cavalry.  Hiding the pain and keeping a face of dignity in public.

Victoria was drama at its best and easily made up for the loss of Downton Abbey which we'd be getting pretty soon if it was still around!  At least Melbourne got a city named after him in Victoria, Australia, now there's some sort of ironic connection there!  Ha.  So he wasn't as redundant as some people made him out to be.  Don't you think the Whigs should've kept that party name?  They had much more success with it back then.  More so than the Liberals they became.

My sister mentioned how Jenna should've played Victoria in Doctor Who and that would've been the icing on the cake.  Having a Clara in a different dimension who was such royalty, as Jenna once again hows she was not only superb as Clara Oswald, but excels as Victoria.  We are amused..!  Wonder how ratings will fare when Victoria goes up against the return of Poldark next Sunday.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Musketeers 2.7 "A Marriage of Inconvenience" Review

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As the Musketeers escort Princess Louise (Perdita Weeks) Louis' (Ryan Gage) cousin to Paris for her wedding to the Prince of Sweden, thus forging an alliance with France and Sweden she is attacked en route and Porthos (Howard Charles) finds Spanish coins.  The Musketeers bring her to the garrison before they take her to the Archbishop Jacqueme (Laurence Kennedy).  Treville (Hugo Speer) is told of their plans. Whilst she is at prayer with the archbishop, she is attacked again by someone with an arrow and as D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) is unable to catch him, he escapes.  Well there's only a few people who could've been the assailant and that had to be Francecso (Ben Starr) her bodyguard.  Louise was coincidentally lucky as she trips whilst greeting the Archbishop, so he's killed instead.  Again she didn't strike me at all as clumsy and the Musketeers are to told to bring her to the Louvre by Rochefort (Marc Warren).

Still up to his conniving ways he tells Marguerite (Charlotte Salt) to bring the cross that Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) wears to him and he also tells her to spy on them.  She thinks he and Anne (Alexandra Dowling) are close and he threatens to tell her father of her liaison with Aramis, which she says would kill him.  Also making sure she doesn't find a suitable match for herself which is why she's at court.  She meets with Aramis who can't stop with those glances at Anne and vice versa, being very obvious with each other and Marguerite tells him if it's over he should tell her now.  He calls it a fling and nothing more, as she asks him for one final embrace and removes the necklace from him.  He didn't feel the weight of it gone form his neck!  He later tells her he's misplaced it, after he preens his moustache in the mirror (see 3.1.)

D'Artagnan is tasked with looking after Louise and she sees him with Constance (Tamla Kari) who tells him she's going to tell Bonacieux (Bohdan Poraj) about them and will leave him.  However when she does this, he slaps her and orders her home.  D'Artagnan notices and says he will kill him and Constance stops him.  Louis is angry with Milady (Maimie McCoy) and has her leave and as she does so, Rochefort stops her and takes away the necklace he gave her, saying she'll leave with what she came.  Athos (Tom Burke) is there and tells her to leave Paris after giving her his money, it's all he has.  It's a gift but she calls it charity and refuses to take it.  Of course she can make her own way.

Louis refuses to leave his chambers out of fear and won't let Anne in, she asks Rochefort to go to him and he tells him he doesn't want to see Louise, but Rochefort convinces him to meet with his chancellor, who is on his way to see him.  Anne tells the courtiers Louis is unwell and asks Rochefort to get the present for Louise but he hands Treville with the task instead.  A mundane task he's not happy with and thinks he should've accepted the post of minister when he was offered it.  A new captain will be named soon and he thinks it should be Athos.  Athos tells him to take the gift straight to the queen and show her his loyalty.

As he arrives at the house, he is watched by Francesco and Milady sees him too, but doesn't stop him from shooting Treville.  Constance tells Aramis and he has to help him, but says they need doctor Lemay (Ed Stoppard). Aramis removes the musket round but he can't do anything further, as the doctor bleeds his lungs of fluid.  Marguerite fives Rochefort the cross and he talks of how Anne promised she'd always keep it, so that was his cross she gave her, which she gave to Aramis and not one of her own, strange she shouldn't give him something belonging to her, but what was given to her by another man!  He tells her to give it back to Aramis and to still continue spying on them, she has no choice.  She returns it to Aramis saying she found it in the corridor.  Otherwise think of the trouble it would've stirred up. Which he doesn't really get.

The Musketeers question a man who manufactures such weapons and he tells them the weapons were taken and the Red Guards have them now.  They convey this to Rochefort who isn't convinced they have a traitor in their midst, he is the traitor of course so he wouldn't want anything found out or to investigate further.  Rochefort relieves D'Artagnan of his post in guarding Louise and enters her room with a case, containing another bow.  She is the assassin and she must kill the chancellor. Athos and Porthos search the house where Treville was headed and find the painter dead and the painting which was to be a gift, missing.  Athos tells them to look for the sketches and find the woman in them doesn't resemble Louise at all, so she's an imposter and chancellor Dupre (Tony Guilfoyle) is in danger.

Bonacieux arrives to take Constance with him and Louise tells him she's gone home cos of the way he commanded her.  He leaves and she gets ready with Francesco to kill.  As Aramis and D'Artagnan wait for him to arrive, Bonacieux returns for his hat and is killed by her, she hates wife beaters, adding to her earlier comment of how she'd kill him for Constance, so she could be with D'Artagnan. Porthos and Athos arrive in time as they protect the chancellor and D'Artagnan arrives to see her skirts flowing behind the wall.  She ends up behind bars and says it's over, also mentioning she left him in the state room and did him a favour, she can't get out as Aramis and Athos are on the other side, as Porthos fights Francesco.  He stabs himself with his sword.

D'Artagnan rushed to find him there and pauses for a moment before he decides to help him, but it's too late.  D'Artagnan wants to tell Constance himself as he has his blood on his hands.  He tells him Treville will be fine.  Louise is imprisoned but is paid a visit by Milady who tells her she'll release her if she tells her who was behind the attempt.  She says it was Rochefort, he's a Spanish spy and is killed anyway.  Rochefort taking care of everyone in his path and working his way to the top.  As Louis tells Rochefort how he's pleased with him and is the only one he can rely on, he makes him first minister and gives him the ring.  As he walks past the courtiers and the Musketeers, he was really expecting them to bow before him too, don't think so!

Treville tells Porthos when he's better he will tell him the truth.  Well can't wait for Rochefort to be found out but he's going to plunge them into a war with Spain since his new position will enable him much greater influence with the council, but also to do whatever he wants and get away with it, not that he hasn't bee doing that already.  At least this leaves the way open for D'Artagnan and Constance to be together now, even if it isn't how either one of them would've expected it to happen.  Obviously Milady will use that information she knows as leverage against Rochefort.  But as I said, Aramis is rather careless in his glances at Anne and now Rochefort is convinced of this, he'll have to watch out for him too.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Whispers 1.13 "Game Over" Review

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As children are rounded up as they believe Drill is actually in one of them, Claire (Lily Rabe) is the one who's tasked to communicate with Cassandra (Kayden Magnuson) as he's inhabiting her body now and completely taken over like he did with Elliott and so Cassandra is no more.  But still they didn't get it, the subtle clues were there underlying the story in every episode, as Drill says here, the adults leave their children alone, they play games and watch TV, yet still they don't interact with their children.  In short they're not parents and there is a message here that they didn't deserve their children either. Drill sent the message but it doesn't really tell them why.  They call it an invasion but that's not what he'd call it.  He disintegrates but Wes (Sloane) asks why Drill would kill itself and why now.  Sean (Milo Ventimiglia) calls Claire and tells her if it's the last day then she needs to be with her family together.

As Sean thinks he and Ron (John Billingsley) can find a way to decipher the first message that was sent in 1982 and maybe send one back, satellite detects a mass of rock heading towards earth. Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) and Minx (Kylie Rogers) are together and  she asks him to teach her sign language and how to say she hopes that whoever did this to her mother pays for it.  She wishes she didn't become Drill's friend then her mother would still be here, as her head falls and so do the heads of other children, they're not free of Drill and that's what Maria must've found out when she was killed.  That the part remaining in their brain was probably just a dormant piece of Drill waiting to become active when the time was right.

Frommer (David Andrews) prepares for weapons to be fired at the incoming rocks.  As Clarie goes she sees the children and when she goes after them, it's the adults who come after her and abduct her. Again they didn't get it, they found this happened in 1982 but they didn't ask what happened to other children who presumably would've been affected in the same way as their own children and what happened to them now, it didn't begin or end with just Thomas and Elliott.  Sean is also taken, as he tries to work out the signal recalling the 11215 number since it's one of his tattoos.  A brief mention of his tats too and that he has them all over his body but not much more significance than that.  Was this a date, the date that the aliens would get here, looks like a date, 2/11/15 or 11/2/15.

Jessup (Derek Webster) gets a visit from his ex wife, wanting to be with him and he actually goes with her.  Then sees Harper (Abby Ryder Fortson) at the bus stop with a woman who's not her mother.  As he talks to her she tells him she wishes he didn't see her and he finds himself locked in     the boot.  Wes finds Minx and Henry gone along with Sean and he tracks Jessup after he calls him, bringing along the journal and the computer.

The woman tells Claire and Sean that they were children when it happened and as Wes finds Jessup, he also takes a photo of a map.  He shoots his ex on the arm and Sean gets free of his ropes, as Wes shoots the woman and saves Claire.  The FBI has Henry cos they recognized him and at the office Claire asks him what's happening.  Frommer gives the go ahead for the weapons to be fired and they think it's a success.  Claire communicates to Henry with sign language and he tells them they're still here. Wes recalls the map and it forms the same symbol that the rocks were gathered in formation in, which was obvious from the map and Sean draws the x marking the spot on the screen.  Claire asks Henry if he knows where Minx is and as they rush to get there, it's revealed they are after their children, not the planet.  Again it was obvious, they're the only ones being communicated with, so why would they want the adults, they can't and don't want to invade them, but the children.  Was it their way of saving them.  Especially since once more this is the game they were playing.

Lights shine out over the city as the children are taken and Claire saves Henry by pushing him out of the way, but doesn't get out of the way herself.  Wes is too late to save Minx.  Well at least she was there and they were there as a family in the final moments.  Which did end on a cliffhanger note and left hanging too.  No great explanations or thrilling either as to what was happening and neglected children was just too flimsy a response, considering these children all had parents, two or one at least and weren't really juvenile delinquents in the system, didn't the aliens consider them.  They were all from families.  Nor was there anything on where the main adults, Sean, Clarie, Wes, Lena, were back in 1982, they too had to have been children but weren't affected or picked on by the first Drill.

There was a mention of sacrifice, Drill telling Claire through Cassandra that if they had engaged in   the concept and sacrificed the one child, he would've been weakened, probably died and wouldn't have been able to send the message back.  However here Claire learns the full meaning of sacrifice as she saves Henry and is taken instead, well here's a nice word to use, 'taken.'  That could be seen as an ultimate sacrifice after telling Henry she loves him.  We get a reversal from the pilot ep, whereas Henry was coping with losing his father, he now has lost his mother and gained his father, though in contrast Wes has lost all his family.  In some ways was that karmic comeuppance for what Lena did in shooting Thomas, she was killed herself and Minx was taken and especially after he was instrumental in getting the children into quarantine.  He loses Minx twice over.  It certainly was game over and season over too!

Think where this lost some momentum was when Sean got his memory back, it was too soon.  He was the one who had plenty to do in regaining his memories and in putting the clues and his tattoos together.  After he fell back into being a father and husband, lost his hair and beard, it just became routine for him to be a secondary character and mostly in the shadows, tasked with looking after Henry and Minx, when Claire and Wes were doing most of the work.  He had been through it all, had communication with Drill, but that was wasted in the rest of the show.  If he had retained his amnesia for longer maybe the show would've headed in a different direction and many of the eps would've been more engaging and interesting.  But you can't fault Milo in anything he appears in, he's always great to watch in any character he plays.  Sadly Sean should've remained the strong character he started out as early on!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Musketeers 2.6 "Through A Glass Darkly" Review

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As an astronomer, Marmion (Leo Gregory) prepares an instrument for viewing the eclipse, with masked men wearing doctor's masks, well that was a clue when they arrived there, but no one blinked twice or thought of it, thinking it was just a charade, especially since they wear the masks that doctors would wear when treating the plague and would burn herbs in it so they wouldn't have to inhale the smell.  Louis (Ryan Gage) partakes in a play explaining what happens when the moon overshadows the earth, with Milady (Maimie McCoy) playing the moon and Anne (Alexandra Dowling) the earth.  Athos (Tom Burke) says he can't be there and rides back to the garrison.  They ride out to the place with the Musketeers and Rochefort (Marc Warren).

Witnessing the eclipse, they are then held captives and there is nothing they can do.  Even when they fight Marmion and Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) asks for his compassion in sending out the women and the dauphin, Marmion is far from charitable and asks him what he said.  He shows his compassion by pushing Aramis out of the window and as they fight, Porthos (Howard Charles) and Rochefort are chained  together.  As D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) is chained to Constance (Tamla Kari) when she tells Marmion that she cares about him and he's her friend.

Marmion tells Louis to play his game and to pick a side of the coin, heads or tails, but he refuses to play.   Milady says she will cos she'd rather die than continue listening to his babble.  She picks heads and is allowed to leave when she gets it right and rides straight for the garrison.  When she arrives Athos tells Treville (Hugo Speer) they don't have to believe her, but they must ride out and she goes with them cos she knows the way in.  If they see the Musketeers there they'll kill everyone.  Which was going to happen anyway.
Athos: "She is a liar and a cheat, why should we trust her?"
Milady:" Aramis is dead.  The king is in terrible danger, but by all means, let's discuss my moral character, we have all day."  That's something they always do in here, have discussions when they shouldn't be.  But what has Aramis being dead got to do with it, the others were still there.  Seems Athos always gets the line about her being a liar and a cheat, even next series.  Though he tells her she has his respect for what she did.  But respect doesn't pay her and it's not really her world.

Two courtiers also pick heads cos of Milady and are subsequently dispatched with when he gets it wrong.  Marmion orders Anne, Marguerite (Charlotte Salt) and the dauphin to be taken away and are locked in a room, as the other courtiers are locked in another room.  Louis pleading for their release. Porthos can't get out of his chains or reach the metal hook hanging on the wall and Rochefort tells him he w as held prisoner for five years by the Spanish and he must've enjoyed every single one of them.  He says the love of a woman kept him going, but they didn't get together as she's married.  Oh enough of the small talk already.

Aramis wakes on the roof of a window and climbs back into the house, as Robert (Nathan Wright) gets the servants and other people to pack up their belongings since they'll be leaving here.  Marmion tells Louis to pick a number and D'Artagnan tells him not to indulge him and choose.  He finally picks the number 1 and his man kills the courtiers, with Aramis unable to save them, but he does save Anne.  As Marguerite watches them as she thanks him and he looks at the dauphin, she suspects something but Anne says how he has his saviour once again and he takes them out of the room. Louis wants to know who he killed and D'Artagnan tells him not to keep him in turmoil.  Anne and his son are still alive and Robert, his brother tells him he wasn't going to kill anyone.  He then tells them about his little town which had an outbreak of the plague.  They were cut off and had no food so everyone died, not of the plague but starvation.  Louis didn't send them food and he says they had to be cut off to save the other people.

Marmion had to watch his wife die, then had to choose which one of his sons would have food, so he tossed a coin and let fate decide, but he too was dead within a week.  Now it's Louis's choice, as he must pick a side again.  D'Artagnan tells him not to, but he picks anyway and Constance is his next target.  D'Artagnan pleads with him to let her go and he'll take his place cos all he wants is a life for a life.  She asks him what his wife and family would think of what he's doing and wants him to look her in the eyes before he shoots.  Porthos tells Rochefort to reach for the hook no matter what and dislocates his shoulder in the process.  Well maybe he should've been the one to suffer for a change.
Athos: "that was either a wounded bull, or Porthos."

The others arrive and Aramis takes Anne out, with Athos telling him to come straight back.  As Marmion is about to shoot D'Artagnan, Robert takes the bullet for him, with Marmion trying to escape.  Rochefort goes after him and shoots him.  Louis once again being more grateful to him, yeah cos he saved the day didn't he as per usual.  As they wait for Constance in the carriage, she kisses D'Artagnan and Louis asks if they're together.  As he also said Milady deserted him, he doesn't want to see her again.  An episode where once again it's Musketeers to the rescue, really don't know what Louis would do without them, so much for Rochefort and the Red Guard.  As Constance reveals her feelings, Anne is suspected of hers for Aramis and Athos doesn't want anything to do with Milady.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Musketeers 2.5 "The Return" Review

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Athos (Tom Burke) wakes up tied to a chair and is greeted by his villagers back in Pinon.  They want him to take action against the Baron Renard (Miles Anderson) who is taking over his land.  He refuses and wants nothing to do with this place anymore.  He left it and the Baron arrives with his son, Edmond (Barney White) who beats an old man and Athos tells him to stop.  Renard telling him he doesn't recognize nobility and the Comte de la Fere.  They have a discussion about his lands and Athos tells him he's renounced his title but he has kept his lands.  He wants an agreement to treat the villagers fairly from him, and they shake hands when Renard tells them they will be treated "as they deserve."  Which obviously in his eyes will be as peasants and slaves and not with any dignity.  He tells this to Edmond.

Jeanne (Linzay Cocker) tells Athos they sent him letters and he says he doesn't read letters.  The others are worried about him and don't know where he is.  They read his letters instead where the villagers plead for his help.  D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) suggests they ride out to Pinon as it's only a day's ride away and Treville (Hugo Speer) reluctantly agrees.  Renard suspends Athos from a rope and will finish him off, as a woman fires a shot releasing him from the rope.  They ride away saying soldiers are coming and take Jeanne with them.  He tells them he doesn't want to be here and wants nothing to do with them.

Riding away Athos stops at the burnt out house and has a flashback to Milady (Maimie McCoy) being arrested after she kills Thomas and says he forced himself upon her.  With the woman turning up, Catherine (Marianne Oldham) was his brother's betrothed and she lives in the servant's quarters when her father lost his laads.  Porthos (Howard Charles) and Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) are tasked with rescuing Jeanne from the baron and they do this without them even noticing.  They think she escaped by herself as they tie a sheet through the window.  Of course, they didn't really go anywhere.

Catherine tells Athos this place would've been hers now and how they were to be married, but he tells her they were too young.  Instead she got Thomas.  She didn't marry anyone else cos she doesn't have a dowry or money.  As he rides back, he has another flashback with him and Milady frolicking in the grass. ha.  The others say he was all for justice and yet he's deserting his own people, convincing him to stay.  He and D'Artagnan ride for gunpowder, as there's a secret stash at his crypt.
Athos: inspecting a pistol, "a little battered but just about servicable."
D'Artagnan: "are you talking about yourself or that old pistol?"
As the others teach the villagers how to fight and defend themselves after Treville tells them it's their home and their land and family and so they have something to live and to fight for.  They should turn up at sun up if they want to do this.  Which they do.  As they learn and set up a barricade.  Aramis says they can't come here in the night, but they will be here in the morning.

Which they do and are met with a fight.  The baron rides up with a white flag and tells Athos to surrender.  Handing over his lands but he refuses.  Jeanne tells him he handed over the land to them and Catherine says he gave the land to her, Athos replying he did, he gave the land to everyone including her.  She's enraged by this and goes back to the room and breaks her mother's pearl necklace.  She wanted to be mistress of the manor and the land.  After a battle and a half, they finally defeat Renard's men, but not before Edmond and Athos have a sword fight to the death, you could say.  Only he's interrupted by Catherine, who tries to shoot Athos, but gets Edmond instead.

Athos signs over the land to Bertrand (Steve Evets) as Mayor and Aramis says they should get to the country more often.  As Catherine pulls on guns and is probably attempting to go after Milady, as she says she can't breathe in a world where she's still alive.  Athos telling her a number of times she's Louis's (Ryan Gage) mistress.  Also sensing that there's something going on between Porthos and Treville.

Now didn't that shell of a house remind you of Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre and yes I mention it gain cos Tom Burke was Rochester in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Jane Eyre this year and he does remind me of Mr Rochester, very dark and brooding, even in his portrayal as Athos!  Although there wasn't much damage caused to the house by the fire.  Athos can't forget Milady even after her betrayal which shows he must have some feelings for her still, but also as he says to Catherine, as she drinks to the past, that's "the one toast I can't drink to."  But he'll have the drink anyway!  ha. He can't forget the past no matter how many times him or Milady say it's all in the pasta and should be left there.  It's not so easy.

Aramis: "...just to fight, to risk everything.  To put it all on the line.  How else do I know I'm truly alive."  Once again Aramis utters words which will have a deeper meaning for him later in the series, as he goes from fighting to not fighting and then to taking up arms again in series 3.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Musketeers 2.4 "Emilie" Review

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Emilie (Emma Lowndes) preaches about her visions from God where she's been told to help France and the people rise up against Spain and defeat the Spanish.  As she does this, the people take to the streets and attack the Spanish as Navas's (Oliver Rix) carriage is taken over and he's left for dead, suspended from it.  Louis (Ryan Gage) wants something to be done about this and as the Musketeers arrive at the camp, they hear her talk to the people.  Rochefort (Marc Warren) is given the task, but he is convinced by Treville (Hugo Speer) to let them handle it.  Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) is to enter the camp and discredit Emilie as he is an authority on the Bible and as he arrives at the camp he's stopped by the guards.  Emilie agrees to speak with him and she tells him of her visions.  He tells her he's deserted after hearing her speak.

That night he hears Emilie's nightmares as she screams out.  Anne (Alexandra Dowling) arrives at the camp again thinking that if Louis won't grant her an audience, she can speak with hr and make him see things differently.  Unfortunately she's recognized by Raymond (Charles Venn) and she and Constance (Tamla Kari) are held at the camp.
Aramis: "faith has little to do with reason."

Perales (Will Keen) finds himself in danger and is taken by D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) Athos (Tom Burke) and Porthos (Howard Charles) to the garrison where he'll be safer. He tells Treville he's been granted passage home by Philip and asks him if he's ever eaten an orange from Seville.  Before he's taken away, he visits Rochefort's prostitute and pays her money for taking care of him.  But he stops her and asks who orders his death.  After she tells him, Rochefort strangles her and sends her ear to him at the garrison.  Porthos asks who would do this and they know it's someone who knows he's here, but once again, Rochefort isn't the immediate person they think of. Perales says he will tell them once he's safely away and a carriage is ordered for him by a letter meant to have been signed by Rochefort.

Rochefort wants Milady (Maimie McCoy) to do something for him and she has to agree. D'Artagnan is sent to check the carriage and as Porthos, Treville and Athos escort Perales to the carriage, D'Artagnan tells them it's a trap, but they're too late, as Milady has already struck, poisoning Perales with a prick on his hand.  So once again, Rochefort gets away with it.

Constance is told to eat her soup as Emilie says she's not hungry and that night, she has nightmares about Anne and Louis being murdered and an axeman.  She wakes up and doesn't know why she's had such nightmares since this is the first time.  Aramis takes the soup to be analyzed and asks Constance to give it to doctor (Ed Stoppard).
Lemay: "I'm a doctor, not an alchemist."  He tastes it and find it's been drugged with some sort of mushroom, thus Emilie's visions aren't from God, but her mother has been drugging her.

Athos has to stay with her cos he's familiar with such things and he and Constance make sure she gets over the withdrawals.  They tell her that her mother's behind it and she rides into the village telling everyone it was all a fake, her mother is behind it.  They should disband and go home.  As Raymond throws a rock at her mother, who dies.  Emilie tells them to leave her alone. Once again Rochefort gets everything he wants, including info from Allard (John Harding) on Milady which he used to blackmail her, as he also blackmails him about his wife not knowing of his mistresses.  Being the cardinal's man he would've known everything about her since she was in his pay.

A bit of a Joan of Arc episode which doesn't really go that far as Emilie's visions are not from God but manipulated by her mother to further her daughter's name as well as her own and some kind of feeble attempt to wage war with Spain.  Well it wouldn't be her fighting for France.  Once again Anne goes head first into the camp again without thinking, as if she could possibly influence the rabble and once again must be rescued.  Well that's okay then, as her saviour and hero Aramis was there and does just that.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Musketeers 2.3 "The Good Traitor" Review

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The Muskeeters capture Spanish General, Tariq Alaman (Colin Salmon) and he tells Treville (Hugo Speer) he needs to see the king urgently.  At the palace Louis (Ryan Gage) is angry he's been woken at this time, people talk of seeing the sunrise when it happens everyday anyway.  Tariq sets a charge and the statue blows up with the head rolling by Louis's feet.  He will give them the powder if they rescue his kidnapped daughter, Samara (Antonia Thomas) from Baltasar (Finbar Lynch) who has taken her hostage.  Also involved is a cipher which he promises he'll give to them in his fight against the Spanish.  Showing them how he was badly treated by them and tortured as he's also a Moor.

They plan to meet in the market to make the exchange, with Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) as the sharp shooter who will take out his man.  As they make the exchange, Aramis is distracted by a woman carrying a baby and he hesitates, then is unable to take his shot as Tariq obscures his view.  A moment's lapse in hesitation and being emotional is what Athos (Tom Burke) told D'Artagnan he shouldn't do all the way back in season 1, that he was too emotional and he needed to set his emotions aside, which is what Aramis didn't do.  This is cos he learns from Constance (Tamla Kari) that the dauphin is gravely ill and could die.  Anne (Alexandra Dowling) is beside herself, as is Louis and he gets in a Swiss doctor, Lemay (Ed Stoppard) to help.  Though he proves useless.

They fight and Porthos (Howard Charles) is hit by an arrow in his leg, as Samara tries to escape but is taken away along with Porthos.  She tries to help him but gives up as she's not a nurse but a poet and goes back to reading her poems.  Porthos doesn't read Arabic, but she reads to him cos it's better than anything else they have.  She asks him where he's originally from as he says he's French, but African on his mother's side.  Samara is from Morocco and she tells him his country will only let him down, so he should find his roots.  He needs to get the arrow out and tells her to pull the belt tight and hold it whilst he pulls it out.  They have a weapon now.

Treville tries to renegotiate with Perales (Will Keen) again and Tariq tells them if they get her back he will give them the cipher and show them how it works.  D'Artagnan gets onto his carriage and ends up where they're holding them hostage.  Tariq tells Perales and Baltasar he'll give them the cipher if they let Samara go. Gunfire is heard as D'Artagnan is unable to hod them off and after a fight, they still haven't managed to get Tariq free or Samara either.  But Tariq says he'll give them the cipher if they release her and they can have him too.  Which they'll have to agree to.  When they leave, Tariq tricks Baltasar into giving him the cipher which was in Samara's book and he throws it into the fire, then sets off the explosive.

Constance kidnaps the dauphin but to make him well again and she's stopped by Rochefort (Marc Warren) who just gets everywhere and tells him she's been summoned by her husband.  She takes him to the laundry where the steam will clear his lungs, or at least she hopes so.  Rochefort also gets Anne's attention when she asks him to sit with her and he tells her he loves her, "like a subject."  Well that was convenient after his 'role playing' with a prostitute dressed up as Anne, clearly he's delusional and dangerous.  Milady (Maimie McCoy) gets to see Louis but he sends her away as he's concerned with the dauphin's health, but he then decides to have dinner with her after he sees her in her 'alluring dress.'  Where she seduces him and gives him back his ring, of course he can't have been that worried about the dauphin if he had time to indulge in pleasures of the flesh.

Next day they find the dauphin's gone and Anne finds them together under the table. so much for her having to be faithful and loyal.  After searching, Rochefort finds Constance at the laundry and tells her she'll be charged with treason.  When they take him back, they find he has recovered and Lemay tells her she was right on this occasion, but leeches do work.  The king rescinds his order for her to be hanged.  As Aramis prays and Porthos says goodbye to Samara.  She tells him she's returning to Morocco and he should think of doing the same.  She misses her father and he tells her she can grieve for him and have her memories but he didn't know his father, he abandoned them.

Here was a topical episode if ever there was one, so many connotations and allusions to the real world in many ways.  Well there was racism, with Tariq saying he's treated like he is cos of his colour, Samara saying only his own country will be his home, not the garrison as Porthos tells her, oh and there was Tariq (the Moor) blowing himself up to save the cipher.

Tariq: "I have never understood irrational hatred.  It stifles every decent impulse, destroys common sense and reason.  The moment a man says, 'all Moors are this or all white men are that.'  He has abandoned his sanity and revealed his weakness."
Baltasar: "yet it is not me who is weak, not me who will die on the scaffold."  What's weakness got to do with it, he wasn't talking about being weak but how people are treated on the basis of who they are and their skin colour, where they come from, etc.

Louis tells Treville and the Musketeers they've let him down yet again and he takes comfort in Rochefort who doesn't let him down.  Treville telling him they don't have the cipher, but neither do the Spanish.  Bonacieux (Bohdan Poraj) being shocked at seeing Constance with a baby, then asking if it's D'Artagnan's, I mean if he's been with her every minute, how could she have had a baby!  ha. Can't help but think the title was an allusion to Rochefort, though he's far from good!

The Whispers 1.12 "Traveller in the Dark" Review

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Minx Kylie Rogers) has a nightmare four years earlier and Wes (Barry Sloane) teaches her 'twinkle, twinkle little star' which seemed appropriate under the circumstances as we're dealing with aliens.
Present day: Frommer David Andrews) is sure that Drill has gotten inside of Minx but Wes tries to convince him otherwise.  Of course that was opportune for Drill as he uses Minx as a scapegoat and yet more revenge for Lena's betrayal in trying to take Minx away.  However Frommer thinks Claire (Lily Rabe) can be of more help if she speaks with her.  Minx is in solitary with gloves on and is restrained.  Claire removes her gloves and as we know Minx is aware that whatever she says will just lead them to suspect her more.

Daniel (Tom Butler) speaks with Jessup (Derek Webster) and Sean (Milo Ventimiglia) and thinks Drill has something to do with the government's nuclear plans and wants to write the story.  Claire wants Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) to tell her his version and if it was Minx who grabbed Cassandra's (Kayden Magnuson) arm and he's positive of what he saw.  Silas (Teo Briones) tells Wes and Claire that he saw Minx with Maria on the night she was killed and the activity on her computer shows that the final note she made was deleted and this was to do with Minx.  Claire is convinced that Minx is hosting Drill and Wes knows she's wrong and he's right.  He isn't just concerned as her father but cos he knows it can't be her and yet Claire doesn't give her the benefit of the doubt.  So much for being concerned about them both.  Seems she was more interested in saving Henry.

Sean and Jessup need to find away to convince Daniel to break the story so that the government must check their facts and what is happening, thus delaying the deadline for the press conference.  Wes visits Minx and tries to calm her also recalling the poem again.  She can't recall it all and also realizes he's testing her, reminding him he's her father and he must believe her.  Minx knows Henry can hear her in the next room and pleads with Henry to tell Claire she's not Drill.  Frommer however is convinced cos of Claire and takes Minx away, urging the president (Martin Cummins) to deal with her, as they didn't deal with Nicholas.  Claire and Wes are removed from the facility and Frommer is going to use the EMP device to kill Drill.  The children are removed and Minx is strapped to a table. Claire makes it to the Whitehouse to get to the president as he prepares for a press conference.

Sean and Jessup mention Orion to Daniel and he tells them all the president's family have code names and Orion is Cassandra.  Oberon is the president and Olympia is the first lady.  Wes tries to get to Minx and Claire realizes the press conference is what Drill wanted all along as he's going to use the live feed to send a message/signal.  Claire is stopped by the Secret Service before she reaches the president.  Cassandra faces the camera and screams thus sending out the signal via the live broadcast. Wes reaches Minx in time and Frommer stops the EMP from being used.  Cassandra tells Claire she's not going anywhere and Wes and Minx say the poem again when she was younger after she had a nightmare.

This episode seemed like a filler to the final episode and very little was done in terms of plot.  By now we know Drill wants to send out a message and contact the others, that was part of his entire purpose for being here.  As well as this, it also proves to be a testing ground for Wes and how he will do anything to save Minx especially since he doesn't have anyone on his side anymore.  Even Claire deserts him in many ways by convincing herself and Frommer that Minx is Drill without a moment's hesitation.  As long as Henry was okay that's all that mattered.  Even Henry didn't do anything to advocate Minx's case and it's really hard to believe him when he says he saw Minx cos there was quite a lot happening and really anyone could've grabbed Cassandra's hand.  So much for Henry being Minx's friend.  Drill also fooling the president when he says in his speech that his daughter told him to be brave.  Especially when those words came from Drill!