'The Musketeers': 'Friends and Enemies' recap

By Amanda Jo Scott,

If you’re scouring your television for a contemporary version of a classic with a bit of romanticism, look no further than The Musketeers. BBC America’s new series is a contemporary retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel. It’s a perfect blend of excitement, romance and camaraderie.

The first episode introduces us to our favorite Musketeers - Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d’Artagnan. While on their way to Paris to petition the king, d’Artagnan and his father are attacked at an inn. A man calling himself Athos kills d’Artagnan’s father. d’Artagnan, vowing revenge, continues his journey into Paris to bring Athos to justice.

Meanwhile, Athos, Porthos and Aramis have been sent to track down a missing group of Musketeers. Upon their return to Paris, Athos is confronted by d’Artagnan. Not letting their friend face a battle alone, d’Artagnan soon finds himself fighting Athos, Porthos and Aramis. They soon come to the realization that someone has been masquerading as Athos, committing violent crimes. The men come together to save their friend.

Along the way we meet King Louis XIII, Queen Anne, Cardinal Richelieu, Constance, Captain Treville and Milady de Winter. Their paths are all intertwined and set to have a definite explosive meeting in the near future. All of the roles are played impeccably well and with extreme dedication. They, especially the actors playing the Musketeers, have trained an incredible amount. The sets and costuming are amazing. It’s gorgeous and the attention to detail is commendable. It’s obvious that a lot of care has gone into creating a worthy contemporary retelling of such a great classic.

The first episode of the series focuses on the ideas of morality, loyalty, camaraderie and our pasts. This seems as though it will continue throughout the rest of the series. The classic story focuses much of its attention on these themes and the series does right to focus upon them as well.

The Musketeers are described as loyal and moral men throughout much of the first episode. Yes, they each have their issues from the past and present, but they remain loyal to one another and a Musketeer moral code.

The series alludes to Athos’ dark secrets, Aramis love of love and ladies, Porthos’ untruthful gambling, and d’Artagnan’s seemingly naiveté. The series also does well in establishing strong female roles. This is especially true of Constance, who is a headstrong, intelligent woman. She’s brutally honest and has no problem telling knocking those Musketeers’ egos back down to size.

This all lends to the humor and drama of the series as they come together to help one another in the face of greater evils to protect their King and country. In a time where so many of us seem to be self-involved, it’s refreshing to confront this sort of camaraderie.

The series finds a way to mix in a bit of humor with all of the swashbuckling goodness. Much like the classic novel, it’s inspiring and adventurous. It’s definitely a keeper. Even BBC thinks it is, as the series has been granted a second season.

image of Tom Burke courtesy of ACE/INFphoto.com

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