'The Musketeers' Recap: 'The Challenge'

By Rosie Hertzman,

There’s bound to be some tension between the Cardinal’s Red Guard and the King’s Musketeers — political head versus religious head, who comes out on top? After an incident where the Red Guard was sent to apprehend a prisoner taken into custody by the Musketeers, the two have finally come to blows. When the Red Guards were warned that the prisoner was dangerous, they scoffed, then promptly got their asses kicked.

This was pretty embarrassing for the Cardinal, who demands something be done. The King’s brilliant solution is to have the Musketeers and the Red Guard each pick a champion to compete against one another. The winning "team" gets bragging rights, and some monetary prize. The whole competition is probably more to amuse the King than because he actually believes it will settle anything. But hey, we're amused as well so we're not complaining.

Love, or lust, is in the air! Porthos and Aramis go in search of wealthy patronesses to provide them with the money to enter the contest. Porthos finds himself a wealthy widow, Alice, who gifts him a memento of her late husband’s, which happens to be enough to cover the entry free. Yet even though he gets his money, he still goes back for more. The two end up talking and she offers him a life beyond the Musketeers. Will he take it? Could Porthos ever give up the life of a Musketeer? We'll see.

Still in the early stages of their affair, Constance and D’Artagnan are flirty, sweet, and sort of disgustingly in love. At least they are until Constance’s husband finds out. When she refuses to stop seeing D’Artagnan, he demands she make D’Artagnan hate her, or else he’ll have him killed. See, the Cardinal has continued his back alley ways in asking Bonacieux to spy on D’Artagnan and see if he has any lady friends. With the Cardinal standing beside him, he just might have the power and influence to make D’Artagnan disappear.

Treville breaks the news to D’Artagnan that the prisoner the Musketeers had in custody, Labarge, destroyed D’Artagnan’s farm, his only source of income since he doesn’t technically work as a Musketeer (yet). D’Artagnan is rightfully upset yet foolishly decides it’s a totally good idea to sneak into the Bastille, where Labarge is being held. Only the guy is seriously scary and almost kills D’Artagnan. Thankfully, Treville asked Athos to keep an eye on him and he barges in right as Labarge is about to snap D’Artagnan’s neck. Whew.

Musketeers 101: Don’t let your emotions rule your head. Athos has become a sort of mentor for D’Artagnan and he warns him to keep his emotions in check during a fight. His advice pays off during the preliminary qualifying rounds, when he goes up against Aramis and actually holds his own. Aramis is impressed, and hopefully so is Treville.

Treville may have been impressed but he still ends up choosing himself as the champion. Don’t worry, he’s not actually that narcissistic, he knows something that the others don’t—the Cardinal’s champion is Labarge. The Cardinal made a deal with Labarge, commissioning him to join the Red Guard as their champion, in exchange for his freedom. If he wins the competition, of course.

Because the Cardinal chose someone who he himself deemed without remorse or guilt, it’s no surprise that on the day of the competition Labarge plays dirty. The King, for once, at least sort of calls the Cardinal out and insists Treville can choose another champion to take his place, since Labarge is a giant cheater and injured Treville during their fight.

Treville chooses D’Artagnan as his replacement. Despite Labarge’s jabs, D’Artagnan is able to keep his emotions in check, and comes out on top. And so the winners are the Musketeers, but the true celebration is for what comes next. The King tells D’Artagnan he admires his bravery and loyalty and commissions him into the Musketeers. Finally!

Alas, Porthos and Alice don’t work out. After coming to see the competition Alice decides that level of violence isn’t for her; while Porthos admits he could never give up being a soldier, she says she could never be a soldier’s wife. D’Artagnan isn’t having much more luck. He and Constance still haven’t smoothed things out and he’s leaving the inn. Oh no, D’Artagnan come back, she didn’t mean it. Hopefully those two sort things out next week.

image courtesy of INFphoto.com



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