The following will contain some spoilers for Versailles Episode 3. Episode 2 Recap & Review can be found here and serves as a general catch-up as well as a primer for those watching the world of Louis XIV.
We’ll start with some honesty shall we? Episode 2 of Versailles was, to be fair, a little ‘Meh’. That’s French for ok, not bad, not brilliant. Probably. So we need a little je ne sais quoi this week, non? Well how about oodles of sex, violence, conspiracies and killings?
Montcourt is not a happy man. Humiliated and thrown out of court as an example to all the nobility, he seeks refuge with the Duke of Cassel, a man who is strong in the North. And winter is coming. No, wait, wrong show, sorry (but theres a mashup waiting to happen). Cassel will use Montcourt for his own doing, stirring trouble and even a possible coup; Louis is not France! THEY, the nobility, are what made the country and it’s time Louis got the message, stopped all this foolish Versailles nonsense and head back to Paris.
At the palace Louis informs his Queen that her mourning is over and that she is to entertain a visiting dignitary, Prince Annaba of Africa (Marcus Griffiths). Africa has great wealth and is willing to partner with many countries; Louis is set on him choosing France and besides, the Queen has already met Annaba in Paris. Mmmnnn….., interesting, oui?
Louis’ brother, the Monsieur Philippe d’Orléans, is still VERY keen to go to war, to fight in HIS war but Louis is still dragging his heels as to when. This vexes Monsieur and he vexes very well, albeit with moustache twirling help from friend and lover Chevalier, quite the most delicious character in Versailles so far. Prince Annaba and entourage arrive but are not shown exactly the hospitality they expect; he is here for negotiations but does not yet realise they began the moment he stepped foot in the palace.
Meanwhile, Cassel’s plan is put into action and the ousted nobility don disguises and carry muskets to disrupt the supply lines from to the Palace and it’s ongoing construction. “Over 400 new apartments” are being created Louis proudly tells Prince Annaba on a tour of the grounds, somewhat humiliated by the fact no building is now going on thanks to materials being intercepted by the highwaymen.
Philippe has taken matters into his own hands and arranges the required blessings to help speed his brother’s decision. And it works, with Louis saying he can leave the following day, much to Philippe’s delight. And here we get the episode’s standout scene. “Go then. Run to her. You have my blessing. God knows you don’t need a priest for that” he calmly says to his brother, thus laying out that he knows all about Louis assignations with his wife, and indeed has done from the beginning. Louis’ face tries to remain stoic but it’s a losing battle – hats off to George Blagden here – and makes the whole business of these two illicit lovers far more complex and intriguing. “Stay close to your bodyguard” Louis, once recovered, implores his brother, a lovely throwaway line perfectly describing exactly what sort of war Philippe will be having.
More Chevalier – YES! – with him taking a walk around the grounds with his cousin Sophie (Maddison Jaizani), a striking young lady who has caught the eye of one the builders. That can’t end well. Chevalier promises to look after her and her mother De Clermont in these troubling times, but she has the measure of this man believing that he will “use us up and cast us out like all the rest”. Yep, that’s what we’re all thinking love.
As the negotiations with Prince Annaba and his party continue – and Annaba is beginning to catch on now – grand festivities and games are put on. As news of Cassel’s continued refusal to produce proof of his nobility at court are received, Louis counsels patience before showing his gratitude to his Queen for her help as only a Frenchman can. And informing her that the baby she thought dead is alive and well; his last minute saving of this child last week is about to pay off.
As Louis had mentioned earlier, here come his good friends The Parthenays, en route to Versailles to present their credentials at court as a show of faith to both King and their fellow nobility. We know what’s going to happen but it’s still a shock to see the whole party gunned down with the young daughter shot in the back as she tries to flee. If only they hadn’t recognised Montcourt’s voice behind his mask! But her body can’t be found, leaving the storyline open for Louis to unleash hell on the slippery agent of Cassel.
Louis takes Prince Annaba on a trip, stopping off to witness the strangling to death of a former noble who had conspired against his father. Just a regular carriage ride in the woods then eh? As a show of power, it’s impressive. But Louis has more up his sleeve. Taking the Prince to the nunnery where the Queen’s baby now resides, he shows the Prince his full hand; yes, he knows of Annaba and the Queen’s fornication and the result that now lies wailing between the two men. And that’s fine for France is Africa’s best ally. Got that Prince? He does, and a treaty is signed.
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