The following will contain some spoilers for Versailles Episode 4. Episode 3 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.
Marchal goes all Sherlock Holmes, thrown porridge is revealed as a big thing and the Chevalier just stops short of twirling his moustache. This should never, ever be used as any study of history but my, is it fun.
After last week’s rather fun installment, things continue to move apace at the court of Louis XIV. There’s quite a bit of ground to cover, together with a little bit of brotherly history concerning breakfast, but Louis (George Blagden) is rather being overshadowed by Philippe, Chevalier de Lorraine, played with such a knowing wink by Evan Williams that you may find yourself inadvertently hissing and saying “He’s behind you!” at the screen. Camper than a Boy Scout’s jamboree, the Chevalier injects a huge amount of fun into every scene he’s in.
Louis isn’t having the best time at the moment. His friends the Parthenay family have been murdered, shot in cold blood by forces intent on having Louis and his court move back to Paris. Inspecting the bodies the king realises that Charlotte Parthenay, his beloved Goddaughter, is not amongst them and quickly despatches the loyal Marchal to the scene. Fabien Marchal is a natural detective and quickly surmises that the family must have been shot by noblemen. He also finds the dying Charlotte, mortally wounded by a bullet from Montcourt’s gun.
Louis is also rather peeved that brother Philippe is having such a good war against the Spanish. Only an extremely petulant older brother would arrange a meeting with a representative from the house of Habsburg and arrange to sign a treaty to end the war. And Louis is extremely petulant. When Marchal brings him news that Charlotte is dead, and died over many hours in great pain, Louis is furious as much with the bearer as the bad news; the King is used to having information sugar coated but Marchal is a man of truth and principle. Louis needs distractions; and luckily, the Palace of Versailles is full of them.
Any and all pretty young ladies wish to catch the King’s eye, and perhaps more. It’s a tough life being Louis with fair maidens literally throwing themselves at you. The Chevalier is around to spoil the fun though, dancing and flirting dirtily with the beautiful Sophie whilst making googly eyes at a cellist, a late night assignation with the young man very much on his mind.
The Chevalier’s meets with the cellist in the dark gardens but their al fresco frolickings are interrupted with the cellist’s throat being cut. How rude. The man with the knife is none other than Montcourt who now has the Chevalier under his control. This does not bode well for Louis; the Chevalier was trouble before but more annoying than anything. Now he’s poised to cause some real mayhem.
Louis travels to the front line of the war and calmly informs brother Philippe of the truce that will be imminently struck. Philippe is heartbroken and furious and recounts a tale from their youth where he was punished for a fight the two had, started by Louis who threw porridge at his younger brother over breakfast. It’s an odd grudge to hold but a perfect representation of how these two grew up and how power is wielded at the Palace of Versailles.