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The following will contain some spoilers for Versailles Episode 6. Episode 5 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.

The builders are revolting. And they’re also planning to down tools. As his vision slowly begins to take shape and Versailles expands, Louis experiences some labour difficulties, whilst family matters threaten to complicate life even further. And that’s before plotters make headway in their plan to kill the King. Oh dear.

Work disputes in the 17th Century were resolved somewhat differently
Work disputes in the 17th Century were resolved somewhat differently

The Palace of Versailles is coming along very nicely and so Louis takes an entourage on a tour. The big show off. Unfortunately, working conditions and pay are so bad that the workers are perfectly happy to commit suicide in front of their king to prove a point. How embarrassing. At least they haven’t gone on strike, eh Louis? Oh, they have.

The plotting Cassel, who you may remember had his house and all possessions burnt to the ground last week, is Louis ‘guest’. As if he’s got anywhere else to go. At least they haven’t dumped him in an old broom cupboard. Oh wait, they have.

Philippe is taken for a stroll by the Chevalier
Philippe is taken for a stroll by the Chevalier

Out for a romantic stroll with his boyfriend – most out of character for the Chevalier, it has to be said – Philippe is approached by a builder. Not only does he ask Philippe to talk to the king and make their point, he states that ‘should’ things change, the builders would support Philippe. ‘Should things change’? It’s a coup! This builder has surely just signed his own death warrant, non? Mais non, for most of the builders are soldiers not at war and thus fully behind the brave Philippe who distinguished himself on the battlefield against the Spanish. Philippe is shocked but realises something must be done. And the builder keeps his life.

Don't they make a lovely couple?
Don’t they make a lovely couple?

Philippe is good to his word – and is fast becoming the nice, sane face of French royalty; who’d have thought? – and brings the subject up to an annoyed King Louis at dinner. Louis won’t hear of his brother taking any responsibility (or should that be glory) and storms off to have hot, sweaty sex with Madame de Montespan. But when that doesn’t take his mind off things and he can’t perform, he trots off down the corridor for a chat with Philippe’s wife Henriette. She’s not up for any late-night shagging with the King which is fortunate as Philippe barges in without knocking. As the brothers argue, Henriette implores them to stop, finally revealing that she is pregnant. That works. Blimey. Who’s the daddy?

Madame de Montespan, unable to arouse the King's interest tonight
Madame de Montespan, unable to arouse the King’s interest tonight

After Louis’s first attempt at parlay with the builders ends in failure – offering to hang them if they don’t go back to work is not a great opening gambit if we’re honest – he softens, becomes all Kingly and decides to build them a hospital, pay decent wages and present each builder/soldier with a freshly struck gold coin. That does it, regardless of whether Louis can afford it or not, but one builder has other ideas; he spits in the King’s face and snarls, “the enemy is closer than you think!” I guarantee we’ll never see him again.

That night, Louis has a nightmare. His closest and most trusted enter his chamber, wake him and hold him down. Philippe draws a blade and plunges it into his chest. Prophecy or too much cheese at dinner? Follow it all here at XO.TV.

  • Louis’ chats with his head gardener are getting a little tiresome and are rather a clichéd way of revealing his inner dialogue.
  • It is hard to follow who is exactly whom if we’re honest. And this cypher code stuff could be clearer.
  • There was barely any Chevalier and a distinct lack of moustache twirling from him – boo!
  • But Philippe is fast becoming the most interesting and complex character.
  • At times, Louis comes across as spoilt and ruthless whilst also fragile and lacking in confidence. It’s well written and George Blagden is ok, but more nuance would be nice.
  • Finally, some nudity! Yes we’re pathetic, but this is Versailles, non?