The following will contain some spoilers for Versailles Episode 7. Episode 6 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.
King Louis XIV is gravely ill but some duplicity allows him to get the upper hand. There is much violence and rutting this week, confirmation that this is a European Dallas/Dynasty with extra nudity and a little bit of history. Excellent.
“The enemy is closer than you think“
Louis is having nightmares of his impending doom once more, a result of the fever that threatens his life. In a plot device possibly older than the palace itself, his personal physician prescribes an elixir that, last week, we saw had been swapped out for poison, only for the king to have second thoughts at the last minute. Once again advising the exact opposite of her doctor father, Claudine suggests rest for the fever to burn itself out and the King complies – he is increasingly fond of both her and her ideas.
Philippe is clearly upset at his brother being so ill and thus takes to an orgy with several girls as well as the Chevalier. But when our favourite moustache-twirling boyfriend of the King’s brother is alone, he’s accosted by a masked man who gives him a note that he’s warned he ‘must’ follow. The contents of that note? As Versailles is basically a soap, we won’t know…until later.
After a mad wander around his court, and a story from his favourite gardener (who we learn once had an affair with his mother) Louis makes a swift and remarkable recovery – appropriately for the Sun King, he’s woken by the bright dawn – and decides to play it clever. No one, not even his inner-most court, is to know he is recovered, and the ‘Circle of Trust’ formed to keep the government running in his absence is to continue and also choose a new regent in the event of Louis’ death. Louis is planning on this duplicity revealing who is, and more importantly who isn’t, loyal to him.
One of those decidedly unloyal, and most definitely not a true noble, is Madame de Clermont (Amira Casar). Constantly being asked for her nobility papers, she’s taken to forging them using a stolen royal seal before delivering them to a stressed Colbert (Steve Cumyn). Meanwhile, Dr. Masson (Peter Hudson) has had enough being humiliated by his upstart daughter and promptly beats the crap out of her, before picking a phial from his medicine chest with which to get drunk on. And guess which phial he chooses? Of course, it’s the poison, a quick acting one by all accounts; he’s dead in minutes.
Cassel and Montcourt meet in the woods, each summoned by a fake note from each other. Treachery is afoot, all seen over by de Clermont, the real force behind the planned coup. And guess who else is there? A rather stunned Chevalier – his poor face! – summoned by that note and who’s aghast at his cousin’s conniving. He really doesn’t want to play with the big boys but is still despatched to Paris to canvass support from others unhappy with Louis. This won’t end well.
She’s quite the woman, de Clermont. A wily chambermaid – working for Marchal – has found the stolen royal seal in her chambers, so de Clermont strangles her before she can divulge what she knows. For safety’s sake, she also poisons Marchal himself with a slower-acting drug that will still have the same effect as that on Dr. Masson. With the King fully recovered – and making a surprise appearance at Court – Claudine is promoted to the position of King’s physician, a move that many will decry (this was the 17th Century after all and women simply didn’t have such roles and responsibilities). As all are entranced by Louis – and his new dance, bless him – Marchal begins to feel unwell, coughing up blood. And in Paris, the Chevalier and his cohorts are arrested and tortured, put to death one by one in the most hideous of ways. Will he survive? Will de Clermont be found out? Follow it all here at XO.TV.
- Once again, Evan William’s Chevalier is the real star this episode; essentially a man-child who just wants to have fun, all this duplicity and skullduggery is terrifying to him. As is the thought of his impending execution, the poor lamb.
- Claudine Masson has the biggest eyes on television. She could play Bambi. Just saying.
- But she’s made of steel; first she abandons her just-dead father to treat the King, then she performs an autopsy on him. Well, he did just beat her up. And is that proof of poisoning she’s discovered?
- Cassel has been well and truly neutered, both in and out of court. A shame; he was shaping up to be a first-class, unshaven baddie.