THE SHOW: The Musketeers (BBC)
THE PAIRING: D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) and Constance Bonacieux (Tamla Kari); Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) and Queen Anne (Alexandra Dowling).
THE EPISODE: Through a Glass Darkly – Season Two, Episode Six
In the first season of The Musketeers, BBC’s adaptation introduced us to the usual suspects (the four Musketeers) and the opinionated women who capture their hearts. For the purpose of this romantic moment, I’m going to be talking about two of those men. First up is the young and brash D’Artagnan. Early on, D’Artagnan meets his iconic love interest, Constance and naturally, sparks fly. Only in this version, she is married. Her husband isn’t the kindest of men and though only a dressmaker, he is driven by obtaining the favor of powerful, wealthy people. This impediment presents challenges to the couple.
Inevitably, they do become lovers, but by the end of season one, Constance realizes their relationship is wrong. She breaks it off, which is the same place they stand for the first six episodes of season two. Still caring deeply for her, D’Artagnan does arrange for a prestigious position for Constance in the Queen’s inner circle, hoping by doing so, he can elevate her burden at home. It’s this arrangement that leads us into our romantic moment, one that starts off with our couple fearing for their lives.
D’Artagnan and Constance
Setting the scene for this moment isn’t so much about passion as it is a crucial moment. It all begins when the Musketeers escort their King and Queen to an astronomical event hosted by a well-respected astronomer. Along with their party are various court members and the Queen’s ladies, including Constance.
During the show, the astronomer Marmion, takes the entire party captive, including “killing” one of the musketeers, locking away the Queen and her child while mentally tormenting the King. He holds D’Artagnan and Constance behind with him. Marmion engages the King in a kind of “game” meant to torture him and give him some idea of what he’d been through. Eventually, Marmion threatens Constance’s life. This is when D’Artagnan’s fear for the safety of the woman he still loves kicks in.
Struggling against his captor, he steps in. He asks his captor to “take him.” His life for hers, he pleads. Hell tells Constance, “Do you think I can just stand here and watch you die? I won’t do it. I can’t do it.”
In response to Marmion asking why he would die for her, D’Artagnan answers without hesitation, “Because I love her.”
Looking into her eyes with tears in his, D’Artagnan waits for the inevitable fate awaiting him.
Following this exchange, several things happen. D’Artagnan and Constance are spared and the Musketeers gain control again, rescuing their monarchs. Everyone is led outside to the row of carriages waiting to take them to safety where D’Artagnan lingers behind on the path.
Standing by her queen’s side, Constance spots him from afar and emotions running high, she runs back into his arms. Pulling back, she studies him, seeming to find what she wants and understand he meant he’d have given his life for hers in his steady gaze.
Caressing his face with her hands, emotionally she confesses, “I love you.” Keeping her in his arms, he doesn’t miss a moment and smiling at her, says, “I know.”
Breathlessly she continues, “I don’t care what people think. I don’t care what they say,” smiling and with a newfound confidence she says, “This is my life and… I want to spend the rest of it with you.”
Cheekily he asks, “Do I get a say in this?”
Laughing in relief and smiling through her tears, she leans into him and as the music swells, the two seal their feelings, emotions and adrenaline from their near-death experience with a kiss. They cling to each other, unaware of the ten people witness to their private moment of bliss. The kiss continues as the camera pans out, fading the scene to black.
This isn’t the most heartbreaking or truly romantic moment in the sense of the encounters we might uncover in classic literature but it’s very significant for this couple. Why? Because they both come to realize they’re willing to risk everything – their lives and society, for each other. Up until this moment, both had been slowly giving up on the other because they were trying to be respectful. D’Artagnan still cared deeply for Constance but had to step back in order to give her the space she requested. Constance’s distance was in part because it was wrong, but mostly because she was afraid of being shunned. She felt trapped on all sides. This scene was more than just about the romance, it was also freeing for both of them.
Aramis and Queen Anne
Playing out in sync with D’Artagnan and Constance’s happy ever after there is Aramis and Queen Anne. It seems inevitable these men fall for women who are just beyond their reach. In season one, Aramis and Anne took advantage of a situation that put them in a room alone, and nine months later, a son was born to Anne. A son that the King assumes is his. In this episode, it’s Aramis who has to find a way back to Anne, rescuing her from their captors. He does so in the nick of time.
When the door to the room she’s locked in breaks down to reveal Aramis, indescribable joy passes Anne’s face as he kneels before his queen. He asks if she is alright. She asks after the King. Kissing her hand, Aramis muses about the worst happening, “If I hadn’t found you in time…”
“Once again you are my savior,” she replies with a careful smile. Glancing down, she spies a cross around Aramis’ neck. A token she once gave him in gratitude for saving her life. “You still wear it,” she remarks with some sense of loss in her voice.
Needing to be sure they aren’t suspected of any impropriety because of the Queen’s ladies maid standing nearby, he stands up, and simply says, “Always.” The queen turns to pick up her son and Aramis caresses his small hand.
“My son is quite well, Aramis…,” she tells him. Looking into his eyes, it’s her unspoken words that urge him to believe their son is unharmed. Gazing down at the boy, looks of unguarded joy flitters across their faces as they relish this fleeting moment together. Anne continues, “…and better for your protection.”
In the interim, an escape is made. Aramis gets the Queen and child safely to their carriages. Anne watches Constance return to D’Artagnan’s arms smiling in joy for her companion. Beside her, the King quizzically questions, “Isn’t that young woman married?”
“Yes, Sire. I believe she is.”
Aramis steals a glance at Anne during this exchange and she at him. By seeing D’Artagnan and Constance’s happiness they see their own fleeting happiness mirrored in this couple. But for them, this moment is a teachable one in some sense. They are regretfully coming to understand they cannot be with one another. Their worlds are far from compatible. All they can ever have are passing glances in which the truth is conveyed in their gazes. Aramis’ has an unchecked protective nature of his son and a soft spot for his son’s mother. Anne wants her son to know his father, but is resigned he can only know him as a brave musketeer whose duty it is to protect him.
For one couple, this life or death ordeal meant a realization they were going to fight through anything to be together. For another, it exposed the possibility that loving could prove fateful for them all.
What did you think of these resolutions to two of The Musketeers love stories? Did you agree, disagree? Are you rooting for one or both of these couples to succeed? As always, I invite you to sound off with your thoughts down below.
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