Versailles season 2, episode 10 – deaths, downfalls and departures

So here we are. The finale of Season 2. I hope you’re sitting down because there is A LOT to unpack in this ep. So let us get right to it without further ado.

We begin with Montespan in her rooms, in tears, topless and furiously scrubbing herself from a basin. It is clear she is frantic and upset, and on one hand I really really feel for her because we all know what it’s like to get in over your head and let emotions overrule common sense in love (we do….DON’T WE??) So it is pretty much over Red Rover for her. On the other hand… good God, woman. Did you seriously think you would stay in favour for ever? That Louis would love you above all others? Did creepy father Etienne not give you that weird ‘fuck no!’ gut feeling at all??

So then we flash to Agathe who is in her home and doing some kind of meditation/praying thing (her rooms are actually quite decent and I wonder at what level she’s at on the ladder of respectability). Cut to a scene of guards on horses riding and Marchal-to-the-rescue as they gallop through the fields. Obvs on their way to arrest the witch – yay! He shoves open the door and she remains seated, eyes closed, as if she hasn’t even heard them enter. The guards surround her chair and Marchal watches her closely, then turns the tarot card on the table. The Labyrinth we saw before. She opens her eyes, says, “I’ve been expecting you.” Marchal is unimpressed, asks if she can predict her own future, then orders the guards to search the room and that’s their cue to basically trash the place. They find a trunk, the box with the poisons, and a disc-thingy with a pentagram on it, which Marchal smashes. Then a notebook is discovered – her little black book of clients. As Marshal scans it, he sees Sophie’s name, swallows and looks a bit… worried? Taken aback? Disappointed? Thoughtful? Hard to tell. But it does affect him. Agathe smirks: “found a friend of yours?” Unimpressed Marchal is unimpressed and he orders a guard to bind her.

I am SO Liselotte right now.

Now we are outside in the gardens of Versailles, with Thomas doing a reading of his prose to an audience and UGH I am really hating his smug little weasel face, knowing what he’s done with Philippe and knowing he didn’t do it because of any affection or need. *burns him in effigy*.

We see Philippe with Liselotte by his side, looking mighty unimpressed (sames, Madame. Sames). Louis looks back at Maintenon. Thomas finishes his blah-blah, they all clap and Marchal approaches.  Louis praises Thomas and Thomas-the-weasel smiles his shitty little smug smile UGH *smashes his face*.

Look at him. That is one backpfeifengesicht if ever I saw one.

 Louis is well pleased: “your love of detail and fidelity to the truth can only be applauded, Thomas.” Does Philippe agree with this awesomeness? “Makes French breasts burst with pride, brother.” And OMG that truly FILTHY look Liselotte gives Philippe. I just can’t even 😂  Louis finishes with, “one day soon, I shall reward you in full.” which sounds quite ominous and creepy and I wonder if on some level, Thomas kind of knows that his cover is blown. But still, he smiles and is all “thank you, Sire,” and then Louis looks to Marchal and we are back to secret spy business. The Queen glances at Maintenon and I am wondering if she knows about the garden snogging. Surely someone has told her by now? Louis, Marchal and Bontemps make a huddle under a really nice garden canopy and see CHAIRS WITH ARMS that should not be there but hold that thought because they’re now talking about Agathe. Potions have been found, plus satanic materials. Louis is all, “bring her to me,” and Marchal is “to the palace?”

Hell, yeah. Louis is all about never showing fear to the devil and I could spend pages making screen caps of Marchal’s expressions, so full of thought yet revealing nothing. Marchal hands over the client book and Louis looks taken aback. Agathe is the source of the poisons. “How many were involved?” Louis wants to know, but there are too many to count, which we see as Louis flicks through page after page of names and details….aaaaaand his gaze falls upon a familiar name. The Duc de Luxembourg. THEN….. there it is.

Marquise de Montespan. And Louis cannot quite believe it.  He looks up from the book, across the gathered nobles, and watches Montespan in a subdued gown, standing on the edges as if already an outcast, looking from the outside in at all the favoured ones. You can see him thinking, going back through his memories to all the times she could have possibly snuck him something, got him to take drugs… all the opportunities she had. I think he’s a bit shook.

CUE INTRO MUSIC FOR THE LAST TIME THIS SEASON.

The guards bring Agathe into a private room with Marchal, Louis and Bontemps, and she offers a deep and mocking bow, to which Bontemps is offended. “You would be advised to show respect.” Yeah, nup. Agathe is all smirky and smug and hey, here’s another one whose face is in need of a slap. “You stand accused of witchcraft and sorcery,” Louis says tightly. Unsurprisingly. she pleads guilty on both counts. She is not a person to snivel and beg. She seems to me someone who would proudly claim all the deeds she is charged with. She claps back with, “to what do you stand accused? Tyranny? Arrogance? Vanity?” Louis ain’t biting, instead asking about Montespan. “Her hands are clean,” Agathe says. “She came to me for a love potion.” She laughs. “Don’t try and tell me it didn’t work?” Louis slowly circles her. “I would have expected more humility in your predicament.” Ah, but she already knows her fate. She laughs again: “They tell me Good Friday is an apt time for a sacrifice.” Louis is quite a bit offended that she is ridiculing her maker. But Agathe doesn’t care; she does not seek forgiveness: “I am not the sinner here. You and your Lord have no dominion in my world.” Which is quite a good comeback for people who want to push their religious beliefs upon those who do not follow that faith, but in 17th century France it is not really a smart idea to shun the church so publicly. Especially to Louis. “We are equals, you and I,” she goes on, almost pityingly. “You cannot choose to be born a king. Anymore than I choose to be a pauper.” That simply ENRAGES Louis and he yells back: “I am chosen by GOD!” Agathe raises her voice too: “Your Lord giveth and he will taketh away. History will record your fleeting moment in blood! A tide is coming that will SWEEP YOU AWAY!” (OMG this is so powerful, it gave me chills!) Louis studies her a moment then steps back, says calmly, “All of Versailles will see you burn for this.” Agathe gets a little ranty, says “I will not be vanquished while my agents are at large.” (oooh, Louis’ expression, knowing she has more people working for her…) She gets louder, saying how she has sewn the seeds of sedition and is going to turn everything into… I dunno what because Bontemps suddenly loses his shit, steps forward and does what we all want to do and slaps her across the face. As she’s dragged from the room, she yells, “A TIDE!” and then she’s gone and Louis looks at Marchal and says, “find who they are.” Then we cut to Agathe being led through the palace, through the salons, and everyone turns to watch this display, some with “OH SHIT” expressions, and she smirks at Gaston and Montespan as she gets hustled out. Gaston mumbles, “show a brave face. So there can be no suspicion.” But Montespan ain’t having that. Or him. She wants nothing more to do with him. It’s over and nothing can be proven. (RLY?) In time it will all be forgotten, apparently. (RLY????) Gaston disagrees. He moves off as everyone else is stuck in gossipy whispers.

Ah, and it is evening and we are with Cassel who is coughing up blood in his bed. Man, he looks really bad. I guess that’s what slowly being poisoned will do to you. Sophie steps to the bed, asking what he will have her do. “Water, please,” he rasps, looking all haggard and on his last legs. She serves him, helps him drink and it is clear she is quite upset about it. Poor thing. She looks torn, and I am really liking the depth of humanity she shows. She could have been written as cold and determined: considering what Cassel did to her, I would not have been surprised. But instead her character remains true to her heart and she is feeling remorse and conflict with her actions.

We are back in Louis’ bedchamber with Bontemps, Marchal and the little black book of Agathes’. Bontemps is frustrated – he says Hercules rid himself of the hydra by chopping off all its’ heads. Louis throws down the book in frustration and stomps out, and we next see Montespan asleep in her bed. Louis suddenly enters and she slowly sits up, cautious. His Majesty has come to the wrong room, perhaps? Louis says nup, it was def. you I came to see. And of course, Montespan is weirded out and wondering what he is up to. He leans in on the bed, staring at her. “It has been a long time.” Montespan replies: “Not since you have been with another woman.” Yeah, nup. She’s wrong – Louis has been occupied. “With Madame Scarron?” AHHHH, now SOMEONE notices! But apparently that is careless talk, and “She is Madame de Maintenon now.” OF COURSE SHE IS. Of course, everyone will think you are shagging her, now she has a fancy title and chateau and stuffs. Then Louis holds out his hand to Montespan, even smiles and wiggles his fingers as she hesitates. “What have you been up to?” He asks casually and OMG the look on her face….. She slowly rises from the bed. “Keeping a low profile. Waiting. Hoping.” Louis replies: “The waiting is over,” and the brief smile on Montespan’s face gives me a sad. “I hope so,” she says, then circles him slowly. “I knew it,” she finally adds, with an almost smug smile. (UGH. Not sad anymore) “I know you better than anyone. I knew it was a lie when you said you did not love me.” He steps behind her, gently brushes her shoulders. Apparently everyone lies sometimes. Oh, but she has never lied about her feelings for him. But in other things? asks Louis. She turns to face him and declares, “I have nothing to hide.” Louis replies with “There is sin in thought as well as deed,” and he is so giving her a chance to confess right here, but she is gonna brazen it out. She has nothing to confess, except that she loves him. As Louis removes her nightshift she says she will do anything to have him back. Louis replies, “For that, you must tell me the truth.” Fully nekkid, Montespan slides back onto the bed, obvs thinking she can win him over with nekkid boobage and her magic vajayjay, saying, “come to me, my king. I will show you I have no secrets.” He gives her a brief look up and down, then crawls onto the bed over her, kissing up from her belly, then strokes back her hair, murmurs, “finally. The scales fall from my eyes.” She moves in to kiss him, and they do, then he holds her back and the grip on her face looks pretty uncomfortable. She gasps as he gets out, “and you have betrayed me for the last time.” (Louis getting his Darth Vader on, lulz). Then he pushes her face back, then shoves her legs aside in contempt and walks out as she curls up naked on the bed and cries. OKAY, she is not very cluey, is she? How can she not think at least something was off when he chooses to see her and starts talking about secrets after she JUST SAW Agathe arrested the same day? Maybe a, “hmmm…. he has rejected me, told me he didn’t love me, then Agathe the witch gets arrested and now he’s asking me about what secrets I am holding onto?” SUSPICIOUS, MUCH?

Next day, and Louis meets the duc de Luxembourg, all smiles and hellos. Eh-up, there’s gonna be some major shit going down now. And what a lovely scene this is, with Louis’ intelligence and gift for words really coming out here when he says he needs the Duc’s help with ‘a dilemma’.

Louis: I am in two minds how to deal with my enemies. Do I educate them or punish them?
Luxembourg: Depends what they’ve done, Sire.
Louis: (casually) Well, if I came upon information incriminating someone I trusted…. how should I deal with that betrayal?
Luxembourg: (clearly unaware) There is only one way to deal with a traitor, Sire.
Louis: (gently laughs) Even if it was someone like you?

*CLANG* The penny drops for Luxembourg. He knows. They stare at each other and Louis’ smile slowly falls away. Luxembourg’s expression goes from disbelief to distress and he starts to cry as he hangs his head. Louis says calmly. “If you tell me the truth, you can leave through that door.” (such a beautiful door it is, too. Look. I would want to take it with me, not gonna lie.) “If you do not, you will leave through that door.” His other option is, of course, still a beautiful door, but flanked with the king’s guards, so obvs not the smart choice.

I’ll take door number one, thanks, Eddie.

So now we hear Luxembourg’s reasons: “My wife’s father was obstructing our investments. She wished him dead.” The in-laws. Dammit. Those bastards. He heard about Agathe supplying poison and invited dear ol’ Dad around for supper. Louis says he is deeply saddened Luxembourg didn’t come to him… “I am a reasonable man. I always help those loyal to the crown.” Luxembourg snaps back with, “I fear you would not listen unless it was part of your plan!” Look at the shock on Louis’ face…. LOOK AT IT!

 “Because I frighten you?” Louis gets out. “Is that it? Because I am a tyrant?” Clearly, Agathe’s words have resonated. “You killed a nobleman in my palace.” Shit. Luxembourg cries, “I beg forgiveness, Sire! I will devote my life to your service without question.” Yeah….. Louis smiles at him, says he appreciates his honesty… “my friend.” Luxembourg thanks him, kisses Louis’ ring and steps to the unguarded door. Uh-uh. Not so fast. The doors open, the guards enter and yesssss….. Marchal enters too. Luxembourg is all WTAF??? but Louis says calmly, “do you really think I could let this go unpunished? After all I have given you?  FRANCE. REWARDS. HER LOYAL SERVANTS. AND SHE PUNISHES THOSE WHO BETRAY HER!” You go, Louis, getting all aggro and yelly and I Am The GODDAMN KING.  Luxembourg is removed and Louis says tightly to Marchal, “Strike now. Without mercy.” And the Marquise de Montespan? “Not yet.”

Now we have a fab montage of short scenes, with Marchal and guards (shout out to the lovely Cédric Vallet, who is Marchal’s Chief Musketeer), entering the rooms of nobles, dragging them from their beds and rounding them up from the salons. Women, men… all in chaos. We see a dude hurrying down a corridor, then locking himself in a salon, but the guards are inside and he gets grabbed and dragged away .. and can we stop for a moment to acknowledge Marchal casually sipping wine amidst all this arresting? LULZ. Montespan sees this, and Gaston slithers over, hisses, “They’re arresting half the court!” And she is all, “calm yourself. We two remain in the clear.” But for how much longer? He wants to make a tactical withdrawal but Montespan disagrees. She wants to “push ahead.” ……with what? Oh, I’m glad you asked. “There is one person who deserves punishment above all.” Gaston is freaked by another noble being dragged out, but Montespan, however, is so very cool.

New scene and urgent ominous music plays as we see a shot of the village and then Gaston in Agathe’s house, retrieving a bundle from a hidden hole in the roof. Then he’s back in his rooms at Versailles, brushes off Odile (?? Why is she grabbing him?) then opens the bundle, revealing bottles of poison. “What are going to do with them?” Odile asks. Gaston gets out: “Go get me something to drink.” She goes, but does not look happy.

We are now out in the gardens, on a pleasant stroll with Thomas (UGH) and Philippe. While the gardens are lovely, Thomas wants to know where they are going… somewhere private, away from prying eyes? Nah, Philippe is in more of a romantic mood, indicating a stone bench set against a row of hedges (which still looks fairly public, being in clear sight of strolling courtiers) and a valet with wine and noms. “What is life worth if you can’t bask in beauty? And talk about poetry? The words of love?” Thomas laments the fact that his words these days are military, all about the king’s ambitions. Ahhh, so here Philippe is planting the seed, because he still has to tell Thomas all that stuff Louis wanted him to, but without arousing Thomas’ suspicions. Philippe subtly flatters, saying Thomas is a poet, that he sees the reality behind the façade. He all-casual-like leans against Thomas as he launches into it: “take Versailles, for example. It is truly a triumph of style over substance. It has my brother written all over. Same goes for the war. He has you writing all that propaganda when the truth is, things are obviously in chaos.”

He charms and flirts and touches Thomas’ hair, making Thomas laugh. It’s a very good effort. “Why would you withdraw all of your troops from Holland, when we all know that is where the real war is won or lost?” Yeah, Thomas’ expression indicates he’s noticed that little clue being dropped. But I’m not sure he knows he has been played. Then Thomas places his glass down, turns to kiss Philippe, and as Philippe shifts to get into it, says “the king expects me back in court.” Philippe looks at him, smiles: “We could just have sex if you’d rather.” Huh. Thomas smiles back. “Maybe later.” (and GTFO WITH THAT SHIT. He’s just not that into you, Philippe. He is soooo not down with the man love AT ALL. UGH. Because the only legitimate excuse for denying a prince is going above his head, claiming the king needs him) Thomas leaves and Philippe’s expression is all uggggh, dammit. Failed again. I don’t think he’s annoyed with the cockblocking, tbh. More like, “I need to keep him here, to convince him of this fake war story.” We see Thomas stomp off with such a shitty look on his face and I think that maybe he has swallowed that little story of Philippes’.

Maybe….. Maybe not. Because we are back with Cassel on his deathbed… He rasps, “Is that you, my dear…”  To which Thomas answers, “you must be losing your sight.” WTF Cassel has HIS EYES CLOSED. Cassel replies: “I can still detect a bad smell.” AHHH. Thomas is furious. “It was you, wasn’t it? You betrayed me to the king.” Cassel gets out: “Now why would you think that?” The Duc may be one step away from kicking the bucket, but is still sassy as hell.

So, Philippe’s jig is up. Totally. The spy was spied on and now he’s aware of the spy spying on him. But the second spy is still spying, thinking the original spy is still in spy-mode. Thomas says he knows because of a sudden enthusiasm for his company by a certain Monsieur and a “strong urge to divulge secrets of State.” I KNEW Philippe was coming on too strong! Thomas is quite angry, wants to know if Cassel betrayed him to the king, and I detect a certain outrage, and I am all a bit WTF, as if Cassel had any kind of loyalty to Thomas. Cassel starts to laugh and Thomas grabs him by the throat. “I warned you! Didn’t I?” And srsly, why would Cassel give one shit about Thomas blackmailing him when Cassel knows he is dying? I would totally do the same in Cassel’s shoes – snitching on the asshole who’s not only blackmailing him, but also shagging his wife. Although I’m not sure if he did it for the first reason more than the second. Whatever the reason, Thomas is going down and Cassel is pleased. Then we see Sophie approaching the rooms, and Thomas still chokes Cassel, then Sophie bursts in and shoves Thomas off him. She is teary… “I’m sorry,” she whispers to Cassel (oh, my heart!) and Cassel whispers, “Sophie…” touches her face and is gone. Meanwhile, Thomas is being a broody little shit behind them, giving her a look when she glances back at him.

Whew. And we are only 22 minutes into the ep!

We are now in Louis’ rooms with Philippe giving them all a debrief.  And Philippe is all uuuugh: “I said you were making a mess of it by withdrawing the troops from Holland so you could focus on tackling the east. Then he left.” He was due to speak with Louis an hour ago. Bontemps asks if Thomas has seen through it. Philippe adds, “we were drinking. It was in the heat of passion.” …..Ummmm. It wasn’t really. Not much passion there, just a brief kiss from Thomas. Louis gives him a look, Philippe looks back at him.
Philippe: That’s exactly what we agreed, wasn’t it?
Louis: You took him for a fool. An error of judgement. And not for the last time.
Philippe: That’s not fair! I’m the one selling his arse for France!
Louis: Find him! Maybe it’s not too late to retrieve the situation.
Philippe gives a mocking bow then leaves as Louis adds, “he must not leave the palace.”

Back in Sophie’s rooms, where she is demanding to know why Thomas would hurt a dying man. He grabs her hand: “There’s no time to explain. I must leave tonight and I want you to come with me.” Sophie is all confused and breathless and worried. “Why should I trust you?” Thomas replies: “If they catch me, they will kill me.” Okay, using Cassel’s death as an excuse. Which is a bit silly, considering everyone knew Cassel was dying and no one else knows Thomas strangled him. Sophie could just not say anything and Thomas would be in the clear. Yyeah, Sophie ain’t down with that shit: “Why? What have you done? What kind of outlaw are you?” YAY! uhhh…… No…. here we go. Thomas plays the blackmail card: “one who knows all about you. That you are a Protestant and that your mother conspired
against the king for William of Orange.” The penny drops for Sophie now. GOOD GIRL. but UGH he plays that “yes, I am a spy too but then I fell in love with you, now are you coming with me or not?!” card and I am yelling at my screen going “NOOO SOPHIE DO NOT BE SO STUPID UGGGGH.” She is confused and he kisses her, tells her he’ll be at the stables at midnight, then swiftly leaves. And Sophie is looking distraught and I want her to go to Marchal for help because we all know HE WILL FIX IT.

Tbh, I thought I’d be more happy with Cassel’s death. He was a nasty piece of shit, sure. But he also had complexity and depth and he did something ultimately for the good of the king. And Louis, to his credit, did not throw him in jail when Cassel confessed to conspiracy. Pip Torrens was brilliant on the screen and I will miss his evilness.

Philippe returns to his rooms, tosses his coat on the bed and we see the Chevalier (FINALLY) in a chair, an empty glass and two more with wine on the table. “Where the fuck have you been?” He says softly yet angrily and I have to pause for a second. Did Philippe not tell him to GTFO in ep 9 after that attempted suicide stunt? “Here we go again,” murmurs Philippe and I am totally with him on that one. *sigh*

The Chevalier: You were with him, weren’t you?
Philippe: (pours water into the empty wine glass) I’m not going to have this conversation with you.
The Chevalier: Then I’m going ’round to your little sweetheart right now and I’m going to rip his throat out.
Philippe: You’re not going to do anything of the kind because you’re a notorious coward and he’s not my sweetheart.
The Chevalier: (gives him a look then gets to his feet) I’m a coward, am I? Do you really want to see how brave I can be?
Philippe: Look, it’s not what you think!
The Chevalier: (limp-stomps to the bed and grabs his coat) I think he’s a snivelling little bastard. And I’ll kill him.

Philippe gives him a look and I actually think that he believes the Chevalier will actually follow through. As the Chevalier heads to the doors, Philippe blurts out, “It’s a charade. Louis is using me to feed information to the Dutch. That’s why I’m flirting with him.” The Chevalier turns, snorts. “I’ve heard some lame excuses in my time..” then walks out. And I am WTAF he WANTED the truth and when he gets it, he doesn’t believe it???? SRSLY? What is so far-fetched with that scenario, given what happened in S1????

Right. We are in the gardens now, with Louis and Maintenon strolling, then taking a seat along a path. Louis comes here for sanctuary, apparently. Then he tells her he has a record of who is behind the poisonings. Hundreds of them. His friends. (and right now I am so reminded of the differences between how Louis is portrayed in the series, compared with Benoît Magimel’s version in the 2000 movie, Le Roi Danse. There is a magnificent scene between him and Lully, his court composer, where Lully says, “I thought we were friends, and Louis replies coolly, “I have no friends.” If you can find the English subtitled version, I urge you to watch. You can buy the French DVD from Amazon)

Anyway, back to Louis and Maintenon, and Louis says some of those friends are “close…. very close. One in particular.” Maintenon, with her calm voice of reason, replies, “then the betrayal is greater. An untreated wound can fester in the soul just as in the body.” Yes, Louis knows what he must do, and wonders why he hesitates, why he doubts himself. And Maintenon is all “Look into my eyes. I believe in you. You must trust yourself.” And Louis says, “you are perfect,” and they have a good ol’ snog. And OMG it JUST occurred to me that they killed off Jacques to make way for Maintenon! All his cryptic metaphors and calm advice, coming from a place of unselfishness, and borne of a desire to just help Louis rather than gain something in return. This is EXACTLY what Maintenon is doing. Even their tone of voice is similar. But now with Maintenon, you get the romantic element thrown in, plus the jealousy from Montespan (and likely the queen when she finds out they’re shagging). UUGGGGHHHH *MIND BLOWN* Anyways, Maintenon stops all the kissing and whispers about it being wrong, and lulz Louis plays the ‘how can it be when God has sent you to me?’ card and when she reminds him he is married, he is all “it is a marriage without love.” Ouch, queen. “And me?” Maintenon replies. “What would I be? Love without marriage?” UGH WOMAN. You overstep yourself just a bit to presume you know the king’s affections. She goes on: “Whatever exists between us is purer, stronger than the desires of the flesh.” Then totally gets up and leaves (WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION) and Louis is left sitting there quite a bit pissed off.

Right. I am so looking forward to Season 3 where they will hopefully show Louis with a stack more mistresses. Pleasepleaseplease….

Back in Montespan’s rooms now and she is looking determined about something. So Louis is under the impression that all she has done is ask Agathe for some love potions…? I think so. We see guards burst into another room, smash things up and find the pouch of poisons Gaston had retrieved previously. So, his rooms then. People stop by the door to gawp (car crash, 17th century version) and Gaston is there too, watching them as the Chief Musketeer claims, “one is missing,” and quite rightly decides it’s a smart idea to move along. He turns… ah-HA. Marchal stands behind him and it really looks like Gaston is about to wet himself. Still, he brazens it out with a cool “can I help you?” To which Marchal says just as coolly, “yes, I believe you can. Whether or not you are willing is another matter.” And the maid Odile is pulled forward by a guard. Gaston loses it… snarls out, “you TREACHEROUS BITCH!” and lunges forward, but Marchal.. OMG bless you, you wonderful man. Marchal grabs Gaston by the face and hurls him back into the guards. The poison pouch is shown, Gaston knows the jig is up, Marchal gives him a look then turns away. And Gaston is dragged, slo-mo-style, through the corridors for all to see, getting in Montespan’s face to give her a panicky stare-down, to which she does not bat an eyelash. His downfall is complete. Montespan quickly hurries off.

Marchal strides into his office/dungeon, Gaston behind, and they pass a bunch of locked-up nobles. Marchal shoves Gaston up against a cell, and a rough looking Agathe steps from the shadows, all messy and bloody about the face. Gaston gasps, “I have failed you. Forgive me.” But Agathe says nothing and he’s dragged away to a rat-cell. “You are defeated, witch,” Marchal says calmly. “where is your dark master now?” As he starts to walk away, Agathe replies: “In my head. just like he is in yours. We both know this is not over yet.” He gives her a cool, calculating look then walks away. And I am reminded of that scene in The Incredibles where Syndrome goes on about how stupid villains are when they go into a monologue about their plans and how the good guys won’t defeat them etc etc. AGATHE. WTF are you doing??? Has no one ever told you to, uhh…. like, NOT TELL THE GOOD GUYS THAT YOU’RE STILL DOING EVIL STUFFS?

We’re back in Sophie’s rooms, where she is cleaning up Cassel’s face, and Marchal is standing there and says what we are all thinking: “You have a very soft heart.” Sophie replies: “everybody deserves dignity in death.” Marchal wastes no time in telling her that he knows what she did, that her name was on a list. Oh, and LORDY how much do I LOOOOVE this man when he adds, “It has now been erased. You conscience should be clear.” Sophie abruptly stands, says tightly. “And what of your conscience? Is that clean?” Marchal: “I leave the past behind me. I hope you will do the same.” To which Sophie does a massive nose curl and strides to the dresser to retrieve a bag. WTF is she so angry with him??? Marchal issues a word of warning: “Your lover may not be the man you think he is.” well, DUH. We know this. Why can he not just forbid her to go? Even lock her up for her own good? Or maybe… tell her?? But no. She simply says to him, “everybody has their secrets,” then walks out the door.

Right, so we see Thomas enter his dark rooms, then rummage through a trunk. He jumps when Philippe casually asks from the bed, “where do you think you’re going?” and is all ‘what are you doing here?’ Philippe:  “I like surprises,” and rises from the bed. “And I don’t like people walking out on me.” Thomas gets a bit grovelly: “I’m very sorry, I had urgent matters to attend to,” and Philippe is sorry too – for coming on a bit too strong (WAT. Thomas has already given him a blow job – I think the ‘coming on too strong’ is moot at this point) . And Philippe doesn’t at all sound sincere, especially when he says they could maybe try again. NOOO. THOMAS KNOWS. Okay, so there’s quite a bit of snogging then Philippe pushes Thomas back onto the bed, then more snogging. UGH. Then…. Philippe reaches for a dagger in his breeches, Thomas notices and is all, “That’s not very nice of you.”

And it is ON.

Thomas hurls Philippe from the bed and the knife slices through a window covering. Philippe slashes forward but Thomas leaps back every time. Thomas grabs a pot/vase and deflects a blow, before Philippe knocks it from his hand. Philippe lunges and they then wrestle for the knife, falling over a table and slamming into the floor. Philippe thrusts again, Thomas grabs his arm, Philippe punches Thomas in the face but it’s obviously not hard enough because Thomas punches back and Philippe goes down. As he lays there, dazed and prone, Thomas crawls onto him and just starts wailing into Philippe (OMG *CRIES*) punching him until his nose is all bloody. NOOOOOOOO. Why are there no guards rushing in for backup? Then Thomas picks up the dagger and FFS DOES this IDIOT not know how bad it would be to kill the king’s brother???

THEN OMG……. THE CHEVALIER TO THE RESCUE!!!!!!

I am pretty sure I screamed at this point. The fight scenes as so very well choreographed.

The Chevalier glances at prone Philippe in panic and horror, then leaps forward, yelling for the guards as Thomas runs to the window and leaps out into the night.

Now we have two simultaneous scenes – Thomas hurrying to the stables, and the guards rushing in and the Chevalier all trembly over Philippe, seeing all the blood and not seeing him move. The guards are NOT MOVING THEIR ASSES QUICK ENOUGH, no, they just look casually out the damn window, meanwhile Thomas watches Sophie standing with two horses and a stable dude, all out there on the grass and in the open. Thomas strides out, smiles as Sophie gives a little relieved gasp…. and then the Chevalier just seems to appear from the shadows behind him, with such a fucking badass look on his face. He slowly raises his musket and takes cool, calm aim.

And shoots Thomas.

ABOUT FUCKING TIME. YESSSSS! THIS IS WHAT THE CHEVALIER IS ALL ABOUT AND I AM TOTALLY ON BOARD THIS TRAIN!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

Sophie screams, Thomas collapses, the horses rear, and the smoke wisps around the Chevalier like some awesome metaphor for dark vigilante justice and badassery. YES.

Sophie rushes over to Thomas, holds his  head in her lap as he bleeds and goes through the motions of dying, then she kisses him and hurries over to mount her horse while the guards come a-running, Marchal in the lead. Marchal yells out, “STOP!” but Sophie wheels her horse around and gallops through the gates. The guards take aim but Marchal commands them all to hold their fire. “She is innocent,” he says, as the Chevalier stands there all casual-like with his musket pointed in the air. I love them both right now.

Whew. Well, we are back in the palace, in Louis’ rooms, and Philippe dabs at his bleeding nose while the Chevalier attempts to explain to Louis why he shot Thomas: “Believe me, Sire, I had no intention of causing trouble. I saw your brother in pain… My anger was too strong for me.” And I am just going NOOOOOO why does he have to ruin his Badass Shooting with a grovelling apology? This is what he should be doing after that little shit beat the crap out of THE BLOODY PRINCE OF FRANCE! He deserved to die and no one is going to judge the Chevalier for killing him. Hell, he would be celebrated for coming to Philippe’s defence. And yet, here we are, listening to him stutter and desperately justify his actions to Louis. And then Louis commands him to silence and says, “I have brought you here to express my gratitude. You have shown honour and valour in ridding the palace of a dangerous spy.” Stunned Chevalier is stunned. Louis continues: “And as a reward you will receive an annual stipend so you are no longer in debt, nor so reliant on my brother, and you will be given rooms in the east wing.” As the Chevalier can’t quite believe it, Louis issues a condition, that he start to “behave like a nobleman. Your predilection for alcohol and powders will cease if you wish to remain associated with my court.”  

Of course, the Chevalier is gushingly grateful, to which Louis repeats, “Will you shut up?” Okay, let me get this right. The Chevalier had thought that by killing Thomas (whom he did not believe was a spy even though Philippe told him so: we see his surprise when Louis confirms it) would mean punishment from Louis? Punishment for killing a man who was about to kill the Prince of France? FUCKSAKE. The Chevalier is a high-ranking noble (not that we see it here: his importance to the court seems to have either been ignored or glossed over in the telling) so he damn-well knows it would be his duty to kill weasel Thomas. And he would also know that Louis would be grateful for it and very likely reward him. So the Chevalier’s surprise when Louis not only thanks him but gives him monies is so very frustrating, because it’s not the way it would’ve happened.

So now Louis then goes over to Philippe.
Louis: Brother. You are alive.
Philippe: (quietly) No thanks to you.
Louis: You were in the service of France.
Philippe: It would’ve been good propaganda, wouldn’t it? Had I died. Your brother sacrifices himself. For you.
Louis: Please, try to be reasonable-
Philippe: What would you have written on my tombstone? (small snort) Gave his arse for France? (Slowly heads to the doors)
Louis: Brother, please. (Philippe slowly turns) If you had died tonight I would have lost my closest friend.
Philippe: (looking sad and forlorn) Why should I believe you?
Louis: Because after all we have been through… After all the hurt I have caused you, you love me as I love you. (walks towards sad puppy face Philippe). If you walk out now, you walk out on that love.

And then, with Philippe all still bashed and bloody and SAD PUPPY EYES, Philippe is the one to lean in first and they embrace and the music swells and yes, I CRY because this is the one thing Philippe wanted from Louis and now he finally has it OMGGGG…. And then….. Louis says, “Tomorrow you will go to war. If that is what you wish.” Philippe cannot quite believe it, and he immediately glances over to the Chevalier who is watching their exchange, and I can see his face is sad but also kinda “yes, this is what you really want, I know.” Then Philippe says to Louis, “no sudden last-minute change of mind?” And Louis gives a small smile and replies: “I want you to go to Holland and destroy William of Orange. For me. For France. For you.” Philippe smiles, turns and walks out, and the Chevalier quickly follows, giving Louis a bow.

Wow. Okay. Nearly 20mins to go and I am EMOTIONALLY DRAINED. We are now moving through the dungeons, the camera shaky and rapid, with a creepy whisper in the air, and we get to Agathe’s cell where she paces and chants creepy-Satan things in (possibly) Latin. The guard outside looks worried and crosses himself, and we cut to Montespan in her room at a table, toying with a vial of poison. Agathe still whisper-chants, Montespan appears to be thinking.

Then we are back outside, daytime, seeing shots of the gardens before we watch Montespan enter the chapel in a subdued dress and vail. She is in confession with Bossuet and he does not look impressed. “I have done things. Evil things. I accuse myself of sins of the flesh. Of pride. And of wrath. And of other things I dare not mention.” Is she truly sorry, Bossuet asks? She is. Oh, then that’s okay because the Lord will forgive her if she says the act of contrition. And she does, and it is a VERY GOOD recital, with the correct inflection of emotion and tears. Bossuet looks forward to seeing her at communion, and is pleasantly surprised when Montespan asks permission to stay and pray. So she goes through the motions, kneeling and signing the cross, and Bossuet watches her and is well pleased and happy because he thinks she is all penitent and has found God. UGH. Yeah, the look she gives his retreating back tells us quite clearly she is still the same old Montespan and up to something.

Louis is going through his morning lever, looking not very happy, and then he and the queen walk into the chapel as holy music swells, then Philippe and a not-very-impressed Liselotte enter (the Chevalier immediately behind them) and Philippe says to Liselotte, “You did well to stay. Versailles is fun once you get used to it.” Liselotte replies: “Versailles will be fun when it gets used to me.” Everyone walks in, courtiers bow, and all take their place as the hymn continues. The Chevalier steps to Philippe’s side, but Philippe says and does nothing. Louis eyes Maintenon, who looks a bit heart-eyes and breathy. The queen is looking a bit.. stoic? Tight lipped? Maybe she has found out about the snogging? Then Louis and the queen kneel and the sermon begins. Meanwhile, Montespan walks in after everyone is focused on Bossuet: “It is only through the light can the long shadow of death be banished.” he says. Quite a subtext here, all about hope and resurrection and peace, and Montespan is struggling to hold it together.

We are in Marchal’s dungeon now, and he is punching the crap out of Gaston, wanting to know who Agathe’s other agents are. Gaston is all panicky when Marchal prepares to break his pinky finger, quickly getting out, “I can save the king’s life! But not if you touch another hair on my head.” As Marchal slowly steps back, Gaston adds, “and in return you will give me full amnesty and safe passage to Bordeaux.” Marchal says that only the king can grant such a wish, and Gaston half-laughs and says something that sounds like, “the faster he’ll run or no wishes at all.” Then adds, “the ghosts of his victims are here for revenge.” Marchal is not impressed: “you will be freed only if the king survives.” Gaston swallows. “Can I trust you?” (LULWAT). And in answer, Marchal shoves him against the wooden post he’s chained to, grabs his shirt front and says, “if he dies, you die.” Then the church bells begin to chime, the hymns swell and we see Bossuet walking with the wine and wafers… Montespan starts to cry…. everyone lines up to receive the blessing as Bossuet reads from the bible in Latin…. then we are back with Gaston and Marchal and Gaston says, “Hmmm. Easter Sunday. A sermon. Prayers-” Marchal begins to think as Gaston adds, “Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.” And Marchal strides out. Cut back to the chapel, to the singing choir as Bossuet picks up a wafer and places it in Louis’ mouth… and Montespan is desperately trying to hold it together, tears now falling, her face torn with emotion. And damn, GO, MARCHAL!!!!! RUN LIKE THE WIND!!!! He races through the gates, across the courtyard, then pelts up the stairs, screaming, “DOORS!”

Back in the chapel, and the queen receives the wafer, then the wine is uncovered and poured, and Montespan is losing it now, in real distress. And the hymn still plays over the top of these scenes, giving them all a creepy, fatalistic ambiance. The wine is poured in slo-mo, and then the camera pans to the crowd – we see Louvois, Bontemps – and the wine just keeps going. Bossuet stops, Louis makes the sign on the cross… and we are running with Marchal, the camera all shaky, heading hell-for-leather straight to the chapel doors, and the guards quickly open them and then we see the choir still singing, all pure and ethereal as Louis takes the wine glass and brings it to his lips… Montespan wipes her tear-stained face, openly distraught, and Louis tilts the cup up and OMG THE TENSION IS KILLING MEEEEEEEE and JUST as he is about to take a sip, Marchal charges in and screams, “NOOOOOO!!!!!” and Louis stops, Marchal races up to him and takes the cup, murmurs breathlessly, “it is poison, Sire.  De Foix  confessed.” As everyone whispers, Louis and Bontemps look shocked, then Bontemps takes the wine jug and Louis says, “who else? He could not have done this alone.” And Marchal and Louis share a look, Marchal looking confused then thoughtful and they both slowly turn to look at the assembled crowd. Louis knows. He scans the faces… then he sees her, tears in her eyes and gasping. He knows. His expression is almost disbelieving for a second, then his face hardens as it sinks in. Montespan gasps, hand over her mouth, turns and walks out.

Next scene – we enter a private room of Louis’ and see Montespan in front of Louis, Maintenon standing near a window, a fire burning in the hearth. “Someone tried to poison me while I worshipped God,” Louis begins tightly. Montespan says she is innocent, but Louis does not believe it. “Innocent?” He holds out Agathe’s black book. “Yet you procured poison.” Ah, now she changes her story to “It was a mistake. I did not go through with it.” And what about the heretic priest? A satanic mass? The blood of a child spilled? Montespan is teary. “No, I could never do such a thing!” Yeah, Louis ain’t having none of that. “You went to see him! ADMIT IT!”

Her reply? “Everything I did, I did for you.” Oh, okaaaay, then. That makes it perfectly OKAY and TOTALLY NOT HER FAULT.  Louis slowly circles her, his anger and disgust clear…. then slowly, almost as if against his better judgement, he reaches out and gently touches her bare neck, his fingers stroking. “I gave you my heart,” he whispers, almost disbelieving. “My soul. My love.” Then he looks across the room to where Maintenon stands at the open window, light streaming through, and the metaphor of Godly light is so very obvious. Louis’ gaze returns to the back of Montespan’s head, his expression firm. “That love has died.” Montespan is nothing but uber-determined as she whispers back, “it cannot die.” Louis slowly removes his hand from her as she gets out in a teary, breathy whisper. “I made you who you are. I made you complete and I cannot live without you. You cannot live without me.” Louis looks at her directly, replies almost gently: “That was true once. But not now.” She weeps as he adds, “without you, I am myself.” Montespan finally gets it now: “I will leave. If that is what you want. You will never hear from me again.” Louis glances to the still-silent Maintenon, then back to Montespan.

Ohhh, the look on his face. LOOK AT IT. Then he drops it: “No. You will remain here at Versailles. An anonymous noble without the king’s favour. That will be your punishment. Bear the guilt and shame forever. You will leave behind the life you once led. You will attend prayers and mass. You will neither drink, nor gamble. You will be known for your piety and your humility.” And oh, Montespan is in distress weepy tears mode (but still looking gorgeous, dammit) as she struggles out, “you condemn me to death!” But Louis is not swayed one bit. “The Marquise de Montespan,” he says, “who had the world and the king of France at her feet, no longer exists.” Montespan struggles to breathe as she cries, knows it is now truly over for her. Condemned to be a nobody, a nothing. Everything that she loathed and desperately tried not to be. Everything she spent her last waking moment trying to avoid. And finally, as she stands there in tears, Maintenon hurries over and embraces her, gives Louis a look, then leads the fallen-from-grace Montespan from the room.  Maintenon then returns to a stoic Louis, puts a hand to his cheek, then whispers cryptically, “even the darkest night gives way to dawn.”

*Historical note: It was never suggested that Montespan ever tried to poison Louis, rather just put things in his wine and food to ‘increase his passion and love’ for her when she suspected her favour was falling. An ex-lover of Louis was, however, accused of wanting to poison him, a Claude de vin des Œillets, who was angry that Louis did not officially recognise her daughter as his.  You can read all about her here.

Well. Nearly over now. We are in Philippe’s rooms and he is standing before a mirror, dressing in a golden sash and OMG I am expecting some more emotional shit to go down. Liselotte says, “but if you are killed, what of our son?” Philippe replies: “you will find someone else to take the role of the father.” They both glance across to the Chevalier who is standing by the window… WAT. AHAHAHAHAAAAAA NOPE. SO WRONG.  

Anyways, Philippe takes Liselotte’s hand, says, “we will write to each other. Every day. I want a full report on your health and well being.” She nods with a smile. “And remember,” he says lightly, “this is Versailles. You should be happy.” They laugh softly, he kisses her cheek and then he takes a bolstering breath and walks to the Chevalier. “How do I look?” The Chevalier can barely glance at him, he’s so upset. “Passable.” Philippe is sad; “I thought you’d be pleased for me.” The Chevalier replies: “And I thought you’d be grateful to me.” Philippe’s eyes fill with tears as the Chevalier continues, moving to him: “Didn’t I save your life? So why risk it now? On a stupid battlefield?” UGH. Poor Philippe, you can see the emotion on his face and we know the Chevalier’s words are because he is hurting that he may lose Philippe again. Philippe looks at him, says calmly, “I will always love you. But there are things I must do before I can love you again.”

WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! *SOBS UNCONTROLLABLY*

The Chevalier’s gaze drops to the floor…. Philippe leans in and their foreheads touch, their eyes both gently close as the moment fills with emotion. “-as I wish,” Philippe finally whispers. “And you deserve.” They kiss, sweetly, tenderly and I am an absolute mess because this is what they need, an honest moment sharing what is in their hearts, a kiss that shows what they mean to each other. The Chevalier is shaking, they both smile through the tears, then the Chevalier finally whispers, “go.”

 

Philippe turns, looks at Liselotte, picks up his sword then strides to the doors, goes through them with his generals, the servants bowing. He glances back as he walks, and Liselotte and the Chevalier are framed in the doorway, Liselotte slowly taking the Chevalier’s hand in a show of solidarity and support… Philippe turns back, gives a sigh, and then – as we all know this has been his dream all along – smiles to himself because he is FINALLY off to war.

off to war, trololol

No time to wipe those tears, people. We are here for the witch burning. We are in a courtyard and it has drawn a crowd. Burnings and hangings and other sorts of punishment were entertainment in those days: Tyburn Hill in London was like a regular day out for all, with refreshments being sold and nobles watching the hangings from the comfort of their carriages. Not only that, it was supposed to serve as a deterrent. Here we see the townsfolk gathered, and a royal box is set up to get full advantage of the spectacle. Agathe is led out, looking dirty and beaten, in chains and barefoot. The crowd yell at her, she remains silent with her head high. She is strapped to the pole. Then the camera cuts to the dungeons, to Gaston in chains as Marchal enters. Gaston smirks. He thinks he’s won his freedom…. nup. Marchal says, “take him to the pyre,” and his smug face falls.  Back with Agathe as she is tied up, and a parade of people in dirty fancy clothing walk past her…. the nobles she supplied poison to? I think so. They are herded before the pyre, and Gaston is shoved forward. Witnesses to the burning. Punishment. Louis steps up to the royal observation platform with the queen, the rest of the royal court spread out, and there are chants of “long live the king.” He looks to the man holding the huge burning torch and the pyre is lit. Agathe is expressionless… until the smoke drifts up and her feet feel the heat.

We see reaction shots from the crowd – Montespan, a guard holding Luxembourg’s head so he is forced to watch. Peasants crossing themselves and glancing away. And the flames rise higher around Agathe. Louis reveals no emotion as he watches, stepping aside as the Dauphin walks up behind to watch (FINALLY we get to see him again! It’s been, like, eight whole eps in between). Agathe yells,”The Sun King! It is for his greed that you toil! For his vanity! You suffer! Rise up and fight! I URGE YOU! FIND YOUR POWER!” And the camera pans to the peasants but we cannot see any discontent, no nodding or whispering or agreeing with her. She’s two Louis too early. Still she screeches as the flames get higher, “Your days are numbered. Louis, King of France. You and your spawn!” Louis puts a hand on the Dauphin’s shoulder as Agathe keeps ranting, frothing at the mouth, spouting about how their flesh will be eaten by the worms of tyranny. It is a great monologue and, knowing what we do about French royal history, very prophetic. We see Maintenon looking a little distressed, Liselotte the same, the queen showing nothing and Louis with a ‘yeah, burn, you witch.’

And so she does, wailing like a banshee as the flames finally reach her. Marchal watches expressionless, Montespan glances away. Marchal’s guard struggles with Gaston, forcing his head up to watch Agathe burn. The camera pans over the royal platform, to all the expressions of horror while Agathe screams. Louis is still and silent, his gaze direct. And then, just the tiniest twitch of his lips in a smile.

THE END!!!! *Collapses* 

So…. that is it until next year, when Season 3 hits our screens. No word yet as to a Season 4…. but did we all enjoy this series? What did you love? What did you hate? What/who do you want to see more of?

For me, the biggest drawcards by far are Fabien Marchal and his dark and broody brilliance as he prowls across my screen. The dialogue, which is always fabulous. The romantic moments between Philippe and the Chevalier. Sophie’s quietly growing strength and determination. Liselotte’s everything. The clothes, the jewellery. And the stunning visuals of Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the interiors.  Stay tuned for another article on the smexy bits, plus what we can expect (and what I would love to see!) in Season 3.  And merci beaucoup for reading along and your comments. You guys rock xxx <3

43 thoughts on “Versailles season 2, episode 10 – deaths, downfalls and departures

  1. You my dear are absolutely brilliant!! I have enjoyed your writings more than words could ever express..

  2. Unfortunately, I have become something of a wimp in my old age and find I avoid fiction where bad things happen to my favourite characters. Reading that a TV show “takes a dark turn this season” is pretty much a recipe for me becoming wary and possibly a bit detached. Letting episodes build up, unwatched.

    Like you, I started to fear for Claudine (whose name I didn’t actually know. I just thought of her as The Doctor. Now there’s an idea….) because many of the main characters in Versailles, including my favourites Philippe, The Chevalier and Louis, well, we know when they die. So unless the writers plan to go totally off piste, they’re safe for now.
    I was pretty pissed off when the poor gardener got killed too, especially by that rat faced writer bloke. So I confess to having let this series languish a bit. Still I have finally caught up & in the process (checking it wasn’t all going to go too pear shaped) I found your recaps.

    I will certainly tune in to series 3 to see where it goes. I can’t really see them not giving Louis any sexy times, no matter how moral he may be feeling all of a sudden and presumably his wife’s days are numbered now? So that may help to get past Maintenon’s qualms.

    Got to hand to all concerned though, despite knowing Louis didn’t die young, I was still on the edge of my seat as Marchal (& I had no idea till recently that the actor was Canadian) raced toward the chapel.

    I very much enjoy your episode recaps, especially the historical accuracy comments. It’s not a history I am over familiar with, unlike for example that of Elizabeth 1, who is a favourite. Which means I can’t bear those dreadful movies about her! But I still like having the history pointed out. Your comments about The Chevalier are especially interesting; his character does seem to be being besmirched rather. No mention of his own martial achievements at all!
    Not sure where you watch Versailles, but have you seen the short Inside Versailles programmes the BBC put on immediately after each ep?

    I will be sure to keep reading, now I know about your blog. Thanks!

    1. Alison, I’m also wondering how they will incorporate the sexytimes into Season 3. The Queen doesn’t die until 1680, so I don’t see them bumping her off right now. And Louis did have quite a few other women after Montespan but before Maintenon, including she of the fashionable hairstyle, Fontange. They may show a few of those other mistresses, maybe? A couple of other thoughts would be a) they do make sexytimes for Louis and Maintenon, and it is some kind of spiritual experience for them (*rolls eyes*) b) they make sexytimes for others in the show – depending on when Season 3 picks up (assuming pretty much right away, as Philippe is off warring), then maybe the dauphin?

      I did managed to catch a few of the Inside Versailles shorts after the UK screening. I do love Greg and Kate <3 I think some - if not all - of those eps are on BBC's iPlayer.

  3. Wow! I have to say that I like the finale more in your edition ;). I mean, when I watched the last episode I was more distant and critical than today reading your review. Now I want to see it again.
    I generally agree with your opinions, and YES, you are right about Jacques and Maintenon. Everything fits in your theory.
    What did I like the least? The scene with Louis, Monsieur and the Chevalier (after killing Thomas). I just can not stand how the Chevalier is patronized, like a servant who unexpectedly turned out to be a hero. But thank God it seems that at least we will not see the junkie-Chevalier in the next season.
    And absolutely the best scenes are the final ones ‘Louis/Philippe’ and ‘Philippe/Philippe’ *heart eyes*. We had to wait for them all season…
    What are my expectations for season 3? Definitely more kissing MonChevy 😉 I’m delighted with Louis, he is different each season and I’m sure George will positively surprise me again. I’m waiting for more Fabien, I am (just like you) under his dark charm. The rest of my speculations will wait for your text about season 3.
    Big fat THANK YOU for all your thoughts, emotions, fun, tears and rants in the reviews. Reading you is always a mix of pleasure and adventure 🙂 Waiting for the next reviews will be almost as painful as waiting for the next episodes… I hope you do something about it ;).

    1. YES with the final Philippes/Louis scene!!! That annoyed me SOOOOO MUCH. (tempted to rewrite that one too, not gonna lie…..) I actually would have loved to see more of Charles II – Daniel Lapaine looks so much like him and historically, he is just a fun character.

      Thank you so much for reading along and not thinking too badly of my ranting 😆 <3

  4. WOW Jules it’s taken me a good half hour to read this & I am by no means a slow reader. God knows how long it took you to put together this brilliant homage to Episode 10 Series 2. All the scenes played in my head as I read your words. Can’t wait for Season 3 but things I love, the actors, all of them. As an aside, we in England, are lucky enough to still be able to appreciate Pip Torrens & his evilness in Poldark every week as Cary Warleggan. Of course Versailles & St. Cloud have to feature for their beautiful scenery. The costumes & jewellery & the ultimate, the writing/scripts, delivered perfectly by this exceptional cast, not to mention the opening & closing music. Superb. See more of, all of the above especially, Liselotte. Jessica Clark as La Palatine is sublime, a perfect foil to the gorgeous boys Philippe & Le Chev. My one downer? Professor Kate Williams one of the Inside Versailles presenters. She obviously knows her stuff but why does she always look so smug? Hope she changes her smirking, googly eyed attitude or they find some one to take her place. Other than that the @Versaillesfam are superb. Keep up the good work Jules xxx

    1. Thanks for reading, Dian! I do love the freshness Jessica brings to Liselotte. She is adorable! I have no idea why they keep calling her ugly or plain because she is just gorgeous <3

  5. I loved this review it was such a busy episode and reading this helps me keep track of all that happened. Im worried that season 3 might be the last as it is very expensive to film and has a relatively small following. There will also be some new characters as everyone they introduced this season (Thomas, Agthe, Gaston) are dead and gone. I also follow Maddison (Sophie) on Instgram so I know that there is Sophie returing to Versailles (and hopefully some romance and love, but maybe not with Marchal because he did sleep with her mum more than once) and also the Chevalier is back and hopefully all manipulative and powerful once more. Also hopefully more Lisolotte because I just love her. One thing that would be great would be more historical accuracy, not a lot just little things like chairs with arms in the right moments. ❤️

    1. Thanks for following along, Anna 🙂 The scenes are so very short and quick and I did start counting them in one Season 1 ep…. I lost count at 36 🙁 I would really like to see Philippe interact with his children more, especially his girls. The Chevalier has such the capacity for underhanded manipulation, it would be awesome to see more of that.

  6. To be honest Jules one of the best things about s2 were your reviews as Igotabit lost in the history and needed your help. I do not think there is a weak actor in the whole series but my real favourite(s) are Alex and Ewan although I appreciate the show characters bear little relation to accepted history. Of the women Liselotte is superb. Of course Alex is so loveable it is hard to imagine anybody male or female not loving him. In s3 I would like to see Alex with the children. I hope there is no mani a mask nonsense. That was just a fiction

  7. I just had a loooong (mutiple HOURS) reading session as a recap of all that has happend and I love your writing style so much 😉 Also, I love the GIFs you sometimes add, they crack me up hahaha

    My favorite things about this season:
    – everything Liselotte related. I knew I was gonna love her from the first scene on the bridge. She is so outspoken and a real strong character. And super funny at times 😉
    – Marchal was fantastic, everytime he was in frame we all knew things would be alright. Guys, he’s got this shit, let him handle it and all will be fine. And wow, you really caught the tension we all felt during that church-scene this episode, “NOOOOO” It’s actually a bit painful to see his devotion to his job when he as just such a douchebag as an employer. yeah, I’m talking to you Louis.
    – I am Dutch, so seeing William of Orange was kinda nice, and I hope next season he will return with the Glorious Revolution in England and all. But of course, that has little to do with France, right? And it’s waayyy further in the future, 1688…

    Things I hated:
    – Montespan annoyed me SO MUCH. I really have no sympathy for her at all, because she is always so cold and bitchy, how am I ever going pity her?? And I still don’t know why she tried to actually poison Louis. Like, whyyyyy she LOVES him, doesn’t she? ugh
    – CLAUDINES DEATH – she was my favorite character, from the first moment we got to know her as a strong and intelligent woman. I was kinda rooting for her and Marchal to leave Versailles and live romantically together; he would torture and kill loads of bad guys and she would rip their legs of and investigate their livers… Also; broken Marchal is not something I like to see. And she dies. In. His. Arms. NO.
    – Indeed, the whole Philippe / Chevalier drama got a bit stupid at the end. We all want to see Philippe happy, don’t make him go through all these struggles uuughh.

    Sooww now we have to wait and see what the next season will bring… But whatever will happen, we’ll all enjoy your reviews. Thanks so much for putting all your effort in them! xxx

  8. Your Versailles reviews were exceptionally clever and witty. I was ‘binge watching’ the series on Netflix but somehow it started weighing in my head and I couldn’t sleep peacefully without the charachters of Versailles breathing down my sleep. While surfing about the charachters I chanced upon your blog and viola!! Hit a jackpot!!! I really do not want to say that the watch could be replaced by words….but I did it!!! So thank you!! Your comments were witty and the historical facts were pretty informative.

    Hopefully, will follow through the next season too….

  9. Came here via your friend’s “partylike1660” site and your observations are insightful. I binge-watched the series – a lot of the actors are new (to me) though I knew of Alexander Vlahos as Mordred in season 5 of the BBC’s “Merlin” and Big Finish’s “Confessions of Dorian Gray” (fan fiction but good fan fiction – audio drama) but otherwise, apart from Greta Scaachi I didn’t know them (well some of the UK ones I might have seen without knowing their names in British productions). I feel a bit silly because when I saw the shot of the Chevalier and companion with Beatrice and Sophie walking in the gardens I didn’t realise it was used-to-be-Mordred in drag and I thought “Crumbs, she’s tall”. I think show Philippe de Lorraine has been made not only more effete than his historic counterpart but more likeable (although it was some years later than the time thus far depicted on the show I read something online that he started up a club for pedarests and he came across like something of a seventeenth century [insert name of dead DJ/personality who was outed after death as one of Britain’s worst ever sex offeners]) . I knew Louis XIV had a gay brother but I hadn’t realised he (the Duc D’Orleans) had a steady(ish) boyfriend. I have mixed feelings about this series. The acting is good and the interiors of Versailles are spectacular. I don’t mind a bit of dramatic licence – but I would have liked something about Corneille (albeit his star was on the wane by the 1670s), Moliere or Racine and from my background reading for long-ago studying for A level History I seem to recall Louis didn’t like Madame Scarron very much at first because she was somewhat pious but that she was very solicitous when one of the children he had with Madame de Montespan was sick and he came to regard her better then. Instead of Moliere etc we got Thomas the Twit*. I did manage to watch this show to the end despite the playing fast and loose with history at times. I know there has been some controversy about the adaptation of the source material in the TV show “Game of Thrones” in that some characters were combined for the TV show. In that instance it’s an adaptation of a fictional work but when Bill of Orange was talking to John (Johan? Jan?) de Witt the show seemed to have completely ignored Cornelius de Witt. And I didn’t such realistic prosthetic pregnant abdomens could be made!

    * I wondered whether they had the wrong country and the wrong century – there are stories that Elizabethan (English) playwright Christopher Marlowe may have been a spy. Though I’m sure there were spies at the court of Louis XIV.

  10. All ten reviews on season two where excellent written
    It allowed me to know what is going to happen
    The suspense was driving me carzy

    But I was disappointed with the writers of the script
    For season two
    Jacque and Claudine where great characters I hated to see them die off
    I did not like Sophie I did not feel for her
    Cassel was a devious character but Sophie made him suffer by killing him slowly
    I liked cassel he was played brilliantly
    I would of like it if Thomas was not killed but just wounded so he and de frois would of been burned at the stake I could not stand them from the very beginning
    Thomas got off to easily he needed to suffer he was a slimy weasel

    1. Bonjour, Olivier! I will never be over Jacque 🙁 And I agree, Thomas got off relatively pain-free. I wish the Chevalier had made him suffer (maybe a little bloodletting, a few fingers cut off, a strategic removal of an appendage for the audacity to touch a prince of France) instead of that highly accurate shot in the back.

      Cassel was such a complex character. I hated him but I also was impressed by his deviousness.

  11. The writers did a great job on the character of Cassal
    He was very Wylie and had great witty diolog
    Look forward to see episode 4 on Sat
    I’m so glad that I read your well written review
    On all ten
    I found only one very small type o out of those ten reviews
    Great job

  12. Hi Jules. I looove your reviews for each episode!! I was on a Versailles-S2-Marathon (dvd) earlier this afternoon and stopped at Ep.6 for some weekend chores and decided to save the last 4 epsiodes for tomorrow. BUTTT while researching about Liselotte after dinner, I landed on your page and have been since reading your reviews, its now 2:45 AM! Haha. I am having fun reading your posts and loving how you unfold each scene (specially with your side comments and historical notes). I feel like I’m listening to you in person while driking wine and hearing your “WTFFF nooo!”, “Suspicious much?”,”Srsly”, etc.

    I will definitely be waiting for your Season 3 reviews. ❤️

    Thanks Jules!

  13. Bonjour,

    I am so enjoying your reviews! I live in Hawai’i, so we’re only to ep6 of season 2 today- but because it’s Hawai’i, it’s aired in the middle of the afternoon. Augh! I’m always missing it! But I know I can always turn to you or your friend’s page (I love the name!) and catch up or read ahead. (I googled Fabien Marchal and the first hit was “death” and that took me ahead to episode 10. But that’s ok.)

    Anyway, yes, the arm chairs are annoying, as are those Empire and Louis Seize tabouret that pop up every so often. Yes, it’s also annoying that they’ve made the Chevalier so effeminate and really portay him in a disappointing light, if one knows about these people. But it must be a sign of my being older that these annoyances do not prevent me from enjoying the show overall, as they would have when I was younger, and historical accuracy was everything for me. Thank goodness, or I would hasve missed out on the delicious Fabian Marchal! (I explained to a friend last night that Marchal is to Louis, what Doug Stamper is to Frank Underwood- but with heart. Lol.) No one I know watches, so I was pretty surprised to find that Marchal and Versailles as such a following! Or that other people share my love of French History, or the 17th century!

    Keep up the good work. I’ve run out of my daily allotment of exclamation points, so I’ll say à bientôt.

  14. I just love your reviews, especially as you compare the events in the series to historical facts. I’m now researching the character of “The Chevalier” since your comments make him so incredibly interesting (as if I need more reasons to check him out).

    I’ve always been fascinated with this period of French history (and loved the “Angelique” series by Serge-Anne Golon). Louis XIV is a fabulous character – I wonder if he had any inkling how eternal his legacy of Versailles would become?

    Thank so much for posting all these very thorough reviews. Your personality shines through and makes it so wonderfully enjoyable. Please keep them coming through all the seasons of this incredible series.

    1. Bonsoir, Caroline and thanks for dropping by!

      The Angelique series? I devoured those when I was younger! Loved, loved, loved them! Also loved the Catherine series by Juliette Benzoni, which was written in the same vein, and set in the Hundred Years War.

  15. Being in the U.S., it’s Dec.2 and we’ve only now arrived at the season finale. I tried not to read ahead, but did anyway because I enjoy your recaps so much. Luckily, my already crowded mind got even more crowded and I had forgotten most of the details.
    Wow. What an episode!
    Highlights: I was hoping all the way until Thomas crushed Cassal’s windpipe that Pip would make it to another season of delicious treachery.
    Loved, loved, loved watching George Blagdon. Great writing and wonderful acting.
    Philippe is definitely the “heart”- he’s so complex and multi-faceted. I hope next year that the writers follow Louis’ orders to the Chevalier, and start writing better for him. Don’t get me wrong- I love MonChevy, but if the Chevalier were more Philippe’s equal as a character, it would be really great. (I can see it now, “MonChevy: Versailles, the sequal”.) As it is, that last scene with There’s Company was really warming. What a cozy little family Philippe has!
    Since I watched the broadcast version, then watched the uncut, it all made a bit more sense. (A couple of episodes ago, there was that whole bit between Fabian and Bontemps about “Hector”- it was all completely cut from the broadcast version. Just an example of how Ovation hacks these shows to pieces. Including all the sexybits.) Anyway, the broadcast version of the Agathe’s burning was a bit flat. But the unedited was “wow! What a jolly way to end the season, with a good, old fashioned witch burning!”

    Yes, I’ll never get over Jacque and Claudine- or Cassel. Or those damn chairs with arms. AUGH!
    Next season, I’d like to see Molière and other important artists who made a mark on Louis’ reign and Versailles. More of Louis and Philippe’s family members. ***More Fabian and his beautiful black Friesian***(they were made for each other). More mistresses, some Mancinis. And better character development and writing for the Chevalier. And NO Iron Mask!!!

    We probably won’t get Season 3 until October 2018, so it’s a long wait. But, I know I’m looking forward to reading updates here, and to your book when it comes out!

    Merci et à bientôt!

    1. Bonsoir, Laura!

      A few thoughts….. Agree with you on most points 🙂 I am angry on everyone’s behalf about the cutting of the scenes. So many have commented on Twitter about it – have you lovely people in the US not been suffering enough with everything else going on?? I have been recommending either iTunes or the UK DVDs (would need a universal player or the VLC app to play them).

      Yes, would love to see Molière and Lully, the MANCINIS!! Rigaud, Boulle, etc. Would have loved to see Bernini and the argy-bargy he caused within the French artistic community, including THAT statue 😀 Maybe we will see some of Louis’ other mistresses? Fontange would be lovely.

  16. Thank you for the sympathies on our suffering. 😉

    I watch the uncut on Amazon video, but you have to buy the episodes- or the whole series.

    I always thought Fontange was a pretty major mistress. I sure hope they have her. Make nice tension between Louis, Scarron and the Queen.

  17. Jules

    I was disappointed with season two.
    Season one was done much better.
    The writers got sloppy in season two.

    Too many gaps and mistakes in the way things happed in reality.
    Louis the XIV was weak in being runned and influence by his women.
    I can’t stand his new wonnen his nanny.
    Montespan should of been executed.

    The only two women with any real character was Claudine and Philips second wife.
    I can’t stand the characters of the rest of the key women.

    I think Sophie is a bitch.
    I never bought into her two face innocent act. She’s a snake.
    I know Jules likes her.
    She poison Cassel.

    Gaston and his mother should have both been beheaded, along with that weasel Thomas .

    Father Ethane should have been burned at the stake.
    Better yet.
    He should have been roasted on a spit while being slowly turned and roasted.

    Also I’m almost sure that the writers are mostly British .
    Pounds was not used as the main currency in France.
    Also I could not stand the Queen.
    Who ever heard of stopping the French from drinking wine.

    I have more to say on season two, but I will do it some other time.

    I’m not even sure if I will watch season 3.

    I’m glad that the monarchy is gone in France.
    They where not god people.

    I wold like to see the monarchy end in England .

    I am not fascinated by the English monarchylike the American media.

    They mean nothing to me.
    England is not my mother country.

    I’m an American with French and Spainis roots.

    My great great grandfather father was the Marque de Grouchy the second.
    I’m from the line of one of his daughters.
    He was Napoleon’s last appointed marshal.

    His father was suppose to be an illgtimate son of Louis the XV.
    Louis the XV was a lousy king who ruled for 52 years who horrible morals.

    These people had very bad values and morals.

    Thank god I did not inherited their poor morals and values.

    I’m glad for France that Louis the XVI and his crowd got the heads cut off.
    Which ended royal rule in France.
    Even though after Napoleon the First there was a king on the throne briefly.

    Beatrice in season one was an excellent villain .

    Jacque the gardener, Claudine and Phillip’s second wife are my favorite charecters.

    I hated to see Jacque killed by that weasel Thomas.And Claudine by that vile priest Ethane.
    Come to think of it, I rather have seen Ethane rosted slowly on a spit being slowly turned.

    I think Thomas got off to easily by being shot.
    He should have been beheaded.

    I was glad to see the queen’s priest hung by Gaston.

    Also I’m not into seeing men kissing.
    Although I know this is the real world.

    The sets where excellent on both seasons.

    Thanks again Jules for your excellent review on both seasons.
    please excuse any type Os grammar and spelling errors .

    Be well
    Oliver

  18. Livres were used in France until 1794 or 95. (I don’t recall which.) And then the franc was introduced. Livres translates to English as “pounds”.

    Livres were introduced by Charlemagne. It was equal to a pound of silver, and subdivided into sous and deniers. It originated with Roman system of currency- that’s why so many European countries had pounds. (Lira in Italy, dinero in Spain etc etc.) Like Monty Python said, What did the bloody Romans ever do for us? Gave the Roman world a system of currency, amongst other things. 😉

  19. I remember de Grouchy! He was brother of Mme de Concorcet! Very interesting life, he had. Most of Napoléon’s marshals did have interesting lives. (I can see a mini-series- each part concentrating on a maréchal! With a dedicated veiwership of one. Lol.) I think de Grouchy lived in America for a time, during the Restoration.

  20. Hi Jules just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your reviews. I actually read your review for season 2 episode 10 before seeing it. The broadcast I saw actually did not show many of the scenes you described in your review. I had to spend $2 to see this thing right because you had already described it to me! Your review was better than the episode I saw! You draw an amazing picture with your words. Thank you!

  21. You are right It was his sister who was married to Condeecet
    He was in America for a short time
    He also I believe serve the king after Napoleon
    My mom who was a Bohl and her mother was a Thebault
    I’m not sure if I spelled the latter correctly
    I know my mom had a cousin in Canada
    My mom was born outside of Paris 1920 and went to the universe of Paris her father the soborne
    I know my mom’s mother spoke French with a German accent
    She was from Alsace my great grandfather who was a dentist and went to the univerty of Strasbourg lived and work in Nancy France where my mother and Father who met on the bridge behind Norte Dame on Sept 18 1944 got married in April 18 1945
    my older sister was born
    Sept 18 1947
    My parent fell in love at first sight as both my parents parent did as both there grandparents did
    I wasn’t as lucky
    I was second oldest boy born June 16 1950 second of 5 children
    I was blessed with wonderful parents and sibling
    My mom knew her family history my brother is more knowledgeable them I am
    I know my dad’s family history better he was born
    In 1905 he was the youngest of 6 his mother was born 1865
    My parents where 15 years apart
    I’m an artist
    Both my parents fathers died when they were a little over one years old
    My mom was the youngest out of 3
    I know my mom had cousin who where-generals in the French army
    I know this becaus I saw pictures of my mom and her cousins all the men in my mothers family where officers
    A little note my mom’s only sister husband was the youngest of seven sons who all served in the French army in World War One
    All 7 survied World War One
    This in its self was amazing 6 where in verdan and servived the war and Marsel the youngest was a prisoner f the Germans
    I remember going to the battle fields with my uncle in 1959 when I was nine
    I am still amaze of this experience
    I used to speak French fluently
    Unfortunately not anymore
    I understand French but I have a heavy American accent
    My mom was always correcting us
    Sorry if I misspelled any words
    Be well Olivier

  22. It was my mom’s grandmother who spoke French with a German answer
    My mistake
    This is a new reply to Laura
    I made another error I was second child oldest boy
    I have 3 sisters and one younger brother
    I wrote this on my I phone which is harder for me than my I pad or lap top

  23. Have watched the show since it first aired in the U.S. but just got into your recaps a few weeks ago. I am chuckling along as I read and it’s like you read my mind watching the episodes. Just really well done!
    I, like you, struggle sometimes with the historical inaccuracies (to say the least), but I am in love with the writing, the costumes, and character development. Especially with phillipe, the chevalier (trying to forget that show-chevalier is an entirely different animal than the real-Chevalier) and liselotte this season.
    Thanks for the fun reads!! Do you also publish entries in the off season?

  24. Olivier de la Torre dont worry about grammar or spelling mistakes just keep posting. Believe me my written French is nowhere near as good as your English. Your history is fascinating what a remarkable family. Thanks for sharing

  25. Jules

    I just reread your review again on episode 10 season 2

    Why was so much of episode 10 cut on American TV
    They really butcher it.
    I’m glad I read your review on Season 2 weeks ago
    And reread it today
    What was the purpose of cutting so much of season 2 for American TV?

  26. Jules

    I can’t belive that I left out in all my reviews how much I liked Fabian
    He was a wonderful character who was played so well
    Excellent job by this actor who had wonderful lines

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