Yes, I am still watching the French version. *sigh* but I have been helped along by some discussion on our Versailles Fan Group and via my lovely Twitter followers 🙂 CanalPlus in their wisdom, decided to screen two eps on the one night and I didn’t realise until Aurora told me, so I scrambled and totally missed the intro UGH. But anyways, I bravely grabbed my pen and paper and diligently scribbled the rest of the ep down for you all. Oh, and make sure you’ve read my corrections from Ep1. It is important.
Okay, here we go. Apparently, it starts with Louis wandering through the halls at night, making his way to Montespan’s bed, then a chandelier smashes down, just missing him. Cut to him and Bishop Bossuet having words, and it is obvious Louis is going “but what does this all mean? is it a sign?” And the Bishop replying, well, yeah, duh, the Lord is not happy with you, you adulterer. Louis claps back with “I am going to war with William of Orange who is a heretic Protestant so the Lord is pretty shitty if he’s hating on me for all this minor stuff.” Then we see Montespan/Louis shagging, then cut to the Queen laying in bed hearing all the sounds of smexiness and lots of “YES YES!” The next morning she meets Louis for prayer, bags under her eyes, and they have major words because even if she has to accept her king shagging all the womenz she doesn’t have to be happy about it as his wife. And she is totally humiliated to have Montespan swan about like a massive pregnant… well…. swan. Louis is unimpressed and goes to leave and OMG she grabs his arm and halts him and the look of outrage and shock on his face is a thing to behold. The Queen says she doesn’t like who he has become. “You may be the Sun King, but of late when I look into your eyes all I see is shadow.”
Aaaaaaaaaand the Chevalier has returned! How do I know this? Both of them naked in bed, at Saint Cloud, and Philippe says “I missed you.” And all is good and right with the world once more *heart eyes* There is naked hugging. Naked talking. Naked back kissing and slapping of asses. Naked staring out massive windows. Naked prancing in front of a mirror like the precious unicorn the Chevalier is. Naked Chevalier de Lorraine pissing in a bowl that he makes a servant hold out for him. It is delightful. Let us take a moment to enjoy some screencaps of this glorious scene.
Now a Council scene with Marchal… and that is all my notes say. Obviously not a scene of importance at the time because hey, we return to Saint Cloud where we see the Chevalier taking some drugs from a pretty mignon hanging about near the door (Alexandre Wetter – he of the handkerchief nose boop of S1), and it looks as though he is either depressed he is not in favour, or stoned. Could be both.
Then the Philippes both place themselves in armchairs outside the French doors and sit in glorious dressing robes, surveying their domain (i.e. the as-yet-un-Le-Notre’d gardens of Saint Cloud). I fancy that the Chevalier is saying “you really need to pretty up this place… add a fountain or two. Maybe a massive cascade.” There is some dialogue, the Chevalier kisses Philippe’s hand and they look so perfectly happy I wanna scream at them to STOP THAT BECAUSE IT WILL TURN INTO SHIT VERY SOON DON’T YOU KNOW and then Philippe kind of goes off on a ranty monologue about Louis taking away all his friends and the Chevalier rolls his eyes and goes to his knees, pets his Philippe and says that Louis “might be the sun, my dear, but you are the star. And it is time you show your brother how brightly you can sparkle. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but while the sun rules the day, it is the stars that rule the night.” And Philippe kinda goes “hmm.” and grudgingly admits “I did miss you a great deal.” And the Chevalier, looking just a little too smug, replies “I know. Tell me again.” And they both grin and there is a lovely smoochy kiss and I am all happy again because PHILIPPE ET PHILIPPE FEEEEEELS and they both go off together forever, happily ever after. So there.
We are now in the gardens of Versailles and some courtiers having wine and giggling a bit and they gallivant around in the dark, having a gay old time. Then we are back with Montespan and Louis and an argument is going down, about her being massively pregnant. It is telling that Montespan says that soon the child will be out of her and “then we shall hear no more about it.” *historical note: the real Montespan did not care much at all for her children. They also argue about Cassel being appointed as minister, with Louis subscribing to the “keep your enemies closer.”
We are back in the salons with Sophie and there appears to be mucho gossip and covet glancing about.. she eyes the new dude with the moustache (who I know now is Thomas, a scribe who has been brought in to write Louis’ history) and we see the other new dude Gaston who expected that ministerial position but Louis rained on his parade. Some woman has harsh words with him (ahhh it is his mother, Madeline de Foix, played by Greta Scacchi) then Montespan arrives and she is all yes Madame, no Madame because she knows Montespan can have her out of there with just a word, and meanwhile Gaston is still shitty she could not get him the Minister position. Gaston is very much henpecked by his horrid mother but I don’t have much sympathy for him – he appears quite not delightful. Sophie whispers to a girl and an exchange of words and a sequence of shared whispers happens, with the girl finally handing Sophie a box of something, which she puts in her bodice and eventually hands off to Marchal. She sounds so clever, Sophie. I would love to see more of her with Marchal. Meanwhile that girl then flirts with Thomas and she grabs his hand and suddenly off they go, charging from the salon. I bet I can guess what they are up to. Louis arrives in the salon and creates a bit of a stir.
Next scene and Claudine and Marchal are having words…. I understand they are discussing if something is poison or aphrodisiac. Claudine smiles… (is she trolling again?) and Marchal looks irritated and/or impatient. She says he can stay for supper and tongue-in-cheek: “My soup is fresh and untainted by any tonic.” The look Marchal gives her…. AHAHAAAA. #Trolled. I hope there is more with those two. They are so awesome together. A meeting of intelligent minds. YES I KNOW. SOPHIE TOO.
Next we see Louis on a horse – and he is so happy when he is alone riding, like a big kid – meeting another man in the forest and from the word ‘Palatine’, I gather they are discussing Philippe’s marriage and the protocol.
We cut back to Saint Cloud and an exchange between the Chevalier and Philippe, with Philippe holding the portrait and they talk about the terms of marriage…. and one of the best lines in this ep (although there are many) when Philippe says “I hear she likes bratwurst.” And the Chevalier replies “It’s important for every married couple to share a common interest.” 😀
And then the mood drops when at the end of the meeting, they must ride together into Versailles. UGH. What a pain.
A scene where we FINALLY see Jacques the gardener with Louis, and Jacques does his Yoda thing, being cryptic and wise and stuff. They talk about Louis’ father and returning to the same place after you die, so why trouble oneself with living. Gives us more of an insight into Louis’ relationship with his father.
The Queen strolls in the gardens with Bossuet – she is obvs not happy with her husband’s mortal soul, which looks as though it will be going to Hell on account of him fornicating with and impregnating a married woman.
Back into the salons again, with lots of camera shots of drinking, gambling and people taking all forms of drugs. Thomas is in bed with two women and they all have a bit of a snog.
Now we are at mass, with a new Father Pascal who frankly looks as though he could go postal with only the slightest of nudges. He preaches about sin and the Queen glances back to Montespan, who is SO NOT IMPRESSED as she strokes her pregnant belly. Louis watches from a balcony above and storms off after it is clear the Father is passive-aggressively preaching at him.
Then Louis is having a talk with Bontemps and Montespan sweeps in, and from her body language and tone, she does her iron-fist-in-velvet-glove thing and seems to be commanding Bontemps. UGH. Dammit. Bontemps is not a mere servant. Jesus.
Now we are in the confession box and Montespan is hissing at Bossuet, letting him know she is NOT HAPPY. *As an historical aside, it was common for mistresses to grant favours to friends and family while they had the power and influence to do so. Unlike Louise de la Valière, Montespan took full advantage of her position and boosted her family’s standing, as well as her close friends. Anyway, she gets shitty and leaves the confessional, and the duc de Cassel surprises her relieving herself in a servant’s corridor. Words are exchanged and she slaps his horrible face, then storms off. We see her charging through rooms and when she is finally alone, she bursts into tears. Those damn pregnancy hormones.
The Queen is in private prayer with the new bishop and Louis storms in, says he sees she has acquired ‘a new piece of furniture’. He does not like it and she must send it back. Subtle, Sire. Subtle.
We are back with Philippe at Saint Cloud and he is getting dressed, when the Chevalier prances in like the show pony he is. Swishes about some new fabrics and shows off his knowledge of fashion. He is so hilarious and I love these two together. it is clear he is the fun-loving one, while Philippe is deeply conflicted with the weight of his brother’s oppression. A total role reversal from the actual historical figures, as Philippe was quite a merry thing, loving all things colourful and fashionable.
Now to Louis and Bontemps and Montespan is having a moment of yelling and screaming. *Now with the English translation to hand, Montespan is requesting her nanny Madame Scarron move into Versailles, who we all know is the future Madame de Maintenon.
Bontemps isn’t sure there is room: Versailles is hardly the place for young children
Montespan: Then that will change when they get here!
Bonetemps: Only royal children may have a nurse or governess at Versailles
Montespan: My children are royal! Or has their paternity escaped you?
Montespan is furious, demanding = that ‘my children will be safe and there is no safer place in France than at Versailles!’ This is literally the first time I have heard her mention the other kids that she and Louis have. She storms off, Louis follows her and he tries, he really does. But his jolly, “how big you are getting!” certainly do not placate her, judging from her death stare.
Now Montespan is in the village and meeting Agathe. There are Important Things Said about the prior fortune reading and it is interesting to think about it, because I heard it was full of destruction and drinking from poison wells and the time for kings will be past and stuff. I wonder if she could be talking about the French Revolution that will happen years from now and will see Louis’ great grandson, Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, guillotined for it.
We see another carriage on the road….. OMG it is the meeting with Liselotte! Philippe rides up on his glorious white horse, dismounts and looks mucho confused. Where is that German? She is… uhh…. peeing in a ditch. And seems quite unperturbed about it, giving him a cheerful wave as she finishes with her ladies then strides up to greet him. This is hilarious – the down-to-earth Liselotte, looking perfectly healthy and chatty, and Philippe giving her the ‘Dieu, what is this creature and look at her clothes… THOSE SHOES!’ look. She presents gifts for his daughters and this is the first time they have literally been mentioned AT ALL. Marie Louise and Anne Marie who are with their governesses in Saint Germain. Liselotte is under the impression that he is missing them and wants to get back to them and Philippe is all….. O.o at her like ‘whyyyyyy?’ I love Liselotte.
*historical Note: Philippe by this time had two daughters with his now-dead wife, Henriette. Marie Louise was eight (and went on to become Queen of Spain, tragically dying at 26) and Anne Marie was one (who became Queen of Sardinia and died a day before she turned 59). Henriette did not care for her children, and horrified Philippe’s mother when she said Marie Louise should be thrown in the Seine after the child was born. Marie Louise was Anne of Austria’s favourite.
The Chevalier, meanwhile, is seeing Claudine and for one second, I think he is after poison. But no. It appears he wants her to inspect his manly bits, which she does – with cold hands! – and he asks her for something, holding out a vial. She refuses, and tells him he can put something on his inflicted parts.
Marchal visits Madame de Reynard, the widow of the dead minister who was poisoned during the council meeting in the first ep. They have a chat as she eats her food and he leaves… .only to be called back when the guards raise the alarm that she’s been poisoned and we see copious amounts of blood dripping from her mouth into the soup bowl. Gross.
Another Council meeting, and Louvois is talking about their troops not being given food and shelter at some French monasteries as they march to war. Louis is FURIOUS. So we now see Bousset in the chapel and Louis is on the balcony, telling him off. The symbolism of Louis at such a great height, towering over a man of God, is very clear. Louis yells and leaves.
Next scene with Claudine and Montespan and it appears Madame does not want Claudine’s medical advice about lacing her corset too tight. Then Philippe and Liselotte are presented to the court and the grand party begins.
Philippe strides past the Chevalier, who does a kind of scant mocking head bow at him, and then Philippe and Louis are doing the old ‘pee and chat’ in a small room with chamberpots. They just stand there silently, then Louis speaks.
Louis: I was beginning to think you would never return
Philippe: You were correct
Louis: what changed your mind?
Philippe: I was spoken to. From on high. (buttons up and starts to walk away, while the Chevalier drinks wine and leans on the door, blithely listening in)
Louis: So. You are here out of duty.
Philippe: (tightly) A blind obedience to a higher power. Just like everyone else. They’re here because you want them to be. There is no other reason. (Louis starts to smile) What you want you get. You must’ve realised that by now.
Then Philippe turns and walks out and Louis’ smile drops because hells yeah, he just got burned by his younger brother.
Colbert chats with Liselotte. The Chevalier also watches her, as she spits out food and they have this lovely little exchange that I hope is the level of saltiness to come:
Liselotte: You’re not eating?
Le Chevalier: (gives her a look and says dryly) Not like that.
Liselotte: Do you come here often?
Le Chevalier: Not in this room, no.
Liselotte: I saw some stains on the floor, I assumed one of them was you.
Now we cut to the gardens and OMG brace yourselves. Thomas is carving something on a tree and I assume this is a spy thing and not just because he hates trees. Jacques catches him and they exchange those words you have when you know the other person is totally up to no good but you’re waiting for them to break into an attack first. Thomas is the first one, stabbing Jacques and suddenly Jacques does his Wolverine thing with his sword arm and you can see Thomas going ‘oh shit’ but then he calculates and suddenly his knife is buried in Jacques’ throat.
NO. FUCKING. WAY.
Not Yoda Jacques. Who will give Louis such cryptic advice, full of gardening metaphors? Who will tell him all about his father? Who will LOOK AFTER THOSE ORANGE TREES???
CRYING. Because Jacques is dying and Thomas says “not long now” and Jacques is “you will… never…win.” And Thomas is all “so far so good.” Jacques struggles to breathe… “I see new trees, marching in formation.” and Thomas replies: “Well. you will be food for them now.” and Jacques final words are “I will make a damn…fine….tree.”
Through my tears the party is in full swing and Louis and Montespan are dancing and suddenly she gets a pain and collapses. She screams and Louis yells for the men to help her and they pick her up and cart her off. Then she is in the throws of childbirth, all spread legs and blood everywhere and we see Agathe in her home, turning cards, and then Claudine is yelling PUSH and Montespan does and suddenly Agathe has this OMG look on her face with the last turn of the card and her candles go out, and then the guards’ torches at the palace blow out as Montespan keeps screaming and everything goes black.
The end. ‘scuse me while I compose myself for the next eps. I hear it is rough.