If history has taught us anything, it is that war veterans are never given their true due, and the French will always go on strike at the worst possible time.
This week on Versailles, the nobles feel safe traveling to Versailles again, but Louis has nowhere to house them. The soldiers-turned-workers, who served in Louis’ recent war, are displeased with the treatment – or lack thereof – of their injured comrades. And other workers go on strike, due to unsafe working conditions.
Coded letters go out, revealing Beatrice and Cavalier are players in the royal betrayal. Cassel gets one too, but we already knew he was in on it. Beatrice confides in Sophie that her father was a protestant architect, destroyed by the King’s family. Beatrice also continues an affair with Fabien. I hope he is setting her up by leaving the codex out on his table.
Fabien’s maid/helper informs him that Beatrice has run to the whorehouse and to the pharmacy for arsenic and eros, as tonic for sex. Then we see someone replace a few bottles in the doctor’s medicine trunk, and Beatrice is given the royal seal to create her papers.
Montcourt finds a tax collector at the whorehouse who is stealing from Louis. Montcourt insists the man take his offer of “protection.”
And finally, there is another baby of questionable paternity.
Our Favorite moments:
Winter is Coming!
The soldiers, who have the honor of risking their lives for Louis, also have the pleasure of constructing Versailles for him under dangerous conditions. While Louis give nobles a tour of Versailles, a worker up in the scaffolding voices his complaints for all to hear. Phillipe attempts to intervene but is silenced by Louis. The soldier warns that those opposing the king have the loyalty of the soldiers now. When ordered to get down from the scaffold, the man obliges, by jumping off and hanging himself.
The regular construction workers are leaving the job as well. Half a dozen men a week are killed on the job, and more are injured. As an adviser says, “Winter is fast approaching.” That’s never a good sign. Where will all the nobles feeding Louis’ narcissism be housed?
Louis seeks the counsel of his gardener again. The king learns the fleur-de-lis branded on Andre’s chest was punishment for rebellion (yet he still trusts the guy?) Andre tells Louis, “The king who brings soldiers to face down soldiers, rarely stays king for long.” Then he suggests that Phillipe speak to the men. “All men lash out when they are in pain.” Louis sends Rohan to the hospital instead.
Cassel arrives at Versailles, which is confusing because he was arrested last episode for lack of papers and back taxes. Bontemps explains that all nobles who build on the perimeter of Versailles will be forgiven all sins. Montespan bumps into him upon arrival and throws him a little schadenfreude for the loss of his home. One satisfying outcome from having few rooms for the nobles, is that Cassel arrives and is put up in a broom closet, literally.
Later he glares at Sophie like an appetizer again. If Beatrice and Cassel are in on the treason, is she willing to hand her daughter over to this creep? Either way, I wish him a truly horrible death. If I may indulge another series crossover moment, I wish him a blood eagle with no hope of reaching Valhalla. That’s the worst curse I can give him.
Changing of the Guard
The Queen and Louise petition Louis to release his mistress to a convent. He refuses, while snuffing out a candle. I guess he won’t be shining his glory on her anymore, but he will not let her leave. Does he not want any appearance of dissent among his followers, especially when he has nowhere to house them? (“But you let her leave! Why can’t I go too?”) Or does his fragile ego not want the world to know a woman grew bored with him? Or does he just need to control the mother of his child?
Interestingly, Montespan did not request a show of sympathy towards the old mistress, as Louise had begged. Montespan just got in good with the king; she doesn’t want to overstep his good favor. And this cunning earns her Louise’s seat at the dinner table. She asks the king to visit her bedroom later. He ponders, “You ask for nothing.” Sure, not yet anyway.
After several attempts to gain respect from the soldiers with anyone but Phillipe, Louis invites the workers into the palace. His valet is less than gracious to the workers, screaming at them not to touch anything. Good enough to die for the king, but not enjoy his painting.
Louis tells the workers they were right to strike. He announces his grand plan to build a hospital and retirement home, where no soldier will ever have to pay a cent. As evidence, he reveals his drawings. Louis then shows a medal of honor going to each soldier; the first one going ceremonially to Phillipe. Phillipe, who has been denied access to the soldiers to discuss the strike, is furious that his brother has endeared himself to his comrades, becoming the savior again by throwing money at it. But Phillipe can’t be bought. He hands his medal to a fellow soldier and walks out.
All this AFTER Phillipe didn’t take the soldiers up on their treasonous offer to support Phillipe on the throne.
And Baby Makes Four
Henriette has not been eating well. Louis checks on Henriette and gets into another pissing match with Phillipe – figuratively, this time. Phillipe is angry that he hasn’t been involved in resolving the strike. Henriette finally pulls herself out of bed, clutching a pillow, and then reveals that she is pregnant. At dinner Montespan had warned Henriette to eat, or she would “shrivel up and disappear.” Maybe she already has in the eyes of the ones that matter, because girlfriend is visibly along with this baby. No lover could miss it. Clearly Louis has been too busy with Montespan, and Phillipe must have forgiven Cavalier since he returned from war.
Phillipe wants to leave Versailles. He knows perfectly well the child will be used against both of them after Louis’s latest exploits. “You have not given him a child. You have given him a club to beat of us with.” We are reminded that Louis told Louise her child will always be a “Child of France.” More like a pawn for the king.
Later Louis tells Henriette that they can’t go on anymore because the baby only represents doubt to him. Yup, it’s starting.
In the last scene, Louis is sick and hallucinating that everyone is involved in his death. Poor thing. Next week we’ll descend into madness with him.