Versailles’ season finale leaves everything up in the air. Henriette negotiates what everyone thinks is a sweet deal with her brother, the King of England, against Holland. But it turns out her brother, who hasn’t seen her since she was a child, wants a little more than she offered. So King Charles takes the French promise of money, then promises his niece in marriage to the future king of Holland to hedge his bets.
Henriette returns only to be poisoned by Rohan’s servant, and suffers a vile death. Then poor Fabien discovers Beatrice’s VIAL of poison and she is given an honorable death. Since the audience already knows that Rohan’s in charge of the conspiracy, we see Rohan help the one witness to the conspiracy escape. Then Rohan kidnaps Louis’ son when he should be teaching the prince how to hunt wild boar. After Henriette dies, Phillipe finally grows a backbone and leaves Versailles – in a huff of course – bringing lap dog Cavalier along. Louis is left where we started the season, staring out at Versailles.
I don’t know why, but I am not moved by Henriette’s death, or Phillipe and Louis’ pain. She’s just another casualty in the plot. She’s better off now. I was tired of the love/power triangle between the brothers over her. Right now there are only three characters driving the storyline in my mind. I’ll focus on them.
Our Favorite moments:
Fabien finds the vial of poison in Beatrice’s quarters. He still wants to believe in her, so he has Claudine verify the poison. Beatrice confesses to the fraudulent papers to him. But he follows through and has the gardener bring her to a grove. It is a setting she described to Fabien once – “in a forest, looking down a row of evergreens,” – her happy place. He is a stickler for details. He asks her to look at him and tell him what she sees. She sees, “loneliness, fear, despair, regret.” (Man, for a guy who barely talks, she got to know him pretty well!) “And duty,” Fabien adds.
Poor guy; he had definitely fallen for her, but acts out of duty. The gardener whips out an Edwardian-Scissorhands-like steampunk sword from where his right hand used to be, before he lost it in a war. That must come in handy as a gardener. Jacques beheads her. What limited knowledge I have on royal executions is that the French nobles were executed with swords. It is more dignified. Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn executed this way instead of by axe, because she was French. So it’s kind of sweet that Fabien brings her to the garden (like Louis brings the garden to his bedchamber for Henriette’s death) and he gives her a noble exit; knowing she wasn’t noble and all.
Sophie of course wonders where mom is, and ends up giving herself to Fabien to survive. We don’t know what he’ll actually do with her. (That picture’s going to keep me up at night.) But he initially told her she’ll be a spy. I thought her hairstyle had started growing horns, like her mom.
Louis had told Phillipe the master of etiquette position wasn’t an offer and he’d better reconsider. Cavalier convinces Phillipe to go along with Louis’ etiquette plan. Phillipe will be in charge of forcing everyone to act, speak – and eventually think – the way the king wishes. Bontemps doubts the nobles will go along with the list of rules. Cavalier insists, “Even the wildest horse accepts the halter.” Is he speaking of himself with Phillipe? He keeps calling Phillipe his stallion. Phillipe seems to enjoy the pomp and circumstance he has dictated his brother in the waking ceremony. When Louis awakens, Phillipe informs him, “I am here to watch a piece of theater…A comedy of manners with tragic anecdotes. From now on, your life does not belong to you. All you do is designed to be seen and admired…They are no longer actions, but a performance.” Louis will be the original reality TV star. Narcissist that he is; Louis eats it up.
Later, Phillipe blames Henriette’s death on Louis, telling him, “I grieve alone.” He won’t accept that Louis has any of the same feelings about her death. They won’t mourn as brothers. Phillipe tells Cavalier they are leaving and Cavalier immediately follows. A few fans on twitter consider this proof of Cavalier’s devotion to Phillipe, since Henriette wouldn’t leave with Phillipe. I don’t see it that way. Cavalier WANTED to leave Versailles. He still wants Phillipe on the throne, and he hasn’t ratted out the nobles from the meeting he attended. However, this all may be a ruse, since Montcourt warned Fabien that the friends closest to the king should be suspect. Maybe those farther away will be seen as an enemy by the enemy. Maybe Phillipe is heading out to get in thick with the noble’s plot for Louis. Either way, it will be good for both Phillipe and Louis to get away from each other.
Nothing much happens with Louis this week. In the opening scene, Louis is questioning whether he should have sent Henriette to England. She was probably safer there, than at Versailles. There is no discussion about the progress of the luxury accommodations he is constructing for his nobles and diplomats. That is overshadowed by the war he is constructing against Holland.
The king does get the satisfaction of killing Montcourt. Fabien is kind of reckless to put the king in danger, but Louis wanted to be the badass and kill Montcourt himself. Fabien is stabbed. While Fabien recovers, he comes to the epiphany that Rohan is the leader of the conspiracy. This is all too late, since Louis sent Rohan out with his son to practice hunting wild boar. Louis, Grand Dauphin is then kidnapped. We’ll have to kill Rohan, the wild bore, later.
To Phillipe, Louis preaches after Henriette’s death, “We can never invade the entire world, but the world can imagine us to be their center…If I were to teach you a piece of music, if it were it to strike you in the heart, and the sheet were burned…you may play it from memory to a hundred…and they would take it on…The song we play here, I mean it to be played forever.” So Louis plans on staying the course until next season. We leave Louis where he started, staring down at Versailles from his happy place in the woods. He has yet to drag the country into the light as he had hoped. My bet is that Louis isn’t having a narcissistic meltdown yet because everything is going as planned.
Versailles is done for the season. But I’ll be back recapping Vikings next week, with its premiere November 30 at 9pm. I hope another great warrior, under the shadow of his brother, escapes the French court on that show as well!