Episode 12 was the first season finale of “The Three Musketeers” (sob), and it was a surprisingly sober conclusion to an exuberant season. We dealt with the fallout of Mi Ryung shooting the Princess, as eleven episodes of lies and secrecy were brought out in the open. The result prompted more tears than laughter, but I still reached the end of the episode hungry for more. Can season two start next week, please?
These were my five favorite scenes from episode 12 of “The Three Musketeers”:
1. A family mourns
This scene was so short, but it brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the overwhelming grief of Dal Hyang’s mother brought home how utterly senseless his father’s death was.
2. The almost-execution
Even though I knew that our heroes definitely wouldn’t be killed off with half an hour left in the episode, I was on the edge of my seat for this entire scene. A lot of that is thanks to Kim Myung Soo, who made the King’s anger, fear, and sense of betrayal so palpable that he became a figure capable of anything.
Also fantastic were the Musketeers—all four of them. But personally, I was the most moved by Jung Hae In and Yang Dong Geun, if only because their responses to their fate were so wonderfully in character. Min Seo looked terrified, but he kept his dignity and prayed his way through the lead-up to the hanging. Seung Po was indignant at first, but as it became increasingly clear that the bar was about to be kicked out from under their feet, he let out this squeaky moan that I honestly found devastating, because it was so undignified that it felt entirely realistic. What a great scene.
3. The King is afraid of his son
The King faded into the background in the latter half of this season, but Kim Myung Soo was superb throughout, and especially in this scene, when the King confesses that he fears his son. Knowing how this relationship ended in real life, this is just devastating—especially because we as the viewers understand why the King is afraid. His son is more charismatic than him, more brave, more able to move people’s hearts. As a seated monarch, the King should be afraid of a rival who is so clearly better-suited to the job than he is. But still, I wish this suspicion didn’t have to exist. Can’t these two just hug it out?
4. The Princess is alive
The Prince cried, and then I cried. What a lovely scene. I’m so happy that these two got this moment, in which they could both see clearly how wonderfully mutual their new love is.
5. The band is back together
The final ten minutes of the episode fast-forward two years, bypassing the second Manchu invasion of Korea and the Prince and Princess’s subsequent relocation to Shenyang as hostages. Where we pick up, Dal Hyang is arriving in Shenyang on the King’s business—but when he goes out for a drink with a comrade, who should he encounter but the Three Musketeers (complete with Min Seo in drag, HA), hard at work. After an episode that was basically the opposite of uplifting, I was so happy to see these four friends back together, fighting bad guys and looking good doing it (why am I not surprised that Jung Hae In makes a beautiful girl?).
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
In case I didn’t make it clear in my write-ups, I loved this drama. No, it wasn’t perfect (it frequently prioritized coolness over story logic, and every episode jumped around in time so much, as though the writer and director were afraid we’d forget that they previously worked together on time-travel dramas “Queen In Hyun’s Man” and “Nine”). But it was so much fun that I didn’t care. The performances were exuberant, the soundtrack was awesomely epic, the characters were the perfect mixture of larger-than-life and relatable, and the visuals… Oh man, the visuals. “The Three Musketeers” was a true feast for the eyes. Every single shot was so perfectly composed that it felt like a work of art. The set designing was impeccable, the costumes were ravishingly beautiful, and every color popped. I don’t know if I’ve ever had this much fun just looking at something.
But “The Three Musketeers” wasn’t just pretty. It presented a world of complex morality and shifting political alliances, where our heroes could betray and deceive the King, but we understood that it was for Joseon’s greater good. It was full of humor and heart, and I came to love every character, even the bad guys (except for Kim Ja Jum. He’s a terrible person). It was, simply put, a wonderful mix of clever writing, energetic directing, and committed acting. I had a blast, and I can’t wait for season two!
Let us know your thoughts about this episode (and the season as a whole) in the comments below!