'Versailles': Ovation TV Returns Us to the Palace for the Final Act
By Taylor Neumann
The third and final season of Versailles has already aired in the U.K. and France, but Americans finally get their chance to return to court when the show premieres Saturday on Ovation.
Season 3 has everything you know and love — nefarious plotting, luxurious costumes and, yes, gratuitous nudity — while exploring new viewpoints, including that of the French public as King Louis XIV (George Blagden) attempts to endear himself to his suffering subjects.
Two of the show’s stars, Alexander Vlahos — who plays Philippe, the king’s brother — and Catherine Walker, the actress behind Louis’ companion Madame de Maintenon, talked with TV Weekly about what we can expect from their characters this season and whether they’re happy with the series finale.
At the end of the second season, Philippe went to battle. He returns a little bit different than before he left, and now that he’s back at Versailles, what can we expect?
Alexander Vlahos: Like you said, he’s a changed man. He’d been fighting for the sake of France, and the first thing he does when he comes back in Episode 1 is that Louis shows him the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) completed. … Philippe comes back and finally sees Versailles completed and realizes that he’s been fighting not for the sake of the people in France, but for his brother to build a palace. That leaves a sour taste in his mouth.
I have to ask about the relationship between Philippe and the Chevalier. What does Season 3 hold for them?
Vlahos: I think [Philippe] finds that it’s quite easy for him to leave the Chevalier on his own and find a sense of independence. Philippe is a stronger man. He doesn’t need people around him.
The relationship is incredibly important to the show. I think people will be surprised that they break up quite quickly in the start of Episode 1. … I think the show benefits from it. The fans probably disagree. [Laughs] The American audience will have to wait and see whether they get back together or not.
The season begins with Madame de Maintenon as the subject of gossip around the court. What kind of mindset is she in?
Catherine Walker: You will see that things come up from Maintenon’s past, which really test [Maintenon and Louis’] relationship. It’s not necessarily an easy road. She has to face her past and things that she has done. … [But] she’s very single-minded and I think she will kind of stop at nothing to protect [Louis]. So she can deal with people who come in her way.
Maintenon is the backbone of the crown, in a way, as she’s not only helping Louis with political issues, but also personal and religious matters.
Can you tease a little bit about what we might expect from her this season?
Walker: You get to see her move into an incredibly powerful position. In fact, I was just today talking with George Blagden, our wonderful Louis. We were saying that it’s interesting because we always played them as this extraordinary couple. … They come up against the church, they come up against the Protestants, they come up against everybody in court, but they are a power couple. And they go after absolute power. It was an incredible love story.
Are you happy with how the series ends?
Vlahos: I am. I’m really proud. I feel like we’ve accomplished more than we set out to accomplish with these characters and with the storyline. In terms of the history of the show, Versailles can go on and on and on, but in terms of where we are with Louis and where we are with the palace, there’s nothing more to tell. … We arrive at Episode 10 of Season 3 in a place where it felt right to end.
Walker: Very. I think it’s by far the best season. It really is. The audience reaction in the U.K. and Ireland has been extraordinary. It’s a really strong third act. There’s so much mystery in there, like, wow. The audience is in for a real treat. The finale of the show is really amazing.
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