No More Mr. Nice Guy   Leave a comment

When Peter Capaldi got the call, the one that began “Hello, Doctor,” he was in Prague, playing the nefarious Cardinal Richelieu in BBC’s The Musketeers. My uncle, a longtime fan of all things swashbuckling, was crushed. My show had stolen his best-beloved villain. Having now watched The Musketeers, I can sympathize: Capaldi is amazing, and the show is not the same without him.

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“Who will be my equal?”

Capaldi as an actor is never the same twice. In spite of the similarity of their features, one would never confuse the Doctor with the Cardinal, or John Frobisher with Caecilius or Malcolm Tucker. But far more terrifying than this transformation was the one that took place in Series 2:

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Marc Warren’s Rochefort outdoes his predecessor in depravity and treachery. But this vicious, villainous hypocrite was once a sweet boy named Elton Pope.

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“But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”

The transition is jarring.

Series 2 of The Musketeers ended with Rochefort’s violent and well-earned death. Warren was amazing in the role: monstrous without being cartoonish, an entirely real if thoroughly disturbed human being. Still we were glad to see him go.

Up next: “Love and Monsters,” an often-maligned episode which I for one could watch over and over again. Elton is, after all, one of us.

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