The Borgias: Apocalypse Now

Previously on The Borgias: Della Rovere went to France and asked King Charles to invade Italy. Charles agreed, as long as he got to conduct the fighting his way. Lucrezia’s affair with Paulo continued, while Cesare’s affair with Ursula fizzled. Jofre got married to a woman who started sleeping with his brother, Juan.

The French are packing up their cannons and getting ready to invade Italy. A French commander asks della Rovere what the Italian words for cannonfire, recoil, and gunpowder are. DR says there are no such words that he knows of. Frenchie seems glad to hear it.

Meanwhile, down south, Juan and Sancia are in bed together. Even though they’re having a pretty enthusiastic time of it, Sancia pauses to glance out the window at her little husband, who’s playing with the doves in the courtyard. She tells Juan that Jofre’s sweet, but lacks his older brother’s vigor. Give the poor kid a chance, lady, he’s only 13!

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Camelot: Road Trip

Previously on Camelot: Arthur started spreading his influence and established a court of justice at Camelot. Morgan did pretty much the same thing at Magical Manse.

Guen dreams of her father telling her a story about Artemis asking her own father, Zeus, to allow her to remain single her whole life. She wakes with a smile as someone arrives with a message for her.

Meanwhile, the Camelot Crew is out planting flags everywhere. That’s how you know Arthur owns the place. It’s all about the clever use of flags. Merlin swings by and tells the boys to mount up, because they’re going on a road trip to Kay’s and Arthur’s childhood home, to fetch Sir Hector’s famous library. Apparently Camelot needs a library. You guys might want to look into a roof first. Kay’s not too excited to be going home, but he and Gawain and Leo join Merlin on his quest. Safety in numbers—maybe this time Merlin will manage not to kill anyone.

Back at Camelot, Arthur strides around giving orders to strip out the plants and repair the rooms and replace the roof (ah ha!) Guen’s cousin catches up with him and tells him that Guen’s taken off. Arthur finds the messenger who visited Guen that morning and learns that her father’s on his deathbed. Arthur grabs his horse and goes after her.

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The Borgias: Sexy Time!

Previously on The Borgias: Lucrezia’s new crush messed with her husband’s saddle, so Sforza took a fall and has been laid up with a broken leg. Della Rovere continued to hop all over Italy, trying to ensure safe passage for a French army intent on taking over Naples. Cesare got a crush of his own, and obligingly killed the woman’s jerky husband. Alexander decided it was time for little Jofre to get married.

Pesaro Castle, home of Sforza and Lucrezia. Lucrezia’s attending her still bedridden husband, smearing a painful ointment on the wound on his leg, and being much sweeter about it than he deserves. Sforza realizes it too and thanks her, kind of, for taking such good care of him. He sort of apologizes for having been a dick too, and offers to overlook the “accident of [her] family name.” He also asks her to take his horse out for a ride, since he gets restless when he doesn’t get his exercise. She promises to do so.

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The Borgias: Family Ties

Previously on The Borgias: Lucrezia was married off to Giovanni Sforza, who turned out to be, well, ungallant. Cesare met a beautiful woman at the reception who begged him to free her from her brutish husband.

Lucrezia lies dead, drowned in the bottom of a tub. Very Ophelia. Alexander reaches into the tub and pulls her out, begging for her forgiveness. Dead Lucrezia floats toward the ceiling, intoning: “God may forgive you, father, but I never will.” She takes a position in the roundel painted on the ceiling, and Alexander wakes himself from the nightmare, shouting her name.

Lucrezia, meanwhile, is not dead, but I’m guessing she wishes she were. She’s lying curled up in bed as her husband says she didn’t snore, but she cried all damn night, and that simply has to stop. She’ll probably stop crying when you stop raping her, jackass. Sforza rolls out of bed and tells her they won’t have to see each other much, so no worries. He leaves and she starts crying again.

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The Borgias: Dine and Death

Previously on The Borgias: Rodrigo Borgia bought himself the papacy, with the help of his son, Cesare, which outraged the losers. One of them tried to have the pope poisoned, but his assassin was caught by Cesare, who hired him instead, and the cardinal ended up dead. The other loser, della Rovere, continued on his quest to bring down the new pope, but Cesare and badass assassin Micheletto were right there with him, and framed him for murder, sending him on the run.

Have I mentioned how awesome I think the opening credits are? With the Renaissance-era paintings being painted in with what looks suspiciously like blood? I love them (and I love the inclusion of a painting of the legendary Roman Lucretia, whom Lucrezia Borgia was named for. Nice touch for the quick of eye.)

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The Borgias: Poison in Every Cup and an Assassin on Every Corner

Those of you who read my Tudors recaps knows how I feel about the work Michael Hirst chooses to produce, so when I heard he was taking on the Borgia family, I was a bit wary, and the bodice ripping early previews didn’t help. Still, I tried to be optimistic. After all, The Borgias stars much-lauded actor Jeremy Irons. Now, Irons has made some pretty poor choices in the past when it came to his roles (he did, after all, voluntarily do both Eragorn and Dungeons and Dragons), but he’s still a fine actor, and as much as I’m sure I’ll get outraged comments about this, I think he’s a much better and stronger actor than Jonathan Rhys Myers, who in my opinion didn’t have what it took to carry The Tudors. The supporting cast looked good too—Derek Jacobi, Joanne Whalley, Colm Feore. So, like I said, I tried to be optimistic. And judging by the first episode, I was kind of right to be. If the show continues the way it started, it’s going to be a fun ride. Let’s get started, shall we?

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The Tudors: The Horse is Symbolic! Get it?

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married and got rid of a lot of women, had three kids, changed England’s religion (kind of), and got old. Bishop Gardiner tried to nail Queen Katherine for heresy, and Henry had Surrey tried and found guilty of treason.

Hey, Natalie Dormer, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Annabelle Wallis are back in the opening credits! Welcome back, dead wives! I guess we’re pretending Katherine Howard didn’t exist.

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Mildred Pierce: Part II

Welcome back to the wonderful world of Mildred Pierce. We rejoin our leading lady loading up pie plates with rocks in her bedroom so she can practice carrying multiple laden dishes. Smart. The lyrics to the no doubt carefully chosen song are “I’m always chasing rainbows, watching clouds passing by,” for those who are interested in such things.

Mildred’s practice is interrupted by the sound of the front door closing and the kids squealing happily. She goes downstairs and finds Bert, who explains he stopped by to pick up a few things he left in his desk. Mildred smiles and invites him to put his feet up for a while. The girls happily fill him in on their doings, and then Vita asks him if he’d like a Scotch, in that very hoity-toity proper way of hers. Bert seems surprised there’s Scotch to be had, considering it’s illegal and all, but he says he’s cool with a drink, so Mildred, her smile getting tight, goes to fetch it.

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Mildred Pierce: Part I

Now that they’ve conquered the 1920’s with Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s decided to move on to the ‘30’s, and they made the rather gutsy decision to do Mildred Pierce, a novel that already has a classic movie version starring Joan Crawford, who won an Academy Award for the role. HBO countered that by bringing their own Oscar winner—Kate Winslet, and stuffing the rest of the cast with other highly respected actors (including recent winner Melissa Leo, who plays one of my favorite characters). It’s early days yet, so it’s hard to tell if this version treats the source material better than the 1945 film. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Moody music plays against an art-deco background that looks a bit like stylized sunbeams. Interestingly, the supporting players are all introduced before Winslet and the title. They come at the very end of the credits, in big, bold letters.

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The Tudors: Obsession

Previously on The Tudors: Henry trashed part of France, then got bored and went home, leaving the Earl of Surrey in charge of Boulogne. Chapuys retired, much to Mary’s distress, and Henry’s health took a turn for the worst.

It’s now 1545, as we’re helpfully informed. A groom fetches a nifty little pair of eyeglasses for Henry, who uses them to read some important document. He signs it, then greets Seymour, who comes in for an audience. Seymour informs him that Surrey’s acting like a total idiot in France, attacking supply trains and the like for no reason at all, and sustaining huge losses in the process. Henry sighs and sends Seymour away.

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