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: 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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The Tudors: Hello, Goodbye

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married Katherine Parr and left her in charge while he went off to fight a war in France. There, Charles acquired a comely French prisoner, and Henry’s army was soon decimated by disease.

In France, the bodies of the dysentery dead are piling up so fast they’re now being tossed in a mass grave and covered with lime. So, it’s going to be one of those fun episodes, is it? Oh, and apparently there’s no food to be had for miles around, either. Still, the assaults on the city continue, as does the tunnel digging. Harry and the others continue to swing their pickaxes, almost causing a collapse at one point. Fortunately, the supports hold. Harry tells one of his coworkers the castle is still a good 300 feet away. It’s going to be a long week.

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The Tudors: Where is love?

Previously on The Tudors: Kate, Culpeper, Dereham, and Lady Rochford all got their heads chopped off. So, they’re out of the credits now, replaced by Special Guest Star Joley Richardson.

Hunsdon House. Mary tracks down Elizabeth and happily tells her they’re both being restored to the succession. Mary’s over the moon, but Elizabeth couldn’t seem to care less. She’s downcast after Kate’s death, and she’s made up her mind never to marry.

Henry receives Chapuys in his study, which is once again darkened and emo’d out. Chapuys wastes no time in telling Henry the Emperor’s at war with France again and wants Henry’s help. In return, Henry would get back Aquitaine. Henry sends him off without an answer.

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The Tudors: Ick Factor

Previously on The Tudors: Henry dragged court and family north, where he magnanimously forgave the northerners for rebelling against him. Kate foolishly hired her ex-boyfriend, Francis Dereham, who turned out to be kind of an asshole. Someone took it upon themselves to write a letter to the king, presumably informing him of Kate’s extracurricular activities.

Henry shows the letter to Seymour, who reads it and reveals it is, in fact, about Kate and her “dissolute living” before she married Henry. And right off the bat we have a bit of a story problem. See, the writers decided to show us Henry and Kate clearly sleeping together before they were married, so he would already know about her past. Surely Henry could tell when a girl was a virgin and when she wasn’t, and yet he seems surprised by this letter, which is unsigned, in case you were wondering. Henry says the letter’s a total lie, but nonetheless he has Seymour investigate and confines Kate to her room, with only Lady Rochford in attendance, until the matter is cleared up.

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The Tudors: Ghosts

Previously on The Tudors: Henry dragged his wife and court north on a progress to tell the northerners there were no hard feelings over that whole rebellion misunderstanding. Katherine continued her incredibly foolish affair with Culpeper, managing to take it to a whole new level of gross.

Pontefract Castle (remember Pontefract?). Everyone who lives there is all lined up in the courtyard as Henry and his entourage arrive in extremely cheesy slow motion. They’re greeted by Ralph, the one rebel who managed to evade slaughter by selling out his buddies. Henry greets him and the others as his “faithful servants” and introduces Kate and Mary. Ralph, who’s now sporting the Beard of Instant Aging, welcomes them all. Henry dismounts, embraces him, and then pulls Culpeper aside to tell him he plans to sleep with Kate that night. Ralph falls into step beside Charles and observes that Henry seems pretty peppy. Charles puts it down to his new marriage and the success of the progress.

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The Tudors: Present Day

Previously on The Tudors: Kate spent the holidays insulting Mary and making friends with the very affable Anne of Cleves. Her ladies-in-waiting, out of boredom, I guess, decided to facilitate her affair with Culpeper.

It’s a bright, sunny day, and Culpeper’s helping Henry get dressed in an oddly homoerotic manner. Once he’s done, Henry admires himself in the mirror for a moment.

In Kate’s rooms, she and her ladies are having a dancing lesson, under the tutelage of a French dance master, who urges them to be elegant, which none of them are capable of, because they’re too busy giggling like schoolgirls. Henry pokes his head in and observes the lesson for a little while, unnoticed until Kate turns around and spots him.

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