The Borgias: New Beginnings

Previously on The Borgias: King Charles of France slaughtered his way across Italy, and nobody, particularly not Juan, was able to stop him. Except Lucrezia, who brokered a deal on the fly that would allow Charles to make a bloodless entry into Rome. I’m expecting her to become fully awesome in season 2.

The French pack up and get on the road to Rome. Della Rovere immediately tells Charles he should demand a convocation of the College of Cardinals as soon as they arrive, so they can get on with deposing Alexander. He says this right in front of Giulia and Lucrezia too, which seems unwise, since he’s just witnessed how good these ladies are at wheeling and dealing. Giulia coolly points out that there probably won’t be too many cardinals hanging around in Rome when they get there.

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The Borgias: War is Hell

Previously on The Borgias: The French rolled in and totally trashed Lucca, which made the rest of Italy basically wet itself. Giulia paid a visit to Lucrezia and found out dear Lu is pregnant, and the kid’s not Sforza’s.

In the middle of the night, Giulia steals out to the stables, where she gently wakes Paolo. She asks if he’s “the one” and he readily admits to it. She tells him he’s not to say the same to anyone else, or she’ll see him hanged. He understands. Giulia orders him to prepare two horses for the ladies, so they can leave at dawn.

Alexander’s getting dressed and telling Cesare that he had a nightmare that everyone had abandoned them, and he found himself dressed as a peasant as the French army swarmed through Rome. He tells Cesare to summon the Spanish ambassador, because he and Alexander need to have a talk.

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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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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: Nice Day for a Spite Wedding

Previously on The Borgias: Della Rovere ran around Italy, trying to drum up support for his deposition of Alexander. In Rome, the pope started interviewing prospective husbands for Lucrezia and secured her dowry by having his houseguest, the brother of the Sultan of Constantinople, killed by his sons.

Della Rovere arrives in Florence, where he goes to hear Savonarola speak hellfire and brimstone to a crowd in a church. He seems to like what he’s hearing.

Meanwhile, in Rome, Lucrezia’s in bed, sick with a fever, being tenderly attended by Cesare. She starts to talk about her dead crush, poor Djem, whom she’s heard died of a sudden fever. She’s also heard that his death paid for her dowry, which bothers her. Cesare manages to put off her questions and they chat a bit about her future husband, Giovanni Sforza. Cesare bathes her face and kisses her forehead, and it’s actually quite sweet and touching.

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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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