Previously on The Borgias: Lucrezia was forced to screw her new husband in front of his cousin and her brother, who shortly after departed for France to find a wife. Giulia got on Alexander’s bad side for helping her brother attempt to balance the books, and in order to get back on his good side, she came up with a brilliant (and effective) plan to keep all the cardinals loyal. Bianca Gonzaga found her way back into Alexander’s bed, prompting her husband to publicly call Alexander out for sleeping with her.
Previously on The Borgias: Lucrezia got married and promptly slept with her brother, because why not? (No, seriously, that was her actual reason). One of the disgraced Cardinals set fire to the treasury before hitting the road, and Caterina Sforza started gathering an army of discontents.
Giulia’s brother, Alessandro Farnese, gets his Cardinal’s hat, as per Alexander’s deal with Giulia. He’s a young pup, so young one of the other cardinals has no idea who he is.
Previously on The Borgias: At Alexander’s behest, Cesare and Cardinal Sforza started purging the Vatican. One of the disgraced cardinals decided to take things into his own hands and attacked Alexander while confessing, only to get his own knife in his throat.
A little disconcertingly, we don’t pick up with the fallout from Alexander being found covered with the blood of a cardinal—we start off with him enthroned, back to stripping disgraced churchmen of their offices and titles. One of them asks how much longer this is going to go on, and accuses him of doing this for personal gain (all the property being taken back goes directly to the church). Afterwards, Cesare warns his father that he’s running out of cardinals. Alexander doesn’t care, as long as the place is cleansed of enemies and he can use the money to do God’s work. I hope that means Giulia’s, Lucrezia’s, and Vannozza’s charitable endeavour from last season gets more funding. It’d be a way to keep Giulia around, at least.
Previously on The Borgias: Lucrezia’s quick thinking saved her father’s life, but it was up to Cesare and Micheletto to save the Borgia family from Caterina Sforza’s assassination plot. She tried to enlist the help of Cardinal Sforza, but at the last minute he threw in his lot with Rome and told Cesare they have a serious new enemy: Caterina’s henchman Ruffio, who’s being sent out to round up disgruntled nobles and rally them to the anti-Borgia cause.
Previously on The Borgias: Well, let’s see. Juan got so out of control that even Lucrezia wanted him dead, but it was Cesare who finally succeeded in offing him, mostly to save his own family. Caterina Sforza refused to knuckle under, and has sworn to bring down the Borgias. Micheletto’s gay, and just as badass as ever; Lucrezia chose a new fiancé; and last but not least, Della Rovere hatched a plot to poison Alexander that may have succeeded.
Previously on The Borgias: Juan was sent to Forli to take the castle and, predictably, he screwed up just as badly as it was possible for him to screw up. Lucrezia’s back on the marriage market, but ends up getting a crush on her suitor’s brother instead of the suitor. Della Rovere started training a young assassin.
Cardinal Sforza and one of the other cardinals head into the pope’s chambers, all smiles, to announce that Charles of France is dead, which they think is awesome. Alexander, however, recognizes that Charles was a worthy adversary who deserves to be honored. He makes them both say three dozen rosaries as penance.
Previously on The Borgias: Della Rovere got a dangerous protégé. Cesare got played by Catarina Sforza, but at least he managed to kill Lucrezia’s hateful ex-husband. Speaking of Lucrezia, she’s on the marriage market again, and she’s not at all happy about it.
Juan’s back and actually riding his horse through the halls of the Vatican, as if his douchebag status wasn’t sufficiently on show on a daily basis anyway. He’s presented to his father with a round of applause, like he’s done anything worthwhile lately, and presents a couple of gifts: a box for Alexander and a panther in a cage for Lucrezia. She approaches the cage curiously, but when it roars at her she wisely hands the baby off to her maid. Juan’s also brought a genuine conquistador—Don Hernando. Alexander opens his box and finds…turds. Juan explains that they’re actually cigars, an exotic new treat. While they’re discussing impending throat cancer, the panther roars again and Lucrezia cries that it bit her. Well, yeah, Lucrezia, it’s a wild animal. There’s a reason it’s in a cage. I thought she was smarter than that.
Previously on The Borgias: Alexander brokered peace between his two sons, which lasted all of 10 minutes; then decided to return Rome to its glorious, Imperial, hedonistic past by throwing a huge party for the whole city. King Charles of France managed to track down Alfonso of Naples and tortured him to death.
Paolo, Lucrezia’s former lover and father of her child, is making his way to Rome on a donkey. He stops to ask some peasants for directions, and they point him in the right direction, talking the whole time about how awful Rome is.