In this week’s episode….
“Does the Pope of Rome disappoint Your Highness? Had you hoped for gold and silvervestments? Display has its purpose, but simplicity must rule our hearts” ~ Rodrigo Borgia
“You are a true clairvoyant, Lucrezia Borgia; and if we could impose on your diplomatic graces once more, we would request an audience with your father, his Holiness, the Pope of Rome.” ~ King Charles VIII of France
Giulia and Lucrezia finally arrive in Rome with the French. King Charles jests that there is no fanfare to greet him, no people crowding the streets, cheering and waving as they enter the city. Rome is deserted, everyone has fled save for Rodrigo and Cesare. King Charles demands an audience with Rodrigo. It seems Lucrezia has once again outwitted Della Rovere. She succeeds in having Charles enter the city without battle and makes Della Rovere look like a diplomatic buffoon. He manages to piss King Charles off to the point where Charles calls him a clown. For all his Vatican training, he is being bested by a pregnant teenager! Ouch…
Rodrigo, ever wise and astute, prepared for this moment (no doubt) by having Charles find him at prayer, in the simple attire of a mendicant. Charles, a deeply religious ruler, is astonished by his humble appearance and changes his original intent. Rodrigo played this beautifully. He’s back in full manipulative swing ;) He doesn’t don the robes to hide as a friar, he dons them to impress upon the King that he is a humble servant of God, thereby winning him over. BRILLIANT *claps*
“I know of his betrayal Sis, and he shall pay the price but if he misused you, he shall pay a different kind of price!” ~ Cesare Borgia
Lucrezia gets the chance to speak to Cesare and he presses her to tell him everything that has been going on in her life. He can see that she is obviously still unhappy. Cesare knows about Giovanni Sforza’s betrayal but he’s more concerned about his treatment of Lucrezia than his allegiance to their father. While they’re talking, she swoons and Cesare catches her and wants to get her medical attention. She declines it and tells him she’s pregnant but not with Giovanni Sforza’s child. Cesare doesn’t react to this bit of new badly – I think part of him is even pleased by it!
Cesare springs to action and hides Lucrezia at the convent where his beloved, Ursula, is residing. She has promised to take care of Lucrezia until the child is born. Cesare speaks briefly to Lucrezia about annulling her marriage and not to worry, he will “take care of it”…uh-oh…this can’t bode well for our resident jerk-face, Giovanni Sforza. Then again, do we care?! He deserves whatever he’s got coming to him. He lovingly bids farewell to Lucrezia and she recognizes Ursula as Cesare’s love. He tells Ursula that he will visit at every available opportunity now that his sister is there – we know it’s not just for Lucrezia’s sake that he says this…he’s still in love with Ursula…again…IMHO, these two aren’t done. Hopefully, they will explore their relationship more in season two.
“The College of cardinals will be convened but not to discuss our deposition, but to consider their shameful abandonment of the Vatican in its hour of need. ” ~ Rodrigo Borgia
Rodrigo seeks out the Vatican Canon lawyer and finds a precedent for punishing the College of Cardinals for abandoning him. The punishment he seeks is public humiliation and we know this is more about Rodrigo showing them who’s boss and less about the abandonment of the Vatican. This is personal.
Rodrigo imparts what he’s done to Cesare and then calls the College of Cardinals together to mete out their punishment by by forcing them to dress in rough sack cloths and recount the ways in which they acted shamefully and what reparations they will make for their deplorable behavior. I seriously enjoyed this scene – especially since Rodrigo started with Vice Chancellor Sforza, Giovanni Sforza’s cousin. Rodrigo’s got his game on!
“I could’ve killed you…twice” ~ Cesare Borgia
“Perhaps then you should kill me now because my opposition to the Borgia Papacy will only die with me” ~ Cardinal Della Rovere
And here were we have the first FAIL from Cesare. While his father is crowning Charles, Cesare tries to work some mafioso magic and get Della Rovere on their side. He’s operating under the “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” idea but it completely blows up in his face. When he senses he isn’t warming up to the idea, Cesare throws in a threat. He gets a little “talk to the hand” from Della Rovere. You can almost see the steam coming out of Chezzy’s ears after Della Rovere verbally bitch slaps him one. HARSH. #frenemyFAIL. Usually he’s on the ball but this was a OH SNAP! moment if there ever was one.
“What is the difference, Holy Father, between hostage and legate? ” ~ Cesare Borgia
Ummm…not much at all apparently….
Rodrigo dines with Charles and his retinue. During the friendly dinner banter, Charles makes a request of Rodrigo – he would like to take a legate with him to Naples as a gesture of continued friendship – of course, the accompaniment will be of his choosing, not Rodrigo’s. Naturally, he chooses Cesare, Rodrigo’s most valued person. Nothing will befall the King because Rodrigo would not want anything to befall his son. Smart move. Cesare, of course, sees through this and is outraged. He knows it is not a friendly gesture, but a hostage in good faith. Cesare proves this point when they are on the march towards Naples and he attempts to ride away from the line, as any free man would be able to do. In seconds, he is surrounded by French soldiers ushering him back into the line. They’re also not permitted to carry weapons. Legate my ass. Luckily, he takes Michelotto as protection.
Cesare decides to take matters into his own hands with Michelotto one night when they are stopped to camp. Cesare and Michelotto skillfully dispatch the French soldiers guarding them – that cheese cutter garrote sure has gotten a lot of mileage! BEST.WEAPON.EVER ;) They slip away dressed in the soldier’s clothes and head for Pesaro.
“Killing him would be easier, Your Eminence ” ~ Michelotto
“But some things should not be easy, Michelotto” ~ Cesare Borgia
Poor Giovanni Sforza…kidnapped and tossed like a sack of potatoes in the back of an herb cart by our murderous dynamic duo! He is brought to Rome to stand trial for non-consummation of marriage with Lucrezia. This actually DID happen in history and their marriage was annulled on these grounds in March 1497.
He has to prove he can consummate the marriage bed and Rodrigo dreams up the most humiliating way possible – he drags in a dirty mattress and two rather unattractive whores and tells Giovanni he doesn’t have to publicly prove he’s able to have sex, he just has to do it in front of the entire College of Cardinals! LMFAO! This scene was one of my faves and it was BRUTAL! He looks like he’s actually going to consider it and then says, ‘Screw it, I’m a dud’. WOW. He’d rather be called impotent than do it with two ugly chicks in a room full of clerics – well, I don’t blame him but both options are pretty bad!
The worst is when he’s leaving Rome after his debacle. People jeer him in the streets, tossing lettuce and rotten food. A man jumps in front of Giovanni’s horse with a squash over his dick and another man chops it off and the crowd is in a uproar. It’s funny because by this point, you just hate Giovanni Sforza so much this is a perfect ending to his role in the Borgia story – he gets SERVED! Point – Borgia. Nil – Sforza :)
Meanwhile, Charles finds Naples plague infested. Naples looks like the Renaissance version of “28 Days Later” , all the inhabitants are dead (but not zombies ;) ) In his ire, he wonders aloud if Rodrigo knew this? OF COURSE HE DID! Charles, you got punked! You’re the King of Corpseland.
Lucrezia finally gives birth to a baby boy and the entire Borgia family are there to be with her – including Ursula. The season finale felt more like a show finale. Everything appears to be neatly resolved and wrapped up. It was a strange feeling because most season 1 finales end on a cliffhanger that gets resolved in the opening of season 2. This ending was done because they weren’t sure if there would be a season 2. Happily, the show will go on and we will get to see more of Cesare, Lucrezia, Rodrigo and Juan this Fall. Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you back next season!
Mille Grazie! Ciao! ;)
“We should thank God for the blessing he has visited on this – our family”
~ Rodrigo Borgia