The Borgias – Review of Season 3 Episode 1: The Face of Death

“Today he lives, one day he will not. Where will you be be when he does not?” ~ della Rovere

We start this season of The Borgias with a bang! Right out of the gate we have drama as Rodrigo falls unconscious from the effects of the Canterella poison. Lucrezia tries desperately to help her father while Cesare and Micheletto embark on a witch hunt to find della Rovere and his accomplices. After realising that the Franciscan friar was really a Dominican, they charge into a Dominican monastery and slaughter the monks for their aid to della Rovere. Meanwhile, back at the Vatican, the College of Cardinals are already plotting to replace Rodrigo.

The Borgias - Review of Season 3 Episode 1: The Face of Death

Cesare finds della Rovere in his father’s apartments with the other Cardinals and is about to stab him when Vanozza stops him because they don’t know what could happen to them if Rodrigo dies. They have little to no support amongst the college of Cardinals and until they know the outcome of their fate, she begs Cesare to stay his hand. This doesn’t stop Cesare from tossing the treacherous Cardinal in jail to rot until he can exact information from him. I have to mention this as an aside: one of the subtle but funnier scenes is our super assassin, Michelotto on “baby detail” escorting Lucrezia’s son out of the papal apartments. He just looks odd holding a baby.

Just she when you think it’s all about to die down and Rodrigo survives, Cardinal Sforza is threatened by a messenger from his cousin Katerina Sforza. He is asked to take part in, and keep secret, a plot to kill the entire Borgia family! A maid betrays Lucrezia and tells the Sforza messenger about the location of the guards in exchange for the safety of her family. Cardinal Sforza tries to call off his cousin’s attack once he realizes Rodrigo is alive but the messenger tells him the plan to kill Rodrigo must proceed.

Cesare comes to the jail to see della Rovere and della Rovere offers him help because he knows what will happen to their family when Rodrigo dies. He is very well aware of the precarious position Cesare and his family are in should Rodrigo die and an enemy take over as Pope. Cesare scoffs at his aid because he can never trust him after orchestrating this attack on his father. Lucky for della Rovere, he is freed by another Cardinal and escapes the city in a cart full of the corpses.

Don’t breathe yet! Michelottto kills the serving girl when he finds her trying to escape just before the attack. Cardinal Sforza almost kills Rodrigo but reconsiders as soon as Cesare walks in, so he does a rather quick about face and admits that there is a plot to kill the family. Michelotto and Cesare successfully stop the attack.

The Borgias - Review of Season 3 Episode 1: The Face of Death

Lastly, Katerina Sforza is told of the failed assassination attempt and disappointed in her counsin’s betrayal. She is done with hiding in shadows and she seeks to gather the Borgia’s enemies to defeat them. We also learn that this messenger, Raffio is much like Michelotto, trained in the art of death and not easily found unless he wants be found. Plots thicken and intrigue is flying left and right at the Borgia family. It was a non-stop action episode that had you on the edge of your seat the entire time. It was definitely an excellent start to what’s looking to be an exciting season!

Tune in with us next Sunday, 10pm ET on Bravo for another fantastic episode of The Borgias!

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