The Borgias is coming to an end this weekend, with the final episode airing on Sunday. Since it pains me to think that the show has been cancelled, I prefer to look at it that the actors, writers and crew are graduating to go work on new projects. So in that vein, I have put together my thoughts on some series superlatives for the show.
Check out our thoughts and then sound off with your own rankings!
1. Cesare (François Arnaud) beats the French army with a fake cannon made of plaster in 2×03 ‘The Beautiful Deception’: This is just badass.
2. Pope Alexander (Jeremy Irons) and Cesare reconcile in 3×09 ‘The Gunpowder Plot’: Between the resentment Cesare had for his father making him a cleric, to the despair the Pope had after he found out his one son killed the other, there is so much between these two that finally comes to the surface.
3. Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) tries to impale Juan (David Oakes) with a chandelier: There may be some disagreement on this one, but to me this really shows a transformation in Lucrezia. When she finds out Juan murdered Paulo, she seeks revenge and proves she can do it in a clever manner. We also get the gruesome death of Juan’s lady friend (RIP).
Honorable Mention: The Borgia family’s successful scheme to get Lucrezia’s first marriage – to Giovanni Sforzia (Ronan Vibert) – annulled for impotence.
1. Pope Alexander & Cesare: This dynamic is the heart of the show. It’s inherently ironic: the Pope is scared of what Cesare has become, but it’s the Pope who has shaped his son’s entire future. Alexander instilled in Cesare the belief that he must do everything for the good of the family, including removing any and all threats, a belief which has occasionally come back to bite him (see: the murder of Juan).
2. Cesare & Lucrezia: It takes strong writing and patience to develop an incestuous relationship that has over 50% support from fans (from my ridiculously unofficial polling). While Cesare and Lucrezia are not the only incestuous relationship on TV (seriously, why is there so much incest on TV nowadays?), it is the only one, in my opinion, that has successfully demonstrated that the characters are truly in love. As unhealthy a relationship as that may be…
3. Cesare & Micheletto (Sean Harris): These two have relied on each other throughout the entire series. While Micheletto is casually described as Cesare’s “manservant” that can be lent out and used, he is the person who Cesare trusts and relies on most. We should all have a Micheletto in our lives (perhaps without the whole assassin angle…).
Honorable Mention: Pope Alexander and Vanozza (Joanne Whaley). Their relationship took on many different forms throughout the series, but it has always been one of the grounding forces between the family.
Most Heart-Breaking Scene
1. The Pope buries Juan in 2×10 ‘The Confession’: Pope Alexander carries Juan in his arms to the cemetery, alone, since the entire family abandoned his favorite son. Sure Juan was a dick, but this doesn’t make the Pope’s emotions any less gut-wrenching.
2. Micheletto kills Pascal (Charlie Carrick) in 3×09 ‘The Gunpowder Plot’: We didn’t know much about Pascal, except that he was a spy. But we do know and love Micheletto. And when he is on his knees crying asking his lover how he wishes to be murdered, it breaks our hearts.
3. The look on Cesare’s face when Lucrezia tells him he is to watch her consummate her marriage in 3×04 ‘The Banquet Of Chesnuts’: Enough said.
Honorable Mention: Lucrezia finds out Paolo (Luke Pasqualino) is dead in 2×03 ‘The Beautiful Deception’
Best Season of Cesare’s Hair (I mean, we have to address the elephant in the room right?)
1. Best: Season 1
2. Meh: Season 3
3. Oh dear what happened?: Season 2
Best Guest Role
1. Alfonso of Naples (Augustus Prew, awesome name): For the record, this shout out is for the Season 1 Alfonzo of Naples, not the one that sucked (the character, not the actor). S1 Alfonso is totally underrated and hilariously insane. Whether he was cramming food down his dad’s throat or nefariously giggling, I always wanted more.
2. Machiavelli (Julian Bleach): A great character to pop in and out for the entire series to provide some strategery (not a real word, but it is now!). Also Machiavelli made me want to go read The Prince again for the first time since high school (who am I kidding? Never finished it the first time ‘round).
Deserves an Emmy (in my dream world)
Francois Arnaud (Best Actor): I’ve talked about it all season so I won’t beat a dead horse, but when you steal scenes from Jeremy Irons, you’re doing something right.
David Oakes (Best Supporting Actor): It’s obviously too late for this since his character has been dead a whole year, but David Oakes took Juan from a run of the mill jerk and threw him into a downward spiral (sleeping with your brother’s wife, killing your sister’s lover, cowardly leaving your men on the battlefield and lying about it, coming out the other end a heroin-addicted, and tormented villain). Whew. Well done.
That’s my list! What are you going to miss the most? What was your favorite scene? Was there anything you’re glad to see go? I’ll be back on Monday to tackle the final episode, where we’ll bid “arrivederci” to The Borgias (see what I did there? Italian…)