This week’s episode finds Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) making a ballsy entrance, puts the Pope (Jeremy Irons) in position to collect some French friends to battle the Sforza alliance, and hosts Lucrezia’s wedding/wedding night (though not with the same fellow).
Let’s bitch it out…
We’re still getting her account set-up, but bitchstolemyremote is pleased to welcome a new contributor who will be covering the third season of Showtime’s The Borgias. We’ll have more information next week, but in the meantime, here is the first review of the series, episode 3×03 ‘Siblings.’
We know the Pope is hesitant to give Cesare (François Arnaud) command of the armies, but seriously, thank God Cesare is there to start looking ahead. While the Pope’s busy firing all his Cardinals, Cesare takes it upon himself to realize that this entire Catherina Sforza debacle is leading to war, and they better get an inventory of where the Papal armies stand (which is not in a good place). This scene not only allows us to see that the Papacy is in need of funds, but also shows us the “GIVE ME COMMAND!” line that’s been in every promo for the season (woo!).
With that, Cesare heads off to Naples to finalize the marriage agreement with King Ferdinand (Matias Varela) and conduct a stealthy evaluation of the state of Naples armies to support Rome (also not good). Cesare stands up for Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) and her right to keep her baby with her just like every good woman deserves. Unfortunately for Lucrezia, her actual fiancé Alfonso (Sebastian De Souza) is cowering in the corner. Pissed at Cesare’s impertinence, King Ferdinand, like any horrible in-law, decides to invite the Pope’s mortal enemies to the wedding – including Catherina Sforza. To show no signs of weakness, the Pope must let it ride…in-laws are the worst!
I need to take a moment to acknowledge how awesome Catherina Sforza is. Going to the wedding of a woman you tried to murder 2 weeks beforehand? Badass.
Meanwhile, Rufio (Thure Lindhardt) has a copy of Cesare’s papal army rundown. He gives it to the Roman families to show them their enemy is weak and promises them the Borgia lands, sealing their alliance. He also goes after the land’s best sellsword (can I say sellsword or is that just a Game Of Thrones thing?). Honestly, this plotline doesn’t capture my attention. Perhaps that’s my own fault because I am just waiting for Lucrezia’s wedding so we can get to the main event.
So what do you do when you have an enemy like Catherina Sforza? Well, as luck would have it, the all-powerful France is in need of some assistance, as the King needs to rid himself of his “two sack” wife (classy!). If the Pope helps the King get an annulment, and Cesare gets himself a French bride, the papal armies will be back in action.
But first, let’s discuss the elephant in the room (by elephant in the room, of course, I mean siblings in the bed). To help foreshadow the impending event, there are some nice (albeit heavy-handed) devices. 1. The Pope tells Cesare he should marry France, as Lucrezia marries Naples…two states, one who desires the other, a desire that is destined to be frustrated. Am I the only one that thinks we’re not talking about France and Naples? 2. The wedding seating board gets a LOT of screen time last night, as Lucrezia and Cesare keep moving their name cards next to each other, looking at them longingly. Alright, The Borgias, we get it already!
When Lucrezia finally succumbs to her love for her brother by climbing into his bed, she starts with “am I so hard to love?” Ugh! On one hand, the series has done a great job with her character development, moving her from a naive girl to a woman who can manipulate the King of France and stop a bloodbath. On the other hand, she keeps whining about how she feels unloved. If you want to do this, I say go for it (in the fictitious world of TV of course), but don’t make me think it’s just because you haven’t gotten to the good chapter in your self-help book yet. That being said, the final shot of the episode where they are just smiling at each other with pure joy is incestuously amazing. I, for one, cannot wait to see how awkward this morning after is.
- The exchange between Cesare and Caterina at the wedding is great. Two outstanding characters and actors asserting their power. It also gives us a quality double entendre with sinking steel…to the hilt…oh nevermind.
- In the scene where Cardinal Verscucci (Vernon Dobtcheff) sets fire to the Papal scrolls, the servant smells smoke and opens the door to the documents room before screaming “fire”…but the room’s walls are open mesh. Can’t he just see that the room is on fire from outside?
- When Lucrezia decides “Yes, I should sleep with my brother on my wedding night,” she heads to Cesare’s bedroom and takes off her shoes in the hallway for a quieter entrance. This strikes me as a really poorly planned decision. Aren’t servants moving around in the night going to see them and know what’s going on?
- On that note, I love how director Jon Amiel intercuts the scene of Lucrezia walking with shots of her husband so we think there’s a possibility she’s going into his room. Yeah, not so much… If that had of been a fakeout, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown something at the TV
- Rufio: “I value my own shirt too much, blood is the very devil to get out” Ha!
What did you think of this episode? What is the next move for Catherina Sforza? Were you happy with how the show handled the Cesare/Lucrezia storyline? Are you ready for King Ferdinand to get his comeuppance? Hit the comments with your thoughts
The Borgias airs Sundays at 10pm EST on Showtime