Flesh. Eating. Eels. Ugh, just when I thought Naples couldn’t get any worse, The Borgias proves me wrong with a scene so graphic I could barely watch. And not graphic in the good, incestual romp kind of way.
Let’s bitch it out…
The beginning of this season had all the main characters together in Rome. This episode was great because it sent everyone away, giving them a chance to have new interactions and injecting some much needed freshness into the story lines While Cesare (François Arnaud) is in France negotiating for an army and a wife, Micheletto (Sean Harris) and Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) are in Naples plotting, and the Pope (Jeremy Irons) is in Rome dealing with his stage 5 clinger.
Unfortunately, Lucrezia heads to Naples without her son Giovanni since King Ferdinand (Matias Varela) would not allow it. As always, Holliday Grainger plays Lucrezia with the perfect balance of fragility and desire for vengeance as she tries to figure out her next move.
At her side: Micheletto, charged with keeping her safe. The Borgias has done a good job of slowly showing us layers of Micheletto’s personality. Last year we got a peek into his personal life as we were introduced to his mother and his lover. ‘The Wolf And The Lamb’ highlights his compassion for family. Consider the following exchange, when Micheletto mentions how he would treat his child:
“I would bind them to me with ropes of steel and love them until death and beyond.”
“So you have a heart,” Lucrezia replies.
“I must have. It’s the thought of that child being kept from you, his mother that makes it break.”
Awwww! Can we please get a spin-off for Micheletto?!
Needless to say, both Lucrezia and Micheletto are royally pissed at King Ferdinand. Lucrezia hears from a peasant she meets in the woods (ummm, random) that there is a plant that would kill him. Since she is not a botanist at this point (maybe later?), Micheletto stops her from using it before she kills the entire royal family. He does the deed himself…by PUSHING THE KING INTO A RIVER OF FLESH EATING EELS! If you commission this contraption, as Ferdinand did, then you’re sort of asking for it. You have to realize it’s going to be used against you eventually right? I mean, that’s cartoon super-villain 101.
Meanwhile, after being denied the papal army by his father, Cesare’s off in France to go get his own. Machiavelli (Julian Bleach) shows up to give Cesare the leverage that he needs: the King of France wants Milan. After some solid political posturing on both sides, the King of France eventually gives Cesare an army, a few titles that escape me, and a wife.
It is refreshing to see Cesare legitimately trying to get on with his wife. It’s very much in line with what he said last episode, that he was going to try to find his way to happiness. I also really appreciate the straight-forwardness of pre-marital exchanges back then. “What do you need from marriage?” “Money, an heir, a title. You?” “A child, a husband with good abs, and I’d like to live in France, not Rome.” “Okay let’s do this.” I wonder if people were that honest nowadays, would there be less divorce? Contemplate that one in the comments.
Over in Rome, why did Bianca (Melia Kreiling) show up last week and why do we care? Cause bitch be crazy! This is actually sad. Turns out Bianca’s batty because she went through emotional and physical trauma from a cruel forced abortion in her past. So she is now convinced she is carrying the Pope’s child, even though she can no longer have children. She will not leave the Pope and return to her husband, and she’s creeping all up on baby Giovanni, which makes me really nervous. Kudos to Jeremy Irons here. The way he conveys that the Pope is simultaneously freaked out that this woman will threaten his papacy, but also genuinely concerned for her well-being is brilliant. As expected, Bianca also doesn’t make it to the end of the episode alive. I’m assuming there will be long lasting effects of this storyline (otherwise it’s a bit random).
- I’m confused as to why we had to reinforce AGAIN that Catherina Sforza (Gina McKee) is trying to gather the families of the Romagna together against the Pope. Didn’t they already do this? Why do we keep bringing the same people together to talk this out?
- “RIP King Ferdinand, we were sad to see you go,” said no one, ever.
- Where is baby Giovanni? Did I miss something? In the last scene Bianca is standing over his empty crib with a bloody knife. Was he with a nurse or did she do something to him? I NEED TO KNOW
- Just when I thought I couldn’t loathe Alfonzo (Sebastian De Souza) anymore, he surprises me with his uselessness.
- Cesare had better watch out because Micheletto’s giving him a run for his money for the most ridiculous hair award
- Look at Cardinal Sforza (Peter Sullivan) stepping up to the plate. He’s becoming a sinister schemer in his own right as he sets up Bianca’s body for her husband to find, insisting that it was his fault. “Beg forgiveness on your knees for the ice that resides in your heart.” Nice!
- Finally, quick shout-out to Machiavelli for his fashion sense when he suggests Cesare wear the black coat. That mustard yellow one would not have done him any favors
- Cesare: “There is no hell, no heaven either. This world is what we make of it.” Thanks God he’s no longer a Cardinal.
- Alfonzo (upon seeing King Ferdinand in the water, half-eaten): “I’d avert your eyes if possible.” Micheletto: “I see nothing but slime.”
What did you think of the episode? Are you going to miss King Ferdinand? Are you excited now that Cesare’s finally got his army? Have at it in the comments below
The Borgias airs Sundays at 10pm EST on Showtime