The Borgia Bulletin (Take the spoilers by the horns)

I found The Borgia Bull  difficult to react to.  On the one hand, for a setting of the scene, a reminder of where we are and who we’re dealing within this show, or the opening of a movie, it was excellent.  I prefer Micheletto without his scruff, but other than that-things are in motion, conflicts are set up, and it’s a splendid spectacle.  On the other hand, as a single episode on TV…I’m less than satisfied, for the first time, with The Borgias.


Here’s the thing: everyone is feeling the same, simple thing.  They’re all jealous.  Last season each episode took us through love, hate, fear, manipulation, self-identity issues, doubt, jealousy.  This season premiere left everyone with the same emotion, which is far more monotonous than I expect the Borgias to be.  Cesare is jealous of Juan’s fighting and, of course, Lucrezia’s lover.  Juan is jealous of Cesare and is power.  Guilia Farnese is jealous of the apprentice.  The apprentice is jealous of boys and men in general and artists in particular.  The Pope is jealous of his old self’s philandering ways and the other families’ considerable power.  Lucrezia is jealous of time spent with her child and her family, in the knowledge they won’t last forever.  Every one of these things is perfectly valid and would make a good addition to the show, but to have an entire episode filled with no greater thing than JEALOUSY is simply not as intriguing as it could be.  Also, many of the characters’ reactions to this emotion were highly immature, which led to a general aura of…childishness.  In The Borgias!  Inconceivable!  While again, these immature reactions were perfectly fitting and credible, they should not have occurred at the same time.  Juan’s and Cesare’s rivalry, for instance, could have been much more suspenseful and lively-seeming if the childish dynamic was set against graver problems and deeper turmoil in the family realm.  Thus they would be acting juvenile with each other as a relief for their other actions instead of being wholly portrayed as willful children.  Jeremy Iron’s always superb acting would have been much more clearly showing a besetting sin of a flawed character with many sides if his most dangerous moments had not been simply the outline of a vague plan to his sons.  Even the French King’s interaction with his physician is written in very childish language, while Alfonso frankly IS a child realizing the extent of his punishment.


All of these elements were well done, I find them individually interesting ideas, but they could have been really great viewing if they had been timed and arranged more separately.  However, it was an Easter show and as a piece of holiday fluff, I approve.  Bulls!  Fire!  Cross-dressing!  Really, I’d like to think that if the Borgias had a television show they ran themselves (which they undoubtedly WOULD), this would be the kind of thing they’d show in their weekly bulletin.  Choose your favorite Borgia child: vote on the website!  A real Borgia party, attended by Heidi Klum and Kate Middleton!-which pagan personas they adopted!  Vanozza hosts a workshop for keeping your man ogling!  …Wow, now this exists in my head.

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