The Borgia Bulletin (Stray Spoilers)

Huzzah!  The Borgias manage to put everything into such a perspective, it miraculously makes everything seem better.  Bad news?  “Is there any other kind, my lord?”  And this episode, they do it by bringing in “The Princess Bride.”

 

So, this episode starts off with Michiletto gathering a band of Inigo Montoyas!  “Hello.  Our names are from warlike Italian families.  You desecrated our homelands.  Prepare to die!”  Michiletto leads them to an underground Zorro cave where there’s a noise and one asks, “What is that?”  Why, that’s the sound of An Entrance!  Cesare supplies these Inigo Montoyas with various hardcore weapons and instructs them that they should all dress in black, with masks.  However, camerawork shows us that Cesare himself is the main Man in Black of this outfit by having close-ups of him donning and removing his black mask.  Like the original Man in Black, Cesare is consumed by his desire for vengeance, due to a lost love.  However, instead of a swordsman, a giant, and Vizzinni, Cesare outfights and outwits a band of French scouts.  This is something of a letdown, especially considering he could’ve just put cantarella (or iocaine powder) in most of the drinking goblets in the first place.  No doubt we’ll get to see Cesare Borgia poisoning a table full of fighters at a later date.  In any case, this allows Michiletto to play The Count and demonstrate that he’s a connoisseur of pain, without needing any special Machine.   This brute squad closes out the episode by clearing the battlefield of French gunpowder.

The Pope, meanwhile, is tactfully making his way through political and bedtime alliances.  Along the way he instructs his audience in good vengeance techniques, that Honor has many cousins, including Valor, and that all such conceptual cousins have killed many people.  While he’s perfectly all right with this, he’s ready to throw a fit upon learning that Cesare’s taken to playing the Man in Black and leading his team of Montoyas.  Even when he’s told pointblank that it’s guaranteed his “Holy Mother Church” all of the valuable booty.  Perhaps this is understandable when one recalls that learning of Cesare’s interference has robbed the Pope of his perceived ability to obtain miracles, and also of the feat that had previously impressed his hostess.

Back home, Lucrezia’s officially in charge and teasing the cardinals with cooking metaphors.  She’s decided to add her own verve, and her mother’s experience with brothels (no doubt held off until it could be given more screentime) to Giulia’s work to help the poor.

 

This episode could just as well have been called “Unfinished Business.”  It rounds out the conflict with the French army, it reminds everyone that the Sforzas will still need their own special punishment.  It finally ends the saga of Cesare and Ursula.  It’s reminding everyone that there’s serious humanitarian issues in Rome to be dealt with.  It continues the gender crossing theme by placing Lucrezia on St. Peter’s chair.  And, of course, the Pope and the Duchess consummate their sexual “unfinished business.”

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