REVIEW - The Borgias - S03E01

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The promotions, posters and trailers for season 3 promised opulence, drama and a lot of intrigue, plotting and murder. Just perfect for a holy family leading Rome at the turn of the 16th Century. If episode one is anything to go by we are in for another sensual, dramatic, delicious treat, which will deliver just as seasons one and two did.

The episode starts with a quick catch up of season two. It gets us right up to speed and reminds us of brother murdered by brother, beautiful Lucrezia used as a pawn in the families numerous calculating moves, the Sforza family power struggle and culminating in the poisoning of Pope Alexander with cantarella by his own priests who want the Spaniard off the Papal throne which was where we left the Borgias in season two.

The opening scene is dark, rich and heavy. The use of slow motion and music sucks you straight back into the Papal household while Pope Alexander clings to life. Lucrezia quickly administers charcoal to try and save her father and stop the poison taking his soul. Cesare exacts swift and immediate revenge wasting no time on seeking vengeance for his father, although it’s a perfect chance for Cesare to see his own path and step into the sun, out of the shade of his dead brother Juan and step out from his father's coat tails.

I love seeing Cesare’s right hand man Micheletto back in season 3. He is so cold, unpredictable yet loyal (at the moment) to his master. I follow him whenever he is on screen and Sean Harris does a great job in such a strong supporting role as the devoted follower of Cesare.

The Sforza clan are always on the radar, on the periphery waiting for yet another opportunity to reclaim power and this will no doubt set the tone for revenge, intrigue, plotting and murder, particularly as the poisoning of the Pope was unsuccessful. Either the cantarella was too weak or god was smiling on the Pope Rodrigo Borgia, which kept his heart beating and keeps him clinging to power. The Pope is played with gravitas and old school theatrical cool by the ever-handsome Jeremy Irons who is just perfect for this role and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the part.

The first episode keeps a solid pace, all the characters are so layered and have their own storylines strong enough to see out season 3, but who will be lucky enough to survive?

Let’s be honest, it’s not the most historically factual program about Pope Alexander and his family but it is salacious, well produced, with outstanding costumes and a cast worthy of any great drama. I cannot wait for episode two!

Review by JoAnn Duff


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