This episode is all about Cesare (Francois Arnaud). It’s any wonder he can think straight with the pressures and issues he has to deal with, seemingly on his own. He continues to protect his family from assassination, works to rebuild a weak Papal army, travels to Naples to negotiate his sisters dowry all the while fighting a growing urge to bed his own sister Lucrezia and also finding a new bride in France. All in a days work for the son of Borgia.
Giovanni, Lucrezias betrothed takes Cesare to Naples to meet his father and discuss the dowry. This does not go well. They do not wish the bastard son of Lucrezia to be recognized and want him removed from the household. Cesare takes immediate offence and if you have watched any Borgia’s episode you know that no one will dishonor another Borgia and get away with it. All the while, weak young Giovanni stands by quietly not defending his wife to-be’s honour. Alliance or no alliance weakness will not be tolerated in the Borgia Dynasty and Cesare will ensure it. Will he step up or become collateral damage.
Katarina Sforza is all over the papal house, and even manages an invitation to Lucrezia’s wedding. Spies, bribes, power plays and plotters in dark corners flutter in the shadows as Katarina Sforza garnishes information and power, right under the nose of the Borgia’s. How can Pope Alexander let her into his household?
Pope Alexander (Jeremy Irons) in the meantime has a slightly easier time. No poisonings or assassinations for him and as he recovers he starts to create alliances and form bonds of his own. Even if it means using his children as pawns in his powerful game.
Review by JoAnn Duff