WARNING: Spoilers for The Borgias Season 2, Episode 5
In this episode, Rodrigo and Cesare both go on missions into enemy territory to scout out their opposition. Rodrigo goes to see Savonarola preach in Florence, while Cesare goes to make an ultimatum to Caterina Sforza.
Rodrigo finds a population in Florence entranced by Friar Savonarola, eager to see the downfall of the bejeweled Vatican and the Pope himself. he speaks with De Medici and finds the head of the Medici bank worrying for his house and life itself.
Meanwhile, Cesare arrives in Forli and the home of Caterina Sforza. Caterina is a difficult one to read. She plays it coy with Cesare, sleeping with him and teasing him while telling him not to make ultimatums. She reveals that she knows that the Roman cannons were fakes.
Micheletto, meanwhile, back in his home town of Forli, has run into an old lover, Antonello. I must admit I’m slightly confused about their relationship. I assumed when he was in the home of Micheletto’s mother that they were brothers. Which made it confusing when they start stripping off in the middle of a graveyard. It seems like they’re not brothers, merely lovers, as Micheletto points out his father’s grave to Antonello. If Antonello was his brother, presumably he’d know that already.
Giovanni Sforza arrives in Forli and talks to Cesare over breakfast. This was a little bit of an odd scene, I thought. I didn’t get what he was attempting to accomplish by goading Cesare.
Caterina enters and tells Cesare that she won’t be coming to Rome. She leaves. Cesare picks up a knife and stabs Giovanni Sforza to death in a brutal way. He runs for it, hopping on horseback with Micheletto and escaping from Forli. As usual, Cesare is letting his passions rule him. I don’t know that he’s wrong in this instance, though. While Caterina is strong militarily, she needs allies. Without Giovanni, her position is weakened.
Elsewhere, Della Rovere is still making plans to try to kill the Pope. He wants to use Cantonella to poison the Pope. However, Rodrigo uses a food taster, so whoever tastes the food for him will die too. Della Rovere calls for a volunteer to martyr themselves for their cause. A young man comes forward afterwards and volunteers. It instantly begins to pour rain. Shouldn’t that be a sign from God that their cause is misguided?
Back in Rome, Rodrigo is presiding over service when lightning hits the roof of the church, causing it to collapse. The resulting devastation kills a number of choirboys. Rodrigo is convinced that God is angry at him and decides to fast to repent. It had a little bit of the flavour of, “The volcano god is angry, we must sacrifice to it.” But maybe that’s just me.
Another thrilling episode and things look to be heading towards a Papal/Sforza war.
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