Monday, April 25, 2011

The Borgias 1.5: Machiavellian Politics and Marriage

A saucy, nasty, conniving episode 1.5 of The Borgias on Showtime - in other words, just like the previous, which I take as a plus.  This one paid more attention than usual to Rodrigo's children, one of whom has a meeting with Niccolò Machiavelli in Florence.

That would be Cesare Borgia, who gets some savvy advice from Machiavelli about how to navigate the treacherous political currents of Florence and other Italian power centers, the goal being to keep Borgia's enemies from inviting/allowing the big French army into Italy.  And Cesare and  Machiavelli make a deal.  This is well before Machiavelli wrote The Prince (distributed in handwritten form in 1513, not published until 1532, five years after his death) - still a relevant handbook for governing after all of these years.  It was good to see the young Machiavelli.

Romantically, Cesare is after Ursula, the woman he met at Lucrezia Borgia's wedding to Giovanni Sforza last week.   Ursula is married, but wants Cesare.  Her husband insulted Cesare's mother at the wedding.  The combustible combination is all Cesare needs to get what he wants.

Juan is having no luck at all.  Even Rodrigo is loathe to insist that Juan marry the unattractive, politically expedient offering ... but politics almost always rules in The Borgias.

Lucrezia's marriage was completely political, and her husband's an insensitive brute.  But she's a Borgia, and soon figures out a way to keep her husband out of her bed.   She can now spend some time instead in the arms of Paulo, the stable-hand.  Wild horses can't keep the Borgias from getting what they want.

But the forces arrayed against them are powerful and not without their own cunning, and it will be fun to see how this plays out ...

See also The Borgias Sneak Preview Review

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