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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Borgias Season One Concludes

I haven't had a chance to review as many episodes of The Borgias as I would've wanted, but I've watched and greatly enjoyed every single one.  As I said in my first review of the series, The Borgias is not quite as good as The Tudors, which was almost as good as Rome, one of the transcendent masterpieces of television.  But that leaves The Borgias pretty good and entertaining indeed.

The last two episodes show why.   Not in command of any military to speak of, relying on his wit and devotedly loyal and brilliant family, Rodrigo Borgia - the Pope - manages to fend off and in effect defeat the awesome military might of King Charles of France.  Charles and his cannon have brought Milan to its knees, and ripped the front line of Juan's (Rodrigo's son's) army to shreds.  Rodrigo and Rome are defenseless.  His cardinals flee like rats from a sinking ship.

But beautiful Lucrezia, with a mind like her father's - sharp as a whip - turns being taken prisioner into a Borgia victory.  She charms Charles into sparing Rome and having a meeting with her father.   Charles is putty in Rodrigo's hands.   By the time the episode is over, Charles takes claim not of Rome but Naples - a city decimated by plague.

As Charles lays claim to a city of corpses, Rodrigo celebrates the birth of his grandchild, Lucrezia's son by her stablehand lover, not her boorish husband.   Rodrigo has managed to finesse that as well, manipulating the boor - who also deserted Rodrigo in his military time of need - into accepting an annulment.   As the Borgia family gathers, we see them at the height of their power, influence, and happiness.   They love no one as much as themselves, and that is their great attraction and key to their power.

History tells us there will be severe trials ahead.  I'm looking forward to the second season, and its scintillating mix of story, passion, skin, and spot-on technological accuracy.

See also The Borgias Sneak Preview Review ... The Borgias 1.5: Machiavellian Politics and Marriage ... The Borgias 1.6: Beds, Leg, Cannon

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