The Borgias Review: Wedding Spells
Although "Lucrezia's Wedding" was the second straight episode in which The Borgias failed to prove itself as an excellent series, there continue to be a couple of interesting elements that give the show promise as we get into the heart of its first season.
The first is François Arnaud. His Cesare Borgia is really the only intriguing character up to this point. Equal parts compassionate and conniving, everything he does immediately becomes interesting, especially as he surprised everyone by bringing Vanozza to the wedding party. Sure, he was doing it to make his mother and sister happy, but he also knew that it was going to ruffle some feathers, and I like that about him.
And ruffle some feathers it did, which is the other element of promise. They are doing a commendable job at attempting to create interesting long-running plots. So far, some of them have missed and some of them have kind of hit, but at least they're making the effort. Take, for example, this idea of Vanozza's past as a whore. It caused Rodrigo to disallow her from the wedding, which led to that one guy making a scene at the party, and eventually led to Lucrezia getting scolded and raped by her new husband.
On the other hand, some plots have missed because they were underdeveloped or simply passed on. Why wasn't a bigger deal made out of Giulia being Rodrigo's new mistress? I thought that this could have been a very interesting conflict, as the Pope threw his wife to the side only to take up a mistress shortly there after. I wanted people to be up and arms about this, especially when Rodrigo showed up to the reception with Giulia at his side. Why is this not causing the cat fight of all cat fights?
And then there are some stories that just haven't been interesting at all. Maybe it's the character of Della Rovere, but his adventure in attempting to take down the Pope has been extremely boring. Even when he stabbed a dude in the eye with a knife, Della Rovere wasn't interesting. Maybe it will pay dividends in the future, but for the time being, the poor Cardinal's expeditions are simply a time for me to take a snooze.
But the main problem with the series so far, which happened to be its selling point before it started, is Jeremy Irons. I'm sure it's not him, as he is a greatly accomplished actor, but his Rodrigo Borgia is not entertaining. While watching the series premiere, I thought that it was funny how he seemed so bored with one of his first meetings as Pope. I wouldn't have deemed it funny if I knew that that was how he was going to act throughout the first four episodes. Whether it's just Rodrigo, or both Rodrigo and Irons that are bored, there could be a lot more out of the leading man in this story.
So while there are many interesting plot lines moving forward - Della Rovere's expeditions in the other parts of Italy, Lucrezia's new marriage to a Sforza, etc. - neither "Lucrezia's Wedding" nor The Borgias in general have me all that excited for what is next on the Showtime series.
What did you all think of this episode? Sound off in the comments!
The Borgias: "Lucrezia's Wedding"
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.