The Borgias Review: Sweet Him Into Submission

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Although not as exciting as last week's "Death, On a Pale Horse," "The Art of War" continued the resurgence of The Borgias and kept things very intriguing leading into next week's finale.

I originally thought that there was going to be 12 episodes of this first season, but upon further review it looks like next week's 10th hour will be the last, and it has kind of come up on us quickly.

Art of War Pic

Sneaking up on the Romans is quite the opposite of what King Charles of France did. This guy made some noise as he destroyed most of Italy on his way to Rome. Luckily for the Borgias and Pope Alexander himself, Giulia and Lucrezia happened to bump into him in the woods, which ended up being the best strategy for battle.

The "art of war." if you will, was most effectively demonstrated by the 14-year old Lucrezia in her woo-ing of King Charles. Thanks in part to the advice of Giulia, Lucrezia used her wit and her beauty to basically make the ugly monarch fall in love with her.

After flirting and complimenting the homely King, Lucrezia found herself staring her brother in the face, as his men were torn to pieces by Charles' cannon balls.  And her strategy worked again, as riding out in front of the French forced the King to halt all cannon fire, and ultimately succomb to peacefully riding through Rome.

Whhiii-chhuuuhh...That is me making the sound of a whip. It works two-fold. Obviously it is the standard male chauvinist way of saying that King Charles is whipped by the young lady that has his eye. Secondly, it reminds me of how badly Paolo is still getting beaten by Sforza for letting the ladies escape.

While Lucrezia's art of war was successful for the time being, Juan was an utter disaster. How about this sequence for young Juan Borgia: He gets woken up in a drunken stupor at a whore house by his brother, then looks like an idiot when he says he has a plan to fight the French but can't explain it to his father. When he finally does come up with a plan, it is impossible to execute and his young sister ends up saving his ass. Pretty embarrassing.

It continues to be surprising how little Jeremy Irons has to do in the show. It seems that all of the other characters are involved in the main stories, while Pope Alexander sits back and waits to react to what has happened around him. It's not a bad strategy by any means, as I would also dress myself in a common tunic if I were in his situation, but it's still not what was expected before the series began.

With the season finale just around the corner, the Della Rovere plot needs to come to a conclusion. He has been on a war path to take down Rodrigo since the very first episode, and if it goes on past the first season, it will become extremely tiresome. He has to get killed, right? There is no other way to end this thing. He's not going to expose the Pope and take his crown away, so what other way does it conclude?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


The look on Cesare's face when Juan talks of his "plan" is priceless. "What use are cannons in the open field?" Are you farking kidding me Juan?!?!?! They blow holes in granite walls what in the name of hades do you think they can do to skin and bone?


The series "The Borgia's" was the best new historically based series to hit cable TV in quite some time. Neil Jordon did a tremendous job in creating this series with as much entertainment and advanced plots lines as possible. The strategic creative process of Jordon executed was very good. The series begins in 1492 upon the death of Pope Inocent and was able to develop each character as historically accurate as possible, while putting together an entertaining series, not another "moviementary" based on interesting folk throughout the begininh of Western Civilation. If you dig a bit deeper, this series really focuses on Cesare Borgia and his transitions from a 100% nepotized career and existence to his true calling, as a leader, political genius, and quite possibly the 1st ever King Of Italy (as Niccolo Miachiavelli penned in The Prince) if his plan's and father had not died in 1503. We watch Young Cesare evolve from a cleric to one of the new 13 members of The Sacred College of Cardinals in Renniasance Italian Christiandom. Jordon and his creative Team at Showtime put this together very nicely and did not bore us with a TV series that barely regergitates historical time-line main-course with a sprinkle of creative salt & pepper. 2012 will be critical for the continued success of "The Borgia's". Let's see if Jordon and his team can continue to keep the evolution of Cesare Borgia creatively focuses, historically accurate, and bring to life one of most diabolical, timely practical, and the most notorius families of recorded history!


You see there is another example of why I enjoy not knowing the historical background. Not knowing the futures for these characters seems much more interesting to me.


Loved the episode. Impressive how clever Lucrezia was pushing the right buttons while Giulia looked kind of foolish with her less-than-subtle attempts at flirting with Charles. Sorry to burst your bubble there, but della Rovere is not going to get killed next week. Or at all, for that matter, seeing as (historical spoilers ahead) he's still roughly ten years away form ascending to the papacy himself. And the warpath also might continue, since - apart from building St. Peter's cathedral - battles and wars are what the later pope Julius II was famous for (Martin Luther called him a "blood drinker").

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The Borgias Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Holy Father, we should abandone Rome.

Cardinal Sforza

Sforza: Where are they heading?
Paolo: She is heading as far away from you as possible, my lord.