The Borgias Review: Still The Juan

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I went into this sixth episode of the season wanting to write a more glowing review of The Borgias, but "The French King" still left plenty to be desired. Not by its characters mind you, who all must have desired nothing after all of the sex in this episode.

One of the main criticisms of The Borgias in many of the pre-air reviews was that it was simply a historical soap opera with too much nudity and gratuitous sex.

Before this week's chapter I was ready to disregard that critique entirely, but it seemed to be all that "The French King" was about.

Princess of Naples

Not only was it Rodrigo and Giulia, Cesare and Ursula, and Lucrezia, but then there was the disturbing Juan, Joffre, and Sancia situation in which the older brother had his way with his younger brother's new wife just before the bride had her way with the young child.

I am all for a good time, but this was all a bit too much for one episode.

The hour was a nice character piece on Juan though. He set out to seal the deal between Joffre and Sancia, but just had to have her himself, nearly jeopardizing the marriage.

Then he comes back home only to get royally peeved when seeing the man who may or may not be his father, and beating him to a pulp. Although Juan seems to play by his own rules, he still has to take his place when getting torn a new one by Rodrigo for his actions.

Juan continued to fly off half-cocked as he fornicated with Sancia once again, following the marriage between her and Joffre. Part of me wants to think that this is a terrible idea, but the other part of me thinks that maybe this is something that Sancia needs in order to keep her marriage with Joffre afloat.

Fortunately, Juan's ridiculous behavior could actually be helping the rule of the Papacy.

While it was nice to get a better feel for what Juan was all about, I did miss Cesare a bit. Oh wait Cesare was in this episode? I didn't recognize him in that dress. See what I did there? Stop whining about Ursula and be the stud that you were for the first three episodes.

And was this whole Cesare and Ursula thing only two episodes? It seemed like a much bigger deal, so I hope the fact that she left him and joined the nunnery so quickly has major effects on both Cesare and the season.

As Della Rovere continued to make his moves against the Pope, we met the fantastic King Charles of France. It was so refreshing to see a character like this that was such a straight shooter. He had no hunger for scheming.  If he was going to go into a war, he was going to do it to kill people. And he was going to kill them with chained cannonballs!

I hope that the impending battle comes sooner rather than later. If it continues to extend until the season finale, what we have to go through to get there might not make the conflict worth it in the end.

I didn't think "The French King" was one of the better The Borgias episodes so far.  What did you all think of the episode? And what do you see happening next in the series?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (21 Votes)

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


Mark/Stain of Borgia! Charles was a refreshing character. Gioffre and Sanchia-Game of Thrones! Rodrigo and Lucretzia weird scene.


Loved. Charles. Amazingly French and clearly not Italian. A great piece of casting, and clear that he knows his real test of mettle is with the English.


Insofar as is possible in a compressed number of episodes, the writers have done a very good job of presenting history. It is essential to remember Rodrigo lived for 69 years and was Pope for 11 of them. The political interplay between the Papal States, Milan, Venice, Florence, France and Spain is being portraryed wonderfully. The show is educational, while retaining mystery, excitement and drama. The sex is tastefully and accurately presented. The Borgia/Sforza interaction is relatively correct and the need to essentially prostitute one's children for power is well demonstrated. The writers have also done a good job depicting the incest rumors that abounded. The total lack of communication and difficulty of travel is also spot on. If one wonders why the Pope is unaware of his daughter, how would he be so? There was no mail. No phones. And almost nobody traveled anywhere--and she was female with no rights at all. And, if nothing else, both my wife and I agree Cesare is unbelievably gorgeous, as is Lucrezia. This and the Tudors are two of the best shows to have hit TV in a long time. May there be far more of these docudramas laced with entertainment, good music, good sex and wonderful costuming!


this is still so weird.. i'm still so hoping to see more of Cesare and Lucrezia! they're just so.. mm just so! lol and srsly - Cesare - i'm in love with him.. moping around like a 14 year old teenage girl and all.
i really missed him this episode!


Perhaps the episode actually showed some restraint? In reality, after she married Gioffre, Sancia not only had an affair with Juan but with Cesare as well.


The script and score has me at hello every week. The actors and all the sex is a bonus. You are right. The French King is fantastic. He was very clear that he will not play fair, or with honor. He already said, that's what he has on the "English." No honor in war. He also made sure the Cardinal knew the game, before agreeing to play. The show isn't called, "Papacy ruling and history", it is called the Borgias. It's only fair that the story stick to the family. The Good, the Bad, and the sexy. Cesare is such a camera whore. When he is on camera, I can't help but to stare at him. Even the way he delivers the lines is haunting. I must agree. They could do an entire show just about Cesare Borgia, and it would sell.


Not only are they playing up the Cesare/Lucrezia incesty rumors. . . but did anyone else think how Lucrezia greeted her father was kind of, cough major, creepy? Like, lets just greet you in bed adn then be pulled into a horizontal embrace with a nice kiss on the lips. Sorry, but while I love C/L chemistry I have no interest in them teasing a R/L storyline. uuuggh.

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The Borgias Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Ursula: Can you love me Cesare Borgia? Or is it just desires of the flesh?
Cesare: I am very much afraid that it is both.

Lucrezia: You don't know Narcissus?
Paolo: I can neither read nor right, my lady Lucrezia.