The second season of The Borgias is not taking its time out of the gates. Following last week's exciting installment in which Juan figured out what was going on between Lucrezia and Paolo, and subsequently murdered the latter, "The Beautiful Deception" played as a thrilling next chapter.
There were two major arcs driving the story of the hour: Lucrezia and Juan's family feud, and Cesare's bold strategy to fool King Charles into retreating.
The former was a fantastic continuation of the main focus in "Paolo," and continued the running theme of the season thus far that the Borgias are fighting just as much with themselves as they are against those outside the family.
Rodrigo has made numerous announcements to his children that the family would not tear each other apart, but recently that seems like all they want to do. This recent battle between brother and sister may have been my favorite yet.
I loved that Juan wouldn't confess to what he did, and also that Rodrigo and Cesare wanted so badly for Lucrezia to be happy and care for her baby that they were willing to make up a phantom murderer to give Paolo the proper burial Lucrezia wanted.
Obviously that wasn't enough for the young Borgia girl, as she felt it necessary to play her best Emily Thorne and enact revenge on her brother. My favorite scene of the episode was probably when she slyly made her way to Juan's room and coyly gave him the business.
He was certainly pretty busy with other matters right in front of him - or on top of him at times - but Juan obviously didn't pick up on enough of the angry comments by his sister.
Lucrezia mentioned that Juan would never marry a peasant, and she quietly said that she would leave him so that she could go back to her lonely bed. The evil act of placing her candle in the perfect spot to take down Juan's chandelier was the most chilling yet.
As she waiting for the fire to burn through the rope, the girl had no idea who was going to get the brunt of the metal spikes falling from the ceiling. It could have been Juan's lover - like it ended up being - or it could have been Juan himself. Lucrezia certainly had no fear in that moment, proving that this family most definitely needs to figure out if they are for or against each other.
I assume that with more outside forces fighting against them as the season goes along, the three siblings will all need to get along in time to keep the entire family safe.
While his brother and sister were at each other's throats, Cesare Borgia was coming up with the perfect plan to which this episode got its title. After Micheletto figured out what type of army King Charles had coming their way, the Borgias realized they were going to need a lot of artillery to compete with the Frenchman.
Of course the problem was that they didn't have the time to do so, which is why they made fake cannons! It wasn't the first time we have seen the old "pretend we are in better shape than we are" strategy in movie or television battle, but it was still exhilarating to watch.
The confidence that Cesare showed when confronting the King outside the walls was pretty impressive. He proved that maybe he should have been the one son in armor. I am now definitely curious to see what path this victory takes Cesare on.
Both of the main stories of "The Beautiful Deception" made up the third straight entertaining hour of The Borgias this spring, but it was the "C" plot that might make for interesting events down the road.
Della Rovere continued to his journey to get his revenge on the Borgias, and he began finding others that wanted to help him. If he gathers enough steam, that showdown could be one for the ages. For those of you who know the history, please give Spoiler Alerts in the comments.
What did you all think of the most recent episode of The Borgias? Has season two stepped its game up? Who were you rooting for, Lucrezia or Juan? And was Cesare's deception all that beautiful, or have we seen that too many times before?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.