The Borgias Season Premiere Review: Sibling Rivalry
It may not have had as much pomp and circumstance, or as much energy, as the first season premiere, but "The Borgia Bull" may have been a more promising beginning for The Borgias.
The second season premiere set up a number of new situations, and began to develop in more depth the important relationships we got to know over the course of the first season.
Jeremy Irons may be the name used in promoting the series, but Francois Arnaud proved to be the star of the show throughout last season and in this year's opener. His Cesare Borgia is all kinds of engaging, a master of deception with a number of intriguing relationships.
The way that Cesare and Lucrezia act together is interesting for all the wrong reasons. I mean, they are a bit too close for brother and sister, right? The way he is treated by his father continues raise questions about where their relationship may lead in the future.
Will the son rise up against the father, simply rebel, or continue to obey as best he can? I'm sure there are a number of readers aware of the history that know exactly where that is heading, but I do not.
The relationship that had the most potential through season one, and was front and center in "The Borgia Bull" was the great sibling rivalry between Cesare and Juan. Cesare wanted to be in armor, but instead was forced to be the cleric of the family. Juan, while able to have the life Cesare wanted, still knows that he is looked at as second fiddle.
The way these two fought like little children in front of their father was great, but after he insisted that they got along, what did they do? Well of course, they got into a heated, near-death sword fight! What else?
Between that duel, in which Micheletto came out of nowhere to stop Cesare from murdering his brother, the horse race through the city in which Juan sabotaged his brother, and Cesare's payback on the dance floor, there proved to be a lot of promise for this rivalry over the course of season two.
Speaking of that horse race during the celebratory festivities, how awesome was that? THAT is how you do a horse race; through the city, and people two feet from the horses. However, The Borgias should watch out, because I know of at least one series that was cancelled for having horse races on TV. I'm just saying.
Meanwhile, we were treated to a new relationship for the Pope himself. While the girl dressing up as a boy in order to become an apprentice wasn't all that interesting, how Giulia handled the whole ordeal certainly was.
Not only did she go to Vanozza for advice, but she took it, and ran with it. Some men just need to be pleased in every direction, and as long as Giulia is one of those directions, she will be happy.
Maybe for now, but I don't see her as the type of girl that will be okay with sharing the Pope for very long. That should create some very interesting situations between the Pope, Giulia, this new girl, and maybe even Vanozza.
It wasn't necessarily a new situation, because the French King's acts were very similar to those he made the last time we saw him, but watching the man seek out vengeance as he neared death was intriguing nonetheless. He wanted to stop at nothing to get back at the boy he thought caused all of his problems, and he certainly did.
We heard the proof in Alfonso's screams down in the dungeon, and I don't know when I will be able to get the image of what the young Prince was going through out of my head. That was truly disturbing, but then again, so was any time we had to see that dinner table of the dead.
The Pope and Rome were celebrating, the King of France was getting vengeance, Cesare put Della Rovere out of commission for a while, and all the while the new baby Borgia is crying up a storm. The Borgias' second season premiere set the table for what could be a very fun spring.
What did you all think of "The Borgia Bull?" Was it as good as last season? Better? Worse? What was your favorite part? How awesome is Cesare? And how stone cold was Micheletto with the drowning of that boy?
The Borgias: "The Borgia Bull"
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.