The Borgias Season Premiere Review: Sibling Rivalry

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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.

The Borgias Season 2 Premiere Pic

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?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (43 Votes)

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


You write very well!


@JC Cesare isn't really an atheist in the series so much as someone who believes god exists but thinks he's an asshole(Referred to in some circles as a Nay-theist). Pretty big difference. Considering that Cesare murdered an innocent woman in the first episode I think we can pretty much rule out Cesare being depicted as any kind of good man who gets corrupted.


If you read my entire post you would see that I acknowledged the historical reasoning behind the popes comments about easter. Still this show is hardly a slave to history. Saying lucrezia saved rome from the french king is a big rewrite. Cable does tend to be anti christian. True blood comes to mind. Whether it is to shock people for publicity or political reasons. In this show cesare is an aethiest. Y? Cesare was not historically an aethiest. Either jordan is showing how his father's corruption made him an aethiest or because jordan wants to depict young cesare as a good man who becomes corrupted and good men are open minded aethiests of course.


What was that music at the beinning of the show that was palyed at the papal palace?


@JC: Not sure why you would take Rodrigo's attitude about Easter as some sort of statement by Showtime or "cable" against Christians, when it was clearly used in context to demonstrate how Rodrigo Borgia treated the papacy as a means to power, given the Church's political reach at the time. That the timing of Easter also happens to be based on appropriation of pagan festivals is hardly in question; the early Church openly set holy days on pagan festival days for that express purpose. All of this is a matter of historical record. Would you expect the writers to ignore all of that?


I think the premiere was pretty good, considering we had to wait 10 months for the second season. Lol I did enjoy the moments of humor, like when the Pope was trying to take care of the baby while he was meeting with the French ambassador. Unfortunately, I think the scenes with the Pope's new girlfriend took up precious screen time that could have been given to other characters. Also, I'm glad that Juan's character is being integrated into the main storylines better. I really feel like Juan was underutilized in the first season when they could have shown his sibling rivalry with Cesare more. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.


I liked it better than last seaaon thus far. I was glad that cesare stopped whining abour being a cleric, about family business and about his dull nun girlfriend who was not in the episode. He is machiavelli's prince not anakin skywalker. Rumors said both he and roderigo had incest wirh lucretsia. Historians dismiss this as just rumors, but it looks like the series wont at least as far as cesare is concerned. The series was also more light hearted than last year. the scene where the pope tried to prevent his mistress from knowing he had an affair in the bath and him carrying a baby into a meeting were funny. Jeremy irons steals the show. At first I thought the scene where the pope dismissed easter (the holiest day of christianity) on easter was disturbing and simply another attempt by cable writers to insult christians but it shows that ranasance popes tended to be more renasance than popes. Some were out and out aetheasts. Cant wait to c episodes 2 & 3 which thanks to showtime on demand will be tonight.


personally i thought it dragged and was nowhere near as good as season one, yes it set things up and i will probobly continue to watch but it was not as good as i was hoping for


I think we need to rename this show, Bada Bing Borgias. The pope is a horny dog, I get it. We all get it. Give us more Cesare. Having said that, I think that the sex is a huge part of the failure of this papacy. There is no "selflessness" in the Vatican. It's about power, money, and pleasure. I thought that this episode was very strong for a Season II opener. We can see that "family", will be divided, and building up to that is going to be excruciating to us, the viewers. Paolo showed nothing but love and loyalty, and now Juan is going to?? Michelletto has a way about him that is very intriguing. I went to look up the name of the actor, and got more than I asked for. (The wiki had a history list of people the "real" Michelletto killed.) The actor on the Borgias for this character is exceptional. I don't think anyone could play him better. We are going to miss Alfonso, or be sickened by every time we see him at the death table now. I actually really liked him last season. Lucrezia Borgia will be the one to watch this season I think. She looks like a dove, but grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I think her role will show us that she is more like Daddy than the boys! Great Review. Gave me a lot to think about!

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The Borgias Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

Juan: A cleric prays. He doesn't fight.
Cesare: Well this cleric does both.

The Pope has two faces, my son. One looks to the future, the other to the past.