The Borgias Review: Nowhere Else To Go

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I've written about it at length over the past couple of months, but it's worth noting again that the feud between brothers Cesare and Juan Borgia has been the most compelling material The Borgias has produced in its first two seasons. Said conflict came to a head in "World of Wonders," and it produced an absolutely gripping penultimate episode of the Showtime series' second season.

Since failing to come out victorious against Catharina Sforza at Forli, Juan's downward spiral has been both sad and magnificent. That did not change this week, as I was equal parts upset and excited watching the Borgia boy talk to himself, get high to the heavens on opium, throw it in Cesare's face that the Pope loves him more and finally hold Lucrezia's baby over the edge of the balcony.

Gathering Together on The Borgias

Then it happened. Cesare and Micheletto retrieved Juan from yet another Opium session, and the family feud was finally settled. Even as it was happening - Cesare's knife going in and out of his brother's stomach, and eventually throwing him off of that bridge - I couldn't believe it. Was this it? Was this the end of Juan Borgia? Dying by the hand of his own brother?

It was yet another moment in which I was glad that I don't know the history behind the series. I'm assuming The Borgias isn't straying too far from the historical story between these two brothers. Even if they are, I'm glad I didn't see this event coming, or wasn't disappointed by it being different from history.

The shock and awe of it all - brother killing brother - was fantastic, but did this have any other ending? And could it have gone on any longer? The tension between Cesare and Juan had been building for so long that there was no other way out, and if this conflict continued into another season, it would have watered down its effect.

It was a similar situation to what Sons of Anarchy was facing in its most recent season with Clay Morrow. Both Clay and Juan became such terrible characters - to the audience and to the other characters - that it was difficult to imagine them sticking around in their respective worlds. Unlike Sons, The Borgias went through with getting rid of the man that could no longer exist in this world.

* David Oakes did a tremendous job in the role of Juan Borgia, especially during this season two run. I will be speaking with him on Monday about the recent happenings on The Borgias, and what's to come in the finale, so hit me with any questions you have for the actor before then.

While the rest of the Borgia clan will have to deal with the fallout of Cesare's act shortly, presently some had their own things going on. Specifically, the Pope decided to continue to fast after Lent, but then was finally convinced to stop by Giulia. Thank you! I had enough sardines for life and I wasn't even eating them!

It certainly was nice to get the partying Pope back though, and thankfully for him, it meant he could drink the pure wine instead of the poisoned water. Whewww. Rodrigo barely dodged that bullet, but there is no doubt that the young boy will be out for the Pope again and again. It will be interesting to see how that all plays out. Will the Borgias find out about him? Will the kid succeed? Will he change his mind? It could go a lot of ways.

The Friar was condemned and set on fire, Lucrezia's suitors were sent away, and baby Giovanni was baptized. There was a lot going on in "World of Wonders." Which part was your favorite? How do you feel about Cesare murdering Juan? What will happen with the Pope and his taster? Sound off in the comments! 


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (42 Votes)

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


Cesare was also banging Gioffrey's wife... I like the way Tom Fontana portrayed the death of Juan in his, Borgia, television series... It's only one season but I think they're making a second season... Neil Jordan's is way better as far as acting and atmosphere, but Fontana's tries to stay as historically accurate as possible, so sometimes, a year long jump can happen between episodes.. Cesare was a bishop at 15, and Cardinal at 18, and Cesare was roughly 22 years old when Juan was killed... and Cesare was actually the older brother by two years..


As several people noted juans death remains a mystery. Cesare is a suspect due to his rep but more likely it was jofrey because juan slept with his wife. It might have been more interesting if the series went that way and cesare took the blame for the sake of his brother.


Season 3.... The Rise of Cesare!!


are a badass


Since Juan was fished from the Tiber river with multiple stab wounds to the gut and his throat deeply slit, I thought that Micheletto was gunna cut his throat while Cesare was stabbing him repeatedly. Historically, Juan was found with all of his gold still in his coin purse, so it was definitely a planned hit. They don't know who was behind it, because a LOT of people wanted Juan dead (scorned lovers, husbands of his lovers, Lucrezia, Gioffrey, since Juan was banging his wife, although so was Cesare historically.. haha, so messed up, but Juan also had a litany of enemies due to his gambling. I'm still guessing that Cesare ordered Micheletto to carry it out with extreme caution and Cesare remained in sight of several witnesses for plausible deniability... He also spear headed the investigation, probably so he could find out what everyone knew and control the situation.... You DONT get a book like The Prince written about you by a brilliant thinker like Niccolo Machiavelli unless you're a badass, amoral, and well.... Machiavellian.. Cesare is cunning, sociopathic, protective, brilliant, manipulative, charismatic, and very, very viciously cruel. Historical accounts detail him as having a sadistic nature and he enjoyed watching his victims in pain because of what he did or had done to them.. He can be subtle (the way he handled Savanarola) or very overt (Stabbing and trying to cut the heart out of Giovanni Sforza without fear of all the guards around or being trapped inside the house) He has dual psychopathy and sociopathy. Psychopathically, he can arrange long brilliant deceptions and machinations to get what he wants or what he sees as justified means to reach his ending. Then, he can turn sociopathic instantly, and murder someone brutally with common disregard.. His environment did shape his persona and psyche though... daddy messed up his head..


David Oakes did such a great job with that role he surely will be missed i look forward to his next project.


For the record, the historical Cesare is believed to have had his brother, Juan, murdered. So, while they may have made it more up-close-and-personal, it's pretty true to reality.


I love this show and it just gets better and better! I'll miss Juan! Tell David Oakes he was simply incredible and the fans look forward to his next outstanding piece of work!


Probably the best show on television right now. Great show.


Bon voyage juan. Or los vaimos. My part of the episode is when the whole of forence turn there backs on the monk. That man needed to be put down a peg or 2.

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The Borgias Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

What happened to you Juan? You were such a lovely child.


Micheletto: I stand in awe, your eminence.
Cesare: You killed your father.
Micheletto: Still, I stand in awe.