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Da Vinci's Demons Review: Celestial Bodies

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Going into tonight's installment, I worried that an hour aboard dark ships traveling to South America would be rather dull.

Still, our characters can't just teleport to the new world either, right? Therefore, the voyage was necessary and we got a few surprises along the way. 

While Da Vinci's Demons Season 2 Episode 4 was certainly not one of my favorite episodes of the series, it had two standout moments: Lucrezia's reunion with her father and the flashbacks associated with their story and da Vinci discovering the solar system.

Across the Atlantic

Now that the cat's out of the bag, composer Bear McCreary's theme for Pope Sixtus IV is no longer subtle. We're talking full out Star Wars Imperial March stuff now. Go back and listen carefully when our imposter enters the opening scene. It's a brilliant moment, punctuated by his menacing theme.

By the way, I'm a huge fan of Bear's music. Everything from Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead to his more recent work on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Black Sails. Talk about geniuses, David S. Goyer could not have found a better composer for this show.

But I digress, where was I? Lupo Mercuri has agreed to reunite Lucrezia with her father and we soon get our first flashback of the night. Apparently, psycho-Pope (shall we call him that?) has been jealous of his twin brother from the moment they emerged from the womb. His brother was born first and therefore held first by their mother. As kids, psycho-Pope tried to drown his brother. Now that's what I call some serious mommy issues.

Somewhere out in the Atlantic, Leo is having a tough time navigating to South America. He's managed to recreate their maps from memory but is discovering stars no one knew existed. Zo and Amerigo are worried they're lost at sea with dwindling provisions. This was the first time Zo struggled with following Leonardo blindly. He should have known that the MacGyver of the Renaissance would figure something out right?

Unfortunately, things are getting tense and the captain suspects mutiny is not far off since the slaves fear the ship will sail off the end of the world.

The transition over to Riario's ship bathed in sunlight tells us the wicked count is pretty far ahead of Leo and company. His slave girl, Zita, says she see's grace in him. That's hard to believe even for Riario, but is some form of redemption in the cards for him?

The Lorenzo/Piero da Vinci scenes were my least favorite tonight, so let's get them out of the way. The pair is traveling to Naples to meet with King Ferrante seeking an alliance. A sideshow charlatan recognizes the head of the Medici bank and attempts to rob them. Lorenzo kills the thieves and buries them, only to be captured by border guards. Seems like when we see them next, Lorenzo/Piero will be prisoners guests of the King.

As I mentioned in my first review for Da Vinci's Demons Season 2 Episode 1 I've quickly realized that splitting up the cast and fewer interactions with da Vinci (the ridiculously talented Tom Riley) makes the show a tad less engaging. It was a daring move and the storyline required it, but I find myself waiting to see what da Vinci does next. Not to discredit the other actors, but at least in this particular episode that's what I was feeling.

I think the exception to this, were the Lucrezia flashbacks. Since last season I wondered how Lucrezia came to be manipulated by Riario and how she worked for a man she despised. Well tonight we met "The Prisoner" (as Pope) and his two young daughters, Lucrezia and Amelia. That was the name Riario mentioned before making Lucrezia and Zo walk the plank, remember? James Faulkner did a magnificent job as both the real Pope and his nasty twin.

Wasn't it great to witness the day psycho-Pope took over? He explains that since his existence had been kept secret, no one would ever know a switch had taken place. We learn that Riario had indeed tried to save his cousins and managed to convince psycho-Pope that keeping the girls alive made "The Prisoner" easier to manipulate. Unfortunately, though Lucrezia would prove valuable, her sister's innocence was "utterly useless" to psycho-Pope so he snaps Amelia's neck.

Pope Sixtus IV was a sneaky manipulator in the past, but there's no longer any doubt this guy is just plain evil. He's got to go, hopefully by Lucrezia's hand. Amazing how we've forgotten all the awful things she did last season right?

Riario attempts to bribe Nico into revealing a few secrets but to no avail. I'm sure Nico actually knows very little about The Book of Leaves anyway.

Whoever lays their hands of The Book of Leaves will rule all of Italy, if not the world.

Count Riario

Lupo takes Lucrezia into the Vatican's secret archives and hands her the sword of Osman I, Founder of the Ottoman Empire. There was a lot of whispering tonight, so I found it hard to follow the purpose of giving her this sword. There appears to be a coded message inscribed on it. Since Lucrezia mentions leaving for Constantinople, perhaps she will need this sword once she arrives there? Can anyone shed some light on all this?

Finally, this brings me to da Vinci and Zoroaster. The two argued quite a bit tonight and during one such heated discussion Zo tells Leo The Book of Leaves is nothing more than a fairy tale. "You can't get mad Leo, when the stars don't move as fast as you do" Zo says. Leonardo's eyes light up and again, it's moments like these that Tom Riley really shines. You can see the wheels turning inside his brain, seriously. Am I man-crushing here? I think I'm man-crushing.

Leonardo realizes that Venus does not circle the Earth but rather the sun. He's been navigating as if the Earth is a fixed point, when the planet itself is in motion right along with the other celestial bodies. The return of "Da Vinici Vision" was most welcome during this sequence and I've got to say I'm glad they don't overdo it. The "Da Vinci Vision" is very strategically placed throughout the season.

Now I see it and now I can more accurately calculate our position using the celestial bodies all around. As they move and as we move with them on our path through the heavens.

Leonardo

Leo and Zo head below deck to explain all this to the slaves only to discover they have killed one another. So fearful that the ship would sail off the end of a flat Earth and their souls would disappear into nothing, one killed another until only the female remained. Leonard shares his discovery with her, but she remains uncertain. He tells Zo they need to save her from herself. Who is going to save us is his reply. A storm approaches.

Well what did you guys think of "The Ends of the Earth?" Were you engaged the entire time or did you feel a bit restless waiting for Leo to reappear. Are you as excited as I am that Leo and his friends finally arrive in South America next week? Hit the comments, let's talk about tonight's episode.

Who will kill Pope Sixtus IV (the imposter)?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (13 Votes)
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I felt exactly the way you did! I found myself thinking, "TOM RILEY, WHERE ART THOU?"! Though it was nice to finally see some Lucrezia flashbacks, Tom Riley definitely stole the show, as he does every episode.
That twinkle in his eye - you really do see the cogs moving in that polymath's marvellous brain!

Hanko9
@ Tanny

Glad to know I'm not alone... It is Da Vinci's Demons after all haha. Riley is one of those rare actors that the camera loves and he just draws you into his world. Composer Bear McCreary tweeted me saying next week is a great episode. I had a chance to preview it and he's right... Finally dry land and some incredible moments. I can't wait to watch it again!