The Borgias Review: Sex and Death 101Dan Forcella at .
Following four episodes that had me singing the praises of The Borgias, the fifth installment of season two - "The Choice" - was markedly worse in terms of episodic entertainment.
The hour continued to drag on and drag on until Catherina turned down Cesare and Pope Alexander's offer to come to Rome willingly. The best moment of the entire episode was probably watching Catherina toy with the Cardinal after pleasing him many a time in the bedroom.
Her simple way of skirting around the subject, and continuing to mention how much she was enjoying her duck, was irresistibly charming. The fact that we had just watched the two of them enjoy each other's company so much, and then do so again after dinner, made Catherina's eventual "no" that much more intriguing.
She was fun to watch, and could make for a great foe in the future. Unlike her cousin Giovanni, who was never interesting to see on screen and will be doing nothing in the future thanks to the amount of times Cesare stabbed him in the gut and neck.
That was just brutal. I understand that he was ridiculously angered by Catherina's decision, and ready for redemption on her cousin because of what he did to Lucrezia way back when, but this was a little much. Not for Cesare to enact, but for us to see. I'm not usually bad with gore, but this was such a cruel murder that it kind of got to me.
Like many actions before this, that fit of rage showed us once again what Cesare is capable of. Thankfully he got away from all of the guards in time. We may be able to see that anger come out a few more times.
What made the final few moments of the episode so exciting was that Cesare's vicious act and escape were intercut with the collapse of St. Peter's due to the lightning strike. The juxtaposition of pairing Cesare's horrific man-made act with the terrible act of nature, was pretty striking.
For as awful as Pope Alexander has been at times, he showed more love for the innocent than anyone during that catastrophe. If you still aren't rooting for Rodrigo Borgia after that scene, you had to be swayed a little. It was touching.
While the stories of Cesare, Pope Alexander and Micheletto with his lover made for a less than thrilling first 45 minutes in "The Choice," the ladies and Della Rovere might have helped to make sure that an incident like this doesn't happen in the back half of the season.
Lucrezia, Vanozza and Giulia didn't bring all that much to the table in their handling of the madam at the brothel, but the fact that they can now stronghold the Cardinals should make things interesting in the near future.
Similarly, Della Rovere continued to get closer to finding revenge after receiving the okay to go after Pope Alexander from Friar Savonarola, and then finding a volunteer to sacrifice himself for the good of the cause. The longer we wait to see the rematch of Della Rover and The Borgias, the more the fireworks will go off.
Although The Borgias wasn't up to par with its first four installments this week, the beginning of the season was so great, and the future looks so promising, that I am absolutely still on board with this series.
Also, it recently got picked up for a third season, so there is much more to look forward to. What did you all think of "The Choice? Do you agree that it wasn't on par with the first four episodes, or was it the best yet? Will Cesare pay for his act? And when will Della Rovere attempt his revenge?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.