It’s the season finale we’ve all been waiting for. Will Pope Daddy die? Will Juan’s body be found (and murderer be found out)? Will Crazy Friar confess? Will Lucrezia and Cesare finally have hot sex on the pope’s throne? (What? A fangirl can dream, right?)
Due to my DVR/receiver being on the fritz, I missed the first few minutes. I will update as soon as I get an recording that actual works (or rewatch live from the beginning). I don’t think I missed much though…
It’s torture time and Crazy Friar has been on the rack for two days with no confession yet. More importantly to Pope Daddy — Juan is “missing.” And he wants Cesare to put more effort into locating him.
Cesare and Cardinal Sforza approach a man from the papal guard and instruct them to search again. After Cesare storms away, Sforza asks if the dude has checked with Juan’s friends and with the brothels. He has. Now he’s to start with the mortuaries. Cardinal Sforza’s no fool.
Lucrezia meets a new suitor while walking the halls of the Vatican. She stops this handsome man and asks who he is. He introduces himself as Prince Alfonso of Aragon and says he’s there to be suitor to Lucrezia Borgia. Lulu plays the role of Lulu’s lady in waiting whose duty it is to separate the wheat from the chaff amongst the suitors. She leads him to her chambers and instructs him remove his cloak and twirl for her. He’s not stupid and requests the same in return. They twirl and model for each other and they’re far better than any contestants on America’s Next Top Model. When Alfonso asks how far her lady would have him go, Lulu says she’s like a groom with a horse (you’ve got to ride it). Damn girl getting bold.
Taster Boy is at confession, telling Della Rovere what happened with the water and the wine. Through the confessional, Della Rovere passes him a new packet of cantarella and says God will tell the boy when the time has come.
Crazy Friar is encaged in a little box, yet still manages to taunt Micheletto. He says he knows his kind — sodomites who corrupt young boys. Isn’t that just excellent? You know it’s typically gay men who have the best gaydar, right Crazy Friar? What about your own corruption of all those kids in Florence? Micheletto’s cold steal though and his only real response is, “And yet, here I am.” Good on you, baby. Crazy Friar says he will only confess to Micheletto’s master and to no one else.
Lulu and Prince Alfonso stroll through some gardens. The boy is smitten with her, still not knowing she’s actually Lucrezia. He then asks if she gives Lucrezia his favor will he ever see her again. She says no and he then says to tell Lucrezia he’s inept. He’s “never known a woman so lovely” and Lulu is taken by him when he says he would turn down the pope’s daughter for her. She kisses him and then departs, leaving him standing alone under her parasol.
Cesare’s hanging out with Machiavelli talking about Crazy Friar’s strength and resistance to confess. Cesare wants him to recant before he dies. “Rome needs this confession.” Machiavelli agrees and says to give it to them. I foresee some shady dealings coming up.
Lulu takes baby Giovanni to see his Grand Papa. Pope Daddy loves that baby so much and he’s so good with him. My ovaries explode! Pope Daddy tells Lulu that he’s got a new suitor for her, a Prince Alfonso. She asks if he’s a child and Daddy says young, but a man. She agrees to meet with him, “strictly as a duty.” And then Giovanni messes his diaper and Pope Daddy calls for the nanny because popes don’t do poops.
In the throne room, everyone stands around waiting and waiting and waiting. Finally Lady Lucrezia Borgia is announced and Alfonso looks to the door. She strolls in and his eyes widen and he visibly swallows as Lulu kisses Daddy’s ring. Mama Vanozza watches from the side waiting to see how this will go. Alfonso bows to Lulu and she plays the role of never having met him. He actually gets all tongue-tied in front of her and she teases him. Pope Daddy gets nervous that this will be another failure, but then Lulu says, “Yes I will marry him. He has all the sweetness of an apple on the tree.” Then she lets him kiss her… on the cheek. He’s clearly amused and this looks like it could actually be a fun match. Until she gets bored, anyway.
Pope Daddy is delighted by Lulu’s pronouncement but the congratulations are interrupted with news that a body has been found. Next we see a cart being rolled into the courtyard with a body covered in burlap. Pope Daddy comes out and when he peels back the burlap it is not Juan. “Whooooooo are you? Who-who? Who-who?” he asks. Cardinal Sforza’s pissed by the mistake, though not as pissed as Pope Daddy who asks if they’ve been searching the mortuaries and by whose command. Sforza admits it was at his his idea and that he’s considered Juan’s death a possibility. Pope Daddy simply turns away.
Later that night, Pope Daddy dresses in plain dark clothes along with Giulia and they slip out into the night. Meanwhile, Cesare has returned to Crazy Friar demanding he admit his heresy. He’s weak and says he’s out of screams. Micheletto tells him he’s spared his life up until now just so he would be able to sign the confession. Crazy Friar’s having none of it and collapses on the table, but he’s not actually dead. Micheletto stirs him awake with a arm around his neck and makes him watch as Cesare signs the confession with his own hand in Crazy Friar’s name. (He tells Micheletto not to tell, but I don’t think that’s really necessary. Micheletto’s the most loyal person on the show.) With his last words Crazy Friar damns the Pope before Micheletto removes his tongue (which I have to say is pretty gruesome).
Pope Daddy and Giulia are at a mortuary and are taken to a room with bodies pulled from the river. Pope Daddy lifts coverings to check faces, moving from one body to the next. And then he stops at one, and it’s Juan. He backs away and Giulia comes around to check and yep… it’s him. Pope Daddy tells Giulia to take Juan home (she get’s all the best jobs).
Cesare strides with purpose, carrying the “signed confession” but the room he comes to in the morning has Juan’s body laid out on a table. Cesare asks what happened and is told Juan was dragged from the Tiber like dogs, cats, and the “stillborn offerings of prostitutes.” He can’t imagine who would do this to Juan. Who would have cause to do him harm. Lulu says “many people” would have done this. Pope Daddy can’t believe she would speak so and asks if she counts herself among those many people. She throws it in his face that he knows what Juan did to her. She then admits to wishing him dead “a thousand times” and says she cannot mourn him. Cesare has no tears either; he “wept them out long ago.” He also throws it back to Daddy that he gave Juan everything even when he was terrible year after year. Pope Daddy tells them both to leave his sight. Daddy’s pissed. Through it all Vanozza and Giulia stand silent.
Cardinal Sforza’s at Juan’s body on a platform when four servants come in. Sforza instructs them to clean him up and “bring him back to life” as if he were “Jesus.” It’s actually pretty funny with the looks on everyone’s faces.
Vanozza gives Pope Daddy comfort, holding his hand and reminding him that he sees with a father’s eyes. He asks if she feels the same as Cesare and Lulu and she replies that she wouldn’t have Juan dead, but she’s many times wished he’d not been born. Ouch. She tells Pope Daddy to let him go. But he says there will be no burial, he cannot let him go.
The tongueless Crazy Friar is carried through the streets in his box on a cart. The people yell at him, calling him traitor and throwing things. He’s taken to a huge pile of wood and we see Micheletto in the background, sitting up top waiting. (He’s so relaxed there and it’s a ridiculously attractive slouch on him.) Crazy Friar is taken before a canopy for the pope and cardinals (it’s like the prime seats behind home plate) then led by a metal collar and poles up a walkway to a cross at the top of the woodpile. Micheletto meets him up there and they exchange looks before Micheletto moves him into place. Her drapes a “Heretic” sign around his neck and straps him to the post. Cesare has turned and walked away and we see that Pope Daddy is inside at Juan’s side still. Cesare says it is time for him. He’s in his fancy white robes and he and Cesare go back out to the cardinals. Daddy sits on his throne, the cardinals sit, and Cesare raises his hand to let the pile be lit on fire but Pope Daddy stops him.
He rises and walks up the gangway to Crazy Friar. He says “we have read your confession” and that he knows all the details of his sins. Pope Daddy says they are all sinners and that even at the moment between worlds one can repent and have their sins forgiven. He says no matter what “we are disposed to grant you absolution.” There’s a moment of silence and then Crazy Friar spits in his face (and it’s gross and there’s blood from his tongue and yet it’s awesome). Pope Daddy returns to his throne, says, “Let him burn” and it is on like Donkey Kong, people. The Towering Inferno.
Crazy Friar manages not to scream at first but as the flames rise he cannot help but to cry out. Cesare and others are seen to cover the noses at the stench of burning flesh. It’s intense. And then he’s dead.
And oh… the moment I’ve been waiting for…. Cesare lays on Lulu’s bed with his head in her lap. Their fingers are entwined and she asks him to marry her and he says, “As you wish” and teases about them running away together and chanting their names. “To Alfonso,” she says and he admits he knows (as do I, but I’m no less disappointed). He looks sad though that she would have him marry her to another. He asks if she loves Alfonso and she says she thinks he is good. And Cesare seems pleased at least that she has a good man, but he cannot marry her. His “hands have seen too much of blood and sin.” He may give up his position of cardinal. He kisses her cheek and if she’d just turn her head an inch…
Cesare is off to find Pope Daddy. He roams through Daddy’s apartments and there’s Juan still laid out for viewing, with Daddy standing a few feet away staring at a wall. Cesare mentions Lulu’s marriage and then asks if it’s true that Daddy’s not eating. He says he’s fasted and taken “all mortification” and still he’s being punished. He seeks Juan’s murderer and until they find the man responsible they cannot bury him. He worries about Juan ending up in purgatory. They will find the murderer no matter where he is, Pope Daddy insist. Finally Cesare admits he knows who did it.
“You truly wish to know?”
Cesare first asks for Daddy to hear his confession and release him from his vow as cardinal and to forgive him his sins of protecting the papacy and his family. He lists the things he’s done for Rome, the Church, and Daddy. “Tell me your sins,” Pope Daddy directs. Cesare kneels and it’s so intimate right next to Juan’s body. This family is going to fly apart.
He’s says he’s taken it upon himself to do what had to be done. That he’d long ago vowed to put an end to anyone who brought dishonor upon their family. And Daddy gets it. He stands and touches Juan’s shoulders and Cesare stands and demands that he release him from his vows and forgive him. Daddy releases him and then is dazed for a moment, not yet forgiving. Cesare hands over his ring and then leaves the room while Daddy falls over and weeps at Juan’s breast.
We see Cesare stripping out of his red cardinal robes, dropping a giant cross. Next we see him in his regular clothes (which flatter his body so much better, no?), meeting with Mama Vanozza and Lulu to announce that Juan’s funeral is scheduled. He’s got it all planned out. Vanozza says Daddy won’t allow it and he explains that it’s already arranged. But first there is Lulu’s wedding. They argue a bit and Cesare insists it must take place, it has been decided, life must go on. Vanozza’s pissed because there needs to be a proper grieving time.
But nope… Cesare presents Lulu to Alfonso in a ballroom full of people, joining their hands for a public dance and I’m not sure if we’re to presume they’ve already been wed or if this is an engagement feast. They dance and then Cesare brings his mother out and Giulia and some random dude join them. Eventually the dance floor is full, while somewhere else, Pope Daddy sits at Juan’s side. And then he rises, bends over the body, and lifts Juan. The image changes and what we see is Juan as a boy being carried away in Daddy’s arms. He carries the boy outside and down a pathway and eventually lays the boy in the grass outside. He places Juan’s hands just so on his stomach and then recites some Latin and weeps and it’s so heartbreaking. Then Daddy gets up and stumbles away a bit to pick up a gardening tool — it’s like a hand-held hoe — and comes back to start hacking at the ground digging a grave for his baby boy. Jesus. (Is it wrong that all I can think is he’s ruining those white robes?)
Inside the dancing continues — Cesare and Lulu now — smiling at one another while Alfonso’s in the background watching and maybe thinking the things Juan (and I) had thought before. He certainly looks curious.
The music through this back and forth between the dancing and grave digging is a sweeping instrumental made to manipulate one’s emotions and it’s working on me just as intended. When Pope Daddy goes back to the boy to move him into the grave the body is the adult Juan again. He struggles a bit with the weight, but gets him into the grave. No coffin, no shroud, just Juan’s body in the ground near a wall of the garden. Daddy begins filling the hole in again with his bare hands. When he’s done, he finally rises and recites more Latin and it’s fitting that he’s alone since he’s the only one upset by the death. “Grant him peace,” are his final words as the music ends.
Back inside Lulu and Alfonso are joined again on the dance floor and Vanozza asks Cesare if they’re celebrating Lulu’s betrothal or Juan’s death. They’re dancing on his brother’s grave, she says. Then the party is disturbed because there’s daddy, his beautiful white robes covered in dirt. Cesare is shocked and just stares until Daddy asks to speak to him.
They are alone in another room (or mostly so, there’s someone in the background). *gasp* It’s taster boy! “Bring us some wine,” Pope Daddy commands. He does so as Cesare and Pope Daddy sit at opposite sides of a small table staring at one another. Taster boy drinks a cup first and says it is good. Then he pours for Pope Daddy only. (The use of the royal “we” in this scene is super annoying, but at least it means Cesare is spared.)
Cesare asks what happened to Daddy’s hands and he replies that he buried his son and now realizes that he brought all of this upon himself. He says Cesare is his own doing as well, that Cesare is too much like him and that it’s hard to give affection to one’s own mirror image. Cesare asks if he can’t have Daddy’s affection can he at least have his forgiveness. And then Daddy starts to choke and Taster Boy vomits blood and collapses. “Father!” Cesare screams, then “Help!” He cradles Daddy’s head as he seizes on the floor. Lulu and others come running in and he’s struggling the breath. Cesare looks up to the sky and it’s over. Holy shit.
Is he dead or not? I’m going with not (even without looking at actual history) because it would be too easy. Plus, I love Jeremy Irons and I’m not ready to not have him on the show anymore. See you all next season.