Yuck. Brother Juan has returned. And he’s riding his horse through the Vatican. WTF? He enters Pope Daddy’s “throne” room (sans horse) and kisses Daddy’s ring. Lucrezia’s there with the baby on her lap and stands to see what it is that Juan has brought as gifts. He’s got a box for Pope Daddy, and then a caged panther is brought into the room as a gift for Lulu. He’s brought Don Hernando de Caballos with him. He’s a soldier and who was at the siege of Grenada where they defeated the Moors. He’s also a “true Conquistador” and has seen the new world and killed the indigenous people who… sorry, no political rants here. Anyway… I’ve not doubt Don Hernando is a better military strategist than Juan. It would be hard not to be better.
Pope Daddy’s gift is a box of cigars. But he thinks it’s a box of turds. Juan tells him to smell them and explains they’re from the new world. Behind them the panther bites Lulu when she slips her fingers in the cage. She stomps off, and Juan looks pleased. What a dick.
In Florence, those creepy kids are still spreading God’s word in the streets, only now they’ve got big wooden crosses and are singing hymns. It’s like The Omen. Cesare is called to the balcony to see them and is told they are “children of God.” Like I said… creepy, and Cesare knows it.
Back to the turds cigaros… Juan shows Pope Daddy how to smoke one but Daddy’s not so sure about it. When Juan explains is “pleasurable” he’s surprised and everyone crowds closer as he begins to smoke. Smoking is a totally new concept for them all.
Later that evening in privacy, Daddy and #2 speak of Juan’s new wife who is pregnant! Juan’s certain it will be a boy. (Let’s hope he takes after his uncle.) “Bravo!” says Daddy. Juan has become a man. *rolls eyes* There’s more smoking and Daddy pours some wine, but Juan declines. He only drinks water now for “clarity of mind.” Let’s see if that helps. I imagine it can’t hurt.
Their conversation turns to Catherina Sforza and her threat of war. Pope Daddy wants Juan to take the papal army and lay siege on Forli. If Catherina refuses to come to Rome, Juan has permission to seize her property. If she refuses to give up her property, then he can “knock her off her perch.” Good luck with that, boy.
Later, Juan’s peeing sand seems to be in pain. Hahaha! Somebody’s been sticking his sword where he shouldn’t.
At the monastery Della Rovere and his Friar discuss Crazy Friar and how they need him to temper his words so that he doesn’t lose his life before they reach their goal of killing the pope.
Back at the Vatican, Pope Daddy has really taken to smoking. He’s puffing away when Lulu comes into his rooms to say that she’ll meet with Paloccini, much to Daddy’s relief. Having left the throne room the previous day prior to the smoking, she asks what the cigaro is, also mistaking it for a turd. Especially since it smells like one. (Have I mentioned my love for her before? Because I love her.)
Juan’s at the doctor. He’s got SYPHILIS!! Ohhhhh yeah. Doc’s going to treat him with mercury. In small doses so it doesn’t kill him. And the delivery method? I about died. Doc’s got this great little metal catheter-like rod that he’s going to insert in Juan’s peehole. And the tip then opens outward with three or four spikes that will be used to scrape the infection out. Juan is rightfully not enthusiastic. He bites on a stick as the doc does his work and still screams. (Aren’t you grateful for Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin? And is anyone else viewing this show as BDSM training? The pear of anguish, now medical play… What’s next? Drop some suggestions in the comments.)
Back in Florence Crazy Friar is preaching, surrounded by his children sitting on the floor. (It’s like Jesus, only NOT.) Micheletto listens from the crowd and as Crazy Friar has a child (appropriately named Angelo) explain what Judgment Day is, Crazy Friar and Micheletto lock gazes. It worries me a little and then Micheletto slips away and I sigh with relief. Outside the church a pile of books, paintings, fine furniture, and more waits to be set on fire. Machiavelli, to my delight, sifts through and pulls out a book.
Crazy Friar just gets more and more crazy by the week. Micheletto is clearly disturbed by the stack of vanities, but he adds a stringed instrument to it and my heart breaks. (You are not a sinner, Micheletto! You’re my angel of death. Who cares about the sodomy and murder? I don’t.)
At Forli Castle, the men prepare their cannons (which look real, unlike the Vatican’s) as the papal army lines up outside. Juan rides forth with his new buddy, Don Hernando. They’re hoping they outnumber the men inside, but Buddy Don urges Juan to speak to Catherina and come up with a truce before the cannons open fire. Buddy Don then leads the soldiers back to the trees while Juan rides to the gates and then turns back.
At the Vatican, Calvino Paloccini de Genova enters the throne room. Baby Mama Vanozza sits to the side of Pope Daddy (much to my surprise and delight) and Lulu’s on her way. Everyone just kind of stands around waiting on her. Cardinals and Calvino’s men and Daddy’s getting pissed off. Finally the rear doors open and the panther cage is pushed into the room. Pope Daddy sighs and puts a hand to his head before laughing it off and saying “My daughter’s pet.” And then comes Lulu with a plate of something that looks very much like sweet meats. Mmm. Gag.
She greets Daddy who says they’ve been waiting for her. She blames claims the baby was crying. She then turns and looks at Rafaelo who introduces his brother Calvino. She says she’s delighted to meet him then turns to leave. (She did only agree to meet him, after all.) Pope Daddy is not pleased, but then Lulu stops and turns back to tell Calvino she’s gifting him with the panther that “eats only meat.” And she’s gone.
Back in Forli, one of Juan’s men rides forth with a white flag. Catherina’s men atop the castle keep their bows aimed, but the gates open and Catherina and her entourage come out. She’s all in armor again, but with her hair down and looking f-ing awesome. Her baby boy’s at her side looking more a man than when Cesare visited. Juan introduces himself and says he’s there for her surrender. She refers to Cesare as “the whore of Rome” and basically says NO.
Juan ogles Baby Boy and suggests he’s not man enough yet to hold a sword. Catherina says he’s more man than any of the Borgias (and I get a little squicked at the notion that she means more than she’s saying). When Juan says they’re there for her land, she dares them to take it if they can. Juan accepts the challenge by having one of his men fire an arrow into Baby Boy’s horse’s ass (not a euphemism), causing the horse to throw him. Then Juan’s men grab him and Catherina yells not to fire back as they lead her boy away.
In the Papal Army camp, Juan asks Baby Boy how old he is. Fifteen. He’s just a baby. Juan asks how much his mother loves him and he spits back, “How much does your mother love you?” Juan hits him, but the boy scored points for attitude. Of course, Juan quickly shows him how tough he is not. They’re going to torture him so his mother may see him suffer. That Juan’s such a nice guy, yeah?
Back at the Vatican, Rafaelo walks through a hall with a couple of scrolls and Lulu’s handmaiden follows him. In Lulu’s chamber, the maiden helps dress her mistress and tells her all about Rafaelo’s activities for the day. Where he went, what he did, and most importantly, that he met with no one. Our girl is a smitten kitten. Lulu sends her maiden to a store to buy her paints. She wishes to become an artist. Who, I wonder, might she ask to teach her in the ways of art? (Rafaelo’s cute, but Vittoria would certainly be a better instructor. Somebody write that for me?)
Catherina’s lead soldier informs her that the papal army has retreated into the forest, out of range of the cannons. But she’s not worried — cousin Ludavico will come to her rescue. They’ve a pact to help each other and in Romagna you can’t bring an army without it being noticed. As she talks, Baby Boy is brought forth to the open space between the castle and the woods. He’s got a collar around his neck and Juan tells him to call to mommy as he strings the boy up by his arms (tied behind his back. Ouch.). Juan tells him to say he’s afraid and ask for help. The boy shouts, “They’ll torture me.” Catherina demands her boy be released. Juan says not until she surrenders and goes to Rome with him. Buddy Don suggests that Juan’s actions are less than honorable and Juan says if he doesn’t have the balls for it, he can go back to Spain.
Watching Catherina, I start to wonder if she’s going to save her boy or not. I think Baby Boy’s wondering too as she turns her back.
In Florence, Machiavelli updates Cesare on Juan’s return to Italy and mission to Forli. He’s also got news that Ludavico is on his way. Cesare asks if a messenger could get there on time to warn Juan of the approaching army. During all of this those creepy kids are knocking on doors in the street below them, demanding vanities from people. Back on the balcony Cesare decides that Juan is a soldier and he can handle his army himself. “Give us your riches. Open the door!” a child demands. The men above decide they hear no knocking.
Lulu slips through a temple next to some water and there’s Rafaelo, sitting and sketching. She pretends to be surprised to find him there, asking how he knows the place. She claims she comes there often to paint and read the poets. He asks to see her paintings and who her favorite poets are. Ovid and Sappho (further reason to hook up with Vittoria, right?) are her favs, but she won’t show her work. (Gee, I wonder why?) She asks if Rafaelo is an artist. He says no, he’s “a bored nobleman… with too much time on his hands.” He notices her injured hand and she explains she was bitten by the panther. Because of her injury she cannot paint today. (Good one!)
R: Will you marry my brother?
L: Will he make a worthy husband?
R: He is an honorable man, so yes, I think he’ll make an honorable husband.
L: But like is not love, is it?
R: No, that is not love.
She tells him they’re in a perfect place for a kiss and leans toward him. Oh yeah! Lip-on-lip action. It’s a nice kiss then she pulls away, playing coy. The wind blows some of his drawings and there’s a sketch that looks like Lulu.
The damn kids again. They pound on a door until finally a man opens it and says he’d have them cease marking chalk crosses on his door. The lead kid tells him to give up his vanities. He says he has no vanities, only intellect. The kids have the whole mob mentality going; the man is not swayed by them, but clearly tires of it all. He tells them to wait and closes the door in the lead boy’s face, then comes back with a stuffed owl. That’s it. Door closes again and the kid’s not satisfied, but he’s works with what he’s been given.
Baby boy is looking rough (and not in the good way). Catherina’s right hand man asks how long she can watch him suffer. “If my son must die, then so be it.” Damn. Right hand suggests that with one arrow, they can deprive them of their leader. She gives permission to fire at Juan. He’s shot through the thigh and replies that for every arrow, for every man Catherina’s forces hit, he’ll take a finger from Baby Boy. To prove his point he cuts off a finger right then for the arrow in his leg. It’s gruesomely awesome. They then drag the boy away from view.
Baby Mama visits Lulu’s chamber and asks if she’s fallen in love. She says she’s still in love with Paolo, but if she is to remarry she wants it to be her choice. Baby Mama says not to defy, that this is an arrangement can be mutually beneficial. If she’s to choose, she doesn’t want it to be to Calvino. Baby Mama says to whom then… the brother? Lulu confirms it and Baby Mama says that’s not possible. The golden rule says never marry the second son. (I thought the golden rule was do unto others?)
Lulu doesn’t know if she’s in love, doesn’t want to be in love, but she definitely desires the boy. Why not? Why not indeed, mama replies.
I’m waiting for rioting to start in Florence because it’s getting more and more insane in the streets. Cesare and Machiavelli move through a square. There’s a Botticelli being ceased for the burning. (They’re not burning Dogs Playing Poker or Elvis on velvet, here.) A Botticelli! *weeps* The stack of “vanities” is huge and torches are thrown into the pile as Crazy Friar looks on and grins. It’s the actual Bonfire of the Vanities, y’all.
Cesare’s in the crowd wearing his red robes, which surprises me. Crazy Friar come up to him and Machiavelli and warns them about standing too close to the flames. He also says they’ll be coming to Machiavelli’s home to collect his vanities. Then Crazy Friar turns around and Micheletto is behind him with an ash cross on his forehead and they stare at each other in a creepy way and I don’t know what’s going on in Micheletto’s mind, but it doesn’t seem healthy.
Ah… taster boy is still alive. He’s taken the cantarella six times now. This will be the seventh and the boy must be hanging out with the children of God because he gets all creepy and says, “When the lamb opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven.” He says it feels like he’s crossing over to death and then coming back, but he only sees darkness and shadows. He takes the cup and drinks and Della Rovere bows his head.
Pope Daddy sits with Vanozza and Lulu and says he’s grown weary of this game. This isn’t just about Lulu satisfying herself. Her indecision could cost them everything, he insists. She is marrying for all of them, the family, not just herself. Finally she says to sell her to the highest bidder. Oh Lulu, no!
Back at Forli, Baby Boy sits atop a horse with a noose around his neck. Juan shouts, “He’s waiting to die. For you.” And Catherina says God will be her judge but she “will never, never bend [her] knee to the whoremaster of Rome.” Her answer is to lift her skirts and bare herself. She grabs herself like Michael Jackson and says she has the means to bring forth ten more sons who will destroy Juan and his family. Before Juan can reply Ludavico arrives and starts tearing shit up from behind.
Juan gives instructions to kill the boy, but Buddy Don (who actually is an honorable soldier) hops on the horse and breaks the noose then rides them to the gate. In the woods Ludavico’s men are kicking ass and taking names. A canon ball lands next to Juan’s horse, throwing him off and pussy boy takes off on his own to run into the woods while his men face the battle alone. He limps away on his injured leg. The leader’s not supposed to be the first deserter, but with Juan it’s not really surprising.
Next week: Lulu sexy times.