The Borgias 2.08—Truth and Lies

The season is almost over. Just two more weeks after this one. And things are certainly heating up. Will Lucrezia sex up Rafaelo? What will come of Crazy Friar? Will taster boy take action? Oh yeah… and what of the cowardly Juan who limped off in the woods last week?

We begin this week with Cardinal Sforza and another popping in with news that King Charles is dead. The Cardinals are amused, though Pope Daddy is not. Charles supposedly banged his head on a doorway after playing tennis. The other cardinal is amused that he found a door low enough. Pope Daddy shames them both and makes them kneel and recite the rosary three dozen times for Charles’s soul.

Juan’s alive and being rolled through the Vatican in wheelchair, demanding his men wheel him faster and then help him up some steps. Apparently the Vatican of the day wasn’t ADA compliant. He hobbles into daddy’s office and says they were attacked, that they fought long and hard, and he was hit in the leg by an arrow. That they continued to fight on even though he couldn’t move.  He’s got one hell of a story about how the battled faded around him as he passed out. Then he escaped in the dark after he awoke.

Pope Daddy commends his bravery but is certainly embarrassed by the defeat. Juan asserts that Cesare must have known since he was in Florence with Machiavelli who has spies everywhere.

Cesare is led by Micheletto and Juan’s Conquistador buddy from Spain into a dungeon where lo and behold, they have Benito (Baby Boy Sforza). He shows his hand with the missing finger and the other signs of torture on his body. Conquistador dude tells Cesare that Juan believes the boy is dead, but that he saved him. Apparently he didn’t take him home to mommy though. Instead he’s brought him back as a matter of honor—Buddy fights “men, not boys” and this boy can tell the truth of what happened.

Juan’s pissy and in pain. He has his men wheel him away as he encounters Cesare and Buddy in a hallway. Cesare goes on to meet Pope Daddy who has bought into Juan’s story of the fight and Cesare’s foreknowledge of the attack. Cesare says if he wants the truth he must ask men who were there. Pope Daddy wants to atone for the deaths of all the men who died. They debate a bit about whether Cesare would have triumphed if he’d led the siege at Forli. He says he “would have been there to the end.” Daddy says he wants the truth.

But there’s another matter to attend… the fires in Florence. Crazy Friar continues to preach and people continue to flock to him. Cesare says Crazy Friar dissed him and he’s going to laugh when Cesare returns with the charges of heresy as he hands over a document. Cesare doesn’t look pleased at the task, but he does as daddy commands. After Cesare leaves, a priest hands Pope Daddy a book that states he has the ecclesiastical power to curse the Crazy Friar to hell. Wow. I didn’t know Catholics laid curses on people.

Juan confronts Cesare and asks what Buddy de Caballos told him. Cesare says he was told of Juan’s bravery and how he protected the honor of the family. What else might he have said? Ha ha. And what might Cesare have told their father? What could he say, only the truth. Which Juan knows of course, because he was there. Right?

It’s dinnertime. Only 14 more days of Lent. Taster man does his work and dinner commences. Sardines still, it seems.

Della Rovere is with his Friar friend over the bed of the taster boy, who is in a state of “living death” right now. They discuss the hazard of the current taster being in the way. They must find a way to get rid of Brother Bernadino who is a good man, devoted to his faith. They can kill the pope, but not an actual man of god, it seems.

Juan is back at his doctor getting his wee wee checked out again. The doctor forsees blindness, madness, and death. Oh yeah… and he might have to have his leg cut off from his infected wound. But fear not, he’s got some medicine to try out on the leg. Opium, aka “the tears of the poppy.”

Out in a courtyard, Pope Daddy is flipping out at Baby Mama Vanozza. He’s tired of hosting the Palocinni boys while they wait for their daughter to make up her mind. Vanozza is rocking the baby while daddy rants a bit and insists a decision must be made today.

Meanwhile, Lulu watches Rafaelo sketching in St. Peters (I presume given the restoration work) and leans in close to whisper “beautiful” into his ear. I think his pants just got tighter.

Back in the Vatican, Pope Daddy’s ranting about Crazy Friar and Catherina’s threat of ten more sons. Pope Daddy heard about Juan taking Benito prisoner and Catherine raising her skirts. Juan says that’s a lie. He captured her son, laid siege to the castle, and then Ludivico showed up and Benito died. Juan then drops his pants and shows his wounded leg as proof that he gave his all. And then it’s the battle again over whether Cesare could have sent a warning. Cesare taunts Juan a bit and I’m delighted. But Pope Daddy breaks things up with the reminder that “ridicule” is even worse than losing in battle.

Lulu enters the chambers where Calvino is staying (along with the caged panther). She asks for him and if it’s his brother who travels with him. Calvino, unknowing, indicated the room where Rafaelo is staying. Then she excuses herself saying she probably shouldn’t be there without a chaperone. Now she knows where to sneak off to later. She’s quite happy outside in the hallway.

Della Rovere walks in the market with taster boy, explaining the duties of the taster. The boy is concerned that the pope still has a taster, but Della Rovere insists God will show them the way.

Buddy de Caballos has been invited to stay at the Vatican as Cesare’s guest. But he’s got no interest in the game Cesare and others are playing. He really is a man of honor, and he’s bothered that they kill for more riches when they already have so much. He’ll be leaving before his body is “found floating in the Tiber.”

Taster boy asks Good Friar about the current taster. We learn Bernadino is a good man, a man of God. But Della Rovere asks if he serves a man of God.

Vanozza and Lulu are dining by a fire and mama asks which she shall choose between two different dessert plates. She cannot choose, she likes them both. Mama asks, “What’s your name?” She’s a Borgia. She can have both. And it doesn’t matter which plate represents which boy when she can marry one and have the other, or even have both at once. “After a while you’ll tire of both and take a lover.” Mama instructs her to eat. She takes of one plate and then the other. “Delicious,” she says without distinguishing which she speaks of. (I should state here, however, that her face shows a bit of uncertainty.)

Juan’s doctor has brought a man named Mohammed to help him. He’s instructed to go with the man and all will be well. Juan hobbles behind him through the market, leaning hard on his cane. They finally reach their destination—an opium den. Well at least we won’t have to hear him bitching for a while.

Back in the dungeon from earlier, Micheletto has come to visit “poor, poor Benito Sforza.” Micheletto asks if it would be a kindness to the boy to put him down. Benito asks if that’s because he’s his mother’s son and Micheletto says his mother is a whore. Well… usually I like Micheletto, but that’s just rude. He doesn’t kill the boy, however; he takes him with him because the boy must share his truth. The boy asks if he’s going to his death and gets the reply, “it remains to be seen.” As they leave, we see him step over the body of a dead guard. Hmm…

Micheletto is then seen walking down the steps of a church. It’s St. Peter’s. Pope Daddy is inside sifting through the debris and then he sees Benito who says he must speak with him. He starts to tell who he is and then he collapses in Pope Daddy’s arms. Pope Daddy sees the damage to him and asks what was done to him and Benito speaks. He’s here to tell what truly happened and then he collapses again. In a flash of lightning we see Cesare watching from behind a pillar.

Later than night, Pope Daddy confronts Juan coming home. Pope Daddy has the truth now and he asks of Catherina’s son Benito. Juan says the boy is dead. Pope Daddy says perhaps they should find someone else to lead the papal forces in Juan’s stead. Juan asserts his dedication to his family and the papal forces, but Daddy cuts him off and says in his condition he can’t defend anything, “Not even yourself.” Damn. Juan says there will be a price to pay if he’s robbed of his position and his respect. He pulls his sword and says if daddy takes his honor, he must take his life and then puts the sword tip to his neck. Daddy insists his estate remains in his hands and moves the sword away then helps his boy up so he can go to bed. Juan leaves saying he cannot rest.

Cesare’s on his way back to Florence when Cardinal Sforza stops him at the gate, his nephew Benito at his side. He says Pope Daddy has charged Cesare with returning the boy “to the one who gave him life.” Cesare looks put upon, but helps the boy onto his horse behind him. Micheletto is laying over the back of his own horse looking sexy, his face unreadable (but I’ve no doubt he disapproves).

Lulu bumps into Rafaelo in a public hall and “accidentally” drops something. He says he didn’t drop it but she insists she saw him drop it and says he should read it. Then she slips away. He looks after her down the hall after reading. Gonna be some nookie tonight!

And it’s nookie time. Rafaelo looks like he can’t believe his luck and I’m wondering if the boy’s a virgin they way he’s so enthralled. Lulu pours him some wine and slips out of her cloak to reveal she’s wearing a shear gown. Rafaelo asks if she’s saying yes to his brother. They keep kissing between words. Mmmm. “I’m saying yes to you,” she says. “I’ll say yes to your brother to keep you here.” She’s brought him the dessert treats from before, and what do you know? Rafaelo likes them both too. It gets hot and heavy and I heartily approve of the heavy breathing as well as the cinematography. And three cheers for the fact that Lulu is definitely getting her pleasure out of this. The best of the action is shot from above through a gauze canopy and it’s lovely as well as hot.

Next morning taster boys watches taster man in the market and sees he’s got a boy with him carrying the food from market. I think we’ve hatched a plan by the look in taster boy’s eyes. I’m thinking the servant boy isn’t long for this world.

Speaking of death… Micheletto and Cesare sit above a creek while Benito sits below. Micheletto says drowning is a peaceful death, “like dreaming,” but Cesare reminds them that Benito carries an olive branch. This doesn’t stop Micheletto from telling the boy of his offer to Cesare. Benito says, “they say drowning is like dreaming.” Ooh. Our boys weren’t as quiet as they thought.

Calvino is asserting how impressed he is with the beauty of Rome, which doesn’t even compare to the beauty of Lucrezia. He presents a ship representing his family’s fleet of ships and speaks of their shared Spanish heritage. He asks her to accept his proposal of marry and ally their families. She thanks him and gives her answer… Yes (spoken after looking over Calvino’s shoulder to his brother.) Everyone applauds, Daddy is happy, and Rafaelo looks a little heartbroken. I’m thinking he doesn’t really want to be the other man, especially now that he’s known Lulu.

In the woods outside Forli where the army camp sits in ruins, Cesare stops to release Benito with a reminder that he remember this moment of mercy. Micheletto suggests it was a mistake, but Cesare quotes Buddy de Caballos—he fights men not boys. Benito runs to the castle and Batman and Robin head off for Florence.

We see taster boy cover his head with his hood and follow Bernadino to where he sits fishing and then we get a voice-over of him requesting confession. Next we see taster boy back to back with Della Rovere confessing the murder of Brother Bernadino. He pushed him off the high bank into the river where he was weighted down by his robes. He asks, “Am I fulfilling my mission, Cardinal.” Della Rovere is both appalled and enthralled, replying, “More than I’d hoped.”

Just two more episodes and it looks awesome! See you next week.