The Borgias the Second Season
enough intrigue, betrayal, action and melodrama in The Borgias to
rival the best moments of 2010’s outstanding miniseries,
The Pillars of the Earth.
sees Pope Alexander VI juggling a multitude of threats, from both within
and without his stronghold in Rome. His daughter Lucrezia is faced with
the prospect of finding a husband again, after the failed marriage to
Giovanni Sforza. His two sons, Cesare and Juan, continue to play out a
bitter rivalry, while his mistress and ex-lover come together in an
attempt to stop corruption within the Vatican.
There is a
large ensemble of characters, each coming and going from the series as
his or her individual story arc slowly simmers away. Most enjoyable is
watching the interplay between all of the conflicting factions: There’s
King Charles of France on one side, the defiant Sforza clan on the
other, the Borgias themselves, and a renegade group of priests who have
ambitions of lopping the gilded head off the Catholic church. There are
only ten episodes, but each one furthers the story in some way, and it
never feels like filler.
character of Rodrigo Borgias has many different sides. A will to see
Rome restored to its vibrant former self and a profound love for his
family, are often at odds with bloodthirsty ambition and a ravenous
appetite for pleasure. Jeremy Irons is great in this role, as he appears
to have mellowed somewhat with age. Had he played Borgia earlier in his
career, he might have come across as an outright tyrant; but here he
looks completely natural, even likeable. Although he commits despicable
acts on screen, it’s ever so hard to despise him.
the way with most of the characters: They’re so hard to hate. Even the
worst of them still has some inkling of a redeeming quality, and it
makes watching The Borgias a true tug of war for your mind.
The world of the Borgias: This is made
up of several short featurettes, each dealing with a different
aspect of the historical setting, such as gunpowder, the
Renaissance, and the Catholic Church. These are interesting, but a
lot of the footage repeats from one featurette to the next.
?The art of fencing: An expert in
real-life fencing takes us through the important differences between
sword-fighting in reality, and sword-fighting for the camera.
?Instruments of torture: A grisly, but
entertaining, examination of the various methods of torture in
?The Borgia poison: Poison plays so
prominent a role in the Borgias that it’s almost an extra character.
Here, an expert explains the real-life version, and gleefully tells
you how long you’d have to live after ingesting the substance.
Borgias continues to make great use of its rich period setting. This is
drama on a grand scale.