Da Vinci’s Demons Season 3 Season Finale Review

DaVinci's Demons 2015

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

Da Vinci’s Demons closed its run with a well-known quote from the Renaissance man himself**, one that I think encompasses how the creators approached this story for better or worse. As such, I give them credit for having a bold vision with engaging characters, while at the same time wishing they had stuck closer to the historical material. Viewed apart, I think each season presented a strong enough arc that kept me engrossed. Put together as a whole though, one can clearly see the seams showing through. And I’ve decided it all comes down to the MacGuffin known as The Book of Leaves, something that was completely unnecessary in portraying a da Vinci story. I understand wanting to make the show young, hip, and exciting to bring in an audience. At the same time, the plot revolving around the Book makes me believe the creators doubted either the intelligence or interest of the viewer to be invested in just the politics and economics that informed the world da Vinci lived in. The show was so close to this in Season 1. Yes, the Book was mentioned and alluded to, but the main arc revolved around the brewing Pazzi conspiracy and made for wonderful television. The story was smaller in scale but having the majority of the characters occupy the same space was more compelling. And instead of having Leo make his trek to the New World in search of the Book, the focus should have then moved to him helping to restore the rightful Pope back to power. The struggle between the two brothers, Francesco and Alessandro, would have paralleled nicely to Leo and Riario, two kindred spirits and opposite sides of the same coin.

**Though attributed to Andrea Verrocchio here

The fact that scenario didn’t happen ends up dampening my thoughts on Seasons 2 and 3 unfortunately. Now I reviewed Season 2 enthusiastically at the time, and still believe it handled certain aspects very well (especially the growth of Riario’s character), yet can only feel a bit let down now considering how Season 3 ended. In some ways, it makes sense The Book of Leaves was never found because no one should possess the type of power it supposedly had. At the same time, it had been the driving force for our main character since Episode 1, and thematically, the acquisition of it should have been fulfilled. Now I’m curious what a Season 4 would have revolved around. Would the search for the whole Book, versus one page, continue? Would it have been completely dropped since Leo had finally gotten a glimpse of his mother? It just leads me to believe the creators were flying by the seat of their pants. I get that. It happens in television all the time, usually with programs containing convoluted plots. I’m not saying erring closer to actual history would have made a difference but think it could have helped rein certain aspects in. Instead, we were presented a somewhat frustrating, albeit still entertaining, season and conclusion.

More Thoughts Regarding Specifics of Season 3

– Season and series MVP: Riario. I had never seen Blake Ritson prior to this and now pray he ends up in a Star Wars film. He’s that good and deserves it. Riario was the show’s Vader or Zuko, the guy always dealing with his own personal moral struggle. Would he preserve or fall into the abyss? The final episode gave something in the middle. He left the Labyrinth realizing it was not his true path only to be hoodwinked (in my opinion) by the Architect into believing he is a messenger from God. While I had no issue with the disposal of his father, his putting on the Papal ring felt completely at odds with everything Leo had tried to help him overcome. The better end would have been his death, understanding his sins and atoning for them.

– Season MYP runner up: Zo. No longer a reluctant friend of Leo’s, he became someone knowing how important the fight is, and even better, that he could help without needing Leo by his side.

– Death that hurt the most: Piero da Vinci. David Schofield is so so good.

– Most improved: Lucrezia, Season 3 giving her many powerful beats to play, whether with her father, Sophia, or the final moment with Leonardo.

– New addition I approved of: Sophia, played with a gusto and warmth by Sabrina Bartlett. Did you know da Vinci had 17 half-siblings??

– “I didn’t think I needed to see him again but am glad he reappeared” Award: Vlad Dracula

– “They deserved better” Award: Lorenzo and Clarice

– “Ugh” Award: the pairing of Lorenzo and Vanessa. Don’t care that he adopted Giuliano’s son in real life. That romantic pairing was not needed.

– So the Labyrinth and Sons of Mithras are still out there. I was not a fan at all of Francesco being a member of the latter yet can’t deny my curiosity of wanting to see him and the Architect meet.

– As I predicted in my premiere review, I figured Leo would be like Batman and not go along with the Sons of Mithras (the League of Shadows called- they want their idea back). Thankfully I was right.

– I haven’t even mentioned Tom Riley yet! While his Leonardo da Vinci may have not been the most dynamic character presented, I thought he did a fine job inhabiting some very big shoes.