THE BORGIAS “The Borgias In Love” Review

THE BORGIAS "The Borgias In Love" (Showtime)

THE BORGIAS “The Borgias In Love” Season 1 Episode 5 – Given my penchant for the darker side of humanity, I figured The Borgias would run right up my alley. But instead of dark, it’s dull. Unfortunately that’s what The Borgias has become.

Now, not all of it is dull. There are moments in which you can feel a pulse: Cesare’s rainy duel in the street, Juan’s nincompoop attitude regarding his betrothed, Lucrezia’s clueless yet kinda sweet seduction of Paulo (AKA Freddie from Skins). The Borgias reminds me of an inferior Boardwalk Empire: it’s beautiful to look at, for the most part well-acted, the subject matter is controversial and dark, there’s plenty of blood and lusty escapades, but there’s no life to it. Jeremy Irons seems completely wasted, relegated to mumbled plans and throwing some girl around his bed. The only times he shines are when he does a bit of subtle comic acting, in this episode his comic scenes came courtesy of his son Juan. Rodrigo’s exasperation at his son’s fairytale marriage fantasies were a delight to watch.

Speaking of fairytale, Lucrezia’s marriage, as we saw at the end of last week’s episode, is not going so well. Her husband has to desire to see her “Except when marital duties call. But I’ll keep them brief…business like.” What a charmer. The various scenes of her nightly rape were uncomfortable to watch, to say the least. I don’t know about you guys, but I find Holliday Grainger’s performance as Lucrezia bizarre. The opening scene of the episode I thought was a great concept, and the nightmare scenario almost worked until Lucrezia opened her mouth. Perhaps it was something so small as her inflection, but as soon as she spoke I found myself completely disconnected with that scene. Likewise, I cannot decide whether her character is naive and good or sweet and cunning. This is an aspect of her performance which I love: that I do not know how the character works makes her relatively unpredictable.

There was a lot of exposition in this episode. There was a guy stuck in a hole. Then he was poisoned. I have to say that I absolutely hate Della Rovere’s role in this show. It’s too detached from the Borgias, which I’m sure won’t be the case for very long, but regardless of how many atrocities are committed in front of him, his side of the show is very uninteresting.

I wasn’t crazy about this episode, though I like The Borgias, but I just wish the pacing would get better.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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