THE BORGIAS “The Art of War” Review

THE BORGIAS “The Art of War” Season 1 Episode 8 – Well, that’s it. The first season of The Borgias will end next week, but not to fear Borgias fans: unlike a myriad of network shows, The Borgias will be returning for a second season. It seems to be a pretty low key hit with Showtime: premiering right around the same time as AMC’s The Killing and HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Borgias is the only one of these three without a built in fan base-The Killing had the murder mystery lovers (and I count myself among them), plus the disgruntled fans of the original Dutch series. Meanwhile Game of Thrones…well, to say that I’ve spent more time than any reasonable human being should on fansites and HBO’s site for the series would be a huge understatement.

The Borgias meanwhile has Jeremy Irons leading a cast of pretty unknown (and pretty) actors. In this week’s episode, Lucretia and Guilia are captured by the French army after fleeing Lucretia’s Sforza’s husband (who doesn’t take too kindly to his wife leaving). Lucretia seduces the King of France and wraps him tight around her little finger. She even manages to stop a battle by literally riding out in the middle of the field between the armies of the pope (led by the utterly incompetent Juan Borgias) and France. If this sounds ridiculous, it is, but the directing and script makes it somewhat believable.

But really I was still on a high from the wonderful effects of the cannon. The way it ripped through the bodies of men, sending their limbs and flesh and blood spraying, was sickening. It wasn’t gratuitous in the way gore is often shown in visual entertainment, but truly hollow and sickening.

Cesare’s job in this episode was to fetch Juan from the whorehouses and put him up in a saddle with armor. Juan’s plan to defeat the French fails miserably. I love Juan. I think he’s a great character, far more interesting than Cesare and Lucrezia, even more interesting that Jeremy Irons’ Rodrigo.

He’s a screw up, malicious (see: his treatment of his younger brother’s wife, whom he refused on account of her illegitimate birth) lazy, arrogant and ignorant-a very dangerous combination. Juan is dangerous: he’s unpredictable, selfish and yet I can’t help but feel somewhat sorry for him. His father lets his awful behavior slip by simply because he expects no better of his son.

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

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