Da Vinci's Demons Season 1 Finale Review: Florentine Psycho

Da Vinci's Demons S01E08: "The Lovers"

Well, it's been a long, strange trip with Leonardo and his gang of merry... whatever we want to call them. Friends, I guess? Over the course of the eight episodes that've gotten us here, I've come to the conclusion that Leonardo Da Vinci would have been a difficult guy to be pals with, at least in this incarnation. His drive to accomplish whatever his project-of-the-moment happens to be is so strong that it tends to override every other aspect of his life. I'm not saying that this Leo is about to go murder some hookers with a renaissance chainsaw, but I wouldn't have been terribly surprised if he gave Lucrezia the Patrick Bateman/Evelyn treatment and finally just admitted, "You're just not terribly important to me." 

Except, well, he went back to Florence to save all of those silly nobles after all, which negates some of what I just said—but he didn't really want to, and if he misses that boat when Da Vinci's Demons returns for Season 2 (and c'mon, you know he's totally going to miss it) he's gonna be PISSED. 

Poor Lucrezia—finally winning my sympathy for, like, ten whole seconds—gave voice to the thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on when it came to Leo and why people bothered to try to hang out with him. It's not so much that he's a fun guy (though I'm sure he's a hoot when he's hammered), and it's not that he'll do anything for his friends because frankly, he probably won't, but Leo is the sun of enlightenment, knowledge, heroism, and the future, and everybody just wants to catch some of those rays. 

The idea of everything orbiting around Leonardo and Leonardo's mere presence, in turn, influencing the story was the simplest and more interesting visual of the Da Vinci's Demons finale—especially considering that, over the course of the season, I've consistently found the peripheral characters' arcs to be more compelling.

Vanessa is preggers with Guiliano's bastard spawn which I kind of saw coming, but whatever. Guilano didn't really die when Lucrezia shanked him, but I forced myself to curb my enthusiasm for his "resurrection" because I read the Wikipedia article about the Pazzi Conspiracy ahead of time. I'MMA MISS YOUR CHEEKINESS, BOO. 

But kudos to Pazzi for not trying to fumble his way through an excuse when Guiliano crashed mass to blab about the vast conspiracy. Nope, he just went right for the DIE YUPPIE SCUM part of the routine and kickstarted our swashbuckling Leo action. 

Meanwhile, the Pope met with Lucrezia's dad for a chat and a game and we learned that they're twins and that Papa Lucrezia has been working with his Holiness the entire time. OH. EEW. So Lucrezia has the worst family ever and I'm not sure if the revelation that she and Riario are cousins makes his constant referrals to her as a whooooooore more or less creepy. He didn't hesitate to take her hostage and smack her around when he learned that she hadn't been assassinated by his men after all. Wow. And I thought my family was effed up. 

Lucrezia saved Clarice, but failed to save herself, and Leo was getting there, but Lorenzo suddenly sucked at sword fighting, so he got distracted. Lorenzo was eternally grateful for the save until he saw Lucrezia's ring around Leo's neck, and then it was all, "If we survive this, I'mma kill you both so hard." Rude, Lorenzo. Just rude. 

Aaaand then boom. Credits. For a second there, I thought my screener was malfunctioning because while Da Vinci's Demons has often ended with cliffhangers, they haven't been quite so sheer, dropping off right there in the middle of all the action. It was a good move for keeping the excitement going into the upcoming second season, particularly since—for me, at least—the series never quite grabbed me the way its network siblings Spartacus or Magic City have. 

Da Vinci's Demons is a good show, but I have to stop short of calling it a "great" show because sometimes, tuning in was a real chore. I never grew to care about Leonardo the way I cared about pretty much everyone except Leonardo (and Lucrezia, but even she managed to make me emote by the end of this finale). Admittedly, that could very much just be a "me" problem; as with every TV series, fans attach themselves to the characters who appeal to them for reasons that are unique and diverse. On Series X, I like Character A the best and you like Character B the best and while neither of us is wrong, our allegiances will affect our enjoyment of that series. Go check out any active Supernatural community and you'll find that opinions of this past season vary sharply, depending on whether you're talking to a Sam fan or a Castiel fan. That's the most obvious (and oh so vocal) fanbase I can think of, but the basic concept applies. 

Still, "The Lovers" was a fast-paced and exciting finale with an ending that even has moi—someone who's admittedly become a pretty passive Da Vinci's Demons fan—eager to see the resolution. And that's one of the best things a season finale can do, keeping the excitement going for fans who'd never lost it while roping those who'd wandered astray back in. As part of the latter group, it's a place where I'm very happy to be. 

QUESTIONS:

– Do you think el capitan was undercover with Riaro and the Pazzis the entire time, or was his decision to switch sides a spur-of-the-moment thing? 

– Will you be tuning in when Da Vinci's Demons returns for its second season? If so, what do you hope to see?

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The series is a mixture of several historian facts about several different prominent families in that particular medieval renaissance era. Family members for instance cousins are like mortal enemies competing for the highest titles, allies for military purposes and ducets or as we no it as Money. Combining the works of "Leonardo Di Vinci" into the political ramafacations is what brings fiction into non-fiction. Which appeals to a wide variety audience. In our generation most will debate to the same policies and ethics we are facing today as to politicians replacing those with people from their own circle. I believe the series is a spin off of the Borgias series with respect that Count Riorio marries Caterina Sforza during that time.
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What I don't understand is Lorenzo and Leonardo already had a 'I'm sleeping with your married lover' char earlier in the episode, a little more subtly alright, but it happened, so how the hell could Lorenzo be suprised at the end...when he already knew, ruined a good finale and left us with an unbelievable final line...
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By the way i'm still waiting for Ezio showing up.
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Please kill Lucrezia. And I hope this doesn't follow the plot of Assassin's Creed: the Vault of Heaven, history is a lie, something's hidden in America... Next season we'll get the Auditore family in it.
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Leonardo Da Vinci really seems like an Assassin's Creed spin-off, with it's conspiracies and magical artifacts
The show seems to be invested in the theory that says that Leonardo Da Vinci's mother was an Arab (telegraph. co. uk/news/worldnews/1571851/Leonardo-Da-Vinci-may-have-been-an-Arab.html)
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Strangely I root for everyone on this show: Leo, Lucretia, the DiMedicis, Riario, doofus Nico and the guy from Hook, even the pope(!) and his brother Grampa Simpson, the mysterious sage/brother of Mithras ...
It's a fun show, with not so much of a story and my fascination with it comes from the lack of it - at the end of seas 1 I can fill the many blanks with my own imagination and maybe this will surprise me, delight me - or disappoint me utterly in the coming season(s). But I don't care as long as it is that much entertaining.
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CAN'T WAIT FOR SEASON 2
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Although it never lived up to the promise of its premise, "Da Vinci's Demons" ultimately wasn't a bad show. It's silly as all hell (what else to expect from a Starz show?), but light, sometimes funny, always beautiful to look at, and, most of the time, entertaining... But, if you have to compare it to its network predecessors, it's hard to not see it has a failure - yeah, every single incarnation of "Spartacus" were WAY BETTER than it is, but the same can be for "Magic City" and the cancelled "Boss". All and all, this show is basically for me what "Camelot" was a couple of years ago: good, but far from being great. Unlike that last one, though, it was given the chance to make itself better the second time around, so, hopefully, Goyer and his team will be able to find solutions to its problem when the next season rolls out.
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Lucrezia must die. She is beyond redemption!.
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I'm confused. Is Lucrezia's dad the actual pope, imprisoned by his evil twin - ala The Man in the Iron Mask? Was that the point the show was trying to get across by showing his face?
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An interrogation: Do you think it's a coincidence that we have a series based on Hanibal Lecter and that Thomas Harris's 1999 novel Hannibal features a character named Rinaldo Pazzi, a corrupt policeman descended from the Pazzi family; who ended up being disemboweled in the same way Bernardino Pazzi was and hanged during this same referenced conspiracy?What do you think?
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You think there is a connection between the existence of the show Hannibal and the fact that there was a Pazzi character in Thomas Harris' book 3rd book featuring the character of Hannibal? That makes zero sense to me.
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I forget that people don't know me. I am particularly interested in synchronicity, which is why I am asking if this does qualify or make sense; and your answer is no which is as valid as any other response :)
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Poor Giuliano was such a nice guy, brought joy to Vanessa, but he wasn't the sharpest pencil in the box, and he had a big mouth. First he tells Riario how many cannons Florence has. Then tells Lucrezia Bettino is innocent so she kills him. Then he confronts Lucrezia and is outsmarted by her. Finally he tells Dragonetti Lucrezia is a spy and only by sheer luck doesn't get killed by him. His heart was in the right place, but not his mouth.
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Guiliano!!!! NOOOOO! :(
At least he got there in time to blow the lid of that sucka......and he found out about the baby before he checked out. Aww Vanessa :(

I'm not sure if I want Lorenzo to survive BUT my girl Clarice and the babies are safe so......yeah whatevs 'Zo lol.

So the Pope has a twin - okaaay *shrugs*

Francesco has got to be the WORST co-conspirator ever. Even if Guiliano didn't get there in time, anybody else could have taken one look at his face and known shenanigans were afoot. Did you see his face when Lorenzo was about to receive communion? Even when he was outside of the church, dude was moving like he had ants in his pants. Really Francesco? Why you so high strung? Ease up on the espresso dude *smh*

Lucrezia - why is she still alive? *eyeroll*

LMAO at how fast Lorenzo went from "let me love you" to "if we survive this I'll kill you both". Oh Lorenzo, I made up my mind. I want you to survive...........just for the LOLs.

Oh, I almost forgot my dude Riario. He continues to be so sassy and awesome <3 him.

"Do you think el capitan was undercover with Riaro and the Pazzis the entire time, or was his decision to switch sides a spur-of-the-moment thing?" <<< Spur of the moment.

"Will you be tuning in when Da Vinci's Demons returns for its second season?" <<< Yes.

"If so, what do you hope to see?" <<< More Nico & Zoroaster and definitely more sassy Riario LOL. And please no Lucrezia....pretty please.
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No way! Lucrezia is just too sexy to die! And she's full of complexities as well as full of herself. I hope to see much more of her.
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to sexy to die~~LOL
I'm sure they could find many other sexy woman for the show. However I did like how she tried to redeem (partially) herself;-)
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Objectively speaking, she's a nice surprise in the series, (but so were the actors who play Leonardo, the Medici brothers, Riario, and sweet lovely Vanessa). Laura Haddock has somewhat exaggerated, but still harmonious facial features that catch a man's attention from the very first moment. yes, there are plenty of other sexy women around, but Laura is absolutely unique.

OK, about the character, I'm not so sure about her "redemption". She had a strong argument with Leonardo, but I didn't see any really valid points there. Clearly the actress defends her character with passion and intensity, but the writing doesn't help her much there. Lucrezia did it all to free her father, but went waaaay over the line there.

Oh, well, at least... in the melee, she did stab a bad guy for a change. Yay...
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Oh, and Catholic priests with their white habits stained with blood, brandishing swords and trying to kill a woman and her children... That was hilarious! What's next? Catholic priests fuming at their mouths?

I notice that Catholic priests are usually shown as downright evil on American TV, unless it's the traditional plot of whether a priest should divulge the contents of a criminal's confession, in which case the priest is good but misguided by a stupid Catholic sacrament, because in the end it turns out he should have told everything.

On the other hand, Protestant ministers are usually shown as honorable good people and moral pillars of their community. I wonder if that happens because the USA is mostly a Protestant country.
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Oh, and if we're going to make a man of the cloth a rapist it will usually be a protestant.
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You must be one of those diddlin lovin Catholics.
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Or is it because America has the most child-diddling catholic priests per capita of any country by a factor of a hundred?
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Talk about America. Where did all the Catholics come from,Europe. That's right, They be bringin' all that nasty altar boy chompin' to every country they land in.
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Which of course doesn't make all Catholic Priests bad. Here all Evangelists seem to want is our money and to demonize other religions.
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That's what all Christian denominations want, whether Catholic or Protestant. They even send people to other countries to do it (when I was a kid this was largely tho not exclusively English-speaking countries to non-English-speaking countries, but I am not up on current proselytization fads).
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I have to say that I don't remember ever seeing an evangelical minister portrayed as anything other than hypocritical and greedy, and very much in the villain role
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Not trying to debate religion. Trying to let you know what kind of "press" the catholic church has in America, which is likely to determine how it is portrayed on American television. Imagine a world where at 6:00 on the news you hear about how the cardinal of new york covered for a bishop who covered up a priests heinous crimes and then at 8pm you watch a tv show where the catholic church is the good guys. That's not going to ring true in America, so hollywood isn't going to write it that way.
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The last thing I wanted was to start a debate about religion itself, but more of a consideration on how it is portrayed on American television.
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I know, I'm just postulating that it is more "earned" than that, at least in recent decades. Not due to people thinking all priests are child molesters, but probably more due to the systemic way american bishops covered it up for decades, and turned it a big scandal well covered in the media. Most catholic priests and bishops whose names americans have ever known have literally been criminals. Maybe they know the names of one or two local priests and a bishop, but the large majority of names they'd know are from court reporting and botched press releases.
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That's interesting. I've seen no difference in tithing policy between protestants and catholics in the places I've been either at home or in the mission field. Mind you, that's not a huge sample size. The only difference I've noticed with regards to money is that the catholic church has a whole lot more of it. I assume that's old money though, not from tithing.
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Anyway, what I was trying to say initially is that there are good and bad priests in any religion, but American TV is much harsher on Catholics and more lenient with Protestants, and maybe that has to do with the American Protestant tradition.
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Yes, but Protestant Evangelists constantly include the topic of money in their sermons, how important it is to be economically prosperous, and to even join their church you have to agree to donate ten percent of your income. They usually choose people with popularity in their respective communities to be the new pastors, despite their lack of religious background, as long as that attracts paying customers. They wear dress shirts and ties like cheap car salesmen and their temples are spreading all over. It's a booming business! That doesn't happen in a Catholic church here.
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Hmmm, not a single picture of Lucrezia in the review. I have the feeling our dear lady reviewer doesn't like our beloved and misunderstood (and extremely sexy) spy, and is boycotting her.

Anyway, I loved this show and found it highly entertaining, and hope to see more of it in season 2. The only problem is living with the terrible doubt whether Leonardo Da Vinci will survive... No, seriously writers. We know he will, and pretty much can be sure Lorenzo will also, so it was just an "OMG-how-are-they-gonna-escape-this-ordeal" kind of cliffhanger most of all, which doesn't justify cutting in the middle of a scene.

Meanwhile, since I live in South America, I might just as well start looking for the Book of Leaves around here. Who knows, I might even find it. However, I have a pretty good idea where it can be found: in Warehouse 13.
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That's not really the cliffhanger. The cliffhanger is will they escape together or will one sell the other out somehow.
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No, even though selling each other out could be another possibility, I'd still say it's about how they escape, that is, how Leonardo will his use his technical genius to get them out of that pickle. Just like when he did with when he came up with the multi-barreled cannon or the giant fake crossbow.
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"Guilano didn't really die when Lucrezia shanked him, but I forced myself to curb my enthusiasm for his "resurrection" because I read the Wikipedia article about the Pazzi Conspiracy ahead of time"

SO DID I! Damn them for the fake-out Guiliano death that led me to research when Guiliano died!
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This is supposed to be the dead time for TV but it gives you TV dot com staffers a chance to really shine with your reviews of stuff that probably wouldn't get reviewed if it were October. But shine you are and have had some great articles--like this one and Continuum and Tim's homoerotic article on Revolution. FTW--TV dot com's reviews of late...
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It is a good time to review The Listener for example.
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I don't care about any of the characters at all. Maybe DaVinci's mom, is she enjoying retirement in Miami? I got distracted halfway through the finale, paused it, and forgot I was watching it for an hour or more. What I retained:
That guy who died in the last episode died in this episode.
That guy who is doing that girl that other guy is doing knows the other guy is doing her, too.
Fire.
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Ughh...duh!? (In Sterlin Archer's voice). Can't wait for season 2
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I don't think the explosion killed Da Vinci...LOL
not much of a cliffhanger in that aspect;-)
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Yeah, they thought they had to end this with a cliffhanger and that was what they came up with. It kind of says a lot of modern tv series, this must have a cliffhanger to finish a season. I, for one, am adult enough not to consider this a necessary ending for a season and could do without one if this is what lame ending we have.
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Isn't the cliffhanger about what will happen now that guy 1 knows about girl 1 and guy 2? Will they continue to work as a team against the common enemy or will they abandon each other? I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers either, but I think this one is more about the alliances of next season than it is about the actual action of the scene.
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still not that interesting to me~but you know I was joking about the death of da vinci being a cliffhanger since it obviously doesn't happen (even moronic tv writers know the viewers aren't that stupid--I hope).

I was hoping they took a more unusual course and more mystical/sci fi route by having him leave the church and make the boat (and pick up the "thing" he left at the dock).

Lorenzo needs Da Vinci more then the reverse (I think...not sure).
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Well, when Rialo called her cousin,and with the Captain's redeffection to Camp Medici, I think Lucrezia's secret is out. I think this will mend differences between both men.But we agree that it's just too silly.
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I am actually more cocncerned that Lorenzo assumed that Leo slept with Lucrezia just like that. for all he knew, she gave him the ring to give her father. Okay, they did sleep together, but I still am rather offuscated that it has to be a given. I'm a feminist that way :)
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why blame da vinci more then lucrezia? I never understood that (blame the other person) about people who were betrayed by their love/spouse/etc.

It's not like Da Vinci and Lorenzo were best buddies or family members...what a hypocrite~Lorenzo has a married woman as his lover so he is also an "other person"

What do you expect when having an affair with a cheater? duh, they will cheat on you (a stereotype but still a higher probability)
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da vinci demons for a plot to run 8 eps rome vs florence, pope vs banker brothers & book of leaves for da vinci,,then d finale leaving u hanging is a bit of a cheapshot way of trying to make sure ppl return next season i feel,,,,or do they simply don't have more content or a new plot for Season 2 in d first place so just drag d same plot to another Season?
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Costuming is great, acting very good, but the story is WTF?
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I don't understand why people are so surprised about everyone having swords in the church. I mean, for one thing, this is renaissance Italy we're talking about. Carrying those fancy swords was a mark of nobility, like, have you seen a shop keeper with a shiny foil at their hip? Nobles carried them everywhere and at all times. Plus, a good bunch of those guys (yes, including the priests) are about to assassinate the ruling family and start a coup. You don't go into that kind of thing unarmed, that'd be stupid. Even if Lorenzo and his family did take the poison, there was no telling how other gathered (Medici loyalists) would react.
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I didn't think priest carried swords in church but I may be wrong since I am not an expert in that field.
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Only when they are about to commit murder ;) It was the 2 priests (Stefano da Bagnone and Antonio Maffei da Volterra) who had the job of stabbing Lorenzo, which is why they has those knives. They never actually tried to poison them in the church; if they had done, it probably would have worked!
I think it would have been less confusing if the show had just kept to how things actually happened and not added the poison element. I guess it added a bit of suspense, but not much.
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I must of missed it because I thought they did try to poison them! Thanks for clarifying that
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Sorry, just to clarify. I meant in real life, they didn't try to poison them. They did in the show, and I think that's what caused the confusion. Something I just added to!
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I also disagree on you about Leonardo. I couldn't care less about every other character except him. The center plot around the Book of Leaves, and the science fiction parts are the only interesting things about this show. You take that away and you have the recent cancelled and utterly boring Borgias... I cannot wait for him to go to America and "reboot" the series on an entirely different setting and characters... Obviously that is never going to happen, but one can hope...
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I think this is a weird show. And yet, I've watched every episode, even though I lost the plot early on. I don't understand the show, I can't even say that I like the show. I will of course be tuning in for season two.
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Well said...
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I don't agree with your assessment of De Vinci
He is not as cold as you make him up to be and at the end of the day
he will do the right thing.He may sulk on it like a bitter child but he won't
leave the people he care for to die
I also think the cliffhanger was kind of bad
They didn't leave us with some mystery to look forward to in the next season
like Leo after saving the Medici went on the boat
and the episode cut of as he get to the new land
instead they just faded out suddenly in the middle of the action.
It may be a good way to cut a two episode story arc in the middle of a season
but not as a cliffhanger of a season final.
Who is going to remember what happen what happen in the episode
in a few months
You lose all the suspense of the action scene
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I still think he shoulda left florence and let lorenzo die fucking ungrateful little prick in the end, although that would fuck with history in which he ended up not dead in reality.
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it depends on scheds if i will tune in..now i never say that with dexter,throne,true blood,and many more..so hmmmm
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Can't wait for season 2! This show is a real winner and keeps you thinking and gets the imagination flowing.
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It was a decent finale. I wish they would have focused a little more on the Book of Leaves. But the politics were all right and the conundrum of Leo was pretty good. The ending was a little iffy for one being intimidated and defeated by Pazzi was a little too unbelievable not because the real person probably could have done what he did. But the actor playing him is just not believable to be able to be Lorenzo. Speaking of Lorenzo him getting pissed at Leo for,having sex with Lucrezia and swearing to kill him as Leo was there patching him up was again kind of silly. Perhaps later when they are safe. But at that point it seemed more that the show runners were squeezing it in.

Overall good. I will pick it up,next season.
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I agree with your assessment of the characters. I like Leo's quirkiness but he's probably not someone I'd consider a friend who has your back. If Lucrezia survives I hope they don't turn this into a love story of her and Leo (I don't think they will).

Yeah, the sword in the church (especially the priest) was a stretch.

Giulino was more interesting then his brother (more unpredictable, wilder, hotter, and more charismatic) and I wish he didn't die. But his dying spared up the "forbidden love" between him and the tavern wench. I'm not anti-love stories but I don't care for it on this show...at least I haven't yet.

I like the mythros (??) guy who is Da Vinci's guide--the actor/character is interesting.

Why did Da Vinci just leave that "compass/navigator or thingy he found...left it at the docks...?" He is always leaving stuff behind (remember the spear)

el capitan---it seemed like he had a change of heart (wouldn't you after that dinner scene)

I'll watch season 2 since I enjoyed this season but it wasn't a must see show...I'd catch up on other current shows first.

Spartacus was a billion times better but it's still a fun show (if nothing better on)

Great review MaryAnn!
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It didnt feel like a season finale, more like an episode before a finale. Giulino dying was a disappointment, as i preferred him to his brother.
It went a bit silly with the fight in the church, with everyone bringing swords to an assassination involving poison (where did the priests pull their swords from), and all the swords were unsheathed after the priests told Giulino that NO SWORDS were permitted.
I'll watch season 2 because it is entertaining, but mainly because there is not much else to watch on a Friday
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What bothered me was not the fighting in Church, as I have knowledge of massacres in church in far more recent history; but that the officiating priests getting on the killing and threatening Clarice and the girls.I understand family bonds, but I have come to understand that a priest renounces his family to become part of the family of God.
Lucrezia had indeed among the worst families of all time, but like you, I have no sympathy for her. There is a limit to what one would do, even for one's father. My dad would never have asked me to do all the things she did, where he in the same situation.
I am afraid that as part of an aristocratic family, I am well placed to say that swords were not only permitted but a necessity anywhere tey went. Especially in times of war. However, the swords worn were parade swords mostly, not the lethal weapons, so from that perspective it was weird that Lorenzo would wear the weapon.
What is interesting in this series is that they highlightened an obvious parallel between the name Leonardo (Bold Lion), a sun sign in astrology and the Mithras cult. The obsession Da Vinci seems to have in the series for the cult cannot be sustained only by the love for his mother. It looks more like a metaphor for the progress of the times. this is why Leo is not sympathico, because progress for its own sake has a Spock quality to the people it touches, if you follow my drift.
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