Da Vinci's Demons "The Hierophant" Review: Best Laid Plans...

Da Vinci's Demons S01E07: "The Hierophant"


In a modern Tarot deck, the Hierophant card is also called the Pope, which is appropriate because "The Hierophant" was a pretty pope-y episode of Da Vinci's Demons leading into next week's finale. The Hierophant card also carries an array of accompanying associations, including power, knowledge, tradition, deception, and status quo—concepts which also featured prominently in "The Hierophant" as Da Vinci did the Batman thing and used his genius to sneak into the deepest recesses of the Vatican and my precious Guiliano (who I'd recently taken to calling "the fun Medici" in my head) got shanked by Lucrezia because the Donatis are totally the worst. 

Seriously, this week we met her aunt and her dad and they are the worst. When Leonardo Da Vinci wanders into your jail cell and unlocks it, YOU LEAVE—especially when your imprisonment is supposedly what's motivating your daughter to be the worst. Ugh, Lucrezia, I was supposed to like you after the assassination attempt, not hate you (not to mention your whole family) more than I thought possible.

Whatever, at least we got Nico and Zoroaster being bumbling badasses, Vanessa being delightful, and Clarice bringing the sass at communion. Clarice has the best sass. 

And I do have one nice thing to say with regard to Lucrezia after "The Hierophant," but just one: When Leonardo had a vision of her during his sleepwalk/acid trip/drunken stupor, I briefly feared that she'd already been assassinated and that him seeing her amounted to some kind of timey-wimey message from the dead thing. I was relieved when it was revealed as just another one of Leo's spells. 

Also good: when Lucrezia's dad asked Leonardo whether he loved her and Leonardo said he didn't know... although I guess that's more of a gold star for Leonardo and the writers of Da Vinci's Demons than it is for Lucrezia. Over the course of the season, it's been made very clear that Leonardo Da Vinci is a special snowflake who is in love with knowledge and not so much people (except for, like, his mom), and even though Leo and Lucrezia have their "thing" and he at the very least doesn't hate her, to have him declare her his soulmate would have been the worst—and not just because Lucrezia is the worst, but because it would've made absolutely zero sense when you look at the way this Leonard Da Vinci has been written. Plus, if you think about it, those two barely know each other outside of their super-secret sexytimes, and no one but Taylor Swift in that terrible symbology-scrambled song of hers thinks insta-love like Romeo and Juliet's is an actual thing. 

Da Vinci's Demons has brought the action hard as we careen toward next week's finale, and in my humble opinion, I find that the more action-packed episodes work best in terms of both enjoyability and functionality. The historical aspect of the series provides a lush backdrop to experiment with, allowing the show to reinterpret and re-imagine whatever scarce details we have a concrete understanding of, but if I was any kind of dedicated Da Vinci scholar hoping to see even a vague reflection of my studies in Da Vinci's Demons, I'd probably spend a lot of time screaming at the TV. 

So when Da Vinci's Demons just goes with its loose interpretations without trying to force the narrative to fit neatly into a history book—but offers just enough acknowledgement of the facts to reassure those of us who've at least skimmed the Wikipedia articles (guilty!) that the writers aren't just pulling stuff out of their asses—the show is a fun and pretty romp through CGI-fied Florence that never feels quite as epic as its predecessor Spartacus, or as mature as its network sibling Magic City, but still manages to maintain its core philosophy regarding knowledge for all and the true meaning of freedom. 


"The Hierophant" had everything a penultimate episode needs, resolving a few—but not all—of the mysteries that have plagued Da Vinci's Demons' characters since the beginning of the season. It introduced Leonardo to the key around Riario's neck that complimented his own. It revealed to Guiliano, and more importantly, Leonardo, the truth about Lucrezia's activities. And it set up the Pazzi Conspiracy to eliminate Lorenzo and Guiliano... though Lucrezia's unexpected murder of Guiliano will certainly alter the Pazzis'—and their conspirators'—plans. All in all, the episode raised the stakes with the loss of Guiliano and even, to an extent, with sweet-and-sometimes-dumb Nico's foray into torture and revenge; his treatment of Riario resulted in both Zoroaster and Leonardo expressing their dismay at Nico's lost innocence. Leonardo insisted on leaving Riario tied to a tree, but otherwise unharmed, despite Nico's desire to see the Pope's nephew punished for his wide range of wrongs, including his abduction and torment of Nico himself a few episodes ago. Leonardo stated that "to be haunted by your mistakes... is a fate worse than death," and by the conclusion of "The Hierophant," I think everyone had experienced some variation of Leonardo's words themselves. 


NOTES

– Wait... so did the Jesus spear actually do what the Pope said it would do? And Leo just left it behind?

– I LOLed at the fact that Mr. "Doin' it for God and Country" Pazzi couldn't actually quote any Bible verses, or even make up something credible. But then I was sad because 500 years later, peeps are basically doing the same thing. 

– I was really hoping to understand the Donatis more after this episode, but now I think I'm just more confused. What's your take? Did I miss something? I was was totally on-board with jailbird-daddy-as-leverage until he refused to escape. WTF. 

– "Your palace is a prison with better linens." Word. Bar wenches > princesses. Totally.


What'd you think of "The Hierophant"?

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Lucrezia always annoys the crap out of me, but this time she's really gone too far, stabbing Giuliano. I was hoping that the outcome of this episode would be her death, but I guess they're serious about keeping her as one of the main characters. Boo. I'd rather see Leo with Lorenzo Medici, or better yet, Riaro. ;) Though it also occurred to me that maybe Riario is his half brother. . . so perhaps not.

Yeah, so, down with Lucrezia. And those fucking Pazzis!

As you say, Giuliano (hopefully alive?!), Vanessa, and Clarice are the best. :D
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I hope Giuliano is not dead, he was floating on his back! i like him... a lot!!. I was happy when Leonardo didnt say he loves that Lucrezia. The man's first love is knowledge (and the uncovering of mysteries) , up until this episode he quite couldnt crack the mystery that was Lucrezia (to him!!), now he knows the lady played part in his temporary incarceration...please dont forgive that!. "to be haunted by your mistakes... is a fate worse than death" .....Ish! dude just left Riario alive! , so, for whom was that witty-ditty spewed? ..


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I hope there are no apples of Eden involved. But seriously, how silly can this show get? So far Leonardo has discovered America, scuba diving, artillery, automatons, flight and possibly time travel... What's next? The first moon landing?
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You make a good point about the history being a little suspect, and needing to suspend your disbelief a little bit. I would imagine that those well-versed in this time period would be screaming at every inconsistency, as I'm sure there are many. Personally, the majority of my knowledge of the time period is from the Assassin's Creed series. Still waiting for Ezio de Auditore to show up...
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Am I the only one who noticed the Ark of the Covenant? Just hoping they'll return to it in a future episode, just imagine the conversation: "We´ll have to get rid of this thing...let´s bury it!" "But where?" Then the Turk would appear: "Egypt. I will take it to the Well of Souls, on the outskirts of Cairo."
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"to be haunted by your mistakes... is a fate worse than death," - yeah, my thought exactly as you walked away and left Riario ALIVE! HATE it when sefl-righteous characters say things like that in tv shows. It ALWAYS comes back to haunt them when they call themselves taking the morally highy road and leave the enemy alive. Not just any enemy, one that would kill them and anyone they love in a heartbeat. Come ON! Other than that, the ep was okay.

Sad to see Guliano go but I had a feeling that would happen. Thought either he'd die fighting those assassins or Leo would show up at the last minute and kill him to save Lucrezia. I did notice him still breathing too but wasn't sure how to take that since he was still sinking by the time the credits popped up.

I think Lucrezia's dad is playing the long game. He's there for a reason so I didn't really trip when he didn't leave. We'll see what he's up to later.
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First of all, I know our reviewer is a lady, but as a guy I demand MORE CLOSEUPS OF LUCREZIA in the reviews!

Second, let's make one thing clear. Lucrezia is one of the good guys. You see, the Pope or Riario make evil plans, their mustaches twitch, and they smirk. Riario poisons a guy and makes a joke about it. Lucrezia, on the other hand, has targeted just about every good guy in the story so far. But she does that with GUILT. She killed Bennetti, and GUILT! She frames Leonardo, and she feels TERRIBLY CONFLICTED. She then shanks Guiliano and leaves him to die and her face shows TOTAL DISGUST. She's deep and has a good heart. But meanwhile she keeps killing and killing and killing good guys.

By the way, I swear I saw Giuliano breathing while floating in the river. I don't know if that means that he lives, that he's dying or just bad acting. In this show, it could go any way.

LOL! Da Vinci's Demons is quite interesting. I love watching a new episode at lunch on Saturday after working the whole morning, but let's face it' it gets so ridiculous at times that it feels more like a comedy than fantasy drama. Lucrezia's built which yet doesn't make her change an inch from her criminal behavior is one of the best moments of silliness, especially when it gets to those proportions.

Oh, and Leonardo as Batman? James Bond? A steampunk Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible? That's too great to ignore.

And the Vatican Secret Archives... A dragon's skull: where Leonardo meets Game of Thrones. Plus, King Arthur's Excalibur, and the Spear of Destiny! But that was propping the bad guy's body so nicely against the wall, so it would be a pity to remove it, right?

I just hope Lucrezia doesn't get killed. SHE'S GORGEOUS! She's a femme fatale in the best film noir tradition.
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Feeling guilty about doing horrible things doesn´t make you a good person! Most abusive spouses feel really bad after having beaten their partner, that doesn't make them any to blame. Lucrezia is putting what she wants ahead of everything and everyone else - betraying trusts and murdering good people again and again. The fact that she is gorgeous doesn't make her redeemable.
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I was joking of course. Besides, I'm extremely tolerant of hot wicked fictional ladies. I'll be rooting for her obviously.
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Oh sorry, I missed the sarcasm - it's hard to tell in writing. I love me some bad boys (though only fictional ones) so I do get the appeal ;)
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less to blame I meant to say
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It was fun to see the diving suit as I just watched a documentary where they recreated the suit using Da Vincis designs and materials available in that time period and found that it actually worked.
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It is funny that the spear of Longinus appears almost simultaneously both in The Borgias and in Da Vinci's Demons. Wish it had appeared early by Easter.

I was convinced that the episode was setting up the assassination of Giuliano by the Pazzi (as told in history books.) Having seen him killed instead by Lucrezia (Monalisa?) I just wonder what comes next, when Da Vinci opens the doors to a parallel universe with both keys!
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I am hoping Monalisa will revealed to be his mother...I have decided from now on i hate Lucrezia just for Giuliano.
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I'm also thinking the mona Lisa is his mother, for sure!
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It was good, I liked. Did not see the death of Giancarlo, it was well done. Though one of them had to go. And frankly I am glad Lucrezia is safe, mostly because she is gorgeous. Also I want the batcave/ secret archives in my den. Way better than the secret archives in Angels & Demons. It is nice to know that the Sword in the Stone is in the RCC's basement.

I would like more of Leonardo being ingenious. The action is great and fun but come on this is Leonardo Da Vinci, the man was a genius. Let have more of that.

Not killing Riario is going to bite them in the arse. But I figure it will be another test for Nico and he will prevail at some point in time.

Lucrezia's father is interesting, I don't really think he is an unwilling prisoner, it seems like he wants or needs to be there. And at least he gave Leonardo permission to hook up with his daughter, that was nice of him.
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Best episode so far, nice.
Poor Giuliano, I kinda liked him. Is he dead? I downloaded it and there was a rough cut at the end - in my version he got stabbed, looked up in confusion and then it stopped immediately.
And I guess Lucrecia is getting away with this because Leo somehow manages to help that "poor damsel". He knows she's a traitor, but Leo still doesn't know about her ninja skills, doesn't he?
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I'm pretty sure he was misremembering Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." The spirit of what he said is certainly in the bible, but this is the closest I can remember to the structure of what we said. You could infer the complement is true. Obviously, the spirit of what he said is certainly in the bible, what with the bride prices and the basic idea that men own their wives, but I can't actually think of an exact scripture that says what he wants.
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It's been updated in modern versions of the bible, but that's the correct quote from the King James bible
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I've always preferred wenches.
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I enjoyed this episode and the series so far, but I found the whole business about tracking down Lucrezia quite confusing.
I don’t see why she would take a back-way to Florence, rather than just use the main road; everyone seemed to know she was in Siena. And even if she did, why would that mean she was conspiring against them?

It also seemed odd that Giuliano thought that they’d catch up with her, even though she’d left “days ago”. It’s only about 60 miles, how long can it take? Of course, they did catch up with her, even though they left first and she was riding slowly, in her disguise; somehow she overtook them...

And then, Riario's blabbermouth mercenaries completely ignored her because she was 'unclean', before suddenly remembering that the one and only person that they are looking for would, in fact, be dressed as a leper!
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"why would that mean she was conspiring against them?"

I think they concluded that she was the spy from the books already and then they presumed that she wouldn't take the main road.
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Yeah, but they seemed to imply that if she took the main road, they were wrong and she would be innocent. But, it's not like the back way went through Rome or that she was meeting Riario.

I don't know, it all just seemed not very well thought through and rather unnecessary (or maybe heavily cut). Giuliano and Bertino could just have left and caught up with her without any mention of different roads and it would have made perfect sense. Oh well, to be fair, it's the only bit in 7 episodes that I didn't think made sense. On to the finale!
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I agree it doesn't make much sense - I'll probably watch that episode again...
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Lucrezia already KILLED MORE PEEPS

than POOR RIARIO and the POPE !!!

They are the victims here, not her!!

Someone kill that lady, shes a mess and the real villain! LOL
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Yeah, but she does that with GUILT and a troubled conscience! And she really loves Leonardo, even though she can't help it and frames him... And she's GORGEOUS! So, yeah, totally we can see that deep inside she's good at heart.
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yeah, but you would.....you know, bow chica bow wow, wouldn't you?

i would
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LOL!!
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I can't believe he left the spear
First Sam in Game Of Thrones now DA Vinci (I mean for him to be stupid thats a new low for TV better he didn't take the spear in the first place)
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Exactly :)
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Did Guiliano actually die? I saw him stabbed but do we know if he is really dead?
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I don't think he's dead. Firstly, what actually happened is far more dramatic and secondly, he was floating on his back.
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Yeah I don't think he is dead either. SPOILERS -> In supposedly reality he is killed during the pazzi conspiracy assassination attempt, but Lorenzo survives.
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Yes, you are right I jumped the gun on this one. There are chances he is still alive. But Lucrezia is finished as a spy.
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I'm pretty sure that Lucrezia's dad is a Son of Mithras. It's been stated many times throughout this season that time flows in more ways than we're familiar with it, anything is possible, etc. I think that Lucrezia's dad is waiting in that prison cell because he needs to be there in the near future to do something, and that is why he cannot leave.
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Well, anyone who can build a scaphander in a single day (or night) is indeed a genius. The real genius did mention something very close to that in his notebooks, but really they are insulting our intelligence if they think that he done it so fast and that he had enough hose to reach the right spot he did in this episode. Honestly, this and him finding the secret passage so fast ruined it for me.Otherwise, it was fine and he even got to meet his sweetheart's daddy and she got again to kill someone with a dagger up close. Sheesh.
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We're 87.5% through the season, and Leo finally figures it out. Which is part of what led me to realize that we're not getting anywhere near the Book of Leaves this season.

Vanessa is adorable, as much as a nun-turned-sex-crazed-bar-wench can be adorable.

A lot of Pope this week. No Lil' Pope. Thank God.

Not killing Riario is total going to bite Leo, Zo, and Nico in the ass. Although it was nice to see Nico exhibit some of the badassery that's eventually going to make him one of the world's foremost military strategists.
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