For a second there, I thought we had zombie nuns and I was really excited, though possessed-nuns-that-weren't-actually-possessed were kind of fun, too. I guess. But still, can you imagine if they'd been ZOMBIES?
Da Vinci's Demons, with its super-short schedule of only eight hour-long installments in the first season, is clearly meant to be considered a serial—and for the most part, it is. Da Vinci's hunt for the Book of Leaves, the other piece of his odd-shaped key, and a resolution to his various childhood traumas make up the larger season-long story, along with the historical conflict between the Medicis and the Vatican, whatever Lucrezia's deal is, and the whole Sons of Mithras thing.
However, if any one of the episodes we've seen thus far—and admittedly there aren't many to pick from at the moment—has embraced a more traditional case-of-the-week format, it's "The Prisoner." That's not necessarily a bad thing, and in this instance, I think it worked well as a place to pause and catch up to the huge amount of detail we've been handed in a very short amount of time. The framing of the poisoned nuns within Count Riario's mysterious encounters with the bearded prisoner down in his dungeon served to emphasize the self-contained nature of the episode.
Young Leo found himself in trouble with the Medicis for the second week in a row when he blew them off and then griped about their crappy factory making crappy copies of his boomstick(s) on wheels. Da Vinci was also hoarding corpses in his workshop like a crazy person and apparently that place smelled awesome.
But beyond that, Da Vinci's segment of the story was rather straightforward. An extra from a horror movie wandered onto the Florentine market set, stabbed her eyes out, and was revealed to be a nun from the local convent who'd reportedly been possessed. The nuns called for backup from the Vatican after their situation appeared to take on a dire, plague-like appearance, and it was implied that the exorcist who answered the call was just killing the affected women and declaring them demon-free.
Leo didn't really care about the silly pretend demons until his ladyfriend, Vanessa, was revealed to be afflicted by them. When he arrived at the convent, he put his skeptical eye to use and looked for various contaminants at the scene—shrooms, spiders, paint with dangerously high mercury levels—while the non-possessed nuns accused him and the Medicis of bringing Hell upon them with their SCIENCE and stuff.
Science managed to save the day, however (Is that a theme? I think it's a theme) when Da Vinci went on a CGI acid trip and realized that all the "possessed" nuns had taken part in the convent's tradition of kissing a statue of St. Anthony's feet. Sure enough, there was a crazy hallucinogenic fungus smeared all over Tony's big toe. Also: Lucrezia did it. Also: maggots and worms and cockroaches because Starz doesn't want me to be able to sleep at night.
Elsewhere, Lucrezia Donati was a busy lady, breaking curfew and having unenthusiastic illicit sex with Lorenzo because he was super stressed about the whole spy-in-his-ranks thing. His adviser thought the mole might be Clarice, his wife. Clarice implied that it might be Lucrezia, but then showed her hand too early when she met with Lucrezia and tried to put the fear (of God, I guess?) into her. And then, between all the sneaking around and sexytimes and being sad about whatever the hell it is Lucrezia is always moping about, she managed to find time to frame Lorenzo's adviser as the spy.
What did you think of "The Prisoner"?
– This week in Leonardo Da Vinci Is a Smarty McSmarty Pants, Da Vinci theorized continental drift.
– Lucrezia: "How can you stand to look at me?" Clarice: "Because I know you'll never be up on that wall." Clarice is so MEAN. <3<3<3
– Sadface parallels between Lucrezia and the caged bird. Seriously, what is her deal?
– Who is the bearded dude Riario has dungeon game night with?