The Borgias

Season 1 Episode 5

The Borgias in Love

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 24, 2011 on Showtime
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Lucrezia begins an affair with a stable boy.

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  • 105

    A swordfight in the rain? Check. Aggressive intimacy scenes? Check and wink. And continued attempts to at least try and remain historically accurate? Check again.

    The Borgias may not be the most thrilling show, actually it is far from it, but with all three of the big pay cable networks having these period dramas right now, Showtime is in the early lead right now. Call The Borgias the Jimmie Johnson show of the bunch.

    Tonight's episode saw Pope Alexander try to build a relationship with Naples to try and counter the one with the French. We are already seeing how Rodrigo Borgia has gone from Pope to a scheming Pope in a matter of weeks.

    The Borgias has a lot of work to do on pacing and writing, but this was a decent episode.moreless
  • ††† Spoiler-free ††† Still good but a few flaws tainted the painting this time

    All You Need Is Love, if only life was that simple. It's what Lucrezia learned the hard way at the end of the past installment. Watching such a delicate thing brutalized by her husband was just painful so I'm glad it only lasted a few seconds. In fact it's not surprising considering the premiere confirmed the show wasn't for voyeurs. It leads us to Lotte Verbeek who is just ravishing as Giulia Farnese, a perfect balance of grace and wit. I like how her every moves and words contrast with Jeremy Irons cold portrayal of Pope Alexander VI. That's why the very first scene was so pleasing. In the one hand it was unexpected and in the other it was well executed even if I found it too short. So I really hope the upcoming episodes will feature similar creative moments because they would be more than welcome. Moreover like in The Poisoned Chalice I also noticed a few interesting camera angles. Filming right in the eye of the beholder !

    But despite its undeniable qualities, that conducted Showtime to order a second season the day after this 5th episode was aired, the show is beginning to reveal some weaknesses. The first could be Neil Jordan himself. It's only a speculation for the moment but the strength I mentioned in my previous review could actually be a weakness. Indeed the man wrote every single episodes and even if it guarantees that they don't jar with one another the drawback could be that some seemed too similar. As much as I regret it the problem is obvious with The Borgias in Love when you compare it to The Moor. Handsome young male for Lucrezia ? Checked. Romantic escape ? Checked. Grotesque families courting the Pope and his son ? Checked. It's not that it didn't make me laugh but I just hope it won't become a running gag. In fact I don't think it would be fair to only blame Jordan considering it could also be the director's fault. The important thing is that two episodes that partially look the same is not acceptable.

    However these are minor issues compared to the numerous elements dedicated to appeal the audience. The first would be François Arnaud as Cesare Borgia who has given a convincing performance so far. I also appreciate his wicked relationship with the assassin and I really wonder how it will end. This time they were actually featured in a dynamic and intense swordfight. Was it just a tease ? So it was good entertainment but sadly it was almost ruined by an other duel. Too short, too dark, too much rain. It was just pouring and you shouldn't be able to identify the fighters ! Was it a twisted reference to Godzilla ? At least it made me laugh but I can't help thinking that it was an easy solution not to reveal the stuntmen even if the first fight occured in bright daylight. Hopefully the confession scenes aren't doubled because they're a recurring ingredient one can only enjoy. It's specially true considering they're often controversial and featuring vicious gorgeous creatures. Last but not least one of the best elements was probably the difference between young and old characters. Lucrezia is naive, Giulia is manipulative. Her husband is violent, the servant has soft hands. They just don't know how to play the game yet when the Pope, Cesare and others have already reached the grandmaster league. Too smart for a TV show ? Never but if you're up to the challenge it can only pay off.

    Note : For once I would like to address my readers and invite them to give me some feedback if they have a few minutes. Enjoyed this review ? Just feel like chatting ? You're more than welcome ! And please don't forget to objectively rate so I can know how many of you guys are there.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • On the door to Lucrezia's bedroom there is a flag that matches the Alfa Romeo automobile company logo. The images are switched from left to right but they are unmistakable. Both date back to 5th century Italy and are associated with Milan; the serpent (Biscione) which is the emblem of the house of Visconti and the Red Cross on White Field which is the Emblem of Milan.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Original International Airdates:
      Canada - April 24, 2011 on Bravo
      Czech Republic - July 19, 2011 on HBO
      United Kingdom - September 3, 2011 on Sky ATLANTIC/Sky ATLANTIC HD
      Finland: September 30, 2012 on YLE TV2