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TV Open Thread: The Borgias – “The French King”

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Last week’s episode may have been titled “The Borgias in Love,” but this week the family saw a lot more action. “The French King” did feature that monarch and Cardinal Della Rovere (Colm Feore)’s successful attempt to finally gain a strong ally in his campaign against the Borgias. But do we care that much about them? The real interest was in the bedroom(s).

Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) decided she likes married life — as long as her husband, Giovanni Sforza, stayed out of commission and the good-looking stable boy became her lover. Her husband’s household did everything to support its new mistress in her deceptions.

Cesare (François Arnaud) was able to enjoy his affair with the lovely Ursula (Ruta Gedmintas), but only fleetingly. As soon as she heard of her husband’s death she knew who was behind it and immediately got herself to a nunnery.

The ever-annoying Juan (David Oakes) resisted his father (Jeremy Irons)’s attempts at marrying him off to Sancia, the illegitimate daughter of the King of Naples. The son of a courtesan and the Pope was insulted to be paired with a bastard princess. He suggested his young brother Joffre should marry her instead. Juan is very obsessed with status. Is it because he realizes how other noble houses view his family (as socially beneath them), or because he doesn’t quite get that? Regardless, he embarked on a “diplomatic” mission, secured the betrothal, and quickly proceeded to sample his brother’s wares, starting a torrid affair with the princess. Does he have any regrets not “legitimately” claiming her for himself? His brother won’t be a kid forever.

Of all the romantic liaisons in this episode the one most fun to watch was with the Pope himself and his lover Giulia Farnese. Irons has always had a very creepy yet sexy vibe and he plays that to the hilt in the scene, as he uses Giulia’s body as a political map, plotting his next campaign. Carry on, Borgias.

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