After a mere nine episodes, Showtime's The Borgias completes its first season. In it, the French army arrives in Rome. Pope Alexander VI, a.k.a. Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons), greets King Charles (Michael Muller) in a simple robe, earning surprise and respect. Alexander affirms Charles's right to rule Naples, and Charles shows no hostility towards Rome, much to Cardinal Della Rovere's (Colm Feore) disappointment. Alexander allows the college of cardinals to come back, in humiliating fashion. Charles takes Cesare (François Arnaud) to Naples, but Cesare escapes, and with Micheletto's (Sean Harris) help, kidnaps Giovanni Sforza (Ronan Vibert). Alexander forces an annulment between his daughter, Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), and Giovanni. All of the Borgia family gathers as Lucrezia gives birth to a son.
Rodrigo shows real cunning in this episode, playing Charles perfectly to protect his position and the city by giving in on the Naples issue. Charles is no slouch either, demanding that Cesare accompany him to Naples. Thus, both have leverage over the other. It is an uneasy relationship, but a sustainable one, even after Cesare runs off. One would expect grisly battle as the season finale brings everything to a head, but in the world of The Borgias, a contest of the minds and wits can be just as exciting. Their power struggle may be better than any army clashing that could have been cooked up.
Charles arrives in Naples, to find the place a mess. Bodies are strewn in every room, and the king is nowhere in sight. While Charles's claim on Naples will not be contested in such a condition, what is the use of ruling this land? How might this affect the balance of power between Charles and Rodrigo? If Charles no longer wants Naples, Rodrigo loses his hold over him. Charles may be angry, too, about Cesare's abandonment of the trip. Will Charles seek revenge as season two begins? Or will he take Rodrigo at face value, and go home without bothering Rome?