The Borgias – Death on a Pale Horse Review

The invasion by King Charles of France and Della Rovere proceeds with victory seemingly inevitable as the French sack the city of Lucca and the Italian powers flee to their banner, with Lucrezia’s husband Giovanni Sforza poised to join them in the name of Milan.

Machiavelli invites King Charles to enter Florence


Everything is going wrong for the Borgias, the French have invaded, and Lucrezia’s husband is almost ready to hop back into the marital bed.

This was an episode that at first seemed like it was going to have a lot more action in it, but it settled down again pretty quickly as we saw the fallout of the brutal sacking of Lucca. The explosive advance of the French war machine is a real contrast to the plotting and machinations that we’ve been seeing so far. King Charles’ prophetic words about what war is really like are proved true here. Della Rovere’s realisation of what he’s unleashed on Italy plays out well, and we can’t help but feel for him even as we hate him for what he has done.

I hope that we get to see more of Julian Bleach as Machiavelli. He plays the role brilliantly and every line is delivered with a cynical humour that is true to what we know of his character.

All in all, this episode felt like more of a setup for what’s coming next than a story in its own right. While this isn’t uncommon in a serial show, it felt like there could have been a bit more substance added to this episode rather than moving quickly between our characters and leaving them hanging.

What I Liked – They didn’t flinch away from showing the brutal war.

What I Didn’t Like – It felt like they were aiming to set up the next episode, rather than playing out a particular story.

Rating – 3.5 out of 5 (Enjoyable)

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