The Borgias – The Art of War Review

The invaders capture a fleeing and pregnant Lucrezia as they march on Rome, but she charms King Charles and is allowed to persuade her brother Juan to withdraw his hopelessly outmatched defensive troops; Pope Alexander VI awaits to learn of his fate as Charles enters the city and makes his way to the Vatican.

King Charles & Lucrezia in front of the French Army

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While this episode was all leading up to a big conclusion, it thankfully didn’t suffer the problems of the previous episode. There was a lot of substance here, and it felt like the characters had all played their hands, and were just waiting to see what happened. The brutal battle scenes were all the more shocking for how brief and sudden they were, serving to highlight what’s at stake for everybody.

Rodrigo’s persistence in the face of certain defeat speaks very strongly of his character. Yes, he has done a great many bad things, but he feels that he is exactly where he should be, and no one is going to take that away from him. Cesare also has some great character moments here, supporting his father even though every part of him cries out against the foolish strategies of his brother Juan. He plays the dutiful son, but he shows the strength of character that will lead him to become a great leader of men.

The one thing that didn’t sit all that well was the interactions between Lucrezia and King Charles. Her attempts at charming him seemed very obvious, and we could only conclude that it was due to his ugliness that he was so willing to accept it. Cardinal Della Rovere just sat by and let it happen as well, which seemed out of character. Historical inaccuracies aside (Lucrezia never met King Charles), these scenes all seemed to have the characters behaving unusually, although I’m willing to see whether they can explain it in the next episode.

What I Liked – Great character moments. Shocking battle scenes that didn’t over stay their welcome.

What I Didn’t Like – The interactions between Lucrezia and King Charles felt out of character.

Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)

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