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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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the borgias: 1.01.03 -- The Moor
children of dune - leto 1
A good rule of thumb with this show is to be surprised only when actualfax history shows up. Honest to God, this will lower your stress level tremendously.

So we open with Our Heroes being very very liberal minded, as--wait. Let's give it up for the cast.

Alexander VI, aka Rodrigo Borgia, aka The Popest With the Mostest - Pope and patriarch of the Borgia family, a man with two balls well hung, and boy does he prove it.
Vannozza dei Cattanei, aka Will Cut a Bitch, Just Watch Yourself - former(ish) mistress of Rodrigo Borgia, mother of Cesare, Lucrezia, and the Annoying One, Juan apparently? Who knew?
Cesare Borgia, aka Machiavelli's Man-Crush With Incestuous Overtones (and How!) - son of the above two, occasionally indulges in beating men with whips while they huskily demand "Harder, Again!" Yeah. We like him.
Lucrezia Borgia, aka So Very Fourteen It Hurts You Sometimes, aka Cesare's Most Healthy Obsession, If We're Being Honest Here - same.
Juan Borgia, aka If You Don't Want Him Dead Already I'm Shocked, Shocked, Shocked - same.
Giuilia Farnese, aka Romantic Tragic Mistress of Rodrigo, aka Possibly On The Good Drugs To Get Through Her Life (Though I Would Not Toss Rodrigo Out of Bed for Eating Crackers) - the new mistress of the Pope who sometimes whips herself naked with silk cords. Yes, whipping is a thing here.
Michelotto Corella, aka Depressed Assassin with Some Kind of Sad Personality Disorder Who Likes Being Whipped by Cesare and Bathing Naked With Lots of Men - oh, you probably want context for that? In a minute.
Giuliano della Rovere, aka Pope In Waiting - a member of Future Popes of Italy (quite a large club, really) and also indulges in Group Bathtime with an interest in the male torso and lemons.
Cjem, aka "The Moore", aka The Most Happiest Heathen Ever Who Loves Everyone - he's going to die before the ep ends, but for the record, he's the brother of the Ottoman Emperor and has lots of wives he can't kill, but concubines that he can. Yes, that's like, in the script.
Alfonso of Naples, aka The Laugh That Knows How You Will Die (Because He Will Kill You!) - son of Ferrante, King of Naples, currently semi-regent for his deaf, crazy father, likes laughing, facials, and stuffing his enemies. Future second husband (speculative!) of Lucrezia and historically considered her first love and possibly the love of her life.

(I am calling the Cesare/Lucrezia/Alfonso now.)


Our story this week is Rodrigo with his Coat of Many Colors. In a nod to multiculturalism, he wishes to accept the Meranos, Spanish Jews, into the Papal States (provided they can pay) as well as Cjem (see "money") due to his desire for his papacy to wear a coat of many colors, google the Biblical reference if you really want to feel the indigestion brewing. While this is going on, Della Rovere travels to Naples. I'm going to stop here and talk about the only part of this ep that literally gave me the creeps, and that was meeting the Prince of Naples, who may or may not be Lucrezia's future husband (I don't think so, but I could be wrong; I hope I'm wrong).

Naples Boy is fucking creepy.

We open with Della Rovere sucking up in a very Cardinal way to the King, who stares in blank hostility until after a pregnant, awkward, God, so very awkward pause, Naples Boy bursts into laughter better suited for the Joker (someone hire this kid for the next Batman, seriously), and says the King is deaf (and possibly insane; that blank stare). Naples Boy has little interest in the Borgias other than as a fascinating new doll and I do mean that literally, as Della Rovere follows Naples Boy to a sunny room with a lovely table surrounded by the stuffed and rotting bodies of the Kings' enemies in a pose that is not unlike that of the Last Supper.

They're apparently missing Judas; Naples Boy looks hopeful they can add Rodrigo, and Della Rovere looks like he misses being in bed with a maid's bloodstained corpse like whoa. Naples Boy continues to wander around the table like maybe he's fitting Della Rovere for the position, which yeah, run Della Rovere, run but lo, he did not, as there were baths.

Back in Rome, Rodrigo interviews suitors for Lucrezia's hand after accepting the lovely Cjem into his household for 40,00 ducats a year. Okay, the thing you need to know about Cjem is that he is the happiest person ever, and I don't get that, because I know my Ottoman history and it's not like he left the Ottoman Empire to work on his bodybuilding, so he's like Lucrezia in male form; impossibly perky, in love with everyone, BFFs with Wee Juan of Cowardice, respectful of Cesare, totes in love with Lucrezia, and abruptly decides--I kid you not--to convert to Christianity just as Rodrigo decides to kill him for the 400,000 ducats offered by Cjem's brother for his body.

It's like killing a puppy, but we'll come back to that.

Meanwhile, Depressed Assassin goes to Naples to kill Della Rovere while Della Rovere, Naples Boy, and a host of surprisingly clean and toned men wander around in a man cave--literally, a Man Cave--to be oiled, massaged, given facials--no, facials--mudbaths, and wear tiny white loincloths before diving into a massive hot pool. There is assassination failure--shocking--and Naples Boy orders Della Rovere's ass out of Naples for all the dead people when the assassination fails and possibly because Dell Rovere wouldn't put out, who can tell? Not like dead bodies aren't useful here; I was thinking he could start a stuffed army?

Despite being BFF with Cjem, Juan asks to borrow Cesare's pet assassin--that would be Depressed Assassin--but Cesare is all HELL NO, but we can't be sure why. Cesare flip-flops between Some Kind of Inner Code and Severe Cognitive Disassociation combined with Evil Machiavelli Schemer--he gets away with it because he's hot. Sulking, Juan finds a guy who knows a guy who poisons Cjem with a really shitty poison that goes into effect during a Very Special Outing where Cjem turns a courtyard into something reminiscent of his homeland (I honestly am not sure where he was going with this; maybe the court? Or the marketplace?) so he starts coughing blood on Cesare's robes during the festivities while Lucrezia looks on in befuddled horror.

Horrified, Cesare asks Juan if he went to an amateur, while we all ponder the fact that hello, Cesare just got his professional, what a bitch, and apparently Cjem will take weeks to die. Blah blah blah, Juan smothers him with a pillow, Cesare looks on with ambiguous displeasure and mutters Machiavelli-like, and everyone thinks, God, he's hot. Which is really all you have at this point.

Somewhere in here, Cesare backs Lucrezia up against a wall to murmur sweet nothings of cutting out her husband's heart with a dinner knife if he upsets her while she tries to identify that uncomfortable feeling the audience currently has that's somewhere between "Run away before he learns the art of stuffing from Naples Boy" and "Take me now, psycho stud." I have a feeling this will be a familiar reaction in the coming weeks.

Here is where we are:

Naples Boy is creepy as fuck and I want more of him. Please let him be Lucrezia's future second husband. That is like the most perfect thing ever.
Lucrezia is betrothed to Sforza and this will end badly.
Cesare has a personality overhaul every couple of scenes; it's a testament to how hot the actor is I don't actually care.
Juan is a whiny brat.
Pope Alexander VI needs money like a lot.

So endeth the lesson.

Note: Juan might be Gioffre. I cannot remember what they call him. It just pours out of my head, possibly because he is that goddamn annoying.


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Well, they seem to be hitting the high points...

Pretty much. Though Cjem was so much overkill I got sugar shock. HAPPIEST ASSASSINATION VICTIM EVER. He even died all pathetic and adoring. Just. God.

while at it, Cesare and Michelotto has offscreen sex. D/S or otherwise, preferably Cesare bottomed sometimes. *cough*

They damn well should have, is what I'm saying. Possibly della Rovere/Michelotto as well. And by possibly, I mean, definitely, and with extra citrus.

Gioffre was the little boy sitting with Vanozza and Lucrezia playing cards. He's like... 5 and possibly will never show up in the show again. :/

Considering the making of show we sat through the night the first two eps premiered included the littlest kid when discussing how each character in the family tracked to the family in The Godfather, I'm presuming the show is going to cover enough years that the kid grows up and starts causing problems of his own. (Not knowing much of anything about the historical Borgias and refraining from looking them up until after the season ends in the hopes of avoiding further spoiling, I'm presuming. And if indeed the youngest Borgia doesn't do anything later on, I'm going to be even more annoyed that neither the mother nor Lucretia were considered worthy of further character examination in that little feature.)

Oooh! I did not see that piece! Well, I am excited that the show is going to cover several years and not just one or two. And that Gioffre will come up again. I guess I sort of assumed it would, but I didn't know how much, so.

I don't think the youngest Borgia actually does that much trouble causing historically. He marries Sancha (of Naples, I think?) and then— Well, I don't want to spoil you if you're trying to avoid the history in order to not get upset when the show flagrantly goes against it. (And damn, doesn't that sound like an awesome plan. If I could've, I would have done it.)

My usual procedure when watching the film or TV version of something based on a book has been to wait to read the novel until after I've seen the screen version -- makes it easier to enjoy both without spending the movie going, "Hey, that isn't right, and I hate the way they changed that..." During The Tudors I figured that extended to history, and didn't go looking anything up I didn't already know until after the first season. (Also why I'm saving the Game of Thrones reread till this summer after the season ends. I've read it, but don't want to go refreshing my memory on the details before I've seen the HBO version.)

heh. it's like... Rome, I love you, but I read I, Claudius when I was ten. which wasn't so much of a problem until they started omitting children - Livia's with her first husband and both of Octavia's with her first husband and one of her daughters with Mark Antony. Cue me doing the facepalm of 'you do realise you've just wiped all the Caesars after Augustus, right?'

Elizabeth (1st film) sets me laughing, but apparently the Golden Age is so much WTF it has your head spinning. Troy, I don't think I stopped laughing the entire time in the cinema.

You're killing me with I, Claudius. I know my Caesar bloodlines; I could not sit through that without a nervous breakdown. Octavius' amateur games of genetic selection is what set up the Empire for God's sake. Getting rid of Livia's first husband like, kills off teh bloodline.

*hurts, hurts, hurts*

(Deleted comment)

The weekend can't kick off soon enough

User fyrdrakken referenced to your post from The weekend can't kick off soon enough saying: [...] and enjoying it for many of the same reasons I am. Her recap of last week's episode [...]

Curse you! I have just gotten myself some borgias.

Welcome to the dark side.

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