In this weeks episode of The Borgias, titled “The Art of War,” Pope Alexander’s (Jeremy Irons) anxiety and dread hit a fever pitch as advancing French troops come knocking on the Vatican’s door. Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) finally flees from her painful marriage to Giovanni Sforza but is taken by the French invaders as they head towards Rome. King Charles of France is conquered by Lucrezia’s magnetism and he allows the pregnant daughter of the Pope to advise her outmatched brother Juan (who leads the papal armies) to withdraw his troops.
- This episode is enthralling in its display of battle strategies both on and off the battlefield and the humbling nature of defeat.
- The banter between King Charles and Lucrezia is a refreshing aside to the testosterone-laden pursuit of war and victory. We see the art of war performed from another perspective. Lucrezia uses her charm and wit to outmaneuver the King’s lust for Roman blood.
- Cesare oversees everything as it pertains to his family’s status and well being. He shows he has the wits and wherewithal to be a true leader.
- The dispassionate “kiss of betrayal” Pope Alexander gives the Spanish ambassador. He should’ve put far more passion in that pucker.
- The Pope thinking himself humble and Christ-like for donning some basic brown robe and sandals.
- The College of Cardinals who flee the Vatican and will not defend their holy city.
Episode 8 is so action packed and suspense filled that it is likely one of the best episodes of Season 1. The usual graphic love scenes are lacking but the action and drama more than make up for it.