The Borgias: the most hated, lustful, sinful, unrestrained, mischievous, wasteful, well-loved, revered, and hated family in Rome (and on all of TV). But loved by us! Yes, Season 2 has come to an end with several surprising twists and expected turns in fate, but this is only the beginning. Some of the highlights from last night's finale:
Pope Borgia: Dead or Alive?
He was forced out of Rome, exiled from his Cardinal's chair, defeated on multiple occasions, but Giuliano della Rovere didn't give up on his vendetta to kill the Borgia Pope. He spent all season undercover at a monastery training a young martyr how to take Borgia out. And as to be expected, Borgia took a sip of poisoned wine and fell to the floor at the end of the finale. Cesare Borgia ran to his father's side and as the blood spat out of his mouth, the pope looked as if Hell had already consumed his body — but, how could the Borgia family go on without such the key player? The one who runs the whole game, leads the family in and out of peril, and, well, is the only man alive who can "speak to God"? It can't. While we waited for this moment all season, it seems quite unlikely that the Pope is in fact dead. We've already seen two other characters survive this type of poisoning, so why shouldn't the Pope live on? After all, he has God on his side.
Saying Goodbye to the Evil Brother
Was Cesare truly rejoicing at the fact that his brother Juan was dead, or that he himself was the one that took Juan's life? The answer: Both! And the partial confession to their Father only made it ever-more evident that he hardly felt guilty being a cold-blooded killer. Still, the fact that he was willing enough to rid the world of such evil only makes Cesare that much more of a lovable character, murder and all. You can't help but like him, despite all his horrific extracurriculars (sleeping with married women while he is a priest, murdering his enemies in the name of revenge, and casting a lustful eye on his own sister, just to name a few). And compared to Juan, Cesare is a saint.
The fact is, Cesare rid Rome of its biggest rat: his brother Juan. But I can't help but wonder how long it really would have taken Juan to die on his own, either via the Crabs crawling up his body, or at the hand of his righteous Sforza enemy, or by overdosing during one of his Opium binges. One was sure to kill him, so in a way, Cesare just ended Juan's suffering. How nice of you, Cesare! Thank goodness Lucrezia no longer has to worry about Cesare threatening to take her son Giovanni's life. Bastard he may be, but Giovannie is the only child in the picture alive to carry on the next generation of the Borgias. Forget the Kardashian kids, this kid has a far worse family name to live up to.
Oh, and Cesare's body — was that bloating really from spending days in the Tiber or a side effect from the STDs that consumed his failing body?
Burning a Martyr
There is nothing surprising about the fact that Savonarola was burned at the stake. The Borgias always get what they want — and if you don't agree with them, well, then to hell with you. Literally. Of course, Cesare forged Savonarola's signature and then lied to his Father about the truth. But who cares, honestly? This is a man that knows how to make things happen — and it doesn't hurt that he has Micheletto on his side. But the most awesome part about this death was watching Savonarola spit on Pope Borgia's face, even though his tongue had been hacked off earlier on in the episode. I bet you were jealous too!
You couldn't miss how awkward it was to watch Lucrezia Borgia dance on her wedding day with her brother Cesare. Because it's totally awkward to watch any of their interactions. Whether they are locked in a loving stare in front of a fountain or joking about a future wedding, these two have the most almost-incestuous relationship on TV. It's only a matter of time before we see a brother-sister hookup — and even Lucrezia's new husband seemed to realize that his new wife is bound to be bedded by her brother. Let's all imagine that family Christmas letter.
So, fellow Borgias fans, thank goodness there's a Season 3 upcoming in 2013 to satiate our unquenchable thirst for 15th century drama. Still, that's a lot of time to just sit back and wait to see if Rodrigo lives to be the Pope of Rome another day. Then again, it might just take that long to get terrible Lucrezia-Borgia sexual tension out of our brains.
How Much is The Borgias Like The Godfather?
Showtime Orders More Borgias
Shedding many of those trappings that make a James Bond movie well a James Bond movie Quantum of Solace is really the first sequel ever in the long-running series. While it’s always exciting something gets seriously shaken and stirred in the translation. Picking up exactly where the brilliant Casino Royale left off we see Bond (Daniel Craig) trying to get to the bottom of why his love Vesper Lynd had to die jumping right into the first of many MANY chases as he traverses six countries. Still on rogue patrol Bond then inadvertently meets the crafty and gorgeous Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who introduces Bond to the evil Dominic Green (Mathieu Amalric) the head of an eco-phony stealth operation angling for some prime desert land while financing a crooked Bolivian general’s planned coup. With the ever resourceful M (Judi Dench) trying to keep him in line at all times Bond must put his revenge plans on hold as he crosses paths not only with Greene and his fake pro-environment front but also the intriguing and mysterious group known as Quantum. In this outing Daniel Craig -- leaner and meaner than any previous Bond -- really becomes a man of single-minded determination and grit. He’s less like the James Bond we know and love and more a humorless killing machine like Jason Bourne (those two should really get together). Still Craig is such a compelling actor that we are with him all the way even if he doesn’t go for the suave Bond moves. Olga Kurylenko is a great foil but not totally in the tradition of a Bond girl. A later encounter with Gemma Arterton as a British agent in Bolivia does however briefly recall the heyday of Goldfinger. Judi Dench has taken the perfunctory role of M and turned it into a full-blown supporting role. Her dry wit and take-no-prisoners attitude is welcomed every time she shows up on screen. French star Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) doesn’t really pull off his villainous alter-ego ecologist while Jeffrey Wright is pretty much wasted as U.S. agent Felix Leiter. At least Giancarlo Giannini returns for some nice moments with his Craig. Although they usually leave the challenging job of steering the Bond ship to an English director oddly this time the baton was handed to Marc Forster known more for his intimate dramas such as Finding Neverland and Monster's Ball. His grip on the action sequences is secure but he never really seems to have a handle on what distinguishes this legendary movie spy from everyone else. There’s a reason Bond has survived as a screen icon for almost half a century but the sort of workman-like filmmaking Forster displays here does not represent 007’s finest hour. It’s almost like the producers had a checklist: car chase on winding roads; boat chase; airplane chase; rooftop chase -- all check. Quantum of Solace is definitely worth checking out however. I mean it IS Bond and we wait for these movies on bated breath. Just maybe next time a little less Bourne please.