‘The Borgias’ Battle Lines: A Godly Family Vs. an Anti-Papal Army

 Credit: Tamas Kende/SHOWTIME

We are about to be three episodes deep into Season 3 of the Showtime series The Borgias and so far, it’s clear that the world is against Rome. At the end of Season 2, we were left wondering if the Borgia Pope’s enemies had succeeded in killing him. But during Episode 1 of this season, we learned that like a cockroach, the Pope can survive just about anything. He even came back to life after facing one of the deadliest poisons known at the time. But just because he is alive and now well doesn’t mean that his enemies have given up the plan to take his life. In fact, this season, it seems like even more enemies have ganged up against Rodrigo Borgia and his unholy ways.

At the end of Episode 2, it was clear that Rome is heading towards war. But who is on whose side this week? Because The Borgias‘ shifting alliances always leave you scratching your heads, we’re here to help you track where the battle lines are drawn. Who hates who? And what should their strategies be? Read on to find out!

Rome and Her Allies:

Leader: Pope Alexander, Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons): The Borgia pope is hated in the Roman Empire for his greed and the use of God to promote his illegitimate family.

Army’s Commander: Cesare Borgia (Francois Arnaud) is the Pope’s son and a former Cardinal who is now in charge of the Papal army.

1. Michelleto (Sean Harris): Cesare’s manservant who executes all of Cesare’s evil plans.
2. Cardinal Sforza (Peter Sullivan): He switched to the Pope’s side when the Pope lived after being poisoned. The Pope has used this cardinal to help eliminate the enemy cardinals.
3. Possible: Cardinal Farneze: We have yet to meet this character, but since the Pope’s affair with Giulia Farneze has come to an end, she has asked him to make her brother a Cardinal — and Giulia and the Pope ended their affair on good terms.
4. Possible: France: Unlike last season, France is in bed with the Pope. A new king rules France and is stuck in a marriage to a quite undesirable woman. When the French Ambassador asked the Pope to dissolve the King’s marriage, Borgia saw this as an opportunity to create a new allie. Now, he plans on marrying Cesare to a French woman to build the alliance.

Lost Allies:
1. Prince Alfonso (Augustus Prew): Alfonso refused to bed Lucrezia Borgia (Holliday Grainger) on their wedding night because he felt jaded by her family’s intentions for the union. Alfonso instead spent their wedding night alone and crying as Lucrezia gave herself to her brother Cesare.

Key Tactics and Advantages:
1. The Pope plans to pin Juan Borgias’ (Rodrigo’s second son who Cesare actually killed during Season 2) murder on Caterina. 
2. The Pope eliminated the cardinals in the conclave who did not support the Borgia initiative. This was done by stripping them of their titles, riches, and property.

1. The Papal army is defunct and not well manned.

Anti-Papal Forces:

Leader: Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) and her family are openly against the Pope and his evil ways.

Army’s Commander: Rufio (Thure Lindhardt) is Caterina’s lackey who is in charge of building the Sforza alliances.

1. Wealthy Families of Rome who hate the Borgias: Last week, Caterina assigned Rufio to start aligning the sons of Rome’s prominent families to help her take down the Pope. The division was clearly shown at Lucrezia’s wedding during Episode 2.
2. King of Naples: Lucrezia’s union with Alfonso was supposed to mean that Rome and Naples would be united, but because Lucrezia refused to part with her illegitimate son when she moved to Naples, Alfonso’s uncle (the King of Naples) decided to pledge his allegiance to Caterina. 

Lost Allies:
1. Cardinal Orsini (David Dencik): After the Pope stripped him of his title, Orsini asked for a final confession. During this confession, he tried to kill the Pope. Instead, the Pope took out Orsini. 

Key Tactics and Advantages:
1. Create allies with all the forces in Rome that hate the Pope.
2. By creating these alliances, it’s clear that Caterina will have a larger and more dedicated army as opposed to the depleted papal forces.

1. The Borgias never seem to die.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.

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