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"The Borgias" Death, on a Pale Horse (2011)

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Exciting war and inspiring love, the two sides of a redeeming installment

8/10
Author: igoatabase from France
9 July 2011

With the show quality slowly decreasing I had decided to give up on it despite its undeniable strengths. War and love, these are the two reasons that changed my mind.

War because the French invasion really intrigued me and I wondered if the team behind the show would be as skilled with battles as with the fabulous dancing sequence in Lucrezia's Wedding. Well they weren't as jaw dropping as in super productions like Braveheart but for a simple TV show it was really impressive. From canons destroying a whole stronghold to soldiers not making prisoners it just felt like war, bloody and violent. I was also quite surprised by the elegant mix of CG and real plans. The massive army made the story far much more intense and the characters distress more believable. But in the end what I appreciated the most were the numerous mind games but the chess pieces were only on the board until now and finally witnessing them move was really exciting !

As for love it's pictured in many lights. First on Cesare's side his mistress, now a nun, will remain a forced drama queen for me but what she told him was at least interesting. Indeed her role was probably to act as a mirror so he can see who he is. Good or evil ? Now his potential has been revealed it's up to him to become the man he's supposed to be. The second love story involves Lucrezia and her men, the boy and the beast. For once it was different because the characters have evolved and the chain reaction that has begun should definitely be entertaining to watch. Third and not least the Pope and Giulia Farnese. Lotte Verbeek's graceful beauty shined again and I couldn't help raising my eyebrows during the bed scene. They eat and drink. They have sex and fight. Realism, that's what so great about historical fiction !

Last but not least its strongest element was probably its unpredictability. They all had to make harsh decisions and as previously the confession sequence was enlightening.

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