Borgias: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Trust the cross-dressing Satanist when I tell you this...it's a funny thing, sin is. The only way you ever know for sure what is a sin and what is not is to commit it and then see what kind of harvest you sow. Throw on high heels and strut your way into a girl's pants and you find out God has better things to be wrathful about. It doesn't mean that all the preaching is wrong, it just means that like with any logical hypothesis, testing is the only final judgment.
The intrigues that make up The Borgias have begun to thicken. Cardinal della Rovere continues to seek the death of Pope Alexander VI, this time using the power of populist friar Girolamo Savonarola. The ultimate plan is to poison the pope. Obviously della Rovere feels that the Pope's removal is the only way to restore the Church from what he considers its abasement. The fact that history tells us that della Rovere becomes Pope Julius II is probably just some kind of weird coincidence.
Greed...ambition. That's a sin, isn't it? According to the old list of seven.
Meanwhile, the pope attempts to secure his rule. To this end, he opens negotiations with the Medici family and their adviser Niccolò Machiavelli in order to enlist them in his cause to lure Savonarola to Rome with false promises in order to murder him. The pope feels, rightly, that Savonarola's increasing popularity amongst people makes him an intolerable enemy.
There's wrath...yet another sin.
In still another battlefield, Cesare has been sent to bring a message to the powerful Caterina Sforza. He is instructed to tell her that she must come to Rome to willingly bow before the pope, or be dragged there in chains. Sforza decides she'd rather spend the diplomatic mission seeing how many orgasms she can get out of Cesare. In the end, though, even as she's willing to lie with the Cardinal, she will not bow before his father.
And there's pride...lust, too, if we're counting Cesare's own inability to turn down the vision that is actress Gina McKee with no clothes on.
So, to review. A little pride, a little wrath, a little lust and a little greed. All sins, and yet in the end all in some ways justified or necessary. Once committed, let's see how God has chosen to keep score.
The episode ends with St. Peter's struck by lightning, which kills several innocent people including choir boys. Initially, only the pope himself is willing to venture back into the damaged building to search for wounded survivors, though others join him soon. It's hard to argue with a lightning bolt being the voice of judgment. There's a reason sky gods are in charge across so many mythologies.
Was it the harvest that the pope's wrathful plot had reaped, or was it just plain old electrons gutterballing to Earth as they've done since the sky was born?
In the Castle of the Sforzas Caterina ultimately says no, and invites her cousin Giovanni to taunt Cesare. Considering that Giovanni had previously spent his brief marriage to Cesare's sister beating her and pretty much raping her, this was not really the best plan that could've been forwarded. Enraged over Caterina's answer and remembering his promise to bring her husband's heart to her on a dinner platter if he proved ungallant, Cesare murders Giovanni on the spot and flees from the castle guard.
Did God condemn Caterina's pride and deliver her her dead cousin, or will the political debacle that will surely follow be the judgment of the Lord upon Cesare?
During the course of the story Cesare's sidekick Michelotto spends his evening having a homosexual tryst in the graveyard. His old lover is preparing to marry a local girl, and Michelotto, ever the nihilist philosopher, reminds him, "St. Paul says it is better to marry than to burn." Then my favorite murderer leaves heartbroken in time to enable Cesare's escape.
As I said...it's a funny thing, sin is. You only know what is a sin and what is not by the harvest that you sow. Each character in this excellent drama is breaking the rules as we common folk understand them. Only final judgment will tell which did so in the name of God, and which did so in spite of Him.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Houston.