Borgias: Petty Joy in the Death of Peckerwoods

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

There's an old proverb among wrestling fans; never go to the show before a pay per view. It will always be a big spectacle that leaves you waiting for the main course. You can say the same thing about the last episode before the season finale.

With the previous food taster of the pope murdered, disgraced cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (Colm Feore) makes way for an assassin to make his way into the vacant position. Meanwhile, the disposition of Lucretia's (Holliday Grainger) hand in marriage continues to get way too much screen time, and the Pope (Jeremy Irons) finally decides to go back to drinking and fucking.

All of these things will no doubt be of utmost importance at the end of the season, but let's talk a bit about a personal failing of mine. I love it when peckerwoods get killed.

What is a peckerwood? Well, to define it in the simplest terms a peckerwood is someone that is both an annoyance and a danger who tends to think way too highly of his current station in life. Luckily, the Borgias has a dedicated peckerwood killer in the form of Cesare (François Arnaud).

His brother Juan (David Oakes) has fallen as low as a man can go. He's injured, riddled with syphilis, addicted to opium, and now spends every waking moment antagonizing his family by calling them whore and bastards. He even goes so far as to dangle his nephew from a balcony after wishing out loud the baby had been thrown into a river instead of baptized.

And through it all he insists on himself as some kind of worthy lord... something he proves by raping a dancer in the episode. Did you know that rape gets its own warning box on television shows now? I didn't, and it was at that point that I started wishing that someone would end Juan forever.

Well, Cesare was off in Florence with his badass posse of Micheletto (Sean Harris) and Machiavelli (Julian Bleach). The three concoct a plan to end the hypnotic grip of the rogue friar Savonarola (Steven Berkoff) by daring him to walk through fire without getting burned. He agrees, but the fire, you know, does what fire do, and he ends up hauled off to Rome in chains to later be tortured to death.

Truly a peckerwood's ending. After that, Cesare knife's Juan in the belly and dumps him in the river... because he deserved it.

Look, this show dances a line between the explorations of God's role in the hands of power and just being a straight up crime drama where squealers get cut. If I can't have endless philosophical debate on power between Cesare and Machiavelli, them I at least want to see some of the supporting cast get shanked for being total asses. I mean, is that too much to ask?

The moral I hope someone takes from this episode of the Borgias is as follows. You can say whatever you want, but piss off the wrong guy and you'll end up with several new assholes carved in you. It's not right, but it happens, and it happens to peckerwoods most of all.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.