The Borgias – Sex, Lies and Papal Bulls

I would have expected that wandering into watching ‘The Borgias’ at the start of season 3 was going to be a confusing experience, however this wasn’t the case as the main plotlines seems to consist of corruption, treachery, murder and rather a lot of sex.

The series is set approximately around the turn of the 16th Century – although there are some huge historical inconsistencies and mash-ups in order to keep the plot scandalous! The show concerns the Borgia family who are an Italian family, but not of old Italy much to the horror of many (they are originally Spanish).


‘The Borgias’ is apparently based on the actual Borgia Pope’s rule, Pope Alexander VI who succeeded the cowardly cat-killer Pope Innocent VIII then went about turning the Papal State into his and his family’s personal playground.

Borgia apparently did such a good job of this – plus the corruption, mysterious deaths, infidelity, etc., that his successor Pope Julius tried to eradicate any record of the Borgia family having ever been within a million miles of Rome.

Pope Alexander VI is played by Jeremy Irons to great effect; he seems almost raving in his desire to acquire security and, above all, power for his family. Lucrezia is a wonderfully interesting character both in the series and in history: multiple husbands came and went under a variety of unfortunate circumstances – some at the steer of her family for maximum political advantage. She may have entertained an incestuous relationship with her brother Cesare – the TV show certainly has her do so.

Episode 307

She puts me in mind of a more liberated version of Emily from Revenge and I do hope that the writers for Season 3 of ‘Revenge’ have been taking notes.

Lucrezia is played by actress Holliday Grainger – who I’ve never heard of before but based on her excellent work

in this should have her pick of roles for young, pretty and untrustworthy woman.
There will be SPOILERS under this picture, so do not read unless you have seen to the end of Season 3 of ‘The Borgias’ or don’t mind SPOILERS.


(Photo from cast photos)

I was been pleasantly surprised by how entertainingly trashy ‘The Borgias’ has been and am very sorry to hear that it was cancelled. The creator, Neil Jordan, has planned a four season show mapping the family’s rise and fall. Instead the season was killed after three seasons and not with the big two-hour finale that has been planned.

Apparently Jordan had planned a “totally biblical ending” which would have seen the family crushed, to the point where “the Pope (is) dying and no one willing to hear his confession. When they finally find a confessor and the Pope starts to repent his sins, the confessor interrupts him, saying, ‘I’m sorry, it’s too late, you’re already dead and burning in hell.’”
So I do feel rather cheated!

However there have been some wonderful wonderful scenes and some really evil manipulations.



(Photo from some educational site)

Possibly my favourite twisting of the knife was Lucrezia’s baby being brought to her at the funeral of King Ferdinand who had forbidden the little one from coming to Naples – and who Micheletto had murdered (by feeding to eels!) in order to reunite mother and son.

Watching self-promoting Cardinals fail was also fun, for example both the plague and Spear of Longinus were used to great effect.

Ultimately there is something that feels right about The Borgia family ending their TV run as the victors, proudly wearing their name as a byword for corruption and sin whilst their enemies crumble.

Perhaps this was the better ending after all.

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2013 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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