The Borgias (2011–2013)
2 user

Death, on a Pale Horse 

Della Rovere convinces the French king to invade Milan and is aghast at the slaughter while Cesare discovers the abbey where Ursula has retreated after her husband's death.


Jeremy Podeswa


Neil Jordan (creator), Neil Jordan




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Rodrigo Borgia
François Arnaud ... Cesare Borgia
Holliday Grainger ... Lucrezia Borgia
Lotte Verbeek ... Giulia Farnese
David Oakes ... Juan Borgia
Aidan Alexander Aidan Alexander ... Gioffre Borgia
Steven Berkoff ... Girolamo Savonarola
Colm Feore ... Giuliano Della Rovere
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Sancia
Julian Bleach ... Niccolo Machiavelli
Ruta Gedmintas ... Ursula Bonadeo
Michel Muller ... King Charles VIII
Luke Pasqualino ... Paolo
Augustus Prew ... Prince Alfonso
Peter Sullivan ... Cardinal Ascanio Sforza


The King of France invades Italy but Cardinal Della Rovere is appalled at the violence and destruction the first battle brings. He obtains the King's permission to try and negotiate a peace with the Florentines, who quickly agree to all of their demands. Realizing that everything they have worked for is at risk, the Pope contacts the Spanish envoy. Cesare meanwhile traces Ursula to a nunnery but she refuses to renounce her vows and leave. Despite Sancia's marriage to his younger brother Gioffre, Juan continues his affair with her in secret. The Pope's mistress, Giula Farnese, visits Lucrezia and is disturbed by what she finds. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-MA | See all certifications »



Canada | Ireland | Hungary



Release Date:

8 May 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Korda Studios, Etyek, Hungary See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


45 year-old Michel Muller plays Charles VIII, who was only 24 when he invaded Italy in 1494. See more »


Rodrigo Borgia: Who can we trust in this charnal house called Rome?
See more »


The Borgias Main Titles
Written by Trevor Morris
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User Reviews

Exciting war and inspiring love, the two sides of a redeeming installment
9 July 2011 | by igoatabaseSee all my reviews

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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