"The Borgias" Lucrezia's Gambit (TV Episode 2013) Poster

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"Affection leads to weakness"
TheLittleSongbird25 September 2019
All the previous episodes of Season 3 of 'The Borgias' were very good to great, my favourite being "The Face of Death", with its immensely powerful beginning, and my least favourite (while still liking it very much) being "The Purge". Really like Season 3 on the whole, though Season 2 is my favourite of the show's three seasons, the quality was more consistent and all the episodes were great with the dragged out Della Rovere subplot being the only major debit.

"Lucrezia's Gambit" is another very good episode of the season, and of 'The Borgias' in general which to me is a show where it isn't a bad episode ("Lucrezia's Wedding" and "The Borgias in Love" being the weakest from personal view, and still liked both). It is another example of an episode that is not quite a great one but very nearly is, with all the ingredients to be. There are a lot of good things, and the best of them are more than good and pretty fantastic.

Its weakest component is the Giulia suitor subplot, loved how Rodrigo takes the news and the humour directed towards it but found it generally to be unnecessary and everything else is much more interesting.

Standing out much more is Micheletto's storyline, have loved seeing more of him and see him even more interesting and much more than a creepy assassin character. His storyline is beautifully done and Sean Harris gives Micheletto a lot of depth. As well as the tension between Cesare and Rodrigo, which really sears and sees a further division between father and son. Lucrezia being a cunning manipulator shows how much she has developed, and Rodrigo and Vanozza together is quite charming and a reminder of how Vanozza shines when she isn't being underused.

The episode looks wonderful again, especially the costumes and how the atmosphere feels like the viewer has stepped into a painting. The music is as beautiful and haunting as ever, if not quite as much in the silent scenes with Rufio in the previous episode "Relics", Juan's burial in "The Confession" and the whole beginning of "The Face of Death". The main theme sends a chill down the spine and the opening titles so cleverly and strikingly designed.

Writing has tension and emotion, as well as a dose of humour. Of the performances, while Jeremy Irons and Francois Arnaud are on top form (individually and together) the best performance comes from Sean Harris, very powerful performance here.

On the whole, despite not being taken by one subplot "Lucrezia's Gambit" is a very good episode. 8/10
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