Monday, April 9, 2012

Family Love in Renaissance Italy - the return of the Borgias, and more

Last night was not only Easter, it saw the start of season 2 of Showtime's series, The Borgias. Season one was so successful that the show was renewed for a second season less than one month in. It has everything one could hope for in a show - a dysfunctional power-hungry family and the panoply of the Renaissance and all its historical glory. Love, hate, murder - the things that keep a family together, right?

I adored this show from the beginning, so eagerly awaited the second season, and am thrilled that it's back. Although I must say I didn't feel quite the same energy in the first episode as I'd hoped for, but hopefully that too shall pass as they gear up once again.

**SPOILERS AHEAD*** There were definitely some interesting developments last night, including the attempt on Della Rovere's life, perpetrated through the use of a willing altar boy. The look on Rovere's face when he looked into Cesare's eyes was priceless. Too bad it failed. There you have the biggest reason that I watch the show (not that I wouldn't anyway, but this is definitely the icing on the cake) - Cesare Borgia (Francois Arnaud). However, he seemed to be missing a little of the fire of the first season, I'm hoping that 's a temporary thing. And that we see more of his "impossible love" - ie, that his feelings for his sister Lucrezia, who now has a fine baby boy, courtesy of the groom Paolo.

As you'll recall from the first season, the Pope (Rodrigo Borgia, played by Jeremy Irons) deflected the intentions of King Charles of France by giving up Naples which, as it turned out, was in the midst of a plague, brought about by an insufferable little twit of a prince. Charles took ill, but he survived, vowing to have his revenge on the prince. When he was caught, Charles introduced him to his father's gruesome torture chamber, his screams an accompaniment to the music enjoyed by the king and his entourage. However, we know it's just a matter of time before he settles the score with Rome, Rodrigo's only bought himself time, not a permanent solution.

As usual, Rodrigo has a mistress, Julia Farnese that we met in the first season. Now he's taken a fancy to an artist's apprentice. But before you go suspecting him of buggery, I'll add that the apprentice is actually a girl, in disguise. Which leads to some interesting scenes between her and the Pope, as well as her and Julia. Rodrigo wishes his people to have some fun, so he decides to throw them a festival, let the cost be damned. This only serves to enhance the rivalry between Cesare and his brother Juan. There's already jealousy there, because Juan was given the military career Cesare would have liked, and he was forced to take the cloth. Juan doesn't fight fair. In a race, he causes Cesare's horse to fall, throwing him and causing him to lose. But Cesare reciprocates at the dance. I suspect at some point these two will come to a head in a life or death struggle. I only hope that Cesare wins.

From what I can see of the previews, there is a great deal to look forward to, including the reappearance of Lucrezia's groom. And don't count out her degraded and humiliated, cruel husband. Under other circumstances, I'd say he's sexy, but his dire cruelty prevents me from thinking so about the character. This is a series definitely worth watching, and I'm glad it's back.

A new season of Chopped All Stars also began last night, and the first episode featured something never seen  before in the Chopped Kitchens - four Iron Chefs competing together. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** The chefs were Michael Symon, Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, and Jose Garces. Leading up to the main event, they showed last season's episodes. It was fun to revisit them, especially the battle between Aaron Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian. In the new season, the caliber of the chefs set the bar high, and this was reflected in the quality of the food which the judges were served. In the end, the unflappable Michael Symon prevailed over Marc Forgione, and will move on to the championship round.

A few of my shows are on temporary hiatus, including Once Upon a Time and The Vampire Diaries. Grimm has only six episodes left in the season. This week, Nick took his girlfriend away for a little R&R - but things never seem to work out well for him. He ended up being next door to a man who was keeping his wife hostage, because of her intrinsic value to him. Nick has to help, of course, it's in his nature. The strain of the secrets he's keeping is taking its toll on his relationship with Juliette, and his marriage proposal isn't exactly met with the enthusiasm he'd hoped for - or the answer. Meanwhile, Hank finds himself drawn more and more to Adelaide, his behavior crossing over the border into stalkerdom, and Monroe is getting closer to the new owner of the apothecary shop, as they have a great deal in common.

I've found that Cooking Channel shows Iron Chef Japan, so I'll be watching some of those, and talking about them, later, as well as other episodes of Chopped and Restaurant Impossible and Jeff Lewis' new show, Interior Therapy.

All for now, need to get busy - yard work and guest blogs to write, books to edit and write!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fun morning read. Now I have to go back and read all the others!

    Oh, and we love many of the same shows! Grimm has grown on me, mostly because I'm totally loving Monroe. I think he's the best part of the show. :) I'm watching the Tudors on DVD right now, and it sounds like I may have to put the Borgias on my birthday list.