Paolo - Recap

<-- Previous EpisodeNext Episode -->
The episode begins; Prince Alfonso as it turns out has expired under the weight of Charles' tortures that he had inflicted upon him earlier, and is being prepared for mummification alongside his father's vanquished foes who he has kept in his collection; it is just like Charles had promised himself that he would, once he has tortured his son to death. Meanwhile Paolo, having survived the whipping he took earlier for letting Lucrezia escape follows her to Rome, determined to get a glimpse of Lucrezia and his son: Giovanni, named after her abusive ex-husband, who it's established, is not the child's father. He is visibly curious as to how he has turned out, and wants to catch a glimpse of him.

Thanks to a prostitute named Beatrice who helps him out, he's able to get close enough to beg for whatever time he can get to spend with Lucrezia and their son. Lucrezia as it turns out is not stupid enough to think that she can talk her father into letting him stay, she seems to know that for sure, from the look of things. But she is persuasive enough to enlist Cesare into coordinating one last night together, so she can spend a precious few moments with the man she loves, and has a child with. It's a reunion that provides both with the closure they need from the look of things, as there is some torrid lovemaking that ensues, but it's still a reunion that seems doomed to fail, from the look of things.

Meanwhile, Lucrezia and Paolo discuss the present state of things, with Lucrezia worried about Paolo’s safety, but with Paolo hell bent on seeing his son once, even if it means risking his life ("I would see my boy before I die." "Please do not mention death, for you may die if you stay in Rome.") The score builds the tension, as the two discuss and wonder as what they could do find a way out of the predicament they are presently in. The two seemingly want to be together. Meanwhile, Cesare is still fixated on Ursula Bonadeo, the noblewoman who fled to a convent when she learned he killed her jealous husband. He's found an excuse to get close by gifting a new fresco to her church—and in a sign he's still not taking her decision well, tears off her habit and forces her to pose for the painter; much to her shock and horror. In the meanwhile, thanks to Juan Borgia, the relationship between Lucrezia and Paolo might be closed off definitively.

Already notoriously prickly about his own bastard heritage and grown so drunk with his new status that he compares himself to a stallion among mules in the Roman populace, the sight of this commoner sniffing around his sister is more than he can bear, he is visibly enraged by the knowledge that Paolo has managed to get so close to his sister. He wants him nowhere near his sister from the look of things, and is ready to go to any lengths to ensure that. Recruiting a prostitute spy to pin Paolo down, he and a pair of toughs seize him leaving the Borgia estate and hang him from an overpass. It's a confrontation that is quite animated and in the end quite gruesome, with Paolo meeting his maker, just as Lucrezia had feared.

Meanwhile, Alexander’s is still on his quest to restore life to the old glories of Rome—now newly invigorated by the "trinity" formed between himself, Giulia and Vittorio/Vittoria. Unlike his second son, being so close to a commoner intrigues him, and he asks his new mistress to do what the papal armies cannot and take him into the streets to see how his congregation lives, so he can get a clearer picture of things, and do something for the common man of Rome. What he sees horrifies him to no end, as it’s a sight he clearly wasn’t expecting to encounter, with people sleeping in the streets, women begging for dead children, broken aqueducts leaking dirty water, and more pigeons than he can shake a sword-cane at.

He is visibly moved by the sight, which seems to have shocked him to no end. The glimpse gives him a new sense of outrage to fix the problems of Rome, and he takes it upon himself to do so, whatever it takes. But his recent knowledge seems have brought about a realization that is ill place, he seems to be missing the big picture in favor of how much something personally interests or offends him; from how things are looking. He pawns the busy work of auditing the Vatican's public works budget off on Giulia so he can take care of more important things, or things which he personally feels might be important. He then turns to eradicating Rome's pigeon problem with the help of some starving Umbrian hawks that would swiftly get rid of the pigeon problem. He clearly seems to be losing focus of his actual priorities from the look of things.

Much as he was with the festival, he's all about the spectacle and instant gratification, so caught up is he in the sight of falcons tearing pigeons apart he doesn't give a thought to how this really helps the people or how much it will cost. (Or the cost to Cesare's doves, with the doves serving as messengers that sealed his papacy, and are now being torn to shreds by one of the loosed birds of prey.) He is visibly pleased at the fact that he is doing the people of Rome a great favor, and doesn’t seem to care about anything else.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Della Rovere fully recovered from Cesare's poisoning attempt—and cautious enough to have a Capuchin monkey taste his food going forward, has decided to make a pilgrimage back to Rome; he looks a changed man, with determination and purpose written all over his face. And the Della Rovere bound for Rome isn't the same one who left it before from how things turn out; as a pair of robbers on the road learn to their misfortune when he dispatches them with such bloody efficiency that he seems like a totally different person altogether. He eliminates them with the efficiency of a trained fighter, revealing the fact that he has been preparing himself for a showdown with the Borgias.

Where once he ran screaming from the sight of a dead body the last time round, it seems that there's now an icy nonchalance about being so close to death, as he seems unaffected by the dead bodies around him; which is something that might prove dangerous to the Borgias, especially since it’s an enemy, who has been deeply scarred by them. Cesare had thought he did a service by leaving Della Rovere alive to serve the family, as he never imagined that he could ever be a threat of any sort to the Borgias, much as Juan thought he did a service by killing Paolo, or Alexander did a service by loosing falcons upon the city to feast on pigeons that he thought would somehow help the citizens of Rome. The episode ends on this note.