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The Borgias Recap: “The Purge”

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On this week of The Borgias, Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) had Rufio (Thure Lindhart) start assembling the bastard and second sons of Rome’s most prominent families.  The men were weary at first, but soon united.  Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Rodrigo (Jeremy Irons) realized what Caterina was doing with the Get Borgia Gang (hereafter the “GBG”), and decided to subvert them.  The Borgias men also planned to pin Juan’s murder on Caterina.

Cesare, along with his trusty manservant Michelotto (Sean Harris), intimidated various members of the GBG, and as a result, received their confirmation of Caterina’s new plan of attack.  Each member of the GBG had Cardinal relatives. 

Cesare chased down the Orsini brothers and their cardinal cousin (the same one who helped Della Rovere escape last week).  The situation was immediately tense, and nearly escalated into a knife brawl. However, the Orsinis just taunted Cesare with rumors he’s the one who killed Juan. 


Rodrigo also devised a plan to weed out unfaithful cardinals.  Since Cardinal Sforza (Peter Sullivan) had proved loyal, he was tasked with carrying out the plot. The idea was one cardinal would be led to believe Rodrigo thought he was in on the plan to murder his family, and he’d be taken to the dungeons with the implication of torture to come.  The terrified cardinal would then give up any dirt he had on the other cardinals, in order to avoid such a fate.

It was kind of a genius plan, and it worked.  Later, when all the cardinals convened, the targeted cardinal got up and accused Cardinal Orsini, and the other cardinal relatives of the GBG of being involved with Caterina’s plot.  As punishment, Rodrigo stripped the men of their titles, wealth, and property.


While being defrocked, Cardinal Orsini asked to make one last private confession.  Cardinal Sforza was skeptical, and Cesare said it was a bad idea.  Rodrigo, being the egomaniac that he is, however, agreed. 

They went into his private chambers, where Orsini asked to be absolved of murder—Rodrigo’s!  Then, he started slashing at Rodrigo with a knife, wounding the pope.  They grappled for the knife, until Rodrigo managed to plunge it into Orsini, killing the would-be assassin.  When an anxious Cesare went to check on his father, he was greeted with the shocking sight of a blood-soaked pope.

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To the extreme displeasure of Rodrigo, and the Bella Farnese, the pope suffered impotence.  Attributed to his recent poisoning, it soon became clear Rodrigo’s feeling of helplessness more than likely caused the loss of virility.  He continued to struggle with Juan’s death, and the nearly successful murder plot on the rest of his family. 

Giulia went to Vanozza (Joanne Whalley) for advice.  The “starter wife” told her once-replacement that if the affair was truly over, she needed to negotiate her exit.  Giulia determined she wanted a palace of her own, and a cardinal’s hat for her brother.  The pope would not refuse her demands.

Rodrigo also went to Vanozza to discuss his personal problems, and they continued to bond.  Rodrigo confessed, “I feel safe with you,” to his former love.  Soon, when they hit the bedroom, Rodrigo had no trouble performing his manly duties. 

Love these two together.  So glad Rodrigo has finally come back to his senses about his original ladylove.


Alfonso was back, and planning his wedding with Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger).  Lucrezia seeing Alfonso play with her baby must have gotten her “ovaries exploding” because she soon started groping him (while he was still coddling the kid!).  It was at this time, Alfonso revealed he was a virgin, and vowed to remain so until marriage.  Lucrezia was not pleased.  Later, when he revealed his uncle, the King of Naples, would not accept baby Giovanni at court because he was illegitimate, she was downright livid.

Lucrezia ran to Cesare and demanded he change the king’s mind, as he was soon departing to arrange the dowry.  Cesare was in the middle of an armor fitting.  Lucrezia pouted and asked her brother, “Must I trade one love for another?”  Cesare made his servants leave, and then asked, “…You mean me for [Alfonso]?”  You could see Lucrezia melt at this line.  Then, she got pretty handsy, and started undressing, or removing, her brother’s armor. 

Cesare promised Lucrezia her happiness and that he’d make the King bend. If the King refused, much like Giovanni Sforza, things would not end well for him.  Then, they got way closer than was natural and nearly made out.  If you could snog someone’s face off, without ever technically kissing, that’s what they did.  Keep in mind; this all went down with several servants just chilling at the other end of the room.  No wonder there’s rumors, am I right?


Later, Lucrezia invited Cesare to her bedroom to see her wedding gown.  When he entered, he was shocked to see her lying naked on top of it.  She acted as if all was totally normal, to his extreme discomfort.  She was looking for love and compliments, and nearly succeeded in seducing him.  Cesare was lying beside her in bed, and they were just about to kiss, when the dressmaker knocked. The interruption spooked Cesare, and he promptly left. 

Things really started heating up between Cesare and Lucrezia this week!  FYI, it was awesome.  Despite the wrongness because of the incest, I’ve shipped this couple pretty hard ever since the first episode. 

Also, I think viewers were supposed to.  Incest amongst the Borgias has been rumored since their actual lifetimes. Although, it very well could have just been slander by their enemies, it’s often been romanticized.  No one’s been more guilty of this most recently, than this show.


The actors have an insane amount of chemistry, and it was always played like Cesare and Lucrezia were in love with each other, even if they never truly acknowledged it. Then, all of a sudden with this episode, they could barely contain the sexual tension. The duo nearly tore each other’s clothes off, twice. 

It’s only a matter of time before the characters seal the deal.   Even if I hadn’t already seen the first six episodes, it’d be pretty safe to declare Season 3 “The Season of Borgiacest.” 

This outing was one of The Borgias' funnier episodes.  Check out some highlights:

- “Can I get help please?  Help!  Please!” – Cesare, who’s frustrated by sexual tension, and stuck in his armor because he ordered his servants away when Lucrezia entered. Clearly, she was removing the armor too slowly. 

- "We lack the voice” – Rodrigo, in a hoarse whisper, when Vanozza suggests he call his guard because he admitted being alone with her has gotten him “agitated,” right before they get busy. 

- “God must want Us to live.” – Rodrigo, to a stunned Cesare, who walked in to find his Holy Father covered in blood, and standing over a dead Orsini with a knife. 

What did you readers think of “The Purge?”

Photo Credit:  Showtime