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The Borgias Recap: “Lucrezia's Gambit”

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Annoyed by her husband’s lack of political ambition, Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) determined to have a say in the next King of Naples.  Prince Raphael was openly hostile, and made it known her bastard child would again be turned away from court.  This mutual hatred was a shame, since Raphael was really cute and had tons of chemistry with Lucrezia. 

Instead, she turned towards his half-brother, Prince Federigo.  Lucrezia bonded with the kind prince over dastardly brothers.  Lucrezia noticed obvious parallels between Raphael's demeanor and that of her brother Juan.

After Federigo was poisoned, Lucrezia accused Raphael.  She told him that if he did not give up his claim to the throne, she’d destroy his reputation.  She warned the pope would not invest in him because of the controversy.  Raphael agreed to retire with his reputation intact, but not before saying Lucrezia was making a huge mistake, and would regret her decision. 

By the episode’s end, a grateful Federigo was being hailed by his people as the new king.  Lucrezia assured Alfonso they were safe, as long as Federigo stayed on the throne. 

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The King of France was pleased to receive Milan, but unhappy Ludovico Sforza escaped, since he still had a claim to the province.  Cesare (François Arnaud) promised Ludovico would be hunted down and killed. 

Micheletto (Sean Harris) was shown around Milan by a young artist, Pascal.  They snuck off to Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, and quickly got to know each other in the Biblical sense.  It was a little awkward right after, since Pascal thought it meant they were boyfriends, and Micheletto’s a cold-hearted killer.  Before leaving, Micheletto noticed something da Vinci crafted: a rifle with sights. 

When Cesare returned to Rome, a dying Cardinal Constanzo told him about Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) infecting his house with a plague.  At his urging, Micheletto and Cesare helped Constanzo commit suicide, and then burned down his palace to contain the disease.

Cesare was relieved the pope remained in good health.   Rodrigo (Jeremy Irons) told Cesare to wreak revenge on Caterina, by bringing her son Benito and Ludovico to Rome in chains.  Cesare and Micheletto lured Benito and Ludovico into a trap, and killed them both, the latter by blowing his head off with the primitive rifle. 

Rodrigo was upset Cesare did not follow his plan.  Cesare revealed he killed them because it’s what the French king wanted.  It was also what was best for the Borgias. 


Later, Micheletto spied Pascal in Rome, and nearly killed the handsome man for following him.  Pascal insisted he’d been brought to Rome by a patron.  Micheletto must have been more smitten than he let on because he promptly had Pascal move in with him. 

When Micheletto was out, Rufio came to visit.  Pascal was a spy for the Sforzas!  It seemed like Pascal had genuine feelings for Micheletto, or maybe he was just afraid Micheletto would discover the deception and murder him. Rufio advised him to stick with the plan. 

The real bombshell was dropped at the end of the episode.  The intel Pascal gathered was for King Federigo’s benefit.  He’s in an alliance with the Sforzas, and Lucrezia’s not safe at all. 

Poor Lucrezia!  She’s always getting sold off to these various men in order to cement political alliances.  However, her husband (or in this case, Alfonso’s family) never intended to live up to the agreement.  What will Cesare do when he finds out his sister is in danger?  Maybe Raphael might be king after all…

Photo Credit: Showtime