*****MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS for The Borgias's series finale—3.10, “The Prince”—below.*****
Seriously, DO NOT READ until you've seen the episode for yourself.
“The Prince,” as its name would suggest, revolved around Cesare and his figurative coronation as political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli's “prince.” Cesare began the show resisting the ambitious future that his father had planned for him, but eventually began craving power himself—though as a warrior rather than as a cardinal—and had been heading toward the role of “the prince” for a while. His siege of Forli and capture of the legendary Caterina Sforza pretty well sealed the deal, and it was fascinating to see.
The heart of the episode for me, however, was—of course—the relationships. We got to witness father and son scheming (Pope Alexander vowed that if his son could carve out an empire, he'd see to it that Cesare became both pope and king—whoa), Cesare and his loyal assassin Micheletto say good-bye (but not without a parting gift—the way to bring down Forli's 12-foot-thick walls), and Lucrezia have done with her father (“Don't lie to me, father” and “The silence is my answer”—oh, snap!) and come to the realization that her husband was a dead man, among other awesome scenes.
There were also some uber-intense Cesare/Lucrezia and Cesare/Lucrezia/Alfonoso scenes, like when the siblings discussed the nature of their forbidden feelings for each other:
Lucrezia: Why is your touch the only one that soothes me?
...The only thing that never tires me is you. ... Can you tell me why we're cursed with this feeling that feels so natural, and good? When we're together, God seems to sit in the room with us. And when you're away, I manage to forget you. And then...one touch of your hand and God comes rushing back.
Cesare: God, or the devil?
Lucrezia: Whatever it is, it overwhelms...
And like when later, after the events at Forli, Alfonso started a fight with Cesare that he could not—and did not—win, and then guilt-tripped Lucrezia into finishing him off with her poisons, telling her that if she ever loved him, she'd do it. And when Lucrezia said she could not, and Alfonso said that of course she could because she's a Borgia. Which, of course, is what Lucrezia has always most feared is the case.
Intense, huh? And then there was the last scene of the episode, and the show, when Cesare entered his sister and brother-in-law's chamber to find them both lying motionless on the bed, an empty glass on the bed, and Cesare rushed forward, thinking his sister—undoubtedly the light of his life—had killed herself, too. She hadn't, but she did lament that she'd never be able to wash her husband's blood away (or, I'm guessing, escape what her family's made her), and asked, “Is that all I'm ever to be? Borgia?” To which Cesare promised that he would wash all the blood away for her (which he started to do, literally), saying: "You will be naked, clean, and bloodless again. And mine.” End scene, end series.
WHOA. Am I right? Very, very dark stuff, and yet I tend to think it couldn't have ended any other way. I need more time to digest all that happened, and maybe rewatch a time or two, but for the moment I'm actually kinda glad it was left as open-ended as it was, though I do confess I was hoping to eventually see Cesare's death for the epic angst of it all.
What did you think of the episode? Are you happy with it as a series finale, or were you left wanting more?
(For more on my Cesare/Lucrezia ~feelings~ check out the post My Body Is a Cage: The Borgias's Cesare/Lucrezia.)
Heather Waters is the site manager of H&H, and a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_