DVD Review: The Borgias (The Second Season)

During the recent election of Pope Francis, it was pretty much a given that he wasn’t going to be dealing with the same issues as Pope Alexander VI in the 16th century. The new pope wasn’t going to be hooking his children up with jobs. He wouldn’t be hunting for apartments for his baby mama and his latest mistress. Pope Francis wouldn’t be leading the Swiss Army guards into battle against scheming Cardinals and Kings. He really won’t be poisoning any of his religious rivals. The Borgias: The Second Season brings back the cut throat, skullduggery and rather Godless actions of those seeking to control Vatican City.

“The Borgia Bull” makes the Pope (Jeremy Irons) sense that things are finally calm. He’s got his son Cesare (Francois Arnaud) running as his priestly adviser keeping tabs on the College of Cardinals. Cesare wants to run the military except that job belongs to his brother Juan (Sean Harris). Sister Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) seems so sweet, but she’s got a mean streak. While things are calm, the Pope and his mistress Giulia (Lotte Verbeek) discovers the church’s infamous collection of dirty art. He wants it moved to the Vatican. Along with the art comes Vittoria. This new member of the entourage upsets Giulia since she fears she’ll be replaced. At the same time there is trouble brewing when the King of France nabs Price Alfonso of Naples. He gets a ruthless torture treatment. “Paolo” lets the Pope see the poverty in the streets of Rome. This makes him want to do something Pope-esque. However the Borgias do not turn into a sweet family. The father of Lucrezia’s baby doesn’t get any charity from Juan.

“The Beautiful Deception” ups the conniving when King Charles turns his army towards Rome. The Pope’s only hope is to locate more cannons to repeal the invaders. Trouble is the area around Rome lacks the firepower manufacturing base. Will this show become about a French family shortly? “The Choice” ups the cut throat level with the Borgias have a chat with de Medici family. There’s a guest appearance from Machievelli. “Days of Ashes” forces the Pope to marry off Lucrezia to maintain peace with another family. “The Siege at Forli”starts off happy enough with the Pope getting his first sniff of a cigar from the New World. But there’s no time to smoke when another army shows up looking for a fight. “World of Wonders” complicates a marriage proposal. On top of it all, the new guy appointed food taster to the Pope appears to be the guy who wants to poison the Pope. Things get way too complicated with Juan. This all gets played out in “The Confession.” Can the Pope and his family survive for season three? Not to spoil things, but Season Three is currently playing on Showtime.

The Borgias: The Second Season is as thrilling as the first season. This is all the fun stuff that the nuns skipped over at Cardinal Gibbons High. Grades would have probably improved if we could have remembered the Popes by their heathen ways. They’re like the family on Shameless if they had their own kingdom, an amazing amount of cash and less scruples. It’s just a shame the College of Cardinals didn’t elect someone as exciting as Pope Alexander VI.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The details of the Vatican sets come through in the transfers. It’s a lush production. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. There’s also a Dolby 2.0 mix in English and Spanish. The do a good job of mixing the battle scenes. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

World of Borgias (8:57) gives a bit of historical background on the family and the Papacy at the time.

Sho Originals (3:32) is the promo that ran on Showtime before the season started.

Biographies is text summaries of the top seven actors careers.

: Season 5, Episode 1 & 2 are from the season Hank hung out with RZA.

The Borgias: The Second Season keeps up the trouble era of Pope Alexander VI in the Vatican. He didn’t have an easy time with his enemies out to get him and his family driving him nuts. He has to deal with two attacking armies.

CBS DVD presents The Borgias. Starring: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek and David Oakes. Boxset Contents: 10 Episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: March 26, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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