A couple of weeks back I took the writers of Da Vinci’s Demons to task for not progressing the show’s main plot elements, particularly considering that the first season is a mere eight episodes. It’s clear however that the show is in it for the long haul even if the first season doesn’t feature a lot of exclamation points.
Last week ended with Da Vinci being arrested and charged with sodomy. The charges come as a direct result of Rome’s influence who wants more than anything to get Da Vinci under their control. Leonardo is reluctantly defended by his father who, despite his strained relationship with his son, realizes his importance to Florence. Seemingly however, Lorenzo Medici doesn’t. While he could use his influence to have the charges dropped, he refuses to do so, even after the urging by his mistress Lucrezia. Lorenzo has more important issues to deal with…he is entertaining the King and Queen of Spain in an effort to secure their banking business.
The trouble for Da Vinci goes from bad to worse when Rome’s prosecutor charges him with heresy, a crime punishable by death. Locked away in a prison tower with nothing but bats, and bat guano for company, Da Vinci is at his most desperate as he looks for a way out of his seemingly impossible circumstance.
Very strong episode! The relationship between Leonardo and his father was explored in great detail this week. Da Vinci’s father shows his grudging respect for his son’s genius. It’s also strongly hinted that despite his mother being a mere servant girl, that it was she who spurned his father and not the other way around. This further adds to the mystery of his mother’s identity.
On the other hand, Medici showed where his true loyalties lie. Despite the fact that Leonardo saved Florence from an attack by Rome, money talks first and loudest in the city long known for its banking prosperity. But what good is getting Spain’s business if Rome takes over Florence? I’ve moved beyond the belief that Leonardo’s moments of genius and inspiration are contrived and implausible. I look forward now each week to see how he is going to solve the latest dilemma and “bat bombs” were a wacky stroke of genius. Tom Riley plays these moments with such brilliant vigor that they have become the show’s weekly highlight moments.
Also have to give a tip of the hat to Tom Bateman who plays Lorenzo’s brother Giuliano. So far he’s been played as a gullible character lacking in guile. When he’s tasked with putting on a play to entertain the Spanish rulers, he and Lorenzo come to blows when they disagree on the content. Giuliano kicks his brother’s ass and ignores Lorenzo’s demands that the bawdy moments of the play be removed so as not to offend the visiting monarchs.