The third episode of Da Vinci’s is the first not to be directed by show creator David S. Goyer. Does anyone else have the impression that Da Vinci’s Demons is looking to try and rival Game of Thrones for most sub-plots? It’s nowhere close at this point of course, but that’s not stopping the writers from making the attempt. “The Prisoner” opens with Count Riario playing a game with a mysterious prisoner whose strategic advice foreshadows the current tensions between Rome and Florence.
Lorenzo Medici becomes aware of a traitor within his court who is providing information to Rome and Riario and has his top advisor Becchi begin an investigation to find out who the traitor is. This sub-plot also includes Lorenzo’s wife having an awkward meeting with his mistress Lucrezia who is well aware of her husband’s dalliances.
Leonardo is inspecting the construction of his cannon barrels and discovers an imperfection resulting in extensive re-work by the workers. As he attempts to clear his head and think, a nun from a local convent is found screaming like a madwoman, and accusing the Medici’s of consorting with the Devil—and then stabs herself in the eye. Leonardo along with Giulino Medici travel to the convent and find several nuns similarly afflicted and being restrained, including his muse Vanessa. Emissaries from Rome arrive including a Vatican prefect who intends to perform an exorcism on the nuns. Unfortunately his exorcisms end up with the victim dying. Leonardo put his Sherlock Holmes-like skills to work to try to find a more scientific reason for the Nun’s affliction, believing it to be some sort of infection or poisoning.
This was an enjoyable episode but also one that was confusing. Leonardo (Tom Riley) continues to display his genius in many different forms and even his rival Eiario realizes that the Vatican would be strong with him on their side. But the entire plot with the nuns seemed out of place. This season is a mere episodes long and next week we will be halfway through. This diversion, while interesting, didn’t forward the main plot elements. Now it could very well be that the Producers are fine with this, especially since Starz has already confirmed a second season.
Tom Riley continues to dominate every scene he is in as Leonardo. His genius, impulsiveness and arrogance make for one of the more intriguing characters in series TV. So Far Da Vinci’s Demon has featured strong performances from all of its cast members but Riley and Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo Medici continue to be the standouts.