Monday, May 12, 2014

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 2, Episode 8: The Fall From Heaven

Riario and Leo are in a prison – the same cell we saw from the pilot – being all angsty and thoughtful. Riario recaps his past for us, brought up in a monastery and recruited by the pope to do terrible things – things that make him all sad and tortured.

Ima drops in to say she’s totally not loving it but they’re going to sacrifice Leo and Riario because then the gods will be happy and give them the Leafy Book (and maybe Leo’s mother) since there’s still puzzles left in the Indiana Jones Vault. But hey, she has some new bling for him while he gets sacrificed. Leo asks that Zoroaster and Nico be spared – but they weren’t up for sacrifice anyway; they get to spend their days serving (skinning carcasses) and Leo gives them a cryptic message  which Zoroaster interprets from their… colourful history as meaning to leave – without Leo.

Zoroaster begins his plan – and Nico gives him away. Zoroaster is shocked – what has Riario done to Nico. Then Nico kills the guard who grabbed Zoroaster (clearly not focusing on Nico) – Riario taught young Nico to survive. The rest of the coded message involves the big vats of, apparently fat, tat the camera focused on earlier. By setting them on fire, Zoroaster intends to create a diversion.

Leo and Riario are taken out to be sacrificed, a ritual happens in the background while Riario and Leo talk about fatalism and hearing Leo’s mother and things that are really really irrelevant when you’re about to be killed. As Riario is about to be sacrificed, Leo stabs his guard with his nifty knew bling and then grabs a sword from Ima (one of theirs) and holds it to the high priest’s throat. Leo makes a big speech (translated by Ima) about how they’ve survived the Vault and need to return or their gods will be vengeful (why they should believe Leo’s take on what will piss off their gods rather than Ima and the High Priest is a mystery).

Then the fat explodes. Leo and Riario runs, Leo grabbing his key/Lucrezia’s ring back off Ima. They meet up with Nico and Zoroaster and their plan is to flee up the mountain back into the Vault, of course.

They run through the Vault, chased by Ima and the guards. Leo locks the door behind them, crushing one of the Incan guards in the doorway. Leo leaves Zoroaster and Nico with plans to make parachutes (yes yes he does) and goes to find his mother. Leo geniuses open the Vault while Ima cries that the book belongs to her people who will die without its help.

Inside is a little golden bust which speaks with his mother’s recorded voice.



Ok, let’s just run with this, little gold robots with speakers, why not? Leo takes it out – wow that looks really cheap. You can virtually see the plastic. Riario is very upset by the lack of a Leafy Book, Leo is very upset by the lack of his mother (Leo, if your mother had been locked in a vault for several years, you wouldn’t want to see her).

The plastic toy-pretending-to-be-metal explains she had to move the book and the only way Leo can find the book is if he stops looking for her. Anything further is interrupted by an uncannily aimed arrow that breaks it. They run to the convenient huge drop off and Ima begs Leo not to take the book from her people – he tells her there was no book and they jump off the mountain.

They land in the rain forest and Riario breaks his leg – a compound fracture. Leo and Zoroaster don’t decide to leave him to his fate despite Zoroaster’s very sensible suggestion

Leo’s plan is to return to Florence and fix the plastic toy and hear the rest of his mother’s message. And Riario shares another example of why Evil Pope is Evil and made him do Evil things – making Riario kill his own mother (a Jewish prostitute). He was seeking the Leafy Book for some kind of absolution and now he’s going back empty handed. Leo tries to cheer him up – they have an ugly brazen head!

In Rome, the evil Pope meets with Alfonzo (son of Ferrante, King of Naples) who reports that the war against Tuscany is going well – but that Lorenzo is in Naples and who knows what he and his dad will plot. The Pope considers a direct strike against Florence

Prince Bayezid arrives from Constantinople, following Lucrezia’s slightly bemusing plan; because he thinks the Pope invited him and the Evil Fake Pope has no idea what he’s talking about, thinks they’re enemies with no peace and, also, that if Bayezid has the Sword of Osman it’s because he’s a thief. Everyone draws swords and Bayezid warns them if he doesn’t send word to his people they will tell the Sultan; but the Pope rightfully guesses Bayezid is there without his father, Mehmed’s knowledge, since Mehmed would never expect peace.

The Pope has zero desire for peace and has his guards attack to kill everyone but Bayezid (Alfonzo and Bayezid square off) (while Quon Shan slaughters the other guards – he may not get any speaking lines but the Asian character gets nifty martial arts, of course). Quon Shan escapes after killing everyone but Bayezid is attacked from behind and disarmed. The Pope has him dumped outside of Rome, stripped of his clothes and his horse murdered to send the message that “Christendom knows no boundaries”. So no peace with the Ottomans.

As he is dumped outside the city, Quon Shan sends a message to the Real Pope in his prison. The Pope’s expression doesn’t twitch with whatever news he gets

Outside Constantinople, a worried Lucrezia is met by Jacob Pasha, an advisor to the Sultan and former Christian. And he knows exactly who Lucrezia is and to find out what she really wants they bring in a woman in chains with henna markings on her hands to find the truth.

In Naples, Lorenzo is worried – news from Florence tells him that Clarice is dependent on Carlo (who Lorenzo doesn’t seem to be a big fan of) and he’s stuck, delayed. He tells all this to Ippolita who, of course, is quick to stick her knife in Clarice and say how much better she would be. Of course she does. He talks about how he thought they would marry and she pounces – time to declare they’re in love! He’s not that into running away and becoming an unknown peasant with Ippolita – he has to fight for Florence

While Lorenzo is delayed, Piero is bribing and schmoozing with the nobles of Naples. Which all goes horribly wrong when they’re kidnapped by some French pirates. No, really.

Ippolita tells Lorenzo that these particular pirates have been dodging Ferrante for a while, stealing from the royal fleet repeatedly. Lorenzo can’t even pay a ransom because he can’t get more gold from Florence and he’s already spent most of his cash bribing people. Ippolita points out asking Ferrante for help will be a disaster – but defeating the pirate, Ozo, may win Ferrante over.

They go to the pirate ship with money Lorenzo borrowed from Ippolita – and Ozo jacks up the price since his men recognised Piero as Leonardo’s son. But that doesn’t matter because Ippolita has brought guards to capture all the pirates anyway; Ozo is shocked because she was the one who paid him to kidnap Piero in the first place. Lorenzo is duly confused, but Ippolita knows you need more than bribes to impress Ferrante – now he has bribes and has defeated a notorious pirate.

Of course, after this Lorenzo and Ippolita have sex (would that be some Gratuitous heterosexuality? Yes yes it would). They’re interrupted by a message which Lorenzo orders to be slid under the door. Ippolita gets up to collect it (more nudity). The king will now see Lorenzo. Ferrante is impressed – Lorenzo has shown himself more than a banker, he’s shown himself willing and able to fight and kill as well.

Alfonzo barges in protesting such praise – and brings with him Evil Fake Pope. The Pope wants to discuss Lorenzo’s surrender

I have no idea what Lucrezia is planning or what this was supposed to achieve. I hope some sense will come out of this hot mess. If her plan is "start a war between Christendom and the Ottoman Empire" then I call shenanigans on her sense of priorities

But praise to Ippolita! Is that the first time on this show that a woman has shown a proven level of intelligence and cunning and being fully up to the twists and turns of Italian politics? Shame she does it for an unrequited love interest – but COMPETENCE!

And we saw her naked. Of course we did. Has there actually been one single woman on this show we haven’t seen naked and having sex?  I actually half-joked in my recap of episode 6 that we would definitely be seeing Ippolita naked and having sex – behold, I was right. Not only is it more Gratuitous Heterosexuality, but even it continues to glaring nudity disparity between these characters – despite the humping, very few of the men have shown as much skin as the women – and more, the women’s storylines are very focused on the men.

We need to look at POC and woo-woo here; the Incans have nothing but woo-woo, traps and endless sacrifices. That’s what they do – sacrifice. The brief pretention of respecting their incredible architectural achievements is quickly lost among the endless chain of woo-woo and sacrifice. We already had The Abyssinian being a source of endless woo-woo. Al Rahim is ready to appear anywhere to throw out some woo-woo. And now the Ottoman Empire – at the time very much technologically advanced beyond most if not all of Western Europe – is now pulling out some more woo-woo.

Leo’s storyline remains the least compelling. And really, you can afford so many costumes and props and extras – but this fancy Brazen Head looks like it should have Fisher Price stamped on the bottom