Random cryptic vision time before Leo wakes up from the ruin left by the tank, pulled to his feet but Zoroaster and his father, Pierro. Lorenzo is still fighting to try and delay the advancing Ottomans – even as they use more inventions that look like Leonard’s work. Lorenzo is captured.
There’s lots of slaughter and capturing and general awfulness in the sacked Naples, complete with that tank rumbling around causing chaos and destruction and death. The gang seeks shelter in a church while Leo starts to have genius moments
Zoroaster does his best to try and comfort some of the locals – he’s awesome and cute at it. Leo is busy being a genius and doing smart stuff – and realising that Al Rahim is the one who betrayed him and stole his designs. Al Rahim responds with cryptic riddles and insists that yes, they do want what Leonardo wants. An “enlightened world.” And to create that – they need to destroy everything first. Leo is not a fan of this idea
Of course Al Rahim is one of Leo’s hallucinations and Pierro catches him talking to himself. While Leo babbles, Pierro tries to get him to see sense and see reality. It’s not a matter of Leo vs his own genius, it’s about saving the people who are dying. He also collapses over having, presumably, killed his mother to try and stop the Turks. Leo is carrying around a mountain of guilt but Pierro is there to keep him focused on saving them
With brains, archery and a plucky child they manage to get the gathered refugees to a neighbouring building where they can flee through the hidden tunnels underneath (pointed out by Malia, a Jewish woman who knows where the tunnels the Jews use to hide are). Pierro is captured delaying the enemy so they can escape.
Lorenzo is taken before Bayezid. Bayezid’s general doesn’t care but keeps him around in case he is useful.
The captured men are gathered those who refuse to convert to Islam are executed. Pierro is in the line.
Despite everyone else escaping, Leonard decides to stay… and, of course, Zoroaster stays for him. Leo watches as Al Rahim tries to recruit Pierro – who speaks out against everything Al Rahim stands for and embraced death. Pierro is executed, saying Leo will save them right to the end.
In Rome, Riario tells Fake!Pope that Naples has fallen and the only real choice they have left is a crusade. Though it’s not that easy since Crusades are expensive things and simply yelling “CRUSADE!” doesn’t mean nations need to support it – they need money and alliances, Riario has the former and to get the latter they need to start in Venice (which has the biggest fleet – but which also has a long standing treaty with the Ottomans). To make Venice break this they intend to use the death of a Venetian Cardinal that real!Pope and his Sons of Mithras killed last week (probably to set off the Crusade since both the cults – Riario’s and the Sons of Mithras – seem to want war). Which means Riario getting the support of the Venetian noble woman Laura Cereta
Riario tells the good news about the Crusade to his culty fellows, though he is worried about Clarice running around trying to expose them.
Riario and real!Pope go to see Laura who does not appear to be his biggest fan. She’s not a great fan of her dead brother either (whose body isn’t ready because of a rigor mortis erection. Yes, really and not unknown). Laura isn’t against a battle against the Ottomans since the treaty hasn’t been that great, but she objects to a Crusade for power and wealth led by the corrupt pope. She’ll support it but not with this pope in charge (she objects to a war for power being conflated with a holy war – not that she’s against holy war). She then snaps off the annoying erection. Check that symbolism.
Later Laura joins Riario in prayer – and she wants to see him to be the truly pious person leading the crusade. She hasn’t decided to join them, but will spend more time in Rome and give them chance to convince her.
Clarice is in Rome when Lucrezia goes to the chambers she’s hiding in to try and gather enough money to run away with. They meet and it is… awkward. But Clarice focuses not on Lurcrezia sleeping with her husband – but on the fact Lucrezia saved her daughters. She gives Lucrezia jewels to sell – the jewels Lorenzo gave her.
Clarice’s contacts do get her further on the trail of Cosmo and the Architect. She goes out into the night followed by the Culty leader guy in a plague doctor hat – and he gets stabbed by Clarice. She’s no fool.
In Florence the whole leadership has left – Lorenzo in Naples, Clarice chasing Cosmo in Rome. That leaves Vanessa (as mother to Guilliano’s child and thanks to Nico’s plotting) in ostensible charge wit Nico to advise and neither really knowing what happened. Vanessa is really over her head.
When they hear news that Otranto has fallen, the Council of the 100 meets in Florence to decide whether to respond to the Pope’s request for troops. Vanessa has to go to the Council to argue for the troops to stay and protect Florence
Honestly I actually agree with the Council – if the army reaches Florence then Florence won’t be able to stop them alone and they need to be part of a greater alliance. She makes a better point that Sixtus will just take the men and weapons they send and not give them back. Vanessa and Nico snap back – even when she insulted as a whore, she throws in some awesome insults and shames them much much much more.
Was it ever explained why Real!Pope was such a damn fool in insulting Bayezid in the first place? And why, having done so, he didn’t raise the resources for a crusade at the time? None of this makes even the slightest sense that the Pope should be so shocked – SHOCKED – but the obvious consequences of his own actions. (It’s not like the siege of Otranto didn’t happen – but the way it is depicted here makes little sense)
I did like Lucrezia and Clarice together. After so long of them being enemies and rivals, having Clarice not put her husband and his sex life first in her concerns was nice to see – her daughters were more important than that (and, perhaps, after her own relationship with Cosmo, monogamy means less to her).
Leo’s guilt and ramble about choices defining him is an excellent one – it’s a nice rejection of the idea of “what’s done is done” which lets you just absolve any past wrongdoing. At the same time Pierro has really come into his own – after being an enemy for so long, seeing him navigate Leo’s breakdown and provide comfort, support and focus is excellent.
And all applause to Vanessafor taking their attempts to shame her and throwing it back in their face.