List of The Borgias episodes
The Borgias is a historical drama created by Neil Jordan based upon the life of Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI, and his family. The series takes place in Rome at the end of the 15th century and depicts Borgia's ruthless efforts to win the papal election, his eventual rise to the position of Pope and his family's struggle to maintain and increase their political power. The series premiered on Showtime on April 3, 2011, with the Canadian premiere happening one hour later on Bravo!. The two-hour premiere was the most-watched original Canadian series premiere on Bravo! and the fourth-most-watched-overall program in the channel's history with 575,000 viewers. On June 5, 2013, after three seasons, Showtime officially cancelled The Borgias. The last episode aired on June 16, 2013.
In total, 29 episodes of The Borgias were broadcast over three seasons.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||9||April 3, 2011||May 22, 2011|
|2||10||April 8, 2012||June 17, 2012|
|3||10||April 14, 2013||June 16, 2013|
Season 1 (2011)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"The Poisoned Chalice"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||April 3, 2011||1.06|
|After the death of Pope Innocent VIII, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, with the help of his sons, bribes and cajoles other cardinals to vote for him in the conclave to elect the new pontiff. He succeeds, and assumes the papal throne as Alexander VI. Two other ambitious cardinals, Orsini and Della Rovere, immediately begin plotting against him. When Orsini hosts a dinner for the pope and the cardinals, Rodrigo's son Cesare catches a servant, Micheletto, in the kitchen preparing to poison the Borgias' wine. Offering the assassin better pay if he works for his family, Cesare has Orsini poisoned instead.|
|2||2||"The Assassin"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||April 3, 2011||1.06|
|Cesare enlists Micheletto to spy on Cardinal della Rovere, who seeks to find a legal way to depose Rodrigo as pope. He is advised by scholar Johannes Burchard that a pope who engages in "public and notorious lechery" could be deposed. Rodrigo begins an affair with Giulia Farnese, provoking the outrage of his former mistress, Vanozza, and threatening to provide della Rovere with just the evidence he needs. On Micheletto's information, the pope corners Burchard and demands his support in expanding the College of Cardinals to shore up his position. Cesare sets Micheletto to work preventing della Rovere and a witness from presenting evidence against the pope.|
|3||3||"The Moor"||Simon Cellan Jones||Neil Jordan||April 10, 2011||0.683|
|Djem, brother and potential threat to the new Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire, arrives at Rome. The Sultan is paying the Holy See handsomely to keep Djem there as a "guest", but he will pay a lot more if Djem somehow dies. Cesare declines his brothers' request of using Micheletto. The Pope tries to decide who is to marry his daughter. Djem is murdered, and the grateful Sultan's gold is used as Lucrezia's dowry.|
|4||4||"Lucrezia's Wedding"||Simon Cellan Jones||Neil Jordan||April 17, 2011||0.708|
|Rodrigo betroths his daughter Lucrezia to Giovanni Sforza. In order not to bring a perception of disrepute to his daughter's lineage, he forbids the girl's mother from attending the wedding, much to the chagrin of both Lucrezia and Cesare. Cardinal Della Rovere courts Neapolitan and French authorities, promising to support France's claim on Naples if he gets their aid in deposing Pope Alexander VI. The wedding proceeds as planned, without Vannozza. After the ceremony, however, Cesare brings her to the reception, to the shock of many of the guests. It quickly causes the marriage to go sour. The following night, Lucrezia is brought to Giovanni's home, where he rapes her.|
|5||5||"The Borgias in Love"||John Maybury||Neil Jordan||April 24, 2011||0.778|
|Lucrezia is very unhappy with her brutish husband, who brutally rapes her night after night, and the pope is tormented by nightmares about her. After trying and failing to secure safe passage for French troops from the Medici rulers of Florence, Della Rovere makes the same request of Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Cesare follows to Florence, offering the Medici an inquisition against the preacher Savonarola, in exchange for denying free passage to the French. Lucrezia flirts with a handsome young servant and entices him to sabotage her husband's saddle so that he will have a riding accident, which he does. The Borgias are soliciting suitable brides for Juan. Cesare interprets Ursula Bonadeo's request to be "freed" from her unhappy marriage as license to kill her husband, which he does with Micheletto's help.|
|6||6||"The French King"||John Maybury||Neil Jordan||May 1, 2011||0.824|
|Lucrezia nurses her wounded husband, and takes the servant as her lover. The King of Naples offers a daughter of his as a bride for Juan Borgia. Juan goes to Naples to sound out a possible marriage with his under-age brother Joffre instead. Della Rovere, now in France, tries to win the favor of the French king. Cesare takes Ursula as a mistress, but upon discovering that he murdered her husband, she is overwhelmed by scruples and flees to a nunnery. Joffre Borgia marries Sancia of Naples, who is having an affair with Juan.|
|7||7||"Death, on a Pale Horse"||Jeremy Podeswa||Neil Jordan||May 8, 2011||0.855|
|The aged King Ferdinand of Naples dies and is succeeded by his son Alfonso. King Charles VIII of France, with Cardinal Della Rovere in his train, invades Italy and is given free passage by the Sforza Duke of Milan. Victory seems inevitable as the French sack the city of Lucca. In fear of a similar fate, Florence capitulates to the French king's harsh terms. Rodrigo sends Giulia Farnese to Giovanni Sforza to confirm his loyalty in arms. Once there, she discovers the House of Sforza will do nothing should the invasion continue into Rome. Giulia also realizes that Lucrezia is pregnant, albeit not by her husband, and advises they both flee in secret.|
|8||8||"The Art of War"||Jeremy Podeswa||Neil Jordan||May 15, 2011||0.764|
|Giulia and Lucrezia escape Pesaro on horseback at dawn. The pope musters his forces to meet the French challenge. While Giovanni Sforza is torturing the page who aided their escape, the two ladies ride into the French army and are taken into the king's custody. Lucrezia charms the king, and when a battle is about to commence, she engineers a truce between him and her brother Juan, the general of the Papal forces. As the French approach Rome, the cardinals flee to safety.|
|9||9||"Nessuno (Nobody)"||Jeremy Podeswa||Neil Jordan||May 22, 2011||0.810|
|The French army marches into a deserted Rome. Cardinal Della Rovere expects a convening of the College of Cardinals to depose the pope, but the pope strikes a deal with King Charles of France to recognize him as ruler of Naples. Charles is crowned King of France and Naples in a pompous affair in Rome. Meanwhile, Cesare and Micheletto travel to Pesaro and kidnap Giovanni Sforza in a scheme to have his marriage with Lucrezia annulled. They frame Sforza for being unable to consummate the marriage, by obliging him to prove his potency in front of the college of cardinals. Sforza is unable to endure such ridicule and declares that he is impotent; the marriage is annulled in a humiliating ordeal for Sforza. The French army reaches Naples, where they find the city ravaged by the plague and full of corpses. Lucrezia gives birth to a baby boy, after which she is joined by the rest of the Borgias.|
Season 2 (2012)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|10||1||"The Borgia Bull"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||April 8, 2012||0.605|
|The Pope, pleased with the current standing of his family and their successes, decides to hold a pagan celebration in Rome for the common people. Whilst hunting he and Giulia discover a hidden alcove of art dedicated to pleasure, that he has removed and placed in the Vatican. Here he meets a young art apprentice, Vittoria, a lady disguising herself as man to whom he is attracted. Giulia, knowing that her lover has strayed whilst she was away, fears she will lose him and also befriends Vittoria. Meanwhile the King of France is suffering from the plague in Naples and captures Prince Alfonso, proceeding to torture him with the devices used by his own father on those who displeased him.|
|11||2||"Paolo"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||April 15, 2012||0.534|
|The Pope decides to see for himself the conditions in the streets of Rome and after realising the extreme poverty enlists Giulia to try and tackle the issue. Paolo, the father of Lucrezia's child, arrives in Rome seeking her. With the help of a prostitute, he manages to meet Lucrezia again, but they are seen by Juan who is angry that his sister would love a commoner. Cesare and his mother organise one night for Paolo and Lucrezia to be together again so that he can meet his child, on the condition he leaves Rome immediately after. This he does only to be caught and killed by Juan.|
|12||3||"The Beautiful Deception"||Jon Amiel||Neil Jordan||April 22, 2012||0.509|
|The effects of the murder of Lucrezia's lover Paolo, father of her child, are played out. Cardinal Della Rovere begins to scheme to depose the Pope, attempting to enlist several houses of religious along the way. King Charles, still sick with the "Neapolitan fever", returns from Naples and attempts to sack Rome, at while scheming with the Sforza family, intending to breach her walls by the use of his cannons. Pope Alexander VI attempts to have cannons cast to repel the assault, only to learn that all of the foundries in Rome could cast only one or two in the several days required for King Charles's host to reach Rome. Cardinal Cesare Borgia, attempts "The Beautiful Deception": enlisting city artisans, he has plaster mock-ups of cannons cast, which are then used to successfully bluff the King of France into riding past the Eternal City.|
|13||4||"Stray Dogs"||Jon Amiel||Neil Jordan||April 29, 2012||0.579|
|During the celebrations of the retreat of the French, Cesare finds the nuns of the Convent of St. Cecilia raped and slaughtered, including his former lover Ursula Bonadeo. Pledging vengeance he sends Micheletto out to the streets to gather men to strike those responsible. A captured scouting party reveals Giovanni Sforza's involvement as well as secrets of the French army. Ludivico Sforza petitions the Pope to sanction a League to repel the French forces from Italy, with which he agrees. The Pope, Cesare and Cardinal Sforza ride north leaving Lucrezia in charge of Rome. Lucrezia takes this time to address the needs of the poor and the orphans of Rome to the Consistory. On the eve of battle Cesare and his men infiltrate the French camp and destroy their gunpowder, rendering their cannon useless.|
|14||5||"The Choice"||Kari Skogland||Neil Jordan||May 6, 2012||0.567|
|With the French defeated, the Pope rides to Florence to silence Savonarola while Cesare departs for Forli to deal with Caterina Sforza. While in Florence, the Pope meets with Piero de Medici and Machiavelli to discuss ways to get rid of Savonarola. After returning to Rome the roof of the church collapses during Communion and is interpreted as a sign of God's displeasure. Cesare delivers a message to Caterina to either come to Rome and bow to the Pope willingly or in chains. After deliberating with Giovanni Sforza, she refuses. Cesare makes good his promise and kills Giovanni and barely escapes Forli. Della Rovere meets with Savonarola again to receive his blessing for the murder of the Pope. Receiving such he returns to the Abbey where he recruits a young monk named Antonello to become the Pope's taster and poison him. Micheletto returns to his ancestral home and reconnects intimately with a man from his past.|
|15||6||"Day of Ashes"||John Maybury||David Leland||May 13, 2012||0.687|
|Cesare returns to Rome and confesses to his father he murdered Giovanni Sforza and slept with Caterina. This pushes the Pope to reveal that to secure the papacy he must now marry off Lucrezia again, much to her displeasure. Savonarola continues to gain fervor in Florence. Cardinal Sforza presents the Pope's offer of cardinal to Savonarola, which he refuses. Cesare is tasked with delivering a doomed message to Savonarola to cease preaching or face excommunication and execution. Della Rovere begins to train Antonello in the task of poisoning the Pope by strengthening his reaction to cantarella. Machiavelli comes to Rome and informs Cesare of routes taken by wagons filled with gold from the Medici bank. Cesare and his men attack the caravans and bring the gold back to Rome. With the new gold, a siege of Forli is planned but Cesare is denied his wish of commanding the Papal Army as Juan is soon to return from Spain.|
|16||7||"The Siege at Forli"||Kari Skogland||David Leland||May 20, 2012||0.554|
|Juan Borgia returns to Rome with Conquistadors bearing gifts from the New World including a panther for Lucrezia and cigars for his father, who confuses them for "turds". In private Juan reveals he is to be a father and is given the task of taking Forli. Juan seeks the help of a doctor who diagnoses him with syphilis. The army advances to Forli to discover her recent armament of French cannon put to good use. While discussing terms Caterina's son is abducted by Juan and is tortured in view of his mother. Ludovico Sforza marches his army to Forli to break the siege and decimates the Papal army with hand cannons. Caterina's son is saved from execution and Juan escapes into the woods. In Florence Cesare observes Savonarola who continues to preach against vanity. They witness the Bonfire of the Vanities. Lucrezia agrees to meet with her suitor Calvino de Genova after his brother Raffaello catches her eye.|
|17||8||"Truth and Lies"||John Maybury||David Leland||June 3, 2012||0.567|
|Lucrezia accepts Calvino's marriage proposal so she may carry on her affair with Raffaello. Juan returns to Rome and claims his injuries are proof of his courage and valor on the battlefield of Forli. Juan's health worsens and he is introduced to opium to treat the pain. Cesare suspects that his brother is lying, which is confirmed by Caterina Sforza's son. Cesare arranges a meeting between the boy and the Pope to reveal the truth about the siege. Della Rovere sends Antonello to Rome who in turn drowns Bernardino. Cesare is given a declaration charging Savonarola with heresy.|
|18||9||"World of Wonders"||David Leland||David Leland||June 10, 2012||0.621|
|Calvino tells the Pope he cannot marry Lucrezia because his brother Raffaello wishes to marry her instead. He is refused and the brothers leave Rome. With the assistance of Machiavelli, Cesare challenges Savonarola to a trial by fire. He fails the trial and loses favor in Florence. Cesare brings him to Rome for a confession under torture. Antonello is appointed as the Pope's taster. Upon the baptism of Giovanni, Antonello poisons the Pope's water but wine is chosen instead. Juan continues to deteriorate and puts Giovanni's life in danger, enraging Lucrezia. In response, Cesare and Micheletto track him down to an opium den, lure him to a bridge and kill him.|
|19||10||"The Confession"||David Leland||Guy Burt||June 17, 2012||0.517|
|Savonarola is tortured for a confession of heresy. After a confession is forged, Savonarola is burned at the stake. Juan's body is discovered and the pope refuses to have a funeral until his killer is found, leading Cesare to admit his guilt to his grief-stricken father. Cesare is finally absolved of his vows after his father realizes the mistakes he made with Juan. Lucrezia chooses a suitor to marry. Antonello makes his next move: the Pope is poisoned, leaving the season with a cliff-hanger.|
Season 3 (2013)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|20||1||"The Face of Death"||Kari Skogland||Guy Burt||April 14, 2013||0.582|
|Pope Alexander fights for his life after being poisoned from last season, and the Cardinals plot at his deathbed. Cesare and Micheletto trace the assassination plot back to its source, but Della Rovere is ready to make his move. Caterina Sforza has dispatched her own personal assassin Rufio to dethrone the Borgia family. However, thanks to Lucrezia's quick thinking, she saves her father, and he awakens. Della Rovere is arrested, but is later released by a traitorous cardinal, and flees, and Rufio's attempt to assassinate the Borgia family is thwarted.|
|21||2||"The Purge"||Kari Skogland||Neil Jordan||April 21, 2013||0.474|
|Now fully recovered, Alexander tasks Cardinal Sforza with instigating an “inquisition” among the Cardinals who were plotting against him whilst dying. With the “evidence” he needs, Alexander dismisses and banishes all the Cardinals he does not trust. But Cardinal Orsini does not leave quietly, forcing blood to spill. Caterina Sforza orders Rufio to seek support from the mercenary warlords of the Romagna families – Orsini, Vitelli and Colonna. Lucrezia is annoyed that her future in-laws will not welcome her son, Giovanni, at court and also rejection from Alfonso because he refuses to have sex before marriage. This makes her realize how much she loves and relies on Cesare, and she pleads with him to negotiate for her son to follow her to Naples.|
|22||3||"Siblings"||Jon Amiel||Guy Burt||April 28, 2013||0.569|
|As the purged Cardinals are dismissed and stripped of their titles and wealth, Cardinal Versucci angrily sets the Vatican Treasury ablaze after stealing a large sum, which he gives to a small convent. Incensed by the new King Ferdinand's arrogant refusal to accept Giovanni as Lucrezia's child, Cesare travels to Naples to fix the problem and begins to consider an alliance with the old enemy France. After Lucrezia and Alfonso's wedding, Alfonso sees that Cesare isn't sure about his allegiance to the Borgia family. Upset, he leaves Lucrezia alone and the marriage unconsummated. Deciding that only a Borgia can truly love a Borgia, Lucrezia visits Cesare in his chambers and makes love to him, committing incest.|
|23||4||"The Banquet of Chestnuts"||Jon Amiel||Guy Burt||May 5, 2013||0.674|
|Newly appointed Cardinal Farnese is placed in the Treasury and quickly discovers Versucci's theft. Micheletto is sent to find the wayward cardinal. Meanwhile, upon hearing of Venice's request for help against Turkish pirates, Alexander, seeing this as an opportunity to replenish the coffers, dramatically calls for a Crusade. Concerned about the loyalty of his new cardinals, Giulia arranges a trap for them – the “banquet of chestnuts”. At the feast details of the cardinals' sexual activities with prostitutes dressed as nuns are recorded to extort their future loyalty. Elsewhere, King Ferdinand learns that Lucrezia and Alfonso's marriage has not been consummated and demands a witnessed display of their consummation from both members of the family. Lucrezia is humiliated, but goes through with it as King Ferdinand and Cesare watch.|
|24||5||"The Wolf and the Lamb"||Kari Skogland||Neil Jordan||May 12, 2013||0.749|
|Cesare's diplomatic mission to France is a success, Cesare makes an ally of Archbishop d'Amboise, and marries Charlotte d'Albret (Ana Ularu). Back in Rome, the seductive and dangerously insane Bianca takes her own life, prompting Alexander and Cardinal Sforza to conspire to repay Gonzaga's cruel plot. Lucrezia travels to Naples accompanied by her husband, with Micheletto offering protection. King Ferdinand remains steadfast in his determination that little Giovanni will not be recognised at court. Upon learning this, Lucrezia plots to poison him, but Micheletto takes on the task.|
|25||6||"Relics"||Kari Skogland||Guy Burt||May 19, 2013||0.663|
|Cesare lands in northern Italy with a French army. Alexander is unhappy with what he perceives as a challenge by his son to his authority. Together they plot to use the French army to destroy the Sforza dynasty. Catherina, meanwhile, has come up with a plot of her own – biological warfare sent directly to the Vatican. Concerned about the lack of funds for his Crusade, Alexander imposes punitive taxes on the newly arrived Jewish community. They offer instead the Spear of Longinus.|
|26||7||"Lucrezia's Gambit"||David Leland||Neil Jordan||May 26, 2013||0.421|
|Cesare burns Cardinal Constanzo's palace in order to contain the plague. Lucrezia, aware that with the death of King Ferdinand of Naples, Alfonso's cousins Prince Raphael and Prince Frederigo are both claimants to Naple's throne before her husband. As such, she blackmails one of the princes to forgo the Crown of Naples, seeking the lesser of two evils so she may keep her child with her. Cesare and Micheletto solve the problem of Catarina Sforza's son being alive. Micheletto meets a stranger calling himself Pascal.|
|27||8||"Tears of Blood"||David Leland||Neil Jordan||June 2, 2013||0.804|
|Micheletto discovers that his lover is a spy and works with Cesare to discover for whom. As pilgrims travel to Rome for the Jubilee year celebration, Caterina Sforza devises a fake miracle to divert them (and their gold) from their pilgrimage, thus endangering Alexander's attempt to replenish the Vatican's coffers. When Cesare and Micheletto arrive to investigate, she attempts to have Cesare killed. At the King of Naples' investiture in Rome, Lucrezia is named the Vatican's ambassador to his court, but soon discovers that she is under the constant surveillance of Neapolitan guards. Meanwhile, Alexander and Mattai work together to prosecute the Pope's promised Crusade against the Turks.|
|28||9||"The Gunpowder Plot"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||June 9, 2013||0.611|
|Devastated by his betrayal, Micheletto kills his lover and disappears. Cesare races to Naples to rescue Lucrezia. Brother and sister are eventually reunited and are so overjoyed to see one another that Alfonso begins to suspect that their relationship seems more than that of ordinary siblings. Alexander schemes to corner the market in Italian sulfur – the key ingredient to gunpowder.|
|29||10||"The Prince"||Neil Jordan||Neil Jordan||June 16, 2013||0.528|
|Alexander and Cesare are reconciled at last. The Papal Armies have been fortified with the money saved from the Crusade and the proceeds of the Jubilee. Cesare marches his fearsome army to finish what Juan started – lay siege to Forli. While preparing his attack, Micheletto reappears, in his tent, to inform him of a forgotten Roman mine beneath the wall, and, with this information, Cesare's army fire a barrage of cannonballs at the point where the tunnel meets the wall, causing it to cave in, and the wall to fall. Cesare and his army manage to seize control of the city with few losses. Deciding she would rather die than surrender, Caterina Sforza attempts to hang herself, but one of Cesare's lieutenants fires his rifle at the rope, and she is taken prisoner. Cesare, wanting to show off Caterina as the legend he believes she truly is, then has an extravagant cage prepared to transport her to Rome, and a palace in Rome is prepared to serve as her prison. Following a scuffle with Cesare, a drunken Alfonso is near death and Lucrezia turns to her potions to end his life painlessly. Cesare vows that Lucrezia will now be his for good.|
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