Da Vinci’s Demons Episode (2×09) Review – “The Enemies of Man”
All of the characters have come together for the most part and it's been a long time coming. Even though the Inca costumes will be missed, the show is better when the majority of characters interact.
The episode moved a bit too fast, and felt like it jumped ahead with the sped up pacing.
Leonardo Discovers an Enemy Hidden in His Midst
After spending eight episodes traipsing around with the Inca, Leonardo and the gang head back to Florence on this week’s Da Vinci’s Demons. Lucrezia’s time with the Turkish witch leads her to reveal there are two Popes, one of which seeks to bring a holy war. Lorenzo and the boys arrive to discover Duke Frederico has sacked Florence and taken hostages. Meanwhile, Lorenzo is caught in Alfonso and the Evil Pope’s grasp after Lo took a huge gamble and lost. Episode 209 brought most of the characters’ stories together while the series hurtles towards the end of the season. “The Enemies of Men” was gripping, exciting, and full of surprises.
“There are two popes. One is hidden. He’s her father. There is no peace. He only seeks war.”
Lucrezia spends her time in Istanbul being tortured and questioned by the Sultan’s witch, and ends up revealing the truth about the papacy. Not only are there two Pope’s, one of which is her father, but one of them wants to start a war. This story with Lucrezia and her father is beginning to bare fruit, but how is still unknown. In a surprising twist, Bayezid returns back to the palace after being held prisoner by the Evil Pope. This seems to be according to Lucrezia’s plan and hopefully we’ll discover just what that is in next week’s season finale.
“This will not be an end of suffering, Girolamo. Your suffering will not end until you die.”
Riario’s journey to the New World has changed him in many ways. Gone is the guy who blindly followed his father’s orders. In his place is a man who has lost the woman he loves and whose faith has been greatly tested. Riario has done a load of soul searching. All of which brought him to his uncle’s cell asking for forgiveness. For too long Riario has prayed to a false idol. Now he wants to embrace the true one, only to have his request for forgiveness denied. This scene was in keeping with who these characters are, and while I felt badly that Riario was denied forgiveness, it’s what he deserves. Riario has committed great crimes, but none greater than what he’s committed against his own family. By following his father, Riario killed his cousin Amelia, and forced her sister Lucrezia into prostitution. He’s also helped imprison his uncle for many years, while allowing the papacy to be controlled by a madman. I think the fact Riario still left the keys to his uncle’s cell despite being turned away says a lot about his growth as a character. Season 1 Riario would have done no such thing. Riario may have felt hopeless enough to try to take his own life, but luckily he was saved. Just too bad it was by the Enemies of Man.
Riario: If you will not take me I’ll have nothing.
True Pope: Nothing is what you deserve.
Upon Leonardo’s return to Florence, he discovered that Duke Frederico had sacked the city, taken Clarice hostage, and thrown everyone in prison. After he, Nico, and Zoroaster wound up imprisoned themselves, the guys found a very pregnant Vanessa before Leo ended up making the acquaintance of Frederico’s torturer. Having Leo meet Carlo during his stay in the dungeon helped merge the newly returned characters into the Florentine storyline. It also helped make the final twist all the more shocking. Leo and the boys may have saved Florence from the one-eyed duke, but they ended up handing over the Book of Leaves to the Enemies of Man.
Frederico: I trust you are as happy to see me as I am to see you.
It was pretty clear from the start that Carlo de Medici wasn’t the good guy he claimed to be. The manner in which he set his sights on Clarice the moment he arrived bespoke of a man on a mission, and it always seemed suspect how he happened to pop up the moment Lorenzo left town. Turns out Carlo murdered his father Cosimo in his search for the ever elusive book, and he even met Leonardo’s mom back in the day. I’m curious about how that got resolved considering how sinisterly Carlo commented about that meeting. Could he been the one to kill her? While the show has always made it appear the woman is alive, well, and in hiding, something about Carlo’s gloat suggests the mysterious woman’s journey has already ended. He may not have murdered Leo’s mom, but Verocchio is sure is a goner! Poor guy! I really liked him.
Leonardo:Why are you doing this?
Carlo: To prepare you for what comes next.
Beware the enemies of man. They are everywhere.
The Pope and Alfonso may not be the Enemies of Man, but they are Lorenzo’s. After the Pope revealed the sacking of Florence, he mistakenly told Lorenzo that he planned to steal the Medici gold to help finance his campaign to hold the city. Lo used this information to beseech the King of Naples for aid. In a horrific scene, Lo later happens upon the King’s corpse. Seems Alfonso got tired of his crazy papa and decided to off the old man and inherit the crown a tad earlier than expected. Now Lo appears to be in the clutched of his enemies once again.
While a lot happened with the plot this week, I can’t stop thinking about the King’s dead body, which looked like it was borrowed from the set of NBC’s Hannibal. From first glance it appears the body was frozen, but it also seems like the King’s eyes were removed. The manner in which the corpse was posed was highly theatrical, and implies Lorenzo may be in even more danger than ever before.
Creator David S. Goyer has upped the ante this season by making this world seem global. Thanks to Leo and the gang’s journey to the New World, the second day characters left behind got to be further developed as they had storylines independent of Leonardo da Vinci. Now that he’s back, the other plots have converged nicely. Director Justin Molotnikov managed to capture the correct moods to evoke responses in viewers. Whether it was the swashbuckling excitement when Leonardo fought with Frederico, or when Clarice drove a sword through the duke’s eye. Horror when Lorenzo saw a prayerful King of Naples, only to discover the man had been murdered and his corpse posed in display. Even suspense as Carlo unmasked himself as one of the Enemies of Man, while flashbacks of Ima talking about the Labyrinth and Leo’s realization that the mysterious dark man in the cave drawings was in fact Carlo de Medici. “The Enemies of Man” was as action-packed as one would expect a penultimate episode to be, and it definitely left me excited for the next episode. Too bad it’s the last one of the season.
Questions…. Comments… Concerns…
- Who would have thought the Labyrinth Leo was warned about was a man and not a place? Not me, that’s for sure. Talk about surprising twists.
- The reveal that Carlo is a baddie may not have been a big surprise, but the fact he murdered Cosimo definitely was.
- No wonder Leo was having such a hard time locating the Book of Leaves. Turns out he was the last key to the puzzle.
- Now that Bayezid has returned home safely, does this spell doom for Lucrezia? She didn’t seem too worried.
- Who will save Leo from the fire? Thanks to the folks in the promo department (and common sense), we know he survives.
- How will Lorenzo and Piero save their hides this time?