Last week brought us the eighth and final episode of the first season of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’. It has been a somewhat uneven season, but the show finished its freshman year strong. However, the producers couldn’t resist leaving us with a cliffhanger.
This episode is entitled ‘The Lovers’. As it begins, Leonardo, Zoroaster and Nico overlook Florence during Easter weekend. Da Vinci notices a rare hawk that’s only native to Turkey. The last time he saw such a hawk was on the last day he remembers seeing his mother. He gets on his horse and follows the bird, which leads him to an underground chamber where the Turk awaits him with more information about the Vault of Heaven and the mysterious Book of Leaves.
The Medicis and the Pazzis have gathered for a celebration of Giuliano Medici’s upcoming marriage into the Pazzi family, but Giuliano is nowhere to be seen. Lorenzo sends Captain Dragonetti in search of his missing brother, not knowing that the captain has already sided with the Pazzis in the plot against the Medici family.
Meanwhile, Vanessa is not feeling well and is attended to by an aide. She discovers that she’s not sick, but actually pregnant – carrying Giuliano’s child. She’s anxious to get the news to him, but not yet aware that he has disappeared.
Of course, in the conclusion to the previous episode, we saw the traitorous Lucrezia stab Giuliano after he found out the truth about her. She left his lifeless body floating in a river. But wait – he’s still alive! Nursed back to a state of semi-health by some kind strangers who found his body, Giuliano is anxious to return to Florence to warn his brother about the plot against them.
Dragonetti finds Giuliano and has a change of heart during the trip back to Florence, killing a would-be assassin they meet along the way. Together, the two race back toward the city, hoping they can stop the plot to kill Lorenzo and his family.
In Rome, Pope Sixtus IV goes to visit the mysterious prisoner (whom we learned was Lucrezia’s father) to taunt his captor about his impending victory over the Medicis. At the end of the conversation, the prisoner refers to the Pope as his brother. I’m guessing he didn’t mean in a religious sense.
Da Vinci gets ready to leave Florence on his quest for the Book of Leaves when he realizes that something is amiss and races off toward the church where Easter mass is being held. The Church plans to kill Lorenzo and his family with poisoned communion wafers, but Giuliano bursts into the sanctuary at the last second and reveals the plot. A swordfight begins, during which Giuliano gets repeatedly and fatally stabbed (for good, this time!). Before he passes, however, Vanessa is able to reveal to him that he has fathered their unborn child.
Lorenzo also suffers a nasty wound across his neck, but da Vinci is able to save him… temporarily… by barricading himself and Lorenzo behind two large doors. In the meantime, Lorenzo’s wife and daughters escape thanks to the help of Lucrezia, who is taken hostage by Count Riario just seconds later. As Riario prepares an explosive to launch at the large doors, on the other side of them Lorenzo has finally figured out that da Vinci was having a relationship with Lucrezia. Lorenzo promises to kill da Vinci if they manage to survive – just as Riario’s explosive goes off, shattering the doors into a thousand pieces.
All in all, this is a pretty solid season finale, with one big complaint: It’s pretty annoying that the writers/producers had Giuliano survive last week’s stabbing (and suggest he died), only to have him recover in this episode so they could kill him off again. I suspect the reasoning for this is so that they can still rehabilitate Lucrezia, since viewers could probably never accept her as a “good” character if she was the one who actually killed Giuliano.
‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ is scheduled to return to Starz in 2014.