Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x03: "The Prisoner"

Written by Scott M. Gimple And David S. Goyer
Directed by Jamie Payne

Mother Superior (to Giuliano): “You and your brother have denied God’s will. Did you think there wouldn’t be a cost?”
DaVinci: “The cost is dear to be sure but I’m not yet convinced it was the Lord who levied it.”

That’s because this episode had made it painfully obvious from the get go that the poor nuns and everyone inflicted were little more than pawns in the latest scheme at the hands of the Vatican. Truth is, none of us needed DaVinci in order to deduce that or even to spot that it would boil down to Lucrezia contaminating St Anthony’s foot with ergot at Riario’s behest but at the same time, this was an interesting diversion for the most part.

I think the reason why I found this episode a little more interesting was down to the grudging partnership between DaVinci and Lorenzo’s younger brother for a change. Giuliano hasn’t held back in his general distaste for DaVinci and this episode alone he attacked the man twice but at the same time when nuns were getting possessed and Lupo Mercuri was throwing his weight about the place, it was DaVinci whom Giuliano seemed more responsive to as well.

Possessed nuns alone screaming about the Medici family continuing to commit blasphemy wasn’t going to be enough alone to carry this episode, so delving into Vanessa’s prior history with the convent and putting her life at stake when she too became infected with the fungal poison was a good way of trying to give the plot some poignancy.

There were at least two moments in the episode where I did actually think Vanessa was going to die and her comments on DaVinci viewing his friends as toys was both a little sad and oddly laced with some truth as his thirst for knowledge didn’t particularly endear him this week. I can handle him being hot and cold with Lucrezia but not with Vanessa or Nico and I’m glad the latter gave him a needed dressing down in this one as well.

Of course, Vanessa ended up surviving the episode as DaVinci managed to get the cure at the last moment but it didn’t stop him falling victim to the ergot himself and having one hell of a gory hallucination with Riario, his dissected corpses and more stuff in relation to his mother and the Sons of Earth plot as well. However as interesting as the hallucination was, I don’t think it did too much to actually advance the overall plot in relation to the ongoing Book Of Leaves saga though.

Speaking of Riario though – who was that prisoner he was playing board games with and exchanging metaphors? A part of me thinks it’s Al-Rahim but that feels a little too obvious and it would seemingly contradicts the Turk’s motives but at the same time, it’s not entirely impossible that Rahim could simply enjoy playing the likes of DaVinci and Riario off each other and use them both to get the Book Of Leaves for himself. Perhaps I’m wrong though and it’s someone else but Rahim seems a distinct possibility though.

Keeping with Riario, his intrigue with DaVinci was nicely looked at in this episode. The prisoner was quick to tell him not to underestimate his enemy while Pope Sixtus IV encouraged Riario’s fixation on DaVinci as well. However aside from the hallucinatory stuff, we didn’t get any further interactions with the warring men in this episode. Hopefully the next episode delivers on that though.

Last but not least – Lucrezia and Clarice. There was an interaction that was the most satisfying of all to watch, especially with Clarice being able to cut her love rival down to size and remind her husband that he cannot escape his responsibilities for too long. Both women encouraged Lorenzo to search within his own home for the spy and it was Lucrezia who managed to make it look like his most trusted of advisors was the one who was ratting him out to the Vatican. It was a pretty masterstroke on Lucrezia’s part but inevitably one that will come back to haunt her I suspect.

Also in “The Prisoner”

Riario seemed oddly uncomfortable with handing over his slave, Zita to his uncle for the night. Signs that he might have a bit of a conscience?

DaVinci: “Please unhand me.”
Giuliano: “Or what? Are you threatening me with a spoon now?”

We got some tiny progress/hiccups on DaVinci’s manufacturing of more cannons for Lorenzo but aside from that, no other big interactions with them this week.

DaVinci (to a green bird): “Just go. This is your chance. The cage is open.”
Lucrezia: “Do you think your pursuit of knowledge makes you immune to your emotions?”

Clarice: “I understand your need for escape, Lorenzo. To feel apart from your responsibility. You can have that escape but you do have to come back. You must always come back.”

Lucrezia and Lorenzo were both shagging in a carriage and a stables this week. I’m beginning to think her buffoon of a husband is the only man she doesn’t seem to sleep with nowadays.

Riario: “The Lord wills that we embrace him.”
Pope Sixtus IV: “You tell me what the Lord wills?”
Riario: “Of course not, Father.”
Pope Sixtus IV: “Holy Father. Find a way in. Make this DaVinci ours if it amuses you.”

Clarice: “You are a distraction, that is your function. I will tolerate that but I will not tolerate you becoming a vulnerability. Wait five minutes before I leave.”
Lucrezia: “Clarice, I know you love him. How can you even stand to look at me?”
Clarice: “Because I know you’ll never be up on that wall.”

It seems that DaVinci has somewhat quickly deduced that there is another landmass that is neither Africa nor Europe. I guess he could discover America properly in this series if he’s ever going to get the Book Of Leaves.

Nico: “It’s all over now.”
DaVinci: “For me, I fear it’s just begun.”

The Prisoner: “As one game ends, another begins.”

Chronology: Not much time since the events of “The Serpent”.

Three episodes in and this show is still in the category of good but not amazing. “The Prisoner” like Lucrezia to an extent felt like a distraction. An amusing one but aside from a few tiny bits, there wasn’t much to the episode that progressed the main plots too much though and the lack of subtlety with the flying birds allusions was a bit jarring in parts too.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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