Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x06: "The Devil"

Written by Brian Nelson And Marco Ramirez
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Vlad The Third: “May I share a confession with you?”
DaVinci: “Yes, if it pleases my Lord.”
Vlad The Third: “I know that I’m mad.”

Geez, I wonder what gave it away really – having one prisoner savaged by dogs or the other one trapped in a torture device that would kill him upon release from it? This episode was certainly best approached by not taking it too seriously at all.

In a lot of ways, I was delighted that DaVinci decided to spend an episode out of Florence and if it meant going on a mission for Al-Rahim to learn more about his destiny with Nico and Zoroaster and rescue a Turkish ambassador named Solomon, then this episode was better for it. It certainly was a diverting episode nonetheless.

I didn’t think when this show would air that one of the storylines we’d get was an encounter with Vlad the Impaler. I’m also hoping that despite that nasty fall and stab wound he got that this episode won’t be the last time we see the sadistic warlord, especially given that he was able to survive being set alight and poisoned as well.

The scenes with Vlad and DaVinci were some of the most amusing scene I think we’ve had in the six episodes that have aired so far. I have to admit that DaVinci’s flattery in order Vlad on side was utterly amusing and up until a certain moment, Vlad gave the impression that he thought he had met a fellow kindred spirit in DaVinci but he’s not a man who takes betrayal very easily.

DaVinci, Nico and Zoroaster just about managed to escape from Vlad’s castle with Solomon alive and even then their great mission didn’t yield too much when Solomon died shortly afterwards as well. What exactly did DaVinci already learn here that he hadn’t already known as well?

Solomon alluded to his mother being alive but didn’t previous episodes seem to indicate that DaVinci suspected as much anyways? Al-Rahim similarly wasn’t that helpful even if he did provide an explanation for a younger DaVinci seeing his older self that Steven Moffat’s been using for the last three series of Doctor Who to get himself out of writing situations.

Still, the episode wins points for Vlad himself. The actor playing him was delightfully OTT and silly at some point and even a little terrifying here and there too. The macabre humour he displayed for his own tastes worked pretty well and did I mention just how brilliant his scenes with DaVinci were?

He was far more entertaining to watch than Pope Sixtus IV at the very least. I think I can speak for most viewers when I say that I really can live without seeing Sixtus starkers and while I certainly had no qualms with him nearly drowning Mercuri, I did feel a tad sorry for Riario, who was rightly humiliated by his uncle in front of Lucrezia this week.

I think another success of this episode was the brief glimmers of vulnerability we actually got to see here with Riario. I get the impression that while he mostly agrees with everything the Vatican are trying to do, it doesn’t mean that he’s immune to challenging them either. Unfortunately for him though it means getting smacked about by Sixtus for his troubles though.

Then there’s Lucrezia – doing all the spy work and letting Sixtus know about Lorenzo and DaVinci’s activities this week while at the same time getting a target on her head by Riario. Somehow I have a feeling that Lucrezia will end up surviving her imminent assassination attempt but mainly because this episode indicated that Giuliano was closing in on her.

Giuliano has been the surprise of this series as well. He could’ve been an idiot but he’s proven to being smarter than Lorenzo and with Vanessa and Clarice’s support, he focused his energies on continuing to try and find the real Medici court spy. Too bad Lorenzo decided to reward that genius by arranging a marriage with Francesco’s sister though when he wasn’t siding up to volatile dukes for further alliances against Rome.

Also in “The Devil”

I just realised this is the second episode in a row where both DaVinci and Lorenzo have not interacted with each other and the first where Lucrezia hasn’t had sex with either of them.

Moses: “My lady it’s time.”
Clarice (to Giuliano): “Oh my personal torture has arrived.”

Clarice’s bid to produce a male heir has resorted to Lorenzo shagging her from behind and drinking strange concoctions.

DaVinci (to Solomon): “I have a knack for rising to the occasion if I might only be told what the occasion is.”

Vlad The Third: “We shall talk more at dinner.”
Zoroaster: “As long as the dinner’s not us.”

Keeping with Vlad, they did make a point of mentioning that he was the Third and of course we did get the reference to Transylvania as the main action took place there.

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “I’m sadly at home in dungeons. As a child, my father sent my brother and me to be hostages by the Turkish Sultan.”

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “My tastes are not universally shared, it’s true. Let us retire.”

The coins on the floor to test his soldiers loyalty was an interesting method of Vlad’s as was the use of star signs like Capricorn and Aquarius to identify those violated curfew in Florence. Giuliano is a Sagittarius.

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “You’re an arrogant little fool aren’t you? I’ve endured every dragon poison known to man. I fought off the Ottoman empire. Did you really think that I would die at the hands of a fucking Florentine?”

DaVinci: “The Turk said that I would save you.”
Solomon: “And so you have – someday but not today.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “The Tower” left off.

“The Devil” will not go down as the most gruesome or frightening episode of a genre show I’ll have ever seen but it will be one of those episodes that I might want to watch again during the Halloween period. It provided an interesting take on Vlad the Impaler, which I don’t think can be denied.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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