The Borgias s01e02 Episode Script

The Assassin

- Previously, on The Borgias - [Whispering]: I have waited a lifetime for this moment.
I will not forgive failure - We will not fail you, Father.
- Maybe Papa will become pope, and you can be who you want to be.
- I shall fight you.
- With any means at my disposal.
- I do tend to win whatever battles I fight.
- Cardinal Borgia has the required majority.
- You're not in mourning, mother.
- But perhaps I am.
- What are we gaining? - Does Papa have so many enemies? - As our father, perhaps not.
But as pope We have placed the papal mitre in the hands of an ape.
I beg you now to release me of my vows.
- I would be a prince of state, Father.
Juan can bear arms for the Borgia family - But I swear, if God does not protect us, I shall.
- Whatever you're being paid, I'll double it.
- The pope cannot love? - Not only must he be chaste; he must be seen to be chaste.
- Simony! I charge you now in public! - They all want you dead.
- Serve this to Orsini.
- [Orsini]: Poison.
- Poison! - The poison was meant for us.
- You don't poison the pope! You poison a rabid dog! It offends nature, it offends God Himself! - So, God will take his revenge, then.
- With our help.
*** - Excellent service.
- I fear it is not over yet.
- What do you mean? - Well, there's more to your Borgia family than father and son.
- What do you mean? - I mean we must hurry, My Lord.
Your whole family's in danger.
- Micheletto! - Am I too late? - We were waiting for you.
- Then you're too late! [Groaning in pain] - What are you doing?! Ah! [Yelling] - Allow me, My Lord.
[Muffled yelling] - Guards! - [Guard]: General! - With me, quickly! Come on! Get out of my way! Pray somewhere else, Cardinals.
Arrest this household.
- You planned this massacre thoroughly.
- If I had planned it, My Lord, believe me, we would not be having this conversation.
- You're that meticulous? - Always.
[Grunting with effort] - And who planned it? - Cardinal Orsini.
- And Della Rovere? - I know nothing of him.
In this affair, [Panting] I had but one master.
- And now? - And now I am like a stray dog, masterless.
Unless your kind offer still stands.
- You could have let things take their course Betrayed me.
Most of your kind do.
- My kind? I do not have a kind.
And I suspect neither do you.
- Your name, sweet assassin.
[Panting] - Micheletto.
- You must prove yourself worthy of my trust, then.
- This is not proof enough? - Perhaps.
Perhaps not.
Can you dispose of these corpses? - You would keep them secret? - More than that.
I would keep you secret.
Dump them in the Tiber.
Meet me by the Vatican gates in two hours' time.
We shall discuss your future service.
[Whispering]: Mother.
- Are you trying to frighten me? - I'm sorry, Mother.
- Why are you here, Cesare? - I imagine things-- murders, blood-spattered throats, poisoned chalices.
- Perhaps you're not wrong.
We have many enemies now.
- And Lucrezia? - She's sleeping.
You miss her that much? - Always.
If anything happened to her, I'd I'd die.
- What could possibly happen? - I'm putting a guard on the house.
- Is it so dangerous outside? - We are in a different city now.
- Is it still called Rome? - I'm not sure it has a name.
Father.
Father! Father, I've had to place a guard on the-- - The good cardinal, my son, has been expressing his shock and dismay at this evening's outcome.
- Poison, it seems, was the cause of Cardinal Orsini's demise.
- One shudders at the thought.
- As to who poisoned him, I have no idea.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves, who benefits most from his death? - And what are you implying, Your Eminence? - I am implying nothing.
I am merely offering His Holiness any help I can in unmasking the culprit.
Our Holy Mother Church can afford no such scandals.
- We have Orsini's household staff in irons, Your Holiness.
Cardinal.
- The good cardinal, my brother, has offered to help us unmask the culprit behind this plot.
- We apprehended this wretch skulking outside by the gate.
- A plot, by definition, needs more than one participant, does it not? - Do you recognize him? - Didn't he pour the wine? - [Cesare]: Do you know this man, Cardinal Della Rovere? - I know he attended at the cardinal's table, but there were many of those.
Beyond that, nothing.
- If this creature is indeed the poisoner, some hours on the strappado should loosen his tongue.
- See if he talks.
[Grunting] - I have a dilemma: [Grunting] whether to flay you at night [Grunting] or at dawn.
[Grunting] [Groaning] - I pity you your dilemma, My Lord.
- Pity yourself.
- Brother.
You have already exhausted yourself in our father's defence.
Now I could spend a good hour questioning this man.
- Is that really a task for a cleric? [Grunting in pain] - Lock the door and go.
Up.
Up! Would you have talked? - Only to sing your praises, My Lord.
- Still want to earn my trust? - Eternally, My Lord.
- Lie low for a day, then.
I can have word sent out that you couldn't be broken.
- And then? - Then get close to Cardinal Della Rovere.
Tell me what he thinks.
What he plans.
- Then you must hurt me, My Lord.
- Haven't I hurt you enough already? - To convince this cardinal, my back must tell its own story.
And I have heard that he has an interest in the male torso.
And even I cannot convincingly whip myself.
So whip me, My Lord.
[Grunting] Harder.
[Grunting] Harder, My Lord.
[Grunting] - And [Grunting] if you betray me [Grunting] you will end your days on that rack.
[Grunting] - Then it would not be in my interest to betray you, My Lord.
- Good.
[Grunting] - Again! [Grunting] Again.
[Grunting] [Door opening] - Do you have something to tell me? About the night's events? - Only that I will protect you.
Protect our family.
With my life if needs be.
- Well, all of the others bought and sold.
We merely proved ourselves better at the game.
But we draw the line at murder, do we not? - Orsini drew no such line.
- I see.
So, we are one less cardinal this morning.
I was your age when I became a cardinal.
Seems like yesterday.
This red signifies that you are ready to spill your blood in defence of the Christian faith.
- No, Father.
- Are you, my son, ready to spill your blood in defence of the Christian faith? I think you are! - For the defence of my family, perhaps.
- That too.
- Give me control of the papal armies and I will protect us all.
- We will have one son in the cloth and one in armour.
You know our wishes.
- But a cardinal's red? - And Lucrezia must marry.
- So soon? - She is 14 years old.
- She is just a child.
- We must bind our enemies to us.
Make friends of them.
And what better way is there than marriage You can perform the rite-- as cardinal.
- Am I a cardinal already? - And they tortured you for how long? - A day and a night, Your Eminence.
- And you revealed? - There was nothing to reveal, Your Eminence.
- Ecce homo.
"Behold the man.
" They scourged our saviour thus.
Is it true, what's being rumoured? That the good cardinal inadvertently poisoned himself? - Who would have profited from his death? - Certainly not Cardinal Orsini.
- Who takes possession of his properties? - Borgia.
- Well, then.
- These methods are not mine.
- You think they are mine, Your Eminence? - What are your methods? - Discretion.
Silence.
- And you have suffered for your silence.
Why? - Like you, I hate this Borgia.
And if I can be of any use - I need someone I can trust.
- You can trust my hatred of this Borgia pope.
[Gasping in pain] - I can trust these wounds of yours.
- They will last for a lifetime, Your Eminence.
- Indeed.
I need to assemble a gathering of every cardinal who shares your feelings.
In absolute secrecy.
- May I thank you, Holy Father, for bequeathing to me your precious time.
- Go on, my child.
- I have sinned mightily, Your Holiness, and know there are some sins that only the pope can forgive.
- They are few, but the most grave.
Tell me.
- My husband, Your Holiness, has long been distasteful to me.
- I fear you are not the first woman to share that fate.
- His person I find repellent.
His advances sicken me.
His hand upon my body makes me retch with disgust.
- Have you denied him your duties as a wife? - No, Your Holiness.
I performed them as the Church says I must.
- So I fail to discern the sin.
- I found myself with child.
The thought of this body of mine, marred by the presence of his offspring-- inside-- drove me to an act of transgression that - Go on, my daughter.
- I put an end to my pregnancy.
- That is indeed most grave.
- A sin that only the pope can forgive.
- Only God may forgive.
But we may intercede on your behalf.
- Then, please, Your Holiness, beg for me His mercy.
- And your husband? He knows of this? - He knows nothing.
He has retired to his castle in Bassano.
He satisfies his lust on me no longer.
- And you are now chaste? - I have no one, Your Holiness.
- Then perhaps that is to be your penitence-- to follow your husband to Bassano, as is your duty.
- I would prefer a life of destitution, Your Holiness.
- Then love God.
And find peace within the walls of a nunnery.
- Can one find peace in such a love, Your Holiness? - It is what we must do, Giulia Farnese.
- I fear I may lack Your Holiness's will.
I am still young, Your Holiness, and my body, I am sure, could find, and give, much happiness if my soul could find peace.
- Do you beg forgiveness from God for the enormity of your crime? - I do so daily.
Your Holiness, my soul yearns for its punishment.
- Then you must fast.
From matins till evensong.
And flagellate your naked body twice nightly.
- With knotted cord, Your Holiness? - Cord of silk will suffice.
To destroy the beauty the Lord has granted you would be to compound your sin.
E go te absolve ab omnibus censuris, et peccatis, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
- Amen.
- Amen.
[Sighing] Giulia Farnese.
- Your Holiness? - One of your lineage to be destitute-- we cannot allow it.
We must find you some temporary and temporal refuge.
- [Man]: Keep the fire away from the straw! - [Man]: It is! - [Man]: Good! - [Man]: Boy, keep the banners and colours all together.
- [Man]: Right, sir! - Some of you voted for him, for which unfortunate choice you are now forgiven.
[Quiet chuckling] But most of you voted against.
We have assembled the barest of majorities.
But then, this Borgia pope was elected with just such a majority.
- The cardinal's demise was sudden.
- So it seems.
- But his palace is ideal as a place of penitence and self-reflection.
- [Rovere]: If it can be proven, what many of us suspect-- corruption, simony, the blatant sale of the sacred offices, and worse, the utter degradation of the office of the papacy in the eyes of the Christian world - [Borgia]: You must think of your sojourn here as a retreat.
- A retreat? - The cardinal had this tunnel built.
It leads inside the Vatican walls.
If you ever find yourself in need of spiritual comfort in your loneliness - Your Holiness.
- You must not be afraid to avail of it.
Day or night.
We shall leave you now.
- This passage goes both ways.
Your Holiness must feel free to visit if God's love were ever to leave him wanting.
- The cardinal summons me in the dead of night.
Is there a reason? - These are turbulent times, Father.
- Dottore You can leave us now.
I need advice, dottore, on a delicate matter.
The deposition of a pope.
- Delicate indeed.
And, if I may say so, dangerous.
- Stop that.
You have done penance enough.
- Who then will forgive us, Your Holiness? - God will.
[Muttering] - Huggucio of Pisa states: "Ecce publico fornicator, publico habet concubinem" - The pope who publicly fornicates, publicly keeps a concubine-- - Can indeed be deposed, because to scandalize the Church is in itself heresy.
But one would need firm evidence of notorious and public lechery.
- Whose bed is this? - Yours, of course.
- Whose bed was this? - It belonged to a cardinal and a fool.
- What kind of fool? - The kind of fool who doesn't understand that God's work can be done even by the most unlikely of his servants.
And that Rome needs now is-- - You.
- Power.
You're so beautiful, Giulia Farnese.
I would have you painted.
- She is beautiful.
- She is.
- More beautiful than your painting.
- I've just begun.
- You must do better, then.
Her hair curls, here.
Who is she? - Giulia Farnese.
At your service.
- Why is he painting you, Giulia Farnese? - Your father, the pope, commissioned him.
- Will he paint one of me? - I will commission him, now.
[Goat bleating] - Why are you holding a baby goat? - It will become a unicorn.
- Then I want a unicorn.
Or even better, a sea horse.
I want to lie on a bed of seashells and have a sea horse in my lap.
- [Giulia]: Like this one? - Yes.
Just like this one.
- You must have it, then.
- I can? - It's a gift.
From Giulia to Lucrezia.
- Can I kiss you, then? - Only if we are to be friends.
- We are friends already.
I am to have my portrait painted, Mama.
- You are? - But I don't want a goat, or a unicorn.
I told Giulia I want a sea horse like this one.
- You told who? - Giulia Farnese.
- Giulia Farnese is having her portrait painted? - By Pinturicchio.
Papa commissioned him.
- Ah.
- She gave me this pendant.
I think a sea horse is better than a unicorn, don't you Mama? - I've heard she is beautiful, this Giulia Farnese.
- Papa thinks so.
- I am sure he does.
- A different type of beauty to yours, Mama.
Not Spanish.
Italian.
Her hair is light, and full of curls.
- And where did you meet her, Lucrezia? - In Papa's rooms.
In the Vatican.
- [Man]: Please, My Lady! - [Man]: Your Holiness! - My dear.
- You told me that the pope can love God, but to be seen to love anyone else would be impossible.
- Your Holiness-- - Now, now-- - Shall we remove ourselves? - That the pope must be chaste, and he must be seen to be chaste.
Don't you want them to hear? That you have a new whore?! - Mother! - Farnese! - Get out! - That you've installed her in the Orsini Palace? - What? - We were-- - Be gone! - I banished my husband for your sake! - You are the mother of my children! You will always have a special place in my life.
- What about your promise?! - There is no one no one, closer to me than you.
- Why her?! - She was in need! I had to help her.
You were destitute once! - [Cesare]: Be gone! Out! - [Man]: We were in consultation-- - [Man]: Your Grace, we are leaving.
- Don't lie to me.
To me, you cannot lie.
- Then don't challenge me.
And never, ever within these sacred walls.
- I've dreamed about this room and what it might do to you.
We need a new understanding, then.
- Perhaps.
- I'll keep my peace.
But I won't be humiliated.
- I would have peace.
- You commissioned a portrait of her.
I shall have a portrait too by the same new genius you found.
- Pinturicchio.
He is good, but he's expensive.
- All of Rome is yours for the taking.
Make sure he does me justice.
I was beautiful once, no? - You still are.
- We agreed, did we not, that you would not lie? - He has placed his new whore in Orsini's palace, no? - I believe so, Your Eminence.
- Question the staff, then, in secret, and in any way you see fit.
We need evidence of lechery, fornication-- publico habet concubinem.
- Get these to the Deacon- Cardinal for signatures.
- Yes, Your Eminence.
- He has met in secret with those cardinals that hate your father.
With Johannes Burchard, he is making a case for your father's deposition.
- On what grounds? - Notorious and public lechery - Lechery? My father? God forbid.
Has he evidence? - He means to find it.
- Then perhaps we should find it first, and silence it before it speaks.
- Your mother was somewhat troubled yesterday.
She finds the change in our life difficult.
- So I noticed.
- Do what you can to keep her out of here.
- It would help, maybe, if you were more discreet in your affections.
- But I-- - You are aware, Holy Father, of the plots against you? - Oh, what would Rome be without a good plot? - The College of Cardinals is split down the middle.
- What? Well, perhaps we need some more cardinals.
- Johannes Burchard has been asked for an opinion [Chuckling] - Dear old Johannes.
He does give excellent opinion.
- On your deposition, Father.
- Indeed.
- There are certain things I could speak of for a price.
- Don't worry.
You'll get paid.
- I would need to be.
I have seen things within these walls that would shock a brace of courtesans.
- Well, now, there's no need to shock a courtesan, is there? A brace of cardinals, perhaps.
[Door closing] [Bell tolling outside] - You were asked for a judgement, I believe, some nights ago? - Your Holiness, as an expert on canon law, when asked for a judgement, I must provide it.
- Please sit.
I would have your opinion, then, dear Johannes, on the expansion of the College of Cardinals.
- It is the pope's prerogative to appoint whom he wishes, Your Holiness.
- To whatever number he wishes? - Ah, well, how many cardinals did His Holiness have in mind? - How many would be needed to make it safe for our papacy? - Oh, dear.
- Come, come, Johannes.
You must be aware of the plots against us? You could even, if viewed with an unkind eye, be seen to be party to them.
- When asked for an opinion, Your Holiness, you know that I must provide it.
- Ah.
So, your opinion, then.
How many new cardinals to preserve our papacy? - Umm A baker's dozen, I would say.
- Mm! Thirteen! And we can appoint them all at once? Without the vote of conclave? - Such a great number would need a precedent.
- Oh.
Find one, then.
- Your Holiness.
- I have received advice from our most supreme expert in canon law, that a pope's election may be overturned if we can provide evidence of lechery, both notorious and public.
That evidence I present to you now.
Leave us, Micheletto.
[Doors closing] And now, my dear, tell us what you have witnessed.
- There is a passage, connecting the palace to the Vatican.
His Holiness makes use of it nightly.
- And then? - He enters her bedroom while she chastises herself.
And I blush to even describe what happens next.
- Spare us nothing.
- I wanted seashells and a sea horse.
- But you have a sea horse, my love.
- No, I mean a real one.
Like your goat.
- But real sea horses are tiny, my love.
- Am I your love? - I would dearly love you to be.
- My mother hates you.
- You will learn, my dear, as women, we control so little of our destiny.
Men do.
- And? - The outcome is, we hate each other.
But we should not.
- Who should we hate, then? Men? - No, my love.
It's in our nature to love them.
But we should protect ourselves against them.
Against our feelings towards them.
We will all of us, one day, be replaced.
- Are you giving me instruction? - Would you like me to? - I think I would.
What weapons do I have with which to protect myself? - Your beauty.
- Is that a weapon? - It can be deadly, when well used.
But beauty doesn't last forever.
Gone, like the snows of last year.
- What else? - When beauty fades? Your wit.
Your intelligence.
- And I have those weapons? - Oh, in abundance.
You should cultivate them.
You will be married some day.
You may need them-- sooner than you think.
- Is she pretty, this piece of evidence? - She has her charms, My Lord.
- Perhaps you could see that she takes a vow of silence.
Would God forgive us, Micheletto? - I know not the ways of God, My Lord.
- But you know the ways of silence.
- [Borgia]: And we decree bullfighting will be permitted within the walls of Rome on public festivals and the last Thursday of every month.
[Cardinals murmuring] And, finally, the main business to hand.
- Cardinal Della Rovere needs no staff today, understand? For a day of meditation, he has requested peace and silence.
You can tell the others.
Have you not heard? His Eminence needs no staff today.
It is a day of meditation.
- He has much on his mind.
- Too much, some might say.
Such is the burden of great office.
Until tomorrow, my friend.
- We wish to announce our decision to expand the College of Cardinals, in view of the crippling workload placed upon it by our restructuring of the affairs of our Holy Mother Church.
Thirteen new servants of God [Cardinals gasping] will receive the cardinal's biretta.
- Thirteen?! [Angry exclamations] - We have judged it wise to strengthen the College of Cardinals, given the enemies who have wormed their way within the Church of Rome.
- This is against all precedence.
His Holiness will fill the College with his favourites.
I accuse His Holiness-- - Ohhh! Of what are we now accused? - Of an offence against canon law.
Against the Law of our Holy Mother Church.
- Canon law? But we have taken advice from the most eminent of all of our canon lawyers.
- Apple or peach? - Peach, I think.
I like peach.
- Eat it all.
- The Council of Constance is most clear on this matter.
I refer you to Statute 42, Paragraph 3-- - In brief, I pray.
- His Holiness, the pope, may expand the College to any number he deems appropriate, if the burden of work necessitates-- - I challenge him to name them now! - Your Holiness.
- Oh Dottore, if you would be so kind.
- [Grunting]: And His Holiness comes behind the Lady Giulia thus! - With the force of a stallion.
[Gasping and grunting] - The Bishop of Lucca, His Grace Fiorentini, will be named Cardinal Fiorentini.
The Bishop of Naples, His Grace Giovanni Mascoli, will be named Cardinal Mascoli.
The Bishop of Valencia, His Grace Cesare Borgia, will be named Cardinal Borgia.
[Sarcastic laughing] The pope would make his son a cardinal? I warn you, I have evidence that will bring this house crashing down around your ears.
- Evidence? - Of lechery, transgressions, both public and notorious! - Why, then, Cardinal, you must present it.
- I will! [Spitting] - The Bishop of Lyon [Gasping and grunting] - Though whether the Holy Father is as virile as you - Surely he is.
- Only God can tell.
- A candle, if you please! Where is everyone? Is there nobody about? [Crickets chirping] - Dear Lord, I pray for your strength and guidance in the trials to come.
Give us some sign that Rome will be purified, the Borgia stain will be banished forever-- Guards! Guards! Somebody! Anybody! Help! - Was the good cardinal known for lechery? - He was discreet in his affections, My Lord.
So discreet, indeed, he asked me to clear the house of servants yesterday.
- He must have had lecherous intentions, then.
But I'm shocked that they ended in murder.
- And now he's fled, My Lord.
- I would recommend discretion in this matter.
The Church of Rome can ill afford another scandal.
- Perhaps he desired her silence, My Lord.
- He must have.
Poor girl Whom can one trust, in this Rome of ours? - I believe trust needs to be earned, My Lord.
- Perhaps.
And perhaps it has been.
***