The Borgias s02e04 Episode Script

Stray Dogs

(Rodrigo) Previously on The Borgias Giovanni Sforza.
And my cousin, Caterina Sforza.
You would have a taste of vengeance.
(Cesare) The King is on the move.
He says he will use his cannon to reduce our walls to dust.
We fight fire with fire.
You tricked the French King and now he comes for our blood! Do you expect us to support you twice? (All gasp) (Cesare) You know what this is? It is the fresco you have so graciously commissioned.
But it lacks a model.
I would restore this hair to what it was before God snatched it from me.
Will we meet again, Holy Father? - Perhaps.
- Am I to be your mistress then? (Rodrigo) No.
That position is taken.
We will have you go through your accounts with one we have designated to supervise them.
Unthinkable! That monies destined to the poor should go to the poor? That a woman should have access to curatorial accounts.
(Friar) The French are advancing from Naples.
They may murder the Borgia Pope for you.
(Rodrigo) We would discuss another cousin in whose hands the survival of our papacy may lie.
(Ascanio) Your Holiness refers to the Duke of Milan.
(Cesare) This is true artistry.
Indeed, My Lord, it is but plaster.
- And there are - Ninety-five more like it making their way from other foundries as we speak.
You are denied entry to Rome, My Liege.
My cannon will gain me entry.
Perhaps my cannon will make their statement first.
(King Charles VIII) I warn you! I shall take terrible revenge! On you, your family, and the papacy itself! (General) Retreat! (Bells ringing) The saviour of Rome.
So, of what exactly were these cannon made? Plaster, Your Holiness.
Plaster! - And an armature of wood.
- (Chuckles) Signor Vittorio had every cast maker in Rome at work, day and night.
We had not the bronze nor the time.
So, deception has a place in warfare.
- As in life.
- (Rodrigo) Indeed.
If you will excuse me, Holy Father.
You come to celebrate, I hope.
The French came by the road from Ostia.
So? Their path took them by the Convent of St Cecilia.
You have bad news? Is there any other kind, Your Eminence? (Urges horse) Hah! Come on! (Man) We need some blankets.
Cover her.
You should spare yourself this, Your Eminence.
Why? Why should I spare myself? I should have foreseen this.
Your Eminence.
Ursula.
She chose God, Micheletto.
And God repaid her with mutilation.
I know little of God, Your Eminence.
God is deaf, God is blind and pitiless.
She has released my heart of all emotions but one.
Vengeance.
Vengeance is sweet.
So who did this, my friend? The French.
This flag belongs to the cavalry of Gascony.
These women were sport for army scouts.
Scouts.
They are renowned for their savagery.
Necklaces of severed ears.
We must give them a lesson, then, in outrage.
You were once a stray dog, Micheletto, masterless.
I found my master in you.
There must be other stray dogs out there in Rome.
There are many.
Sons of warlike families, condottieri who have long outlived their usefulness.
Search out a dozen of them whom we can school in the art of vengeance.
(Bells ringing) (Cesare) Holy Father.
Ah.
I have heard whispers about your beautiful deception.
My congratulations.
Deceit is how we must conduct ourselves, it seems.
(Rodrigo) Cardinal Sforza brings a proposition from his cousin, Ludovico of Milan, about how the French can be defeated in open field.
Forgive me for remembering, Cardinal.
Is this the same Ludovico Sforza who gave the French free passage through Milan? Ludovico Sforza has received overtures from the Doge of Venice, from Francesco, the Duke of Mantua, to form a league to expel the French from our peninsula.
But your other cousin, Caterina Sforza, rides with them.
She has the arms she needed and has retired at her castle at Forlì.
And we forgive her such treachery? Perhaps.
For the moment.
Priorities can change, Cardinal Borgia.
Indeed, they can.
(Crowd cheering) (Woman) Welcome to Rome! What is this? (Cesare) I have been told by my friend Micheletto that you know each other well enough to happily hate each other.
Well, I definitely hate you, Battista.
You piece of piss, Orsini.
As a Colonna, I despise you and your sorry dick.
(Cesare) But there is one you probably hate more.
Who has ravaged your lands, your families' estates, your women, on their march to Naples? The French.
Yes, yes.
The French.
- You think we can defeat an army? - (Cesare) No.
No, my brother tried that and he failed.
But we can have us some sport.
We can taste revenge.
We can strike them at night and move like smoke in the darkness.
Huh? To what end, Cardinal? On your side, booty.
On ours, revenge.
We will ride out, camouflaged, masked.
No one will know of our existence.
Any volunteers? (People talking indistinctly) I have broached the matter of a league with His Holiness.
Mmm-hmm.
He seems receptive.
He can be tempted into battle? He can be tempted by anything that gets him out of those papal robes.
(Clears throat) (Exhales) Your Holiness, may I introduce my cousin, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.
Your Holiness, may I introduce Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and his new minted bride, the lovely Duchessa Bianca.
Divine indeed.
Do diplomatic affairs not bore you rigid, Duchessa? They do, Your Holiness, but my husband's affections more than compensate.
Ah.
(Door opens) (Ludovico) If I may be so bold, Your Holiness, we have all of us one thing in common today.
What, suspicion? Of each other? Or is it hatred? - If the Cardinal will let me finish.
- Indeed.
The Cardinal would find how hatred turns to love.
My son! (Ludovico) The French have laid waste to the papal states as they march northwards.
Their king intends to leave a desert behind him.
By the time he reaches Milan, there will be nothing left of this paradise we live in.
So why did you welcome them in? Our proposal is that the armies of Venice, of Milan, of the Duke of Mantua will combine to rid us of this French plague.
(Francesco) Twenty thousand of our troops will meet them near the Apennines.
We will annihilate their army and restore the reputation of Tuscan valour.
- Tuscan? - (Ludovico) And Milanese.
Not to speak of Roman.
Under whose leadership? Under the leadership of Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, with the blessing of His Holiness, the Pope of Rome.
His Holiness has proved his courage to the whole of Italy.
And the whole of Italy will rally to his cause.
And why not just let the French limp their way home? - One word.
Honour.
- Honour? (Chuckles) The word meant something once, did it not? He talks of honour, Father.
There is nothing Interesting concept, honour, isn't it? Like its cousin, valour.
- Honour has cousins? - Oh, many cousins.
Like Cardinal Sforza? And they've all led kings and armies to their doom.
So why should we now make common cause with Milan? Because when the French have left this fair paradise, the Milanese will still be with us.
So? This league cannot beat the French.
Even in their weakened state.
And I doubt the French can beat this league.
So if the two armies batter each other to death, as the lawyers often say, cui bono? - Who benefits? - Mmm.
A weakened Milan, a weakened Venice, a weakened Mantua has to be worth a weekend in Tuscany, surely? (Chuckles) (Bells ringing) (Man) It stinks.
(Battista) Where is he? He must be here somewhere.
I hear you before I see you.
(Grunting) Yes? You line your scabbard with cotton.
You want the French to hear you coming? Lose your spurs.
All of you.
And wear only soft leather.
Understood? Condottieri! Come.
When the scouts ride ahead of the French army, we'll be waiting for them.
We have the light crossbow, the Spanish garrotte, the trident, the paso doble.
Raven's beak.
With weapons like these, we can reinvent combat.
Now there is talk of a pitched battle.
Of something called honour.
Let us show them another way.
Should His Holiness not be fitted in armour? Hmm.
We fight the wars of God, not of man.
Then why travel with the league? There will be war, surely.
They would have our blessing.
You could have given it by proxy.
But the dead will have to be prayed over.
I know you, Holy Father, and know you always have many ends in view.
Perhaps.
If the armies of men will annihilate each other, what will be left? The army of God.
I would beg your permission, then, in your absence, to investigate the office of public works even further.
For more irregularities? There are so many, Holy Father, in this Vatican of yours.
Yes.
(Indistinct talking) (Panting) The army's about 30 miles south, moving slowly.
And the gascon scouts? Only about 10 miles, at the most.
Checking the army's route.
They ride hard.
They will be hungry.
Condottieri! Let's go.
Up, up.
(Cesare) The French are coming! (Man) They're coming! People! Make ready! (Woman) They're coming! Hurry! Get the children! (Indistinct shouting) (Man shouting in French) (Man) There's nobody here! A wedding party.
Without a bride.
The party has moved on.
No bride.
No bridesmaids.
- No nuns.
- (Laughter) They've heard about the size of your dick, Sherat.
Let's eat.
(Indistinct talking) (Man 1 ) Girls! (Man 2) Give me some more! (Man 3) Drink! On your feet! (Groans) French dog! (Cesare) Show some restraint, gentlemen.
I want these men alive.
With their colours.
They have a tale to tell.
(Baby crying) These children need an orphanage.
They do indeed, but the nunneries that used to care for them are starved of funds.
And the orphanage on Piazza Navona is now a Cardinal's palace.
Here once stood a statue of the goddess Sulis Minerva.
And here flowed crystal spring water from the Alban Hills.
Statues are easily restored.
Water is not.
So, I would use my wit and yours to outwit those who divert funds and water from poorhouses to palaces.
Cardinals in the curia.
You are far too clever.
It would be fun to outwit a brace of cardinals.
More than fun.
It could save lives.
And there is one more brain I would engage in our cause.
- Your mother's.
- (Laughs) My mother? But she You must admit, three minds will be better than two.
And your mother and I are far beyond such enmities.
(Vanozza) Hmm.
Whose idea was this? Mine.
And you concurred? We would use your wit, Mother.
And your wisdom.
I find myself lacking in both.
We have plans for the Roman poor.
We've already restored one bathhouse.
And the Holy Father has given me full authority to Your lover.
And yours.
Given you full authority for what? To comb through the curatorial accounts.
He knows a lot about combing through accounts.
And if you would catch a cardinal or two, you do well to ask one who was a courtesan.
However distasteful this may sound to you, my daughter, and to you, la bella Farnese, you will have to acquaint yourselves with the brothels of Rome.
(Spits) You know these colours? (Shouts) Do you know these colours? They are the colours of our regiment.
Good answer.
You know where this was found? (Whimpers) It was found on the site of a massacre.
(Rasping) I cannot speak, my lord.
(Breathing heavily) And these ears cannot hear.
You collect them as trophies? A convent would have provided quite a harvest, would it not? (Whimpering) St Cecilia's.
Who was there? I know not, my lord.
There are many in our regiment.
If I am to die, my lord, I would prefer to die quickly.
What? Who speaks of dying? My associate is a master! He can keep you alive for weeks! In a universe of pain.
But the truth might yet set you free.
The convent! Who was there? Who partook? Nothing? Show us, Micheletto, your expertise.
(Groaning) He was there! You lying bastard.
It was your idea! He said there was sport to be had.
In a place that had your own protection.
What? And who told him that? More.
(Gasping) Giovanni! The Lord Sforza! (Crying) So I must punish him then.
My associate may yet prove merciful.
He treasures information.
Do you not, Micheletto? If it proves true, Your Eminence, yes.
The truth then on troop movements, booty, cannon may yet set you free.
Would you keep secrets from us? Why do you ask? We have heard rumours.
Of skirmishes at night.
Warfare.
I would call it vengeance, Father.
Not warfare.
You are a cleric, not a soldier.
Then, yes.
I have a secret.
The whole of Rome is whispering.
Of our dark son.
So, let us instruct you in the art of vengeance.
Do I need lessons? Perhaps.
Vengeance should never be seen as that.
It should always be unexpected.
And it should rarely be public.
- You learnt this from the Lord? - Hmm.
We know little of war, but much of vengeance.
And the one salient point is this, vengeance is patient.
It can wait a lifetime, if necessary, because it never dies.
If you care to ride north with us, you may see what we mean.
So who will maintain the house of God in our absence? The vice chancellor, perhaps? No, Cardinal Sforza must ride with us.
You mistrust him that much? Our distrust for the vice chancellor is bottomless.
As of the entire curia.
Which is why we thought we would leave them in the safe hands of that one blessed person in whom we can utterly, utterly place our trust.
(Chuckling) Show me your hands, Cesare.
Is it true what I've heard? That they are stained with blood? - Must I confess to you? - (Kisses) No.
But we never before had secrets between us.
Some things are better left unsaid.
So I must divine then, the dark cloud on my brother's soul.
Are you a shepherd of souls now? And I see before me a lost sheep.
Utterly lost, my love.
Then by hook or by crook, I shall save you.
(Cardinals murmuring) You may kiss my ring.
You may sit, Cardinals.
May I sit too, sister? Indeed, Cardinal Borgia.
Forgive our haste, Your Eminences, but our preparations are endless.
You will have heard, we have been called to the north where the dogs of war are once again barking.
We must take the vice chancellor and Cardinal Borgia with us.
And your prayers would be welcome.
We have signed a bull, leaving our dear daughter in, so to speak, loco parentis.
Are there any questions? Cardinal Versucci? Can a woman, Your Holiness, occupy the chair of Saint Peter? Well, plainly, one does.
(Speaking Latin) (Cardinals responding in Latin) He is ready to impart information, Eminence.
Only to you.
Why me? Because I know what his pleasures are.
Tell me.
The powder for the King's cannon Yes.
Tell me.
Travels in the kitchen wagons disguised as barrels of food.
And without that powder, their cannon are useless.
As am I, Your Eminence.
Release him.
(Stabs) (Murmurs) (Gasps) (Exhales) (Woman 1 ) Bless us, Your Holiness! (Man) Take pity, Your Holiness! (Woman 2) May God protect you, Holy Father! (Woman 3) Safe journey! (Rodrigo blessing in Latin) Have you heard? He's left his daughter in the chair of Saint Peter's.
We must travel to Florence then.
Talk to our brother Savonarola.
Surely this man cannot be allowed to live.
(Man) Blessings, Your Holiness! (Indistinct talking) We would give the consistory a lesson in cookery.
(Cardinals laughing) Or is that husbandry? Baking a cake.
(Murmuring) Pour the flour into a sieve.
Shake gently.
The good flour emerges.
The chaff remains.
Am I correct, Cardinal Versucci? I know little of cookery, my lady.
- But you eat cake, surely? - Indeed.
I would hazard that the entire consistory has been known at times to indulge in its sweet tooth.
To eat said cake.
Is there perhaps a metaphor here? That the curia, its various offices devoted to public works, acts like a sieve.
The good flour emerges.
And what is left? For the poor, the needy? - The chaff.
- (Cardinals exclaiming) And what element do we lack to make this cake? (All gasp) Water.
(Children squealing) (Laughing) (Soldier shouting) Father.
Why have we stopped? The King of France, Your Holiness, has requested an audience.
He awaits your presence alone in a church nearby.
(Door opens) We are ill, Your Holiness.
This battle may well be our last.
Which is why we have requested a private audience.
Not for your confession? My sins are many, Your Holiness.
And they are all bloody ones.
Perhaps even the Pope of Rome cannot forgive them.
So why have you requested our presence here? To use your diplomatic skills to spare us this battle.
Well, perhaps if you would surrender the booty you have pillaged to our Holy Mother Church, we might do something.
With respect, Your Holiness, you have fooled me once.
For a man of God, yours was a most ungodly stratagem.
So, why our presence? If they are fool enough to join battle with me, I will destroy them, utterly.
I will be pitiless.
I know no other way.
My cannon will annihilate their armies! The dead will be numberless! I will drag you in chains to Avignon and see you end your days in ignominy! All this before I die! Are you listening, Holy Father? (Thunder rumbling) We hear you.
We will convey your words to the league forces.
Ah, listen.
(Rain pattering) Is that the sound of rain? Can even the King of France light his cannon in the rain? You think we don't know how to keep powder dry? Do you think the Lord God doesn't know how to make rain? The French have deployed their cannon here along this ridge.
We, however, have the advantage of this higher ridge here from which we shall attack.
(Man) Hold him back.
Put him with the other horses.
The rain has stopped.
(Man) All food off the wagon! Beg pardon, Your Holiness? Would not rain help your cause? Armies can fight in the rain.
But would it not hinder their cannon? Rain is not a friend to gunpowder.
We do not fear their cannon, Holy Father.
No? Perhaps you should.
(Rodrigo) The King of France requested an audience.
He asks to be let free to continue his march home.
But if forced to fight, he promises carnage the like of which none of us has yet seen.
We are here to spill blood, Your Holiness.
Yours? Or theirs? I would beg the Holy Father to give these troops his blessing who may well die tomorrow.
And to hear what may well be my last confession.
And to retire to my castle before the battle commences, lest any harm come to his sacred person.
I have bloodied my hands in battle.
I have killed.
I have sent countless men to their doom.
And I pray that God sees the justice of our cause and forgives me for our sins.
The Church acknowledges some wars are just.
Does your conscience tell you that this is one such? It does, Your Holiness.
It will restore the valour of Italian arms.
The honour of our soldiery.
Honour and valour alone do not justify warfare.
But I would plead just cause, Your Holiness.
The weight of booty they carry with them gives ample evidence of their greed and perfidy.
For this reason alone, I would seek your blessing.
And your forgiveness.
Do you pledge your arms to the service of God - and his vicar on earth? - I do, Your Holiness.
And do you promise to fight in His name and His name alone? I do, Your Holiness.
And do you pledge the spoils of battle in its entirety to His Holy Mother Church? God's blessing comes with a price.
I do, Your Holiness.
Then you have our blessing.
Attention! (Rodrigo blessing in Latin) Amen.
Amen.
Amen.
- Your Holiness.
- Duchessa.
So, life has treated you well.
(Chuckles) When you gave me your blessing, - I had not yet met my husband.
- No.
And now it is we who are to be blessed with your hospitality.
So it would seem, Your Holiness.
I have not yet forgotten those times.
Some memories endure then? So it would seem.
We thank God for His blessings upon this table and in this household.
We ask him to watch over the Lord Gonzaga and his league, and we pray for the benediction of rain upon the field of battle tomorrow.
Amen.
Is my husband's survival dependent on rain? (Ascanio) And on valour, too.
Your husband, madam, is a condottieri of the old school.
He believes warfare to be an art.
Cannon, a vulgarity.
Let us hope it's not a tragic art.
So we pray then for a downpour to disarm their cannon.
(Indistinct praying) (Cesare) Micheletto.
(Micheletto) Your Eminence.
(Cesare) Condottieri! Let's ride! (Horse neighing) (Urging horse) (Mouthing prayer) Forgive me, Holy Father.
You are at prayer.
No, you cannot.
I am afraid I must.
But on On a night such as this.
I have unfinished business with the Holy Father.
You now have a husband.
And you have a mistress.
But your husband fights tomorrow.
No.
So let me pray with you for rain.
(Indistinct shouts) (Laughter) (People talking indistinctly) (Whistles) Ah! (Men shouting) (Moans) (Indistinct shouts) (Distant explosions) What was that sound? Thunder.
And after thunder comes The deluge.
(Laughs) The deluge.
(Horses neighing) (Rain pattering) Listen.
Were your prayers answered? No, no, no.
Listen.
For what? There is no sound of French cannon.
Thank you, God! Thank you! - Holy Father.
- Bless you, my sons.
(Francesco) So many dead! So much glory.
Right, man.
Pull it out.
(Groans) These wounds, Your Holiness, are proof that valour lives still.
Ah.
Indeed.
And honour, no doubt.
It was a battle from the pages of Ariosto.
And God answered our prayers with a voice of thunder.
There were explosions last night, Holy Father, but no thunder.
Well, I heard thunder, followed by torrential rain, which drowned their cannon.
The French munitions were destroyed, but not by thunder.
By some brave Roman souls.
You mean? I mean, I am now in the eternal debt of Rome.
And I pledge all booty from this field of battle to our Holy Mother Church.
(Distant shouting) Your salts of mercury, Highness.
And the rain? It has finally stopped, Highness.
Try to rest.
Have you a potion there that would give me eternal rest? Half of my army is dead and cries out for me to join them.
(Screams) So, Your Holiness, as you wished it, so did it come to pass.
Indeed.
The question is, how exactly did it come to pass? Your meaning, Holy Father? Do you have anything to confess to me, Cesare, about this past night? No, Holy Father.
My night was as satisfactory as I'm sure was yours.
I slept the sleep of the good and the just, as I hope you did, Holy Father.