The Borgias s03e07 Episode Script

Lucrezia's Gambit

NARRATOR: Previously on The Borgias: ASCANIO: The Jews from Constantinople.
More of them come every day.
You were driven out by the Turks.
We offer you a home, a place to prosper.
And in return? CESARE: So the king of Naples died.
LUCREZIA: Most horribly.
CESARE: There are several claimants.
Is your Alfonso among them? LUCREZIA: Two are in line in front of him.
CESARE: Your Highness.
The last French invasion ended in disaster.
Maybe if the next was under Italian leadership RODRIGO: King Louis of France invades our shores without our permission.
CESARE: He has our permission.
You would bring an army into our land.
I would eliminate the Sforza dynasty.
Ludovico first.
CESARE: What is this? A message from Lady Catherina Sforza treating for peace.
This is a bluff.
Burn it.
Catherina Sforza has no more interest in suing for peace than I do.
COSTANZO: Are you sick? What's the matter? Plague! MACHIAVELLI: This king desires more than Naples.
He has an equal fondness for Milan.
[ALL CHEERING] GUARD: Lord Sforza? BENITO: Mother was right.
Come tomorrow, there will be rivers of blood.
MICHELETTO: The gates are open, my lord.
The city looks unguarded.
Welcome to Milan.
CESARE: Where's Ludovico Sforza? Gone.
MICHELETTO: We have Milan, my lord.
No, the French have Milan.
And Ludovico Sforza lives to fight another day.
Damn him! [] [HORSE NEIGHING] [DOOR BANGS] How do you know of this place? PASCAL: I know Milan very well.
I know a boy who knows a boy whom Leonardo painted.
You understand me? [] Who was this boy you spoke of? We called him Il Saliano.
The Little Devil.
Yes, he's that and more.
But Leonardo loves him dearly.
Leonardo loves devils? Mm-hm.
The more he steals from him, the more he lies to him, the more Leonardo loves him.
Why? Why? Mm.
That's why.
SOLDIER 1: Soldiers approaching! Soldiers! [CAPTAIN YELLS IN FRENCH] SOLDIER 2: The king of France, my lord.
[] Your Highness.
So Ludovico is alive.
His army is intact.
His army is no longer what I call an army.
It's scattered.
You promised me Milan.
And while the Duke Ludovico is alive, he has a claim to it.
I will hunt him down.
Excellent.
Do that.
And when you've, uh, captured him, tell your father, the pope, I hold this city in his name.
His.
Not mine? But you share the same name.
Ah.
What is that thing? PASCAL: A bird.
A mechanical bird.
And can it fly? Perhaps someday it will.
To what purpose? No purpose.
The maestro likes to dream.
So tell me, where does this lead us? Us? Nowhere.
Where does this affection go? There was no affection.
Affection leads to weakness, and I have no use for either.
What is this? PASCAL: An harquebus.
Harquebus.
Hmm.
So he's an artist and a condottiere? No.
He designed the sight.
Huh? It has two notches.
Here and here.
You line them up with the eye.
Clever.
[MUSICIANS PLAYING SLOW MUSIC] Your son hopes to capture Milan.
Is he not your son too? Sometimes we wonder.
I do not.
And I should know.
Hmm.
Giulia Farnese has captured a suitor.
Oh, must you, Vanozza? I must, because she asked me.
She wants to present him to you.
For our approval? For your blessing.
What's his name, this suitor? Vincenzo.
Terrible name.
[CHUCKLES] Can we be happy now? Like any family? This is not just any family.
Things have been difficult between us, but I wanted to thank you for your kindness.
For your patience.
Could kindness ever satisfy a Borgia? All I ever wanted was to be loved by a prince like you.
Who could be king one day.
Huh.
Never.
[] Don't you see, my love? It is the only way that we can assure our safety as a family, with my beloved child, if you rule this kingdom.
I'm the Duke of Bisceglie which means I'm third in line to the throne of Naples, and I have two cousins who would fight to the death for that very same throne.
Prince Frederigo and Prince Raphael.
And I have no interest in that kind of power.
But you must, if you were to ensure your survival.
Our survival.
Or I must.
[] My lord, Cardinal Constanzo requests you posthaste.
Before I've changed and bathed? He is ill in his palace.
He made mention of a letter.
A letter? From Catherina Sforza.
Make way.
Make way! Where is the cardinal? Within.
Show me, then.
See for yourself.
My lord, wait.
Wear this.
Over your mouth.
CESARE: Constanzo? [COUGHING] CESARE: Constanzo? Constanzo.
[PANTING] [CONSTANZO COUGHING] CONSTANZO: Do you recognise that? CESARE: I commanded you burn it.
And the letter inside it.
But I didn't.
And now you must burn this palace with me inside it and forgive me for my disobedience.
[CONSTANZO COUGHING] CESARE: Well, why must you burn for disobedience? CONSTANZO: There was a plague-infested handkerchief in the box that contained her overtures of peace.
CESARE: Oh, my God.
There are quicker deaths than burning.
Then throw me a blade, and burn all that remains.
[CONSTANZO COUGHING] [COUGHING] [CROWD CHATTERING] CAPTAIN: Make way for His Holiness.
Is this how you announce your return to Rome? There was a plot, Holy Father.
A plague letter designed for your person.
Constanzo's curiosity got him.
So you burn down his palace? Better his palace than the whole quarter.
And where is Constanzo now? Burning inside.
[GRUNTS] What? Your sacred person is healthy still.
Oh.
Catherina Sforza? Who else? Walk with us.
What do we need to know of this matter? As little as possible.
But a letter was sent.
A false overture of peace.
I ordered it burnt.
And the King of France is in possession of Milan.
Was that to be kept from us as well? I wanted to tell you in person.
And Ludovico Sforza is still at large.
Ah.
You have heard.
We do not live entirely in the dark, Cesare.
He's in hiding with Catherina's son, Benito.
Who, it seems, he is willing to hand over to us in exchange for a pledge of his own safe passage.
And where is he now? Ooh.
That is not for us to know.
Ask your friend, Signor Machiavelli.
It was him who delivered Ludovico's letter to us.
Do I have your permission to-- ? To deliver our pledge into the hands of Ludovico Sforza? To lay hands on the pair of them, and to bring them in chains to us in Rome? You do.
[] RODRIGO: You know Constantinople, don't you? Intimately.
Do you think it could be captured, returned to Rome? By some miracle, perhaps.
Ah.
Well, we don't trade in miracles.
We are amassing funds for a great crusade.
But we fear they could be needed closer to home.
May I enquire why, Holiness? The French have taken Milan.
I thought your son had taken Milan.
Hmm.
Is there a difference? Rome needs arms.
And the funds for our Constantinople endeavour could have provided them.
I can't leave her undefended.
If I may be so bold to suggest, Holiness Huh? [CLEARS THROAT] [] The main threat from the Turks is the shipping.
Hmm.
If the entire Turkish fleet can be disposed of, would not His Holiness's crusade have served its purpose? Well, how would we achieve that? Well, if the pope is lacking funds perhaps the tribe of Abraham could do it for him.
[LAUGHING] Again, how? There are Jews in every port on the Turkish coast.
There may be a way, if the Jews in Rome could be assured of His Holiness's favour.
Hmm.
Do you think he's caught us? He has caught the office.
Catching the man is more elusive.
Hmm.
And the knight moves thus.
Yes, though I imagine you knew that already.
No, my lord.
I'm a novice to the game of, um What was it called again? You full well know.
[CHUCKLES] Oh.
Chess.
Oh, my lord, now that was unkind.
And was meant to be.
The game is cruelty personified.
Or, rather, strategy personified, my Lord Raphael.
You are beautiful, Lucrezia Borgia, but even I, a simple Neapolitan prince can tell that your beauty hides a design.
Why did you wish to meet with me? To learn the game, of course.
The game of chess or the game of inheritance? There is a difference? In both, the rules are fixed, and have been for centuries.
And the room for manoeuvre is limited.
A king dies and the game begins again.
So the players are? My half-brother Frederigo and I.
And there can only be one winner.
You? That is how I intend it.
[] And that bastard child shall find no more favour in me than it did with my uncle, the king.
No? He'll be returned to Rome or to a stable.
You can choose which.
I will ensure all the traditional proprieties are upheld.
And Lucrezia Borgia shall have as little influence on the court of Naples as your queen on this board.
So I have a king, two bishops and a knight.
Is there a place for a pope in this game? There is no pope in the game of chess.
But the game of succession has a pope, surely.
[CHICKEN CLUCKING] [] [CHICKEN CLUCKING] Here's your onions.
They're very fresh.
[BOTH GRUNTING] You.
And you.
You followed me here.
Surely it is you who followed me, sir.
To Rome? I have a friend here, paid for my journey.
But you, gentle sir, have followed me.
I am not gentle.
I remember.
Follow.
[] [SIGHS] You will tell no one of this place.
You do not ask where I go or where I've been.
And if you do not see me for a week or more, then you will wait.
And if you cannot and all this comes to nought, then you will leave, and you will leave in silence.
And that silence you will carry to your grave.
But if you break that silence, I will find you.
And believe me, boy, that you do not want.
She writes to me, tells me her every move is watched.
She should wear a veil, then.
Why? Mm.
To hide her true feelings.
She loves this husband, Cesare.
She chose him.
Is it only me he disappoints? You're too harsh.
When I pleaded her son's case to the king, her husband just sat there beside me saying nothing.
Naples is not Rome.
No.
And Naples may soon not even be Naples.
A French presence there would see that they did our bidding.
A French presence there would end her marriage for good.
She hopes to wield some influence, Cesare, on the next heir to the throne.
And just how will she manage that? Through your father.
The investiture of the crown still lies with the pope, does it not? Not the choice of who wears it.
What power has a crown without papal investiture? Clever girl.
If I were to die and my half-brother were to die, your husband would take the throne.
Heh.
Well, that's a lot of dying.
Death happens all the time here.
By accident.
Look at my uncle.
That was a horrible accident.
Who could have thought? His father, actually.
He had that pool stocked for that very purpose.
Naples terrifies me.
It has terrified me ever since I learnt to walk.
Little Sebastian here, I have to feed him from my own plate, lest my half-brother try and poison him.
Why would he do that? Any number of reasons.
For sport, to frighten me, or merely to show me he can eliminate what's dear to me.
At will.
[] I know your plight, Lucrezia Borgia.
I even pleaded with King Ferdinand to let your child live here.
But my words meant little then, and will mean even less when my brother takes the crown.
Must your brother take the crown? Unless he dies.
Believe me, I'm no murderer.
But the pope must invest the new-crowned king of Naples.
What of it? If there is any scandal, any rumour of public ignominy, the pope may refuse.
My brother has a heart of ice.
But only I know that heart.
The world knows a paragon of manliness, duty and virtue.
We all have our secrets.
Indeed.
I'll be gone, perhaps days, perhaps weeks.
Where are you going? I've told you.
You never ask that question.
Now, you stay ignorant, you stay alive, boy.
Days, weeks.
What am I to do? Enjoy the delights of Rome.
There's money in that jar.
Hang around Bramante's studio.
Maybe you'll catch his eye, no? [] If you are here when I return, I would like that.
There is a quarry, north of here.
It is arranged the exchange will happen there.
Ludovico will deliver the boy, have no doubt.
Guide us there, Signor Machiavelli, then absent yourself.
There are complications in the air? No.
No, the outcome will be simplicity itself.
But I would recommend you keep your hands clean.
What is this place? It's a disused quarry.
Here we will meet with forces loyal to the Sforza family who will escort you home to Mother.
Have no fear.
[] Sebastian? Oh, God.
Oh, God.
He did have secrets, poisonous ones.
Poison? What poison? Would it be Cantarella? I know something of it.
[GAGGING] The dog ate from my plate.
Forget the dog.
Guards! Anybody! Quickly.
There are two sights and a double notch.
MICHELETTO: Yes.
This your invention? I wish I could claim so.
But no, Leonardo's.
My lord, my lord.
It's empty.
There is no one here, Ludovico.
Well, Benito, then we are the first to arrive and must be patient and wait.
Half of Italy wants our heads and you're asking me to be patient.
ALFONSO: What happened? Poison.
Cantarella.
Who did it? Does it matter now? Go and get a physician, love, quickly.
Line one sight with the other? And the sights with your target, my lord.
[GAGGING] [HORSE NEIGHS THEN BENITO GRUNTS] LUDOVICO: What have you done? ALFONSO: Here.
Here.
Water.
Water.
I need water.
This is the Roman cure? It is the only cure.
[GRUNTS] I said capture! Not kill! It was agreed.
There was no mention of killing! That dog will bite no more.
Your cure is useless.
My lady, he cannot breathe.
But if this is Cantarella, I have done this before.
It's not Cantarella, it's Galerina, a poisonous mushroom.
He's dying of lack of breath, his whole throat is swollen.
[GASPING] LUDOVICO: What of our agreement? My guarantee of safe passage! Now! I will have it now! BENITO: I trusted you.
You barbarian.
CESARE: Ludovico.
There.
I thank you.
[GASPING] He breathes.
We must hold his throat thus for two hours until the swelling subsides.
You.
I accuse you of the murder of your brother.
How can I have killed that which is not yet dead? Of the poisoning of the only barrier that lies between you and the throne of Naples.
An enterprise in which I failed miserably.
[SCOFFS] Choke him on his own bile.
I would like to see that.
ALFONSO: Be still, cousin.
MEDIC: Hold him still.
[GASPING] MEDIC: Shh, shh, shh.
ALFONSO: Be still.
[FOOTSTEPS] What are you doing here? Checking on my lady's investments.
We all need vermin like you to search out secrets, communicate, anything that cannot be held in a diplomatic pouch.
You should leave, now.
He could return.
He's in the north, I heard.
Far from here.
Doing what? Are you not being paid good coin to find that out? I have to tread carefully with him.
I have to earn his affection.
Mm.
The long game.
That will only last as long as his love lasts.
Well, then, there is time, even for vermin like me.
Is it possible? Have you fallen for him? I'm in the devil's bed, Rufio.
Have you ever been embraced by the devil? Hmm? You ever felt his touch? Have you ever dared to touch him? I doubt it.
Yes.
That's love.
It doesn't smell good.
What a dingy place for it.
But, then, certain love thrives best in the gutter.
Hmm.
I see.
You've come here to pass judgement.
No, I came to inhale his odour.
He's my double here in Rome.
We will meet one day, he and I.
Stick to him.
Sooner or later he will tell you everything.
Nothing is too small.
Remember the book.
Catallus' Carmina.
Good boy.
LUCREZIA: Would you play more chess, my lord? I would be alone.
Hmm.
I can understand why.
You failed.
How did I fail? It's foolish to attempt murder and to fail.
Better to succeed, I'm sure.
If you embark upon that course, yes, much better.
My brother has always been histrionic.
As a child, he accused me of drowning his pet newt.
And did you? How does one drown a newt? There will be consequences.
Ha-ha-ha.
And you, the pope's bastard, will be the judge of that? The pope has in his gift the investiture of the kingdom of Naples.
How could he in all conscience place a murderer on the throne? You lack evidence, madam.
I intend to find it.
[] You are on dangerous ground, my lady.
Yes, I can see that.
You have your fingers against my throat.
Failed again.
[TWIG SNAPS] I was given word that some great lady needs a potion.
A love potion? Your husband sleeps between the sheets? I know you.
What if my needs were more lethal? I only deal in cures.
I heard a different story.
I don't understand your words.
You provided certain potions to a certain party.
And I still don't understand you.
Do they burn witches in these parts? I am no witch, my lady.
I tend the forest, I gather its fruits.
And sell them to whomever has need of them for good or for ill.
But the truth might yet save you.
The truth? You gave the Galerina mushroom.
I gave no Galerina.
I gave a dried powder mixed with juniper.
To whom? Pay me first.
To Prince Raphael.
I asked you to meet with me.
To play the game again? We could do that too.
I asked you to meet with me to suggest that there might be two options available to you.
One, you pursue your quest for the crown for the pope's blessing and you will be accused of the attempted murder of your half-brother.
And I repeat, my brother lies.
He has evidence.
And I've heard of your evidence.
An old crone from the forest.
She should be burnt as a witch.
Well, who knows, perhaps one day she will be.
What does she say? That she gave you a mixture of dried Galerina and juniper berries.
Someone primed her to say that.
Find out who put the words in her mouth.
[GIOVANNI CRYING] Well, who then? You, perhaps? [CHUCKLES] Your reputation does precede you.
Shh, shh, shh.
Your second choice is to hand the field over to your brother whom the pope will happily invest and retire to your hunting lodges with your reputation intact.
Thank you, nurse.
My lady.
Hunting's a good life.
I have a third, you know.
What's that? I could poison the both of you, all of you.
Ha.
And succeed this time? I'll take the second choice, if only to see you realise the folly of your stratagem.
You will lose.
You will lose most horribly.
He's very young.
Will he be faithful? GIULIA: One hopes.
INSTRUCTOR: Raise.
GIULIA: His palace has fountains.
INSTRUCTOR: And release.
A belvedere, extensive hunting grounds.
He hunts, not a good thing in a husband.
You hunted.
Rarely.
And only with you.
Hmm? I will hunt with him, then.
Well, let's get it over with.
Dearest.
Holiness, may I present to you Vincenzo Salvatore? Your Holiness.
RODRIGO: Your hands.
My hands? Well, let me touch your hands.
Ah.
Soft.
They never worked the land.
They toil with a feathered quill, Your Holiness.
They plough with that.
Is he deranged? No, Your Holiness, he's a poet.
A poet.
So, deranged.
He may be another Petrarch, Holiness.
RODRIGO: Oh.
Yes.
But can you make her laugh? [CHUCKLES] Well, marry him if you will.
Our son.
Come closer.
What of our command in regard to Ludovico Sforza? I executed it.
He is no more.
That was not our command.
You were to bring him to Rome in chains.
What purchase can we get with a dead Sforza? Two dead Sforzas.
Are you to be the one who decides Rome's future? Father-- Who shapes our fate? Who dictates our strategies? Why in God's name did you kill them? Because the French king demanded it.
And what of our wishes? [GRUNTS] Who are we to trust if not our family? Who are we to rely on? You can trust me, Father.
Oh? We can? Why? Because you have no alternative.
[CROWD CHEERING] [MUSICIANS PLAYING FANFARE] [LAUGHING] FREDERIGO: You wonderful people.
Ah.
Ha-ha.
WOMAN: Frederigo! Thank you.
Oh.
So we're safe now? As long as this king lives, yes, we're safe.
[] PASCAL: I am Catherina Sforza's eyes and ears in this nest of vipers, and I would beg you, my liege, to make no hasty moves until my exit is secured.
Bring me my copy of Catallus' Carmina.
Yes, Your Majesty.
[]