sherrilina: (Cesare/Lucrezia 3 (The Borgias))
[personal profile] sherrilina
GUYS GUYS GUYS APPARENTLY SHOWTIME FINALLY GOT THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND MADE THEIR OWN VERSION OF HBOGO--WHICH ALLOWED ME TO WATCH 3X03 EARLY!!! :DDDD And when I have time, 3x01 and all of season 2 are available to rewatch, along with all the other Showtime shows, which is awesome. So I take back my bitterness in my last post at OnDemand getting it early, though I'm still a little annoyed at recent episodes getting leaked even earlier than that official early release--I sincerely hope that 3x04 is the last time, since that was part of the screener.

But yeah, so excited! I legit screamed and began flailing wildly when I discovered this, you should have seen me. For that matter you should have seen me when I watched 3x03 last Monday night (I am super slow at these reviews, sorry), but first here are my thoughts on 3x02:

Sadly I didn't enjoy this episode nearly as much as the premiere, finding it a lot less exciting, but it was still pretty solid and had its moments. While I admired the Borgias' political finesse in getting rid of their enemies and "punishing" Juan's murder with this pretense, I did not find it to be that gripping, personally--though I liked seeing Cardinal Sassypants Sforza's expanded role continue as he stepped into Cesare's old role of Rodrigo's ally/point man within the Vatican. I also loved Cardinal Fisher Picolomini's grumpy return (I'm pretty sure he said the same thing about what the hat represents on The Tudors)--him kicking the hat on the floor was hilarious to me, I shall miss him and the other guy (the only original ones left from season 1 aside from Sforza?). And of course, Cesare was in his psychopath element as he cornered everyone and pulled the greatest bitchfaces:


(Honorable mention: "This is one endless confession!")

It's great to see him continue to act as the family bodyguard, concerned about his father's safety. I also loved seeing his rivalry with Juan continue to crop up from beyond the grave--Rodrigo's dream was a bit cheesy (though sad at the same time), but CESARE'S FACE when he hears his father crying out Juan's name (and that beautiful camera shot up at Cesare framed by the sunlight--again, this show is a work of art!)...priceless.



So much bitterness and angst, which is one of my favorite aspects of Cesare's character, along with the tension in his relationship with his father (which doesn't preclude shaving him and wheeling him around apparently, lol). It's great to see how even in death, Juan stands between them. It's nice to see that emotional continuity in Rodrigo's continued grieving for Juan (it only happened recently in the timeline!) and anger at Cesare over it. At least Juan hasn't been forgotten, unlike poor Gioffre, it seems--I winced when Rodrigo said Cesare was his only son, lol.

The C/L scenes were sexy to be sure (particularly the second scene--Cesare's heavy breathing and whispered "at last" just as they were about to kiss (lol so much sexual frustration for so long!), and his overall awkward reactions to seeing her naked were perfect), but idk, despite the long thread of explanations/justifications in the 3x01 discussion post on [livejournal.com profile] cesare_lucrezia, the scenes still felt a little abrupt/off to me (since when is the kind of mouth-biting he did okay, and in public too?), and I wish we had had more buildup. :/ It also probably didn't help that I had basically already seen the scenes in gif or trailer form a million times already--it made the scenes a lot less exciting. I did love it when she said, "You look, but don't touch" with that tear running down her face though, which perhaps speaks to a longtime subconscious desire for more as well, idk--Holliday delivered that line very well. And I liked these lines:

"Must I trade one love for another?"
"Do you mean me for him?"


Lol, I love that his first thought is that she means him, like what other love could she possibly have in her life?! ;) And it's in line with the same carefuly, double-edged wordplay they've been engaging in for two seasons now (along the same lines as "I promised you a heart." "What, your own?" and his deliberate misinterpretation of "I would ask you to marry me."). If they had stopped at this and the next few lines, without the "unholy family" kiss, I think I would have actually been more satisfied (and it would make the 3x03 seating chart scene more meaningful).

"I fear he knows already"

I thought this was an interesting little reference to Alfonso's side-eyeing of them dancing at the end of 2x10, although now that we know Alfonso more I feel he is so naive he might not even realize something inappropriate is going on there, lol. In any case, I like exploring the idea of incest rumors, so this line gave me a little ~thrill. ;)

In terms of shippy squee, I actually found myself more excited about the lovely and sweet Rodrigo/Vanozza scenes, which were an unexpected treat! (NGL, I ship it) It's beautiful to see their continuing affection for one another (best divorced couple ever, as one person on Tumblr put it); their relationship really is something special, and I would still kill for flashbacks of the early years (I mean him sticking with her long enough to have 4 children of such an age range is kind of impressive in any case..even though he didn't stay as long with her historically). I can understand him reaching for her in this new state of paranoia, since she is part of his family/mother of his children, and invested in the family unit, whereas Giulia came more recently as (lbr) a social climber.


"We feel safe with you...as if we've come home."

Awww! Is this where Cesare inherited his love for touching necks from? Did C/L learn nose-bumping from their parents? This scene was further enhanced by the beautiful string music that began playing when he said that--I really noticed the music in this episode, there was a nice choral piece in Lucrezia and Alfonso's first scene as well.

I wonder, is Giulia going to be leaving the show though? :s I would hate to lose her as a character...I love how scrappy and resourceful she is, and the way she again went to Vanozza for advice (I'm glad to see the alliance they developed in season 2 hasn't entirely gone away--it was great to see Vanozza also negotiating on Giulia's behalf. They sure have come a long way). I liked how Giulia was like, "well I want a fucking palace and Cardinal's hat then!" Get it gurl--a true businesswoman. Can she stick around and still be badass with Vanozza and Lucrezia?

3x03 (warning: extensive shipper squee and Tumblr gif usage):

So my main reaction to this episode is AHHHHHHHHHHHHH ASDJKL!!!!




Seriously guys, I was ALREADY dying from C/L feels and the overall perfection of the episode halfway through, before they'd even gotten to ~The Moment You've Been Waiting For~. IT WAS THAT FREAKING GOOD. Have we ever had an episode so packed with epic C/L goodness? MY HEART CAN'T HANDLE IT, OKAY! I haven't felt this ecstatic over a fictional couple's scenes since reading The Indigo Spell! Oh my beloved OTPs involving blondes and unstable dark-haired men Where do I even begin? I think the only negative things I have to say about it is the fact that Giulia wasn't in it, and nor was Machiavelli (I was hoping for him so hard when they went to Florence! He would have been much more interesting than that random duel we saw instead)...and the sex scene could have been better (like better LIT for one thing, help a fandom out). But yeah, so much win:

1) CESARE AND LUCREZIA!!! :DDD ♥ Last week I was really disappointed by how random the C/L scenes were, even though they were hot; I like my ships well developed, and had been worried about them ~consummating their relationship within the first 3 episodes ever since seeing the initial trailers for the season. I didn't want it to be too rushed and out of nowhere, and last week felt that way. But thankfully they dialed it waaay back this week and approached it more gradually, and naturally--I kind of want to pretend last week's scenes were a dream, lol.

First the dressing scene, which was everything last week's armor scene SHOULD have been. (Plus the added bonus of delicious Cesare chest!porn, unfff) Lots of touching (SO much touching!) and affection and intimacy and talking about Alfonso (lol forever at how intimidated he is by Cesare), but nothing beyond what they had normally done yet. THEY WERE SO ADORABLE TOO, with the way he flicked her chin (he loves her chin!) as he promised to do his best for her, and her little faaaace when it was all scrunched up at him while teasing:



Also her wonderful line that "I don't feel safe unless I know you're nearby" while trailing her fingers along his chest, awww (inseparable now! What will they do when she's married?!), AND the return of my favorite, the nose bump!!! <333



Then there was the totally possessive way Cesare just grabbed Lucrezia's arm and pulled her away from Alfonso as soon as they got back ("MINE!"), like "sorry bros before husbands," lol. (Alfonso just doesn't stand a chance--was it just me or did Lucrezia look for a second like she was going to kiss Cesare too when he came up to her, before remembering herself?) AND THEN CESARE CALLING HER "MY LOVE" (ANOTHER FAVORITE) AND PROMISING TO MAKE HER HAPPY IN THAT URGENT, DESPERATE TONE OF VOICE! <333 THE RETURN OF FOREHEAD SNUGGLES!



And THEN the best moment/highlight of the episode to me, THE SEATING CHART KISS!!! ♥ This scene was utter perfection and squee from start to finish, and around the time when I really died of feels. I mean, first you have Lucrezia seating Cesare next to her (instead of Alfonso!), which made me go awww and felt very significant.



Then you have Cesare enter and announce his presence by playfully flicking her earrings in the CUTEST FUCKING WAY (gah, their little displays of affection kill me the most!):



It broke my heart when Lucrezia pointed out her seating arrangement and asked if he really was on her side--Holliday SLAYED this scene! ;_; AND CESARE'S PASSIONATE REACTION! ("DUH I am on your team, how can you even ask that, I've already murdered two different guys for you, you are the air I breathe, etc!"). I fucking LOVE his "France, Spain, Naples...hey can all crumble to dust for all I care" line, and everything it represents (he loves her so much! ♥_♥), perfect line to precede THEIR FIRST KISS EEEEEEEE!!! :DD



Honestly, THIS is truly the momethat *I* have been waiting for the last two years: the tipping point when Cesare couldn't contain his love and desire anymore and actually kissed her--to me this was a much more romantic and believable first kiss than the random scenes in the last episode, which is another reason why I would like to pretend those happened later. Not only was it a HAWT kiss (and again with Cesare's neck kink!), but their reactions afterwards felt right (whereas in 3x02 they acted like kissing wasn't enough of a big deal). Look at Cesare opening his eyes and jerking away in panic as it fully hits him what he has just done--Francois played this very well:



And Lucrezia touching her mouth like, "omg, it happened" and overwhelmed with emotion was perfect and realistic as well. Bravo show, you did it!:)

I was rather disappointed with the wedding in that we didn't get a) Cesare in a purple unicorn mask (perfect lulzy historical opportunity, guys!); b) a glimpse of Cesare and Lucrezia sitting together at the wedding feast (or of the poor servants scrambling to recreate it after Cesare effed it up, lmao); and most importantly, c) another Dance of Incestuous Forehead Touching during the wedding reception! It was so sweet how Lucrezia immediately went over to him for a dance--the dance partner she can always rely on who is ~on her side~--and she looked so crushed when he refused. I suppose he still felt too shaken up by the kiss and didn't trust himself around her in public with so many eyes on them (again, another natural reaction to the kiss).

As for the wedding night itself, I feel like Alfonso pushing Lucrezia away over her brother's little seating chart stunt was a bit of a stretch (though on the other hand he showed in this episode how truly naive and pathetic he is in the game of politics, so I can kind of see it), but I felt like it served as justification enough for pushing Lucrezia to go where her heart ~truly lies, aka Cesare's bed. The fakeout was nicely done (if we hadn't been so heavily spoiled about what would be going down in this epp, I might have been fooled), and again, as with the scene in 3x02 Cesare's reaction was priceless, lol. I really liked Lucrezia telling him that he will be her husband for that night--a someone on Tumblr pointed out, she never gets to choose her husbands for just herself (it's always about the political gain for her family, etc), but in this one case, she can spend her wedding night with the man she would choose ("I will never love a husband as I love you, Cesare," and so forth). And it's great that THIS line is what finally convinces Cesare to go along with it-because lbr, he's always wanted to marry his sister (see: 2x10). :p

I actually didn't think the sex scene itself was that amazing/hot in how it was staged and shot (I found the earlier scenes to be sexier, ironically), but I did love the epic music accompanying it and that they took it slow. The one moment that I *really* loved about this scene, and that brought it all home that this was MY OTP DOING IT AT LAST was THAT SHARED SMIIIILE right before the end--they just look so HAPPY to be together in this way at last! ^_^



I also liked that they referenced there being rumors of incest between them, though I wish we could see people saying it aside from Juan. In any case, let's all take a moment to appreciate the fact that my OTP is now, against all expectations, officially canon!



(Juan's suspicions are accurate at last! ;))

And while I feel a little bad for poor Alfonso, I can't help but lmao at this gif, especially when it was placed in a set of C/L sexytimes! :p



In addition to their wonderful interactions, I also loved the C/L-shippiness that came from Cesare's jealous antagonism towards Alfonso (he was all but peeing on his territory where Lucrezia was concerned) and protectiveness towards Lucrezia in fighting for her to keep her baby. In particular I loved it when Alfonso is all, "I'll show you all the sights, future brother!" and Cesare is bitchfacing and going, "I don't have time for any tourism shit, just know you better treat my sister well or I break your kneecaps and stab you!". I think this slide from this hilarious recap of 3x03 sums up his words to Alfonso nicely:



And then how fierce he was towards Alfonso's uncle, threatening the very alliance for the sake of Lucrezia's happiness, and then totally dressing down Alfonso for not speaking up--"LOVING LUCREZIA, UR DOING IT WRONG!" Poor Alfonso didn't realize what he was getting into...and Lucrezia's jealousy at the idea of Cesare going off to find a bride in France was just as wonderful. ;) Especially when she knew about it because "It was in his eyes...he can't hide things from me.". THEY KNOW EACH OTHER SO WELL! :,)

2) CATERINA SFORZA, HBIC EXTRAORDINAIRE: After the C/L, the best part of this episode was of course the ~Great Arachne~, who was SO BADASS IT HURT. <333 I love Caterina's entrance, where she's all "Bow down bitches, True Queen coming through!" (gif made kindly for me by [livejournal.com profile] jaimelannister)



And then even while kneeling, she has the upper hand! ♥ I loved the return of this awesome line:



Lmao @ Cesare's "We should have prepared her apartments in the Castle Saint Angelo." (Meanwhile Lucrezia's expression is like, "new role model!").

Speaking of Cesare, it was pretty brave of her baiting a violent psychopath like that, lol--I love how she isn't even shaken when he roughs her up, but just smiles! ;) BAMF!

Her assassin is getting smarter too, he way he gets his hands on Cesare's report to use it against him (poor Cesare though, your diligence backfired!). So glad again that she is the main antagonist this season.

3) Miscellaneous: I also loved a number of other things about this episode (again, it was pretty flaw free):

-Cesare being such an industrious eager beaver about the papal armies, doing his homework and everything to prove himself (and how much better a gonfalieri he's be than flop!Juan), and his confrontation with his father over giving him command. You can really see Cesare coming into his Valentino destiny right now, and becoming the dangerous psychopathic military mastermind Machiavelli fangirled so hard. And give me allll the Rodrigo-Cesare tension please.

-Lol wut @ that Cardinal being all, "I'm gonna burn this mother down!" as he left, and the fire taking so long to be detected--I mean I know they didn't have smoke detectors but still! Bad cardinal, hdu hurt historic documents! Kind of random (is this based on a historic event?), but I guess it showed more ~consequences of their purge and the increased hatred against the Borgias now. It also demonstrated Cesare's excellent Spidey Sense, lol, when he immediately felt the disturbance in the force and rushed over--such a good guard dog!

-Vanozza' quality mother-daughter time with Lucrezia: These two never get enough scenes together, so I was delighted to see them have one here, and involving Vanozza telling her daughter to "have more faith in yourself" to boot, awww. <33 I liked the scene from a character standpoint for Lucrezia as well, in terms of her thinking about the need to consider her own ambition if she wants to get out ahead in life like all the men in the family. She too is developing more into the badass of history making her way in a man's world.

-Sforza's epic new hat, lmao. I am loving seeing him in every episode.

TL;DR: This is one of my favorite episodes of the series, period, and I wonder if any other episode is going to be able to top it this season....I sure hope so! (This season is on a roll!). This is me with this episode:



+ Game of Thrones was also great this past week! 3x04:

Okay so I'd say this was the best episode yet! It was certainly the most solid episode, with nothing really awful except for the continued absurd discussion of Pod popping his cherry, as if we didn't spend enough time on that flop storyline last week! (NO1CURR FFS) I also hated the way everyone continues to know Littlefinger is plotting something with Sansa--they have really ruined his character in making him so obvious and stupid/not clever, and I have no idea how Sansa is going to get to the Eyrie with Petyr without EVERYONE knowing exactly where she went, at this point! *roll eyes*

But yeah, everything else was good to great, and I think that (FINALLY) skipping Robb and Jon this week definitely helped make this episode a lot more enjoyable and interesting! ;) I feel like we got to see all of my favorite characters/storylines this time--and no gratuitous nudity! So many great scenes from the book faithfully reproduced here, often with dialogue lifted verbatim from the source, as well as great new scenes:

-Varys sharing the story of how he was cut (though wtf at him catching the wizard in the end)

-Seeing more of Olenna the Sassy (seriously, she is SO perfect and gives me so much life)

-Margaery continuing to twist Joffrey around her little finger like a boss and pursuing girl time with Sansa (poor bb is so desperate for a friend, though perhaps she is acting too trusting now considering). I'm not really bothered that Willas was cut, given he was always offscreen anyway...and the audience knows Loras and her crush on him.

-Bran's eerie dream (nice to see Cat, but pushing Bran off of a tree? :s)

-Tywin dropping truth bombs about Cersei's political inability, while seeing her love/admiration/devotion for him, and the way she considers herself his true heir, just like in the book. Also I like the fact that she is already suspicious of the Tyrells/her tension with Margaery is ramping up, all the pieces are falling into place! ;)

-Brienne's speech about living for vengeance being kept in (and their wonderful, concerned interactions, period! ♥ I ship it so much, guys.)

-Night's Watch Rioting: Normally I find all of their scenes to be pretty boring, but I found this scene to be horrifying/ gripping in the book as well, and it was quite faithfully reproduced here--the one thing I really missed and wished they had included was Jeor's dying wish about Ser Jorah returning to Westeros and joining the Night's Watch, they certainly had time to include that (the epp ran only about 54 min) and it would have made Jorah's presence in the next scene even more meaningful. RIP Jeor, still sad you never got to reunite with your son. Also lol @ Burn Gorman being the one stirring up trouble in the first place (and killing a creep like Craster)--good to see him as always, though damn his voice is always so low-pitched compared to his TW days.

-Theooooon! ;_; God Alfie was KILLING it and giving me all the feels with his self-realization monologue to Ramsay, especially "My real father lost his head at King's Landing. I made a choice...and I chose wrong." S O B B I N G. :'( I mean, saying that about Ned is wrong, because he never fully felt safe/comfortable with him, knowing he was his prison warden essentially, and given his role in defeating his father and taking him from his home--this Tumblr post highlights how ridiculous this sentiment is, lol); he should have talked about Robb instead (since in the books he does realize that Robb was the only real brother he ever had, SOB). But the sentiment of feeling that bond of kinship with Starks and realizing he Made a Huge Mistake is still true, and the way Alfie performed it, you almost don't even care if the line was a bit off! I also liked seeing where they were going at last with ~Mystery Boy~ killing the guards (that part confused me last time, but not I see that it was not only to psych him out, but also to pin that on him too)--this was a great way of demonstrating the mind games You Know Who played on Theon and his other victims, to the point where they didn't think escape was possible. But when Theon realizes that he has been tricked and is back where he began...;_;

-And last but not least, DANY!!! MY KHALEESI AND TRUE QUEEN WAS SO BADASS I CAN'T EVEN! ♥ I've been looking forward to this moment ever since reading it, and it was done pretty much perfectly, right down to the reveal that she speaks Valyrian. Emilia slayed it! Just look at this fierce HBIC burning slavers and not giving a damn:



That's what happens when you try to mess with the Mother of Dragons, yo! :D I also loved the reactions of Ser Jorah and Missandei:



(You know it! :p) Now I just wonder where they will go from there, when the climax of the storyline just happened in episode 4! :/ BUT WHAT A FANTASTIC SCENE TO END THE EPISODE ON!

And on a final visual note, the scenery continues to be as stunning as ever (loved where Sansa and Margaery were talking, I wish I knew where exactly it was), and Baelor's Sept was just as I imagined it from the description in the books.

So yeah, I'm feeling a little better about season 3 now. Can't wait next week to see (per the trailer) Tyrion get the news that he's to marry Sansa! :p

Gah I can barely even keep up with all the epic TV going on right now, let alone reviews. (Also my laptop is on its last legs in terms of slowness, so having to type out 90% of my reviews on my smartphone slows things down on that end as well).

 
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sherrilina

May 2015

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