The Borgias Season 3 Episode 1 The Face of Death Review. The Borgias: Season 3, Episode 1: The Face of Death starts off right where season 2’s cliffhanger ended (written about here: The Borgias: Season 2, Episode 10: The Confession).
Each person in the scene acted toward their own gifts and passions. Some of those gifts were to heal the sick, others to assist in longevity restoration, and others to kill.
The first and third of these provided most of the drama and action within The Face of Death. Seeing The Vatican “locked down” was entertaining but how effectively could a construct like The Vatican be effectively sealed off from the outside world during that time period?
Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere (Colm Feore) is a willy, presumptuous, and bold person, surely one of the most audacious cardinals in history. Watching him walk back into The Vatican as if nothing had happened and no time had lapsed since he absconded months ago was like viewing a theater performance. Did he know that the Borgias and their retainers would find the assassin out and come to their small coven?
I don’t think so. I think Della Rovere was extremely lucky with his timing.
This plot point raised an obvious question: If you are sending an assassin behind enemy lines, is it wise to let him take with him paraphernalia from your branch of the church? If that singular element was not present, many casualties may have been avoided.
Another question: why did they suspect the taster? He died of poison. Why would they think that he knowingly poisoned himself? That thought process is never explained.
When Della Rovere decided to leave The Vatican again, it was like the ending scene from Angels and Demons: A hasty exit from the bosom he had so greedily flown back into.
Often under-used and un-thought of, Vanozza Cattaneo (Joanne Whalley) showed herself to be the most level-headed and forward-thinking in the family during the growing crisis.
With Cesare Borgia (François Arnaud) no longer a cardinal, if Roderigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) died, the Borgias’ power in the catholic church would evaporate as would their place there. As Cattaneo pointed out, they have very few friends.
The pivotal question from last season is answered in this episode during a gross scene where everyone is able to “revisit” the life-saving instrument in all its gooey glory. One of the most fascinating elements of Roderigo’s condition was that it gave him an unexpected opportunity. It was something that no one that saw his prone body would have thought of or considered.