Nobody


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THE BORGIAS SEASON 1, EPISODE 9
"Nobody"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Episode Title: Nobody
The Borgias Episode #: 9
The Borgias Season: 1
Original Air Date: 22 May 2011
Writer: Neil Jordan
Director(s): Jeremy Podeswa
Guest Star(s): Ruta Gedmintas as Sister Martha (formerly Ursula Bonadeo), Michel Muller as King Charles VIII, Peter Sullivan as Cardinal Sforza, Ronan Vibert as Giovanni Sforza,Emmanuelle Chirqui asSancia of Naples (now Borgia)





Abandoned by even his cardinals, Alexander meets King Charles with humility and saves his throne, even eliciting a confession from the conqueror he crowns as the new “King of France and Naples;” Della Rovere despairs as Charles abandons him; Lucrezia safely gives birth to a son in a convent as the Borgias secure an annulment of her marriage and plot revenge on their enemies.



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Episode 1.9 Nobody




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CHARACTERS IN THIS EPISODE
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page logo EPISODE SYNOPSIS
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In the season finale, Pope Alexander, abandoned by his cardinals, faces Charles, whom he crowns "King of France and Naples" and hopes that gesture and his humility will be enough to save his papacy. Meanwhile, Della Rovere is concerned after Charles abandons him; and Lucrezia gives birth to a son in a convent and the Borgia family secure an annulment of her marriage
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page logo EPISODE RECAP
[Untitled]
With King Charles gathering his troops to begin the march on Rome, Cardinal della Rovere reminds him that as soon as they enter the city the College of Cardinals should be convened to begin the deposition of Pope Alexander VI. As Lucrezia looks sullen, Giulia Farnese interjects that they may find the city empty of cardinals. The group arrives at the gates and King Charles inquires of della Rovere why there are no cheering crowds welcoming the French troops to free them of this horrible Pope? Cardinal della Rovere comments that the king’s military prowess may have put the populace into hiding. King Charles states that he smells politics and dislikes that idea. When della Rovere tries again to explain, King Charles frankly states, “Cardinal, you truly are a clown.” King Charles turns to Lucrezia and compliments her on her diplomacy thus far, asking if she can arrange an audience with her father, The Pope. She gladly accommodates his majesty and as she dismounts her horse, she hands the reins to Cardinal della Rovere, as she would a stable hand at her service. She guides the king to doors of St. Peter’s and tells him where her father is conducting his prayers. She closes the doors behind him for their private audience. Making his way down the vast halls, King Charles’ voice echoes as he calls His Holiness and finds a simple friar praying at the altar. The king apologizes for the interruption and finds he is indeed speaking with Pope Alexander VI. King Charles falls upon his hand in reverence and amazement at the simple garb of the pope. The pope states that display has its place but simplicity must be in our hearts. Lucrezia is walking down a hall and calls out as she senses she is not alone. Out of the shadows a hooded figure comes up behind her, laying hands upon her shoulders. Lucrezia exclaims in relief as she recognizes the hands as her beloved brother Cesare’s. They are happy to see each other again and Lucrezia explains she has brought a king to Rome. Cesare expresses his pride that his little sister did what the Papal Armies could not.

Pope Alexander and King Charles walk together and commiserate on the burdens of their respective offices. Alexander puts forth that he wishes to be a simple friar again and perhaps King Charles knows of someone willing to unburden him of the weight of being the pope. King Charles states the thought of Alexander being replaced appalls him. King Charles then waxes philosophical that they are called to their stations and however imperfectly they may perform, they have an obligation to serve. Alexander says they should then both continue in their offices. Pope Alexander then states he will fully support the papal investiture of the Kingdom of France and Naples, as King Charles requests, as long as he rules them in God’s holy name. King Charles goes back outside and informs Cardinal della Rovere that he and his troops will billet in Rome and be put up at Castle SantAngelo. And yes, the College of Cardinals will be convened.

Lucrezia and Cesare walk into the courtyard as Cesare presses for details of her treatment at the hands of Giovanni Sforza. She expresses that’s not as important as his betrayal of their father and Cesare states he will deal with that accordingly, worrying more for her treatment during the marriage. Lucrezia again refuses to discuss details citing the long journey and her emotional state, which overwhelm her into a brief spell of lightheadedness. Cesare stops her from falling against the fountain and expresses worry she is ill and needs a medic, trying to use water to soothe her. She says her illness is common – she is with child. Only Giulia Farnese knows and Lucrezia would prefer it stay that way for now, as the child is not her husband’s. Cesare enters the pope’s dressing room to find Alexander back in his papal vestments and supremely calm. Alexander states that he will not be deposed and King Charles will be invested with the Kingdom of Naples. He is now going to focus on dealing with those who abandoned Rome and himself. Burchart is unpacking the sacred volumes and Alexander remarks on his return. Alexander tells Burchart that the College of Cardinals should be convened so they can express penitence at their abandonment of Rome. He asks Burchart to find a precedent for the curia returning in sackcloth and ashes to do so. While asking he decides to help Burchart unpack by stacking books in arms – up to his chin.

Cesare has brought Lucrezia to the Convent of St. Cecelia’s, his benefice, so that she may begin her confinement. He informs her that her marriage will be annulled based on non-consummation. Lucrezia wonders that this can be done since she is with child. Cesare reminds her that it is not her husband’s. Lucrezia does finally reveal that the marriage was indeed consummated – in the harshest manner. Cesare is clearly upset but not surprised by this. She is to be attended to by his ‘personal’ friend, Sister Martha formerly Ursula Bonadeo. Lucrezia sees a flicker of emotion on Cesare’s face and Sister Martha enters the chapel to receive them. The women recognize each other from Lucrezia’s wedding and Lucrezia comments that Sister Martha no longer has her beautiful hair. Sister Martha comments that beauty can be a distraction as Lucrezia has surely learned by now. However, Sister Martha says she will find peace at the convent which must surely be needed at this juncture. As they leave, Cesare says that he will be visiting often. Sister Martha says he must. Cesare takes Lucrezia into an embrace and kisses her forehead. Pope Alexander and King Charles are dining together at a lavish banquet as they jokingly discuss Naples and its attractions. King Charles asks for a papal legate to accompany him and his army to his new kingdom and stay for the duration of his visit. Alexander agrees to choose one but King Charles interrupts and states his choice is Cardinal Cesare Borgia. Cesare is incensed at the idea saying it sounds like he would be a hostage. King Charles balks at the idea saying that “hostage implies enmity” but a papal legate would travel in friendship. Alexander and Cesare leave the banquet with Cesare arguing that this charade not be humored by his agreeing to go with the French. Alexander waves him off saying he should go, take his manservant (Micheletto) with him and he’s sure he would find a way to escape when he was ready. Now it was time for another charade to begin.

Alexander and Cesare enter the College of Cardinals and they have indeed returned in sackcloth robes and crosses of ashes on their foreheads, in contrast to Cesare in his crimson robes. The Pope states they have gathered to hear the penitential intentions of those who chose to abandon Rome and the Pope at the time of greatest need. He begins with his Vice Chancellor Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, who does state he should not have left and offers as penitence all the Sforza benefices. With Sforza having set the tone, Alexander calls forth Cardinal Piccolomini to “unburden his soul”, doing his signature slouch in the Chair of St. Peter. The glory of St. Peters is restored for the crowning and papal investiture of King Charles VIII as King of France and Naples. During the ceremony, Cesare stands with della Rovere and offers admiration at his ability to have stayed his course of opposition and “survived”. Della Rovere states it was hard at times and Cesare offers to welcome him back to Rome if he would be in service to his father once again. Della Rovere’s ‘steely soul’ could be an asset he says, as the pope is unfortunately surrounded by weak men. Cardinal della Rovere wastes no time in refusing him. Cesare reminds the cardinal that he could have killed him twice. Della Rovere states that Cesare should kill him now because “my opposition will only die with me”. Cesare stands next to della Rovere in peace, resigned to this fact – for now.

Cesare and Micheletto are traveling with the French army on the road to Naples discussing their situation. Cesare asks if his escort suits him as papal legate and Micheletto says it does indeed. Yet, they are traveling without weapons and when Cesare purposely veers off the path and is reined back in by the French soldiers, it is confirmed that he is a hostage. Micheletto comments he is now servant to a hostage. When they break camp for the night, Cesare is explaining to their French guards that Micheletto prefers simple weapons such as the garrote he is working in his hands. The French do not believe that a cheese cutter can be a weapon and ask to be shown. The demonstration ends with one soldier dead from the garrote and the other bludgeoned by Cesare with a fire log. They escape easily dressed as French soldiers and Cesare states they are headed to Pesaro for Giovanni Sforza. The French ambassador reports that they are unaware of Cardinal Borgia’s whereabouts, as is the Pope. However, Alexander offers Cardinal Sforza as a replacement legate for the King’s time in Naples. At this time in Pesaro, Giovanni Sforza returns to his villa as Cesare, posing as a vendor waits in the courtyard. Sforza stops in a breezeway to greet his dogs and is struck unconscious by Micheletto, stuffed into a sack and slung onto the back of a cart they use for their getaway. They arrive in Rome at night and unload their cargo.

An outraged Giovanni Sforza is brought before the Pope and demands an explanation for his unceremonious journey to Rome. The Pope explains that he is there for annulment proceedings since the marriage was a disappointment on all fronts, political and in the marriage bed. Burchart explains that non-consummation of the marriage is the only grounds and that it must be testified to for the annulment to take place. Sforza balks at the idea and the next scene is the trial at the College of Cardinals. Lucrezia is on the stand, in a very concealing witness box, testifying as to whether the marriage was indeed consummated. When asked if on the wedding night her husband could perform she hesitates, staring at Sforza and perhaps still a bit frightened by him and her memories of his abuse. But then she finds the voice to say he was indeed impotent, which is met by open laughter from the cardinals. Sforza begins to protest but then realizes if he does, he’ll have to reveal the lurid circumstances of his wedding night with Lucrezia. He therefore simply states she is lying. Burchart, at his lawyerly best, says that there are ways to offer proof in Sforza’s defense. Basically, there can be a public viewing of Sforza having sex with Lucrezia in front of the Cardinals and Alexander immediately eschews this idea as distasteful. Meanwhile, Lucrezia pats her now expanded belly in the seclusion of the witness box as Alexander looks at her lovingly. Burchart also offers that a public viewing of Sforza having sex with willing women would work as well. This is deemed acceptable and now cut to Sforza being led into a large room in his shift. A platform has been set up in the room and a large mattress is placed upon it. Two prostitutes are brought into the room and ask His Holiness what he wishes of them; should they go together or just one at time? Burchart says one will suffice. The first woman hops on the mattress and spreads her legs before Sforza, asking if her thighs excite him. There is continued laughter and snickering in the room as Sforza approaches her but then stops short. He finally gives in and asks for the divorce – on the grounds of his impotence. The room erupts in laughter, including Cesare and this continues into the streets where jeering crowds have gathered to throw vegetables and mock Giovanni Sforza as he makes his way out of Rome – humiliated.

The time for Lucrezia to give birth has arrived and Cesare paces outside her birthing room, like a nervous father. Lucrezia screams in agony but Sister Martha is there with her for encouragement. Vanozza is the first to arrive and meet Cesare in the chapel and they both hear as Lucrezia cries out in torturous pain. The scene then cuts to King Charles’ arrival at the palace in Naples, which is quiet and according to Charles, filled with the stench of death. Familiar sights begin to pass: the throne room sits empty and disheveled; the sulfur baths are discovered to now be a mass grave and the French general comments that it is plague and wonders if the pope knew. Even the Last Supper Room has new inhabitants, the bodies of dead courtiers unceremoniously heaped on the floor in front of the table. King Charles hurries out in disgust.

More family members have arrived in the meantime to be with Lucrezia – Joffre, Juan and Sancia come eager for news and happy to see each other. Two new arrivals bring quiet to the room: Rodrigo Borgia and Giulia Farnese have come together. Vanozza approaches and Giulia explains that she tried to stop him but he insisted on being present. Vanozza comments that he relishes new arrivals and they begin to share parental memories of Juan’s birth; Vanozza remembering her agony, Rodrigo remembering the joy at giving Cesare a little brother. Rodrigo beams at Vanozza admiringly as Giulia looks on silently. Finally, an infant’s cry is heard and Vanozza and Cesare lead the charge to the birth room. Inside, they find Sister Martha holding the infant and Lucrezia beaming with pride and relief propped in her bed. Cesare approaches Sister Martha to be the first to hold the infant and they exchange a quick glance before she demurs at the Pope. It is a boy and he is handed off to Rodrigo who looks at him in amazement before handing him finally to Lucrezia, who nuzzles and kisses him. Sister Martha states that they should give thanks, Cesare asks to whom and Rodrigo states to God. To thank him for this family.

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BEST QUOTES
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  • "Cardinal, you truly are a clown." -- King Charles to Cardinal della Rovere
  • "Display has its purpose but simplicity must rule our hearts. We are all of us naked before god". – Pope Alexander VI to King Charles VIII
  • "Because my opposition to the Borgia papacy will only die with me" – Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere
  • Rodrigo: "We did love our children did we not, my dear?"
  • Vanozza: "To a fault"

  • Sforza: "Where am I?"
  • Cesare: "Where all roads lead to...Rome."
  • Cesare: "Micheletto, seems I am not Papal legate after all."
  • Micheletto: "Then what are you, your Eminence?"
  • Cesare: "Seems I am nobody, Micheletto. Either that, or a hostage."
  • Della Rovere: "I serve God, and can only pray the Papacy survives its current occupant."

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    DEATHS IN THIS EPISODE
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    Who died?
    How did they die?
    French soldiers (Cesare & Micheletto's Guards) Micheletto used the garrote, Cesare used a heavy log of wood
    Neapolitan subjects and courtiers Plague







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    THE BORGIAS EPISODE BEST MOMENTS AND BIGGEST SHOCKERS
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    • Best -- Pope Alexander pats Giovanni Sforza on the shoulders to assure him he is safe, and dust flies up from his trip to Rome - in a sack.
    • Best -- The arrival of the prostitutes at Sforza's public prowess viewing.
    • Best -- Micheletto strikes Sforza and his dogs run away.
    • --
    • --

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    THE BORGIAS EPISODE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
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    • What happened to Paolo?
    • Where is Prince Alfonso?
    • Why didn't the dogs alert Sforza to Micheletto's presence?
    • --
    • --
    • --

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    THE BORGIAS EPISODE TRIVIA, CONTEXT, & BACKGROUND
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    • When the French finally reached Rome, "On 18 December [1494] - by which time the defection of the Orsini clan had destroyed any last faint possibility of military resistance [defending Rome with 1,000 papal soldiers] - it looked as though Alexander, at the urging of the Duke of Calabria, meant to flee to Naples. He stayed put. The next morning...a deputy of Roman citizens, spokesmen for the unrest caused by fear and famine [which resulted from the disruptive passage of the French], now arrived bearing an ultimatum. Alexander had two days in which to reach an accommodation with the King of France. Failing this, the populace would open the gates to the invader" (Clemente Fusero, The Borgia p. 178).
    • According to Italian historian Clemente Fusero, Charles had come to Rome for the following: a papal bull allowing free passage through the Papal States, the investiture of Naples, and the fortress of Civitavecchia - of which he only obtained free passage and the fortress. The threat of force was his currency in gaining what he wanted from the pope.
    • Charles also wanted the surrender of Castel Sant'Angelo and the investiture - but the pope got him to accept other things all while publicly acknowledging the full spiritual and temporal authority of the pope. Charles's aim was also to launch a Crusade that the pope had promised to assist king Charles with. Alexander achieved all of this without the support of the cardinals, and had actually thrown Ascanio Sforza and Prospero Colonna in prison on 24 December 1494 just as they were about to leave Rome and make for the French king who was on his way to Rome.
    • "The impression of Charles conveyed by Burchard is that of a lost puppy, scampering with increasing bewilderment from one chamber to another of the Vatican Palace" (E.R. Chamberlin, Fall of the House of Borgia p.137).

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    THE BORGIAS VS. HISTORY
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    How did this episode differ from actual events? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
    ON THE BORGIAS... IN HISTORY...
    • Lucrezia Borgia brings the French king and his army to Rome. No one meets the King as he enters the silent, deserted city.
    • Giulia arrives with the French, stays in the private rooms with the Borgia family.
    • The French king seemed to have spent a few months in Rome as a guest, while Lucrezia's pregnancy came to full term and delivered a baby (1495).
    • Lucrezia stays at the Convent of St Cecilia throughout her pregnancy.
    • Cesare and Micheletto escape from the French by killing two soldiers and make their way to Pesaro.
    • Micheletto and Cesare kidnap Giovanni Sforza and bring him to Rome, where he was asked to prove his potency with courtesans before the college of cardinals. He declined.
    • Burchard finds precedent in canon law that if Giovanni can prove his virility in front of all the cardinals, the impotence charge would be fluff and the marriage valid.
    • Giovanni finally accepted the divorce (after humiliation)because the truth about their wedding night could be proven - Giovanni did not consummate the marriage that night because Lucrezia fell asleep at the banquet and Cesare carried her to bed.
    • King Charles arrives in Naples to find everyone in the Castel Nuovo dead of plague.
    • Della Rovere and two other cardinals (Savelli & Espinay) accompanied the French to Rome. Johann Burchard meets the king as he arrives in a 5 mile-long procession amidst a throng of Roman citizens, December 31, 1494. Some of them shouted 'Vincoli, Francia, Colonna!' in support of the French campaign.
    • Giulia was taken away from Rome by her brother Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.
    • If this baby is supposed to be the Roman Infante (infans romanum), he was born about March 15, 1498.
    • Lucrezia was not known to be pregnant until about June 1497 (though her pregnancy is not fully corrobrated or validated as fact), and she stayed at the convent of San Sisto.
    • Cesare escaped at night disguised as a groom without killing anyone and went straight to Rome.
    • Giovanni was already in Rome, but fled after hearing the pope has dropped the Sforza alliance. He was scrutinized in absentia, as he was at Pesaro while the commission heard the annulment case. Read about the commission on page 108 of Lucretia Borgia (Ferdinand Gregorovius).
    • It was Ludovico Sforza who mischieviously suggested that Giovanni display his prowess in front of the papal legate.
    • The withdrawal of Ludovico's protection and support of his cousin was what persuaded Giovanni to admit impotence and accept the annulment.
    • There was no plague in Naples: the Neapolitan royal family had fled to Ischia and the city capitulated without any fighting.




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