Stray Dogs

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Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

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"Stray Dogs"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Episode Title: Stray Dogs
The Borgias Episode #: 2.04
The Borgias Season: 2
Original Air Date:-- April 29, 2012
Writer: Neil Jordan
Director(s): Jon Amiel
Guest Star(s):

Cesare recruits a band of mercenaries with the help of Micheletto to seek revenge on the retreating French troops for burning the nunnery where his beloved Ursula lived; the Pope forges more strategic alliances and enriches himself in the bargain; Lucrezia joins Giulia’s quest to aid Rome’s poor.

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Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Pope Alexander IV/Rodrigo Borgia
Played by: Jeremy Irons
Plot connections: Agrees to give his blessing to the army fighting the French on their way out of Italy, for a price; is reunited with a former mistress
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name:Guilia Farnese
Played by-Lotte Verbeek
Plot connections: Teams with Lucrezia and Vanozza to get funds and relief for Rome's homeless orphans
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cesare Borgia
Played by: Francois Arnaud
Plot connections: Embracing vengeance, he enlists a band of former condottieri to terrorize the French on their way out of Italy
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Lucrezia Borgia
Played by: Holliday Grainger
Plot connections: Teams with Guilia and Vanozza to get funds and relief for Rome's homeless orphans
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Played by: Peter Sullivan
Plot connections: Convinces the Pope to bestow his blessing on Gonzaga's effort to battle the French and travels with the Pope to Mantua
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Micheletto
Played by: Sean Harris
Plot connections: Assembles a band of mercenaries to help Cesare seek vengeance
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cardinal della Rovere
Played by: Colm Feore
Plot connections: Appears in the crowd watching the Pope leave Rome
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Dominican Friar
Played by: Roger Lloyd Pack
Plot connections: Travelling with Cardinal della Rovere and conspiring to kill the Pope
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
Played by: Patrick O'Kane
Plot connections: In the name of honor, he asks for the Pope's blessing upon his army as they battle French; also pledges all the spoils of the battle to the Holy Mother Church
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Bianca Gonzaga
Played by: Melia Kreiling
Plot connections: Rekindles her affair with Pope Alexander
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan
Played by: Ivan Kaye
Plot connections: Presents the Duke of Mantua to Pope Alexander and explains their proposal to battle the French army
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: King Charles VIII
Played by: Michel Muller
Plot connections: Limping his way north through Italy, a final battle seals his fate
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Vittorio/Vittoria
Played by:-Jemima West
Plot connections: Is congratulated by the Pope for assistance with the canons
Stray Dogs - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Vanozza Dei Cattanei
Played by: Joanne Whalley
Plot connections: Is recruited by Giulia and Lucrezia to help the poor
Additional Characters:
  • Ruta Gedmintas as Ursula Bonadeo
  • Bosco Hogan as Cardinal Piccolomini
  • Vernon Dobtcheff as Cardinal Versucci
  • Andrew Pleavin as Rhodente Orsini
  • David Papava as Carlo Baglione
  • Giacomo Gonella as Battista Colonna
  • Emil Hostina as Gascon Leader
  • Edward de Souza as Doctor
  • Harry Boyd as Papal Guard
  • Thomas Thoroe as Gascon Scout 1
  • Dermot Keaney as Gascon Scout 2
  • Imre Sipos as Gascon Scout 4
  • Zsolt Zagony as Gascon Scout 5

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Alexander’s old enemy Ludovico of Milan and the powerful Mantuan Duke Gonzaga seek the Pope’s blessing for an alliance with Venice to attack the French army, which is still laying waste to the Italian countryside. Cesare learns that the retreating French have burned the nunnery of St. Cecilia and his beloved Ursula has been killed; he and Micheletto recruit a band of cut-throat killers and mercenaries to seek revenge. Leaving Lucrezia in charge at the Vatican, Alexander and Cesare travel to join the Italian forces who seem doomed in the face of the French cannon. But the dreaded artillery does not fire – either because of Alexander’s fervent Papal prayers for rain or because of Cesare’s hired killers’ daring raid on a French ammo dump. The battle is a bloody inconclusive draw, but the wily Alexander has come out on top, seizing abandoned French booty as the price of his blessing and seeing potential enemies weakened by the slaughter. Back in Rome, Lucrezia tests her new power as she joins in Giulia’s quest to fight Vatican corruption and provide charity for the poor.
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With Rome safe from the French once again, courtesy of Cesare's Beautiful Deception, the Borgia papacy seems yet again like a viable and valuable ally for the august houses of the Romagna and the papal states. Cardinal Sforza brokers a deal between Pope Alexander VI and Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, a former French collaborator, to join forces with Venice and Mantua in order to expel the French from the Italian peninsula once and for all and stop their ravaging of the country. The combined forces of this newly-formed League under the leadership of an old-school militarist, the Duke of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, prepare to leave for the North where the decisive confrontation with the weakened French arsenal is to take place. Little do they know that Gonzaga's new bride, the Duchessa Bianca, is a former flame of Rodrigo who is intrigued to travel to the North to see her again and make sure that the two forces will annihilate each other thus rendering Milan, Mantua and Venice weaker enemies for the papacy and the Pope richer by the French King's booty.

Meanwhile Cesare learns that the retreating French army scouts attacked the convent of Saint Cecilia, raping and murdering his former lover-turned-nun, Ursula. Over Ursula's mutilated body, Cesare vows to empty his heart of every emotion and focus on revenge which he is planning to facilitate by ordering Micheletto to gather retired, disenfranchised Roman condottieri to compile a stealth team. The lethal, new unit's first task is to apprehend the Gascon scouts that are responsible of the abbey massacre: an abandoned wedding feast setting is an ornate trap that helps Cesare torture and interrogate the French agents, only to learn that the plan to defile the nuns of Saint Cecilia's convent originated with Giovanni Sforza who was aware that the eldest Borgia son was the abbey's benefactor.

Alexander VI leaves Rome for the North, escorted by his son and untrustworthy cardinal Sforza, and his choice of an acting ruler for the Vatican who is to sit on his throne "in loco parentis" is really bold: his beloved daughter, Lucrezia. She decides to aid Rome's destitute and joins Giulia's project, putting on a show attempting to demonstrate to the greedy cardinals of the Sacred College that they should hand charity money to the poor who deserve it by definition. Farnese suggests that a natural member of their little cabal would be Lucrezia's mother, Vanozza, who as a former courtesan knows exactly where to look for the weaknesses of the cardinals: the brothels of Rome. Vanozza is suspicious of Giulia but agrees to help her, having seemingly put their enmity behind them.

As Alexander VI is travelling North, his carriage is stopped by French troops who bring him news of King Charles' VIII wish: a private audience with the Pope. Rodrigo agrees to meet the dying monarch in a nearby church, just as Cesare remains hidden in the chamber, and the French King demands that the League's forces leave him be and return peacefully to his homeland, unless they want to challenge him and provoke his wrath. Rodrigo tries to reason with him for a certain consideration - the much desired French campaign spoils - but the King denies any negotiation. Rodrigo warns him that Godsend rain may render his cannon useless but it is really Cesare's inside knowledge of how the French conceal their gunpowder that could seriously endanger the French victory.

Meeting the leaders of the League, Rodrigo hears the confession of Francesco Gonzaga, trades his blessing of the troops for French booty and then spends the night with the Duke's wife, while praying for torrential rain. Cesare, despite being warned by Rodrigo not to engage in open warfare in fear of jeopardizing his vengeance masterplan, leads a raid, infiltrates the French camp and blows up the ammunition, thus incapacitating the dreaded French artillery.

The next morning, Rodrigo wakes up victorious and inspects the field of the battle, believing that God has answered his prayers, despite his indiscretions with his ally's spouse, with a deluge that is to be credited for the bloody and ignominious retreat of the French invasion army. Much to the Pope's surprise, Gonzaga informs him that the victory belongs to Roman agents who destroyed the enemy's firepower. As Rodrigo considers how to deal with the disobedient Cesare, the French King asks his doctor for a substance that will put an end to his long torment.

Meeting Cesare in a tent and confronting him on his subterfuge, Rodrigo's hypocricy and duplicity is revealed as he is subtly called to account for bedding his ally's wife the night before the battle that could have cost him his life was to take place. Rodrigo stays silent and just a little bit in fear of the changes in his son's behaviour.

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  • "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." (Cesare to the Pope)
  • "God is blind. God is deaf and pitiless." (Cesare to Micheletto)
  • Giulia: "There are so many [irregularities] in this Vatican of yours."
  • "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..." (Cesare to the Gascon scouts in the torture chamber)
  • "Our distrust for the Vice Chancellor is 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." (Pope to Cesare re. leaving Lucrezia in loco parentis at the Vatican)
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Who died?
How did they die?
Gascon scout for the French army
Killed by Micheletto after days of torture
Ursula Bonadeo Raped and mutilated by the Gascon scouts

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  • The way Micheletto killed the Gascon scout - SHOCKER
  • Lucreiza's cookery lesson - BEST
  • Giulia and Lucrezia recruiting Vanozza into their girl power gang
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  • After inviting the French king to invade Italy (1493) Ludovico the Moor instigated the League of Venice (1495) to expel him and his troops.
  • The Battle of Fornovo took place as the French army were retreating out fo Italy - after learning Naples was to be restored to the kings of Aragon with the help of allied Italian powers (Venice, Milan, and the Papacy).
  • The condottiere Francesco Gonzaga appears in many famous Renaissance portraits in this episode, in his palace and war tent, though the originals are often of other princes.
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How did this episode differ from actual events? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
  • Cesare avenges the rape and murder of his beloved Ursula (sister Martha)
  • The Pope agrees to join the League formed by Milan, Mantua and Venice to drive the French from Italy
  • Pope Alexander travels with the armies of the League to the battlefield of Fornovo
  • The Pope and King Charles meet privately in a church
  • Left in charge of the Vatican, Lucrezia gives the cardinals a baking lesson in the consistory hall while the pope was with the League's troops
  • The duke of Mantua, General Francesco Gonzaga's beautiful wife "Bianca" was once the pope's secret lover
  • Cesare saves the day by blowing up the French gunpowder supply
  • Cesare was not known to love any woman other than his sister
  • The Holy League was formed by the Pope and Ferdinand of Aragon - Venice, Milan and Mantua joined later
  • Although the Pope left Rome, he got no further north than Perugia and was nowhere near the battle
  • King Charles repeatedly requested an interview with the Pope to obtain the investiture of the kingdom of Naples, but Alexander successfully avoided him
  • Lucrezia was indeed put in charge of the Vatican by her father, but not until 1501, six years after the events of this episode
  • Francesco Gonzaga (later an admirer of Lucrezia) was a Marquis, not a Duke. His wife, the real Marchesa of Mantua was the great Isabella d'Este, who was most definitely not anyone's secret lover
  • Cesare was not at Fornovo. The battle of was a draw, but since it ended in the French leaving Italy without much of their precious booty from the invasion of Naples, historians call it a semi-victory for the League
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