The Choice


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The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
THE BORGIAS SEASON 2, EPISODE 2.05
"The Choice"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Episode Title: The Choice
The Borgias Episode #: 2.05
The Borgias Season: 2
Original Air Date: May 6, 2012
Writer: Neil Jordan
Director(s): Kari Skogland
Guest Star(s): Gina McKee, Ronan Vibert, Barbara Flynn, Roger Lloyd Pack, Jesse Bostick, Noah Silver

Cesare deals with the cunning Sforzas decisively; Alexander disguises himself and travels to Florence to hear the fiery preacher Savonarola, not realizing that Della Rovere is trying to recruit the rebellious holy man to his cause.

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EPISODE SNEAK PEEKS
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CHARACTERS IN THIS EPISODE
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The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI
Played by: Jeremy Irons
Plot connections: Travels to Florence to acquaint himself with the rebellious Friar Savonarola
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cesare Borgia
Played by: Francois Arnaud
Plot connections: Is sent to Forli as a messenger for Catherina Sforza in order to acquire her obedience
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Giovanni Sforza
Played by: Ronan Vibert
Plot connections: Travels to Forli to support his cousin, Catherina Sforza, in her attempt to disobey the Borgias
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Lucrezia Borgia
Played by: Holliday Grainger
Plot connections: Along with her mother and her father's mistress, try to gain leverage over lecherous cardinals
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Vanozza Dei Cattanei
Played by: Joanne Whalley
Plot connections: Functions as the head of the female team that have targeted greed and lechery in the Papal Curia
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Giulia Farnese
Played by: Lotte Verbeek
Plot connections: The first of the ladies to spot the Vatican injustices
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Catherina Sforza
Played by: Gina McKee
Plot connections: Plays host to Cesare Borgia and initiates a game of physical and intellectual back-and-forth that results in murder
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Micheletto Corella
Played by: Sean Harris
Plot connections: Escorts Cesare to Forli, his hometown, and reunites with his mother and male childhood friend/lover
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Ascanio Sforza
Played by: Peter Sullivan
Plot connections: Escorts Pope Alexander VI to Florence
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Giuliano Della Rovere
Played by: Colm Feore
Plot connections: Visits Florence to gain Savonarola's permission to kill the Borgia Pope and recruits a young friar
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Girolamo Savonarola
Played by: Steven Berkoff
Plot connections: The riotous monk has incited a social and religious rebellion in Florence against the Medici family and the papal authority
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Benito Riario
Played by: Noah Silver
Plot connections: Escorts his mother to most meetings with Cesare Borgia in order to learn from her example and become an able ruler in the future
The Choice - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Piero de Medici
Played by: Cesare Taurasi
Plot connections: The current head of the Medici dynasty is barricaded in his palace fearful of the unrest in Florence
Additional Characters:
  • Roger Lloyd-Pack as Frair
  • Barbara Flynn as Isabella
  • Jesse Bostick as Antonello
  • Bosco Hogan as Cardinal Piccolomini
  • Anton Giltrap as Choir Boy
  • Darwin Shaw as Augustino
  • Katie McGuinness as Beatrice
  • Jacqueline Dankworth as Rosa
  • Vernon Dobtcheff as Cardinal Versucci
  • Sophie C. Thompson as Catherina's Servant
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Alexander is determined to deal with the twin thorns in his side: the haughty Sforza family and the rebellious Florentine friar Savonarola. He sends Cesare to Catherina Sforza’s castle at Forli to demand that she swear allegiance to Rome while he himself travels to Florence in disguise to hear the increasingly powerful Savonarola preach – not knowing that Della Rovere is there too, getting Savonarola’s blessing on his plot to assassinate the Pope. At Forli, Catherina receives Cesare graciously and proceeds to seduce him, but subsequently refuses to swear allegiance to the Pope. Enraged, Cesare kills her cousin Giovanni – as revenge for his brutal treatment and rape of Lucrezia during their ill-fated marriage. In Rome, Lucrezia, Vanozza and Giulia put their plan for reform into action by funding the renovation of a run-down brothel. Lightning strikes St. Peter’s Basilica during a Mass and the roof collapses – Alexander is almost killed, but courageously tries to save the lives of choirboys trapped in the rubble.
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EPISODE RECAP
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Having at last dealt with the French threat, Pope Alexander VI is free to focus on two enemies who have recently emerged as far more dangerous than he had realized: the Dominican Friar Savonarola whose firebrand preaching has upset the Florentine status quo and attracted the Pope's attention and his former ally-turned-French-collaborator Caterina Sforza, who's retired to her castle at Forli that is now protected by a worrisome amount of French cannons. Cesare is sent to the powerful countess bearing news of the papal edict that demands her immediate insubordination and Rodrigo himself, along with Ascanio Sforza, rides to Florence to witness one of Savonarola's sermons for themselves.

Meanwhile, back in Rome the three ladies of the Pope's heart and confidence, Giulia Farnese, Vanozza Cattaneo and Lucrezia Borgia start planning how to better approach their targets: the cardinals in the Curia who have been indulgent in secular luxuries at the expense of the papal treasury and the people of Rome. The three women visit a decrepit brothel that is currently playing host to two cardinals and offer the madame a tantalizing offer: to restore the brothel to cleanliness and comfort if she agrees to provide information on the cardinals who frequent it.

Cesare with Micheletto by his side arrives at Forli and learns that the town is actually his head henchman's birthplace. There, Micheletto pays a visit to his mother who runs a tavern and Cesare is surprised to learn that Micheletto's loving parent is oblivious to her son's employment as the cardinal's enforcer, believing instead that he is a medicine student in Rome, and also that Micheletto committed patricide for a variety of obscure reasons. Micheletto is reunited with a childhood friend, whom he meets later at night in a cemetery, next to his father's grave, and is revealed to be having a sexual relationship with the man who is soon to be married and is openly judgmental of Micheletto's real occupation and lifestyle. The two men part ways soon after, with Micheletto clearly in anger over his partner's denial to break off his engagement and follow him to Rome.

Cesare arrives at Caterina Sforza's castle and meets her son, Benito, a sweet but rather submissive young boy. The Sforza matron is clearly procrastinating in answering the Pope's demand that she come to Rome willingly and declare herself a vassal to the papacy or be forced to do so and openly flirts with Cesare before tricking him into entering her chambers and seducing him. Cesare and Caterina seem to be enjoying the mostly physical relationship as well as the intellectual, political back-and-forth, especially when Sforza reveals herself to be aware of the cardinal's cannon rouse that made the French leave Rome unscathed for a second time.

In Florence, Rodrigo enters the city's cathedral in disguise to hear Savonarola speak mere seconds before Della Rovere arrives also to get the Friar's approval on the Pope's assassination. Astounded by the Friar's passion, Rodrigo visits the Medici who are barricaded inside their palace in fear of Savonarola's zealots. The Pope is informed that the Church's accounts with the Medici Bank are, just like the Borgia family fortune that is deposited in the same institution, jeopardized due to the instability that Savonarola's anti-luxury sermons are provoking. Rodrigo is worried for his money and suggests that they be moved to Rome for protection but is warned by his Florentine allies not to attempt something of the sort as Savonarola's spies are everywhere. Rodrigo ponders the question of how best to neutralize the Friar and is informed that neither money nor ecclesiastical office will silence Savonarola who fancies himself God's voice and will only be dealt with by severe measures.

Cesare at Forli is getting bored of the cat-and-mouse game with Caterina Sforza and realizes that no matter what he'll do, the Lady will give him a negative answer. He declares a deadline for the Sforza countess to give him her answer so that he will be able to go on with his business and plan his next move but the Lady doesn't seem ready to let him leave just yet and the two adversaries fornicate once again, just before Giovanni Sforza arrives to provide support for his cousin. Cold and callous about his betrayal to the Borgia papacy and Cesare's beloved sister, Lucrezia, Giovanni Sforza is the unfortunate victim of Cesare's rage when Caterina Sforza understandably and expectedly refuses to grant the Pope's favour and swear allegiance to him. Stabbed countless times through the neck and the abdomen, Giovanni dies and Cesare escapes Forli with Micheletto just in time. Cesare proposes that they follow different paths back to Rome in order to avoid getting followed by potential Sforza agents and hands Micheletto the crime weapon -a dinner knife- that he intends to present to Lucrezia.

In Rome, Della Rovere having been blessed by Savonarola as God's own instrument to take Rodrigo Borgia's life starts recruiting men from the Dominican order to train them as assassins. Nobody is willing to step up and lose his life as a taster for the Pope who is unavoidably to be poisoned and perish for the plan to come to fruition but for a young, angelic boy who offers himself up to be sacrificed. Saint Peter's, where Pope Alexander VI is performing the Eucharist, is soon struck by a bolt of lightning and the old roof collapses turning the commune into a chaotic flee. Amidst the chaos, the only valiant man is the Pope himself who attemps to save the children of the choir but is unsuccessful, endangering his own life. After the rubble and the dust has settled, Rodrigo, thinking the natural event was a sign of God's severe disapproval of his actions, vows to atone for his sins by fasting and praying for as long as he needs to
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BEST QUOTES
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  • Cesare: "I can't imagine you being born, Micheletto. Or dying, for that matter."
  • Micheletto to Cesare: "You'll always be safe whenever I am near, Eminence."
  • Caterina Sforza: "Whom does your Mother bow to, my son?" Benito: "Nobody."
  • Micheletto: "I punish this world for not being as I want."
  • Cesare's ominous words to Giovanni Sforza: "Be careful, Lord Sforza; I hold my sister's interests dear."
  • Cesare: "We are commoners, my lady". Caterina: "Of a rare Spanish breed."
  • Cesare shortly before 'filleting' Lord Sforza: "I promised my sister your heart on a dinner plate."
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DEATHS IN THIS EPISODE
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Who died?
How did they die?
Giovanni Sforza
Stabbed to death by Cesare Borgia
Numerous Choir Boys
Killed by falling rubble after Saint Peter's roof collapses, having been hit by a lightning bolt







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THE BORGIAS EPISODE BEST MOMENTS AND BIGGEST SHOCKERS
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  • BEST -- Cesare dispatching with Giovanni Sforza in the name of his sister's honor.
  • SHOCK -- Discovering the true relationship of Micheletto and Augustino
  • BEST -- Learning more about Micheletto's background.
  • BEST -- All bedroom scenes featuring Cesare & Caterina.
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THE BORGIAS EPISODE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
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THE BORGIAS EPISODE TRIVIA
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  • In 1498, the roof of the Vatican caves in while the pope is saying mass, nearly killing him
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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...
  • Cardinal della Rovere plots to poison the pope

  • Cesare visits the Lady of Forli to force her obeisance to the pope, sleeps with her, and then kills her cousin




  • Caterina's son was a quiet lad named Benito

  • The pope visits Florence in disguise in order to spy on Savonarola
  • Whilst in Florence, the Pope visits the ruler of the City, Piero de Medici

  • Michelotto is shown as a native of Forli, whose mother runs a tavern, as did his now deceased father
  • Cesare kills Giovanni Sforza, Lucrezia's ex-husband
  • Living in exile but thwarting the pope by way of ship embargoes from the port of Ostia, which della Rovere controlled
  • Cesare never visited, but the pope did demand her support, which she declined to give, inciting Alexander's wrath. He famously called her 'daughter of perdition' after her failed attempt on his life - assassination by plague germ laced letters. Cesare's involvement with Caterina occurred in 1499-1500, five years after the events of this episode.
  • Caterina's eldest son, the Lord of Forli, was named Ottaviano; she had six other sons, none of whom were named Benito, and a daughter
  • The pope never visited Florence in secret and never met Savonarola
  • Piero had already fled from Florence to Venice in the previous year due to the adverse public reaction to his capitulation to the French
  • Micheletto was Spanish, from Navarre or possibly Valencia, and was the illegitimate son of a nobleman
  • Giovanni was still married to Lucrezia at this point, and he died of natural causes in Pesaro in 1510, three years after Cesare

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Page Symbol BEHIND THE EPISODE FEATURE
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