The Moor


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THE BORGIAS SEASON 1, EPISODE 3
"The Moor"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki


Episode Title: The Moor
The Borgias Episode #: 3
The Borgias Season: 1
Original Air Date: 10 April 2011
Writer: Neil Jordan
Director(s):Simon Cellan Jones
Guest Star(s): Elyes Gabel as Prince Djem, Augustus Prew as Prince Alfonso of Naples,Gina McKee as Caterina Sforza, Joseph M Kelly as King Ferrante of Naples


The Pope hosts a charming Turkish prince and negotiates Lucrezia's hand.Micheletto is ordered to rid his patrons of the ongoing threat posed by della Rovere. Meanwhile, the pope contemplates a marriage of political expedience for Lucrezia




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Episode 1.3 - The Moor





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CHARACTERS IN THIS EPISODE
[Untitled]


The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki

Name: Pope Alexander VI
Played by: Jeremy Irons
Plot connections: Host to Prince Djem of Constantinople; receives the many suitors for Lucrezia's hand

The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Juan Borgia
Played by: David Oakes
Plot connections: Works with his father to assassinate Prince Djem; botches it and must finish the job himself


The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cesare Borgia
Played by: Francois Arnaud
Plot connections: Begrudgingly accepts cardinal appointment; makes his assassin the family assassin


The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Lucrezia Borgia
Played by: Holliday Grainger
Plot connections: Her hand in marriage is hotly sought after; develops an affection for Prince Djem


The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Prince Djem
Played by: Elyes Gabel
Plot connections: Arrives at Pope Alexander's court as an 'ambassador'


The Moor - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Prince Alfonso of Naples
Played by: Augustus Prew
Plot connections: Receives Cardinal della Rovere for discussions of allying with him against Pope Alexander VI


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Supporting Cast:
  • Neapolitan Courtier - Alexis Latham
  • King Ferrante of Naples- Joseph M. Kelly
  • Turkish Ambassador - Levente Törköly
  • Catherine Sforza- Gina McKee
  • Pinturicchio- Jalaal Hartley
  • Sigismondo D'Este - Seymour Mathews
  • Cardinal Colonna - Laszlo Konter
  • Venetian Ambassador - Robert Denieger
  • Venetian Prince Regent - Isaac O'Sullivan
  • Domenico The Kitchen Hand - Patrick Osborne
Page Divider
page logo EPISODE SYNOPSIS
[Untitled]
His coffers depleted by his expensive rise to power, Rodrigo seeks funds through a profitable marriage for Lucrezia that will ally him with Milan, and charges a fee for safe haven in the Holy City to Jews displaced by the Spanish Inquisition; the Borgias host a charming Turkish prince; Micheletto is ordered to rid his patrons of the ongoing threat posed by Della Rovere. Meanwhile, the pope contemplates a marriage of political expedience for Lucrezia, and young Juan is given a task which would help the Borgias replenish their seriously depleted coffers.

Page Divider
page logo EPISODE RECAP
[Untitled]
Plans are being made--

At Castel Nuovo in Naples, Prince Alfonso and King Ferrante giving audience to Cardinal della Rovere. They discuss the deposition of Pope Alexander. Meanwhile, in
the private apartments of the pope in the Vatican palace, Pope Alexander and Cesare dine and discuss della Rovere’s flight to Naples, and decide it is high time to use certain methods to block his forthcoming attempts to depose the pope. Rodrigo asks his son, “You have someone who knows how to wield a good garrote, do you not?”, in reference to Micheletto. Alexander feels that it is time for della Rovere to have "a change of collar", if Cesare's man can arrange it, obviously alluding to murdering Cardinal della Rovere.

We return to Naples to see della Rovere and Prince Alfonso discussing a possible agreement to support della Rovere’s plans to enlist France, as enemies of Naples’ other enemy, Spain in return for help against the Borgias. The King looks off into the distance, apparently oblivious to the meeting. Prince Alfonso insists it is merely deafness on the king's part, and hints at the cruelty of his father when he was in his prime.

In the Vatican, Rodrigo ponders his empty coffers and considers different options for garnering wealth. He comments that he sympathizes with the Spanish Jews, referred to as Marranos, recently expelled by the king and queen of Spain and trying to escape the Inquisition. He decides to open the doors of Rome to the exiles, but for a handsome price. Cesare notes that this may not sit well with the majority of the people. Juan enters and discusses portraits and other frivolities while Cesare broods over his presence. The reoccurring contrast between the thoughtful, scheming, cautious Cesare and the impulsive Juan
is apparent.

In Naples: Prince Alfonso takes della Rovere to King Ferrante’s famous museum of dead adversaries. As della Rovere gazes in shocked disgust at the semi-preserved corpses of men grotesquely positioned around a table, Alfonso explains the scene. Those who once sang the King's praises but then disappointed him are now at their Last Supper, arranged at long banquet table in poses mimicking the painting. Alfonso mentions that his father is still looking for his Judas, as there is one space empty at the table. He comments that the Borgias have Marrano blood and should be removed. Surprisingly, della Rovere tells Alfonso that while the Borgias are without scruples and may not be the best Christians, they have little, if any, Marrano blood. The young prince makes light of the situation and invites della Rovere to stay as his personal guest and make use of the excellent and famous sulfur baths built by the ancient Romans.

In Rome: Cesare speaks with Micheletto about the use of a garrote and sheepishly admits he has never seen one. Micheletto demonstrates its ability by cutting open a watermelon in one easy motion. His next mission is to rid the Borgias of the della Rovere threat. Juan poses for a portrait by Pinturicchio on a noble white stallion, lighted by candles held by servants. He notes that the he wanted Leonardo da Vinci, but the pope wouldn’t pay his high fees, and anyway “he rarely finishes anything he starts.” He threatens a servant at swordpoint to hold the candle higher.

Micheletto journeys south to Naples by horse and as Della Rovere sleeps, Micheletto walks through the medieval castle halls, lurking behind tapestries and staying in the dim shadows.
He even has a sit down with the occupants of Ferrante's Last Supper room. In Rome, Cesare dresses for the ceremony to raise the new cardinals. Rodrigo, calling him his beloved son, notes that crimson suits him. He earnestly asks for his son's acceptance of the role he has been given. “Forgive my ambitions for you but they have been such for you since the day you were born. It is your destiny to follow in my footsteps…tell me you accept this calling.” Cesare accepts, but only grudgingly.

The baths at Naples: Prince Alfonso informs della Rovere that his father's advisers are considering his proposal to band together against the Borgias. Della Rovere takes the waters, and is shadowed by a mud-covered Micheletto. Micheletto is unrecognizable with his face covered with mud, but when he turns his back toward della Rovere while preparing to kill him, the cardinal sees the scars on his back and recognizes him. Della Rovere yells for the guards. A guard dives in attacking Micheletto and after a struggles dies by the cheese-cutter garrote. Micheletto begins killing those impeding his escape, leaving a wake of bodies.

Alfonso rails against della Rovere for bringing open violence upon his kingdom in a public bath and tells him to leave Naples at once, "unless you want a place at my father's table!".

The scenes flash to St Peter’s Basilica during high mass, a soaring choir accompanies the solemn ceremony of the raising of the cardinals, Cesare accepting what is thrust upon him and Pope Alexander smiling upon him.


Later at the Borgia's dovecote, Cesare vents disappointment at Micheletto’s failure, asks him to lay low and avoid all scandal for a while. Rodrigo & Giulia are in his bedchamber in a loving embrace admiring the portrait gallery, when Cesare walks in annoyed, to speak of matters of state. Giulia starts to leave but Rodrigo stays her to ask her opinion about Muslims and Jews in Rome. Rodrigo states that he is one of those men who believes all men, Jews and Muslims as well, are linked by their shared love of God; he wants his reign as pope to marked as being like Joseph's Coat of Many Colors. He states that he will accept the Ottoman sultan’s offer to host a pretender to the throne, Prince Djem, for the fee of 40,000 ducats a year. Djem will be officially ambassador, but the purpose of his stay will be to keep him from Turkey and his brother's throne. Giulia balks at the idea of a heathen at the Vatican, but Rodrigo makes up his mind.

Next we see the formal audience with the Ottoman ambassadors presenting Djem to the pope. As a royal guest of the Pope, the Prince is introduced to the family. The Borgia children – especially Lucrezia - are charmed by the friendly prince and his tales of hunting in his homeland.
Juan takes Djem through the city and Djem is pleasantly surprised by the many different people he sees. Juan explains they are Spanish Jews given asylum in Rome and Djem is impressed with this gesture on the pope's part, even if it's for a price. After settling in, Djem and Lucrezia play croquet in the courtyard, discussing her marriage news and Turkish marriage customs. Lucrezia express worry about who will come courting her and Djem assures her that “you are the most beautiful treasure the Vatican has to offer” and any man should be honored to have her as his wife. Lucrezia asks Djem about his own marital experiences and is bothered by Djem’s description of the difference between wives and concubines and resolves that she will not be beaten or ill-treated. Djem affirms this by offering to strangle anyone who’d harm her. Later,Vanozza and Rodrigo discuss Lucrezia’s need to marry. Vanozza lobbies for Lucrezia to at least meet her intended and Rodrigo says he will do what he can.

Juan and Djem practice swordplay while Cesare and Rodrigo look on. Rodrigo mentions to Cesare that Djem's 40,000 maintenance fee is lucrative but an even greater price is attainable. He reveals that the sultan suggested to him, that should Djem be assassinated, his hosts would be compensated 400,000 ducats for "unfortunate" death. Cesare is horrified at the idea, and Rodrigo does not press him.

Rodrigo consults Cesare about Rome being awash with European suitors for Lucrezia’s hand. They list the Colonna, Medici, d’Este, and Sforza as potential allies. Rodrigo is pleased with having so many choices while Cesare looks considerably less pleased. A parade of suitors ensues, each more amusing and pathetic than the next.
Lucrezia asks Cesare if she must marry and declares she will never love a husband as she loves him. She again ponders the thought of becoming a nun and taking holy orders, just like him. He is visibly saddened by her fears and like a good big brother, tries to warn her that life is unfair . He promises to take vengeance on any husband of hers if he indeed “proves ungallant.”

The parade of suitors continues, and a very young Venetian prince is presented as a suitor. Rodrigo dismisses the idea to the prince's ambassador. Meanwhile Lucrezia dances with the little boy in the terrace. Lucrezia and Djem share a poignant moment while dancing. Rodrigo notices and immediately doesn't like it. That night, he states to Cesare that the moor is outstaying his welcome.

The stately and formidable Caterina Sforza visits the pope on behalf of her ‘cousin’ Ludovico Sforza, duke of Milan. Giovanni Sforza is the pope's choice for Lucrezia but Caterina states he will be unable to meet Lucrezia until the matter of dowry has been settled. The wheels turn in Rodrigo's mind as he considers the new potential development between Djem and his daughter. He decides to take the Ottoman sultan up on his offer, as it rids of him a possible interfering suitor, while providing him with the funds for Sforza’s request for an enormous dowry.
Juan, taking on the task of getting rid of Prince Djem, asks Cesare for the services of his man Micheletto and Cesare, clearly unwilling to participate in the murder of his friend, refuses him, leaving Juan to his own inferior devices. Juan resorts to using the kitchen staff, one of whom suggests the only way to poison Djem is to add cantarella to his tea, which is always served by Djem’s ‘blackamoor.' He warns however that the Prince always takes his tea with sugar, which interferes with the immediate effect of the cantarella. Nevertheless, Juan decides it is the only way.

Meanwhile, Djem asks for a private confession with Cesare, who is surprised since he is not Christian. Djem expresses his joy at finding such goodness and acceptance in a people, compared to Constantinople and the court of the sultan. Cesare sadly mentions that Christians are not so good as he imagines.


Later,
Djem surprises Lucrezia and her brothers with a luxurious Ottoman feast in the courtyard, featuring music and decor from his homeland. As they try some food and drink wine, Djem’s Moorish slave unknowingly prepares a poisoned mint tea; unknown to all but Juan. Prince Djem toasts them and their friendship and with his kind words sips the poison. Shortly after during a game of bocce ball with Cesare, Djem falters and is held up by Cesare, spitting up blood upon Cesare, saying he is sorry to have spoiled his cardinal clothing.

Later that evening, as Djem lies screaming in agony, Juan and Cesare discuss the botched job with Micheletto, who notes that cantarella mixed with sugar will have the prince in agony for weeks. Cesare blames Juan for using amateurish tactics and Juan blames Cesare for not giving him the professional when he asked. It is agreed that things now need cleaning up and Cesare drags Juan down the halls to Djem's rooms. Micheletto disposes of the kitchen hand complicit in the initial blotched poisoning attempt. Djem lies in his rooms, moaning and contorting in pain, screaming for Cesare. When Cesare arrives, Prince Djem tells him he knows he has been poisoned and that the sultan must have bribed his moorish slave. The black moor is taken by Juan and led away by one of the guards.

Cesare instructs Juan to finish what he started and put Djem out of his misery. Juan smothers the dying Djem after a struggle.
Cesare solemnly looks on as the coffin of the dead prince is taken out of the palace by Ottoman guards asBurchart reads the list of hospitality and burial expenses. A telling letter from the sultan thanks the pope for keeping his brother and pays him 440,000 ducats.

The pope prays for Lucrezia and asks God for guidance and wisdom in all his affairs. He prays he has made the right decision for her.

Page Divider

page logo BEST QUOTES
[Untitled]
  • Lucrezia: "And what if my husband proves ungallant?" Cesare: "I shall cut his heart out with a dinner knife and serve it to you."
  • Prince Alfonso: "Can one say a cascade of cardinals? Like a gaggle of geese, a cluster of cats, army of ants. Why not.."
  • Lucrezia: "What is the difference between a wife and a concubine?" Djem: "Nothing really... you can beat a wife if she displeases you, but you can't kill her." Lucrezia: "You can kill a concubine?!" Djem: "Well...you can kill a wife too, but the displeasure must be great."
  • --

Page Divider
page logo DEATHS IN THIS EPISODE
[Untitled]
Who died?
How did they die?
Prince Djem of Constantinople
Botched poisoning by Borgia cook; smothered with a pillow by Juan Borgia
Domenico, the kitchen hand
Neck broken by Micheletto after botching plot to kill Prince Djem








Page Divider
page logo THE BORGIAS EPISODE BEST MOMENTS AND BIGGEST SHOCKERS
[Untitled]
  • Prince Alfonso reveals King Ferrante's legendary banquet room for his enemies.
  • Prince Alfonso wearing a mud mask telling off della Rovere in the sulfur baths.
  • Rodrigo telling Cesare of the sultan's offer of 400,000 ducats if Djem should die while staying with the Borgias.
  • Prince Djem and Lucrezia dancing on the balcony and the intimate moment between them.
  • Djem appearing in confession and expressing his desire to covert to Christianity to Cesare, who knows his father and brother have already made plans for the prince's early death.
  • Juan hesitatingly smothers Djem.



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page logo THE BORGIAS EPISODE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
[Untitled]
  • Caterina Sforza hints at a coming storm for Italy or just for Milan? or for the pope?

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page logo THE BORGIAS EPISODE TRIVIA
[Untitled]
  • Moor - Originally, this term was applied to Muslims who conquered parts of Spain in the 8th century and settled there until they were driven out in the 15th century; it also denotes people from Morocco or Mauritania in North Africa. In Britain it was often used to refer to any Black person (particularly Muslims). The word 'Moor' appears in Shakespearean literature. It was spelt in a variety of ways (such as 'more', 'moir', 'moorish' 'moris' 'moryen') and often combined with 'black' or 'blak', as in 'black moor', 'blackamoor' and 'black more'. 'Blackamoor' was also used as a synonym for 'negroe' in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/glossary.htm#moor
  • Moors (Lat. Mauri; Gr. Maupoi, dark men), Moors are not a distinct or self-defined people. Medieval and early modern Europeans applied the name primarily to Berbers, but also at various times to Arabs, Muslim Iberians and West Africans who had been absorbed into the Almoravid dynasty. Mainstream scholars observed in 1911 that "The term 'Moors' has no real ethnological value. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Moors
  • Prince Djem explains to Lucrezia that the sultan's rivals were blinded intentionally so they would be ineligible to rule the empire. This is historically accurate.

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page logo THE BORGIAS VS. HISTORY
[Untitled]
How did this episode differ from actual events? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
ON THE BORGIAS... IN HISTORY...
  • Prince Djem arrives at Pope Alexander VI's court in 1492 with a maintenance fee of 40,000 ducats; Djem is moved by Rome and the Borgias' hospitality to convert to Christianity.
  • Juan kills Prince Djem.

  • Ludovico Sforza send his "cousin" Catherine Sforza to negotiate Giovanni's marriage to Lucrezia - and a 400,000 ducat dowry.

  • Cardinal della Rovere visits Naples and speaks to the young Prince Alfonso and his father King Ferrante; as the latter is deaf and probably senile, Prince Alfonso does all the talking
  • Djem was transferred in March 1489 to the custody of Pope Innocent VIII, who unsuccessfully attempted to use Djem to begin a new crusade. The Pope also tried to convert Djem to Christianity, without success. In exchange for maintaining the custody of Djem, Sultan Bayezid II paid Innocent VIII 120,000 crowns (at the time, equal to all other annual sources of papal revenue combined), a relic of the Holy Lance (which allegedly had pierced the side of Christ), and an annual fee of 45,000 ducats.
  • Djem died mysteriously en route to Naples in the custody of the French under Charles VIII, most probably of malaria.
  • Caterina Sforza was Ludovico's niece. Ludovico used Ascanio directly to negotiate for Lucrezia's hand - and a 30,000 ducat dowry.
  • Della Rovere did not go to Naples; although old, Ferrante was far from senile; in his absence or incapacity, his deputy was his Queen, Joanna, who does not appear; the real Prince Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, was in his forties. However, the room full of mummified bodies is historically accurate!


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