World of Wonders

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"World of Wonders"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Episode Title: World of Wonders
The Borgias Episode #- 2.09
The Borgias Season: 2
Original Air Date: June 10, 2012
Writer: David Leland
Director(s): David Leland
Guest Star(s): David Alpay, Tom Austen, Jesse Bostick

Alexander marks the Easter holiday with a glorious celebration and an end to his pious fast, while Della Rovere's assassin gets even closer to the pope. Meanwhile, Lucrezia's lover asks her father for her hand in marriage; and Juan's increasingly erratic behavior endangers his sister's child.

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World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Pope Alexander VI/Rodrigo Borgia
Played by:Jeremy Irons
Plot connections: Feeling he is no longer in the wilderness, the Pope decides to baptize Giovanni and celebrate, still unsure of what to do with Juan
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Giulia Farnese
Played by: Lotte Verbeek
Plot connections: Convinces the Pope to see his good works and rejoice in them by baptizing Lucrezia's child and celebrating
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cesare Borgia
Played by: Francois Arnaud
Plot connections: Still seething from being ignored in favor of Juan, Juan's dangerous behavior forces his hand
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Lucrezia Borgia
Played by: Holliday Grainger
Plot connections: Lucrezia is thrilled at her child's baptism but her thoughts turn to murder when Juan endangers Giovanni's life
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Juan Borgia
Played by: David Oakes
Plot connections: He pushes the buttons of every family member, sparing no one his venom and pays with his life
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Vanozza dei Cattanei
Played by: Joanne Whalley
Plot connections: She admits to advising Lucrezia about taking lovers and chastises Juan for his rude comments at Giovanni's party
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Micheletto
Played by: Sean Harri-
Plot connections: He witnesses the hard choices that come with being a Borgia
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Niccolo Machiavelli
Played by: Julian Bleach
Plot connections: He gives insight about Savonarola's hold on the people of Florence
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Played by: Peter T Sullivan
Plot connections: He takes on the role of taster after Brother Bernadino's death and helps select a new taster
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Girolamo Savonarola
Played by: Steven Berkoff
Plot connections: His hold on Florence is finally broken when Cesare puts him through an ordeal by fire
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere
Played by: Colm Feore
Plot connections: Sends his assassin to Rome with cantarella and a plan
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Antonello
Played by: Jesse Bostick
Plot connections: He is selected as the Pope's taster but misses his first opportunity to fulfill his suicide mission
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Calvino
Played by: David Alpay
Plot connections: Breaks his betrothal to Lucrezia when he learns his brother has bedded her
World of Wonders - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Raffaello
Played by: Tom Austen
Plot connections: After admitting to Calvino he slept with Lucrezia, he asks the Pope for her hand in marriage and is resoundingly refused
Additional Cast (in order of appearance)
  • Cardinal Versucci -- Vernon Dobtcheff
  • Cardinal Piccolomini -- Bosco Hogan
  • The Witch -- Edina Lezsak
  • The Cistercian -- Peter Horkay
  • The Dominican -- Simon Nader
  • Young Dancer -- Caitlin Joseph
  • Mohammed -- Alex Lanipukin
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It’s Easter, but Alexander continues to fast. A new taster is recruited, and Antonello gets the job – Della Rovere’s assassin is ready to strike. In Florence, Cesare challenges Savonarola to a trial by fire. Raffaello meanwhile, formally asks for Lucrezia’s hand but Alexander sends the brothers packing. Giulia persuades Alexander that his Papacy has been a good thing, so he ends his fast and orders a celebration for the baptism of Lucrezia’s baby. At the party, Antonello is ready to strike but is thwarted by Alexander’s switch from water back to wine. As the party continues, Juan is completely out of control, and threatens the life of Lucrezia’s child. A chilling Cesare at last comes to terms with what needs to be done.
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The episode begins with Lucrezia waking up and looking from her bed to see the panther in a cage at the foot of her bed.

Pope Alexander is stopped on the stairs by Calvino, Lucrezia's future husband and told that he cannot marry Lucrezia. The Pope asks why and he motions toward his brother, Raffaello, who steps forward and says that he loves Lucrezia and wants to marry her. The Pope is angry as he tells him that his brother is a first son and is a man of means with a fleet of ships and he is only a second son and only has a paintbrush. The Pope is then stopped by Cardinal Sforza who tells the Pope his taster was found dead in the Tiber. They assume it is an accident.

Alexander is angry and marches to see Vanozza, yelling for her. He finds her calm which seems to anger him more. He then tells Vanozza what has happened. Vanozza states that Lucrezia could not be so foolish. Rodrigo says with help from those around her she could. He asks Vanozza what advice did she give Lucrezia. She said she only told her that she could marry to please him but love to please herself. Rodrigo yells at her and Vanozza says that Lucrezia will please herself because she is a Borgia and love where she chooses. Vanozza reminds Rodrigo that she had to marry to cover their affair. Rodrigo tells Vanozza she was not the Pope's daughter. Lucrezia walks into the room and kisses her mother on the cheek. Lucrezia states that she hears "the boys" have gone. Rodrigo, blustering, says that they left because she would marry a pauper. Lucrezia tells her father she would have married the eldest son as he bid, but if she had followed her heart she would not have married either of them.

Cesare, Micheletto and Machiavelli walk around in Florence among the rubble of the Bonfire of the Vanities. Machiavelli tells Cesare as Micheletto is sitting idle on the side that the fires burned for days as people kept piling stuff on top of the flames. Cesare said the people of Florence had a good life, how could they allow Savaranola to rob them of it and still have them clinging to his every word. Machiavelli states that "If you understand that then you will have the key to bring him down". Cardinal Sforza hands the Pope a list of names telling him that his security is of the utmost importance. Sforza tells the Pope until a taster is found he will take on the role himself. Alexander states that they must be from a Holy Order, pure of heart. Rodrigo changes the subject and tells Sforza that they must hold a ritual and preparations are to begin in 2 days time. The Pope plans to condemn Savonarola to the very fires of hell.

Cesare, Micheletto and Machiavelli follow a large group of people who are intent on burning a woman they say is witch and the people are afraid she can condemn them all to hell. Machiavelli tells Cesare that these people trust their fates in the power of spells. He then goes on to tell that Savonarola trades in the fears of hell. Machiavelli tells Cesare that Savonarola also uses the people's fear of damnation and the hope of a better life in the next world to keep them under his spell. Savonarola trades in miracles. Machiavelli also states that if angels can fall from heaven into hell then so can we all.

We then see
Savonarola preaching to the masses as Cesare walks up into the Church. Cesare tells him he comes on behalf of the Pope of Rome. Savonarola says here is the Pope's messenger, his bastard son. Cesare tells him he stands accused of defying the Pope's orders and of refusing to present himself to Rome and bend his knee to the Holy Father. Savonarola tells Cesare he does not recognize such power; his authority comes from a higher being than from the godless Pope from Rome. Cesare then tells him then we must put it to the test. Cesare challenges him. He says if he can walk through flames untouched by the fire, Cesare will then follow him through the fire. A fiery gauntlet is set up in the main square. Savonarola then states he will not burn but he who follows him will burn. The people of Florence cheer him on. Savonarola then walks through fire and catches on fire as Cesare stands smiling. The people are upset and they threaten Savonarola as a few men put the fire out off his body. Savonarola rushes into the church to escape the angry crowd, who tell him they gave up everything for him. The scene also switches from the Pope who reads from a book which puts Savonarola in danger of hell fire and damnation, as all the cardinals throw candles into a circle.

We see Juan standing alone over a urinal bucket talking to someone. To whom is he talking? He is asking someone "Do you remember the old days?" He tells whomever that they were friends and that they did everything together. Juan is in pain as he is trying to urinate. He then tells his privy member (who he has been talking to all this time) "Now look what pain you have caused me." "Have I betrayed you or have you betrayed me?" Juan then demands of his privy member "Answer me you b******." Juan laughs and says "As usual you have nothing to say."Juan then turns away grunting painfully.

Della Rovere is instructing Antonello in what to say to the Pope and how to act as he mixes cantranella for the boy to take with him. Della Rovere tells the boy to watch for his chance which may only come one time and be ready. Della Rovere quizzes the boy on what he will say to the Pope.

Juan is smoking opium in the opium den. Juan leans back and states there is something he would like to say: it has long been his suspicion that his brother has congress with his angelic sister. Juan is convinced that the issue of such a union would produce a demon who would then devour the world and him. Juan then realizes that no one is listening.

Cesare goes back to Rome and tells the Pope what happened in Florence. He also tells the Pope that
Savonarola is on his way to Rome.The Pope tells Cesare that he wants a confession because the people must see he is guilty. All is not yet won until he does this. Cardinal Sforza tells the Pope that he has examined all the appilicants and narrowed the list down to three. The Pope asks the first one to hold out his hands and dismisses him because his hands are very dirty. He then passes up the Dominican and comes to the final man who is Della Rovere's choice, Antonello. The pope is pleased with his answers and then hires him but Rodrigo seems to not fully trust the boy even as he is pleased with the boy's answers.

Savonarola is taken to Rome in a barred wagon. Micheletto tells Cesare that this man will not break and Cesare tells Micheletto what the Pope has said, that he must be seen to be guilty by the people.

The Pope sits down to eat with the Cardinals announcing that Lent is over. The Pope's taster passes his first test of tasting. Yet Rodrigo still seems unsure of him. Guilia Farnese climbs into bed with Rodrigo and talks with him. Rodrigo tells her that his abstinence grows tiresome; she asks why he keeps punishing himself. He states it is God who punishes. She tells him of all the good he has done and reminds him he is doing God's will. Guilia reminds Rodrigo that his grandson needs the Holy Sacraments of Baptism.

The next day Rodrigo goes to see Lucrezia and he informs her of the upcoming baptism for baby Giovanni. Lucrezia is very happy to hear of this and tells her father that Cesare must be the godfather. We then see the baby being baptized as Cesare holds him.

Antonello (the taster) prepares water for the Pope and he puts a large dose of cantranella into the water.

At a celebration for Giovanni's baptism, Lucrezia holds the baby up for all to see as they clap forthe baby. Rodrigo throws flower petals down from the balcony.

Juan walks up behind his mother and asks "Why wait so long to bless this bastard?" Vanozza reminds Juan he is a bastard himself. Juan tells her that his father discarded her long ago. She then asks him what happened to him, he was such a sweet child.

Rodrigo turns and tells Antonello that he would have a drink and the boy says water and the Pope says no he would have wine. The boy then deliberatly spills the water and by doing so Rodrigo is angered and tells him take care that he does not spill the wine. Rodrigo has the boy drink wine then drink some more then Rodrigo checks the boy's eyes and states the wine is ok as his eyes are not red. Rodrigo says we are done with fasting and would celebrate with an abundance of wine. Lucrezia has a gift for her father a dance of Angels and Virgins.

Juan and Cesare are standing near a balcony and Juan tells Cesare to not pretend that nothing stirs underneath those cardinals skirts as he sees Cesare watching the dance. Cesare taunts Juan asking him is it true that people are chanting "Ten more sons" Juan sticks his cane in Cesare's face and tells him to not start with him. Juan says it was a foolish insult because it cost her son his life; Cesare then smirks and shakes his head. Juan asks why he shakes his head, the boy was being hanged and Cesare tells him that Juan's friend Don Hernando cut the rope and brought the boy to Rome for an audience with the Pope. Juan asks where is the boy now and Cesare tells him he is back at Forli with his mother. Juan grabs Cesare and accuses him of wanting to inhabit his shoes. He then tells Cesare he is the light of his father's life.

Juan visits Lucrezia in her chambers and says that finally the bastard has a name and is saved from eternal damnnation. Lucrezia asks is Juan to be saved form eternal damnnation? Juan tells Lucrezia that one day she will finally realize that everything he has done has been for her own good and if she had married that wastrel with a paint brush, referring to Raffaello, he would have taken care of him. She asks like you did with Paulo? Juan sits and says "exactly so." Juan says he should have had picked up that piglet (the baby) from birth and thrown him into the Tiber. Lucrezia reminds him that they all are bastards. Juan then tells her "But we are Borgia bastards." Juan walks towards the baby chanting "Hello little piggy time for a dance". Juan picks the baby up and holds him over the balcony as Lucrezia screams begging him for her son. Cesare watches from across the room. Lucrezia finally gets the baby back but leaves a blanket in Juan's hands. Juan looks at Cesare and drops the blanket to the ground below him to show Cesare how easy it would have been to drop the baby. It is in this moment that Cesare knows what he has to do.

Cesare comforts an upset Lucrezia who wishes to kill Juan.
Lucrezia insists she wants Juan killed and she wants to do it. She asks about poisons. Cesare tells her she must not do it for it would break their father's heart. Cesare tells her their father loves his errant son more than he loves his dutiful one. Lucrezia says love is blind then. Lucrezia and Cesare turn to see Rodrigo standing behind them and it is unclear to them how much he heard but from his expression it looks as if he has heard enough.

Juan is outside watching the girls form the dance playing and dancing and he imagines he hears them chanting"Ten more sons" They discover they are being watched and stop dancing and apologize to him and walk past him. Juan stops one and begins to rape her, holding her by the neck. Micheletto comes up to Juan and grabs him by the throat telling Juan if he wants to kill the girl he needs to hold her neck a certain way. Micheletto holds Juan by the neck until he releases the girl and Juan tells Micheletto he will suffer for this.

Cesare tells Rodrigo that they must discuss their brother. Cesare tells Rodrigo that Juan is hurtling towards ruin. Rodrigo tells them they loved Juan once and they must do so again. Rodrigo pulls Cesare to the side and tells him to help Juan through his dark night. Cesare asks 'Am I my brothers keeper?" Rodrigo says Juan needs you several times.

Juan meets with Mohammed and goes to the opium house. Micheletto follows him. Micheletto asks Mohammed if there is a man named Juan in there and to tell him that his brother wishes to speak to him. Juan comes out and meets Cesare asking him if he had come to beg forgiveness for his insult. Cesare tells him he has and Juan says he forgives him. Micheletto kills Mohammed. Cesare and Juan are walking together and Juan puts his arm around Cesare and starts talking. Juan tells Cesare there is a world of wonder reaching down as far as the eye can see and these wonders are your life. You can see your birth and your death and with opium it does not hurt. Juan tells Cesare that in the well he can glimpse the two of them "Two brothers in harmony". Juan tells Cesare that he has been in pain for all his years. He then tells Cesare that he too is in pain, he can see the pain Cesare is in. Cesare tells Juan that yes, he is in pain. Juan hugs Cesare. Cesare then tells Juan that he would end Juan's pain and as Juan is hugging him, Cesare stabs him. Juan falls to the ground saying, "My brother what's this?" Micheletto walks up to Juan's other side. Cesare tells Juan "Only God forgives." Cesare stabs Juan again then tells him "We're Borgias we never forgive." Micheletto helps hoist Juan on to the large bridge and mentions his awe at Cesare's actions, regardless of his past deeds. Cesare and Micheletto throw a still alive Juan into the river from the bridge.

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  • "Only God forgives; we're Borgias, we never forgive!" -- Cesare to Juan
  • "What you don't realize is that I'm the prodigal son." -- Juan to Cesare
  • "I am the light of his life." -- Juan to Cesare (refers to Rodrigo)
  • "Everything I do is for the good of the family." -- Juan to Lucrezia
  • "You loved him once you must love him again." -- Rodrigo to Cesare (About Juan)
  • "I am in awe of your Eminence." (Micheletto) "You killed your father!" (Cesare) "I am still in awe your Eminence." (Micheletto)
  • --"Here is a different kind of bonfire" -- Machiavelli to Cesare
  • --"If Angels can fall from Heaven into hell, then so can we all" -- Machiavelli to Cesare
  • --"Do you remember the old days?" -- Juan to his privy member
  • "Lies ooze from your mouth like pus from a dead horse" - a magnificently defiant Savonarola to Cesare
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Who died?
How did they die?
Juan Borgia
Stabbed and thrown in the Tiber River
A young woman accused of being a witch she is burned

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  • SHOCK - Juan talking to his privy member
  • SHOCK -Juan threatens to throw Lucrezia's baby over a balcony.
  • BEST - Rodrigo walks in on Cesare and Lucrezia talking about killing Juan
  • BEST - Juan is brutally murdered by Cesare and thrown into the river.
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  • Will Rodrigo find out who killed Juan?
  • Will the new taster kill Rodrigo with poison?

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  • Historically, Juan was murdered in June of 1497, a year before Savonarola's execution.
  • Savonarola actually sent a letter of condolence to the pope after learning of Juan's death.
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How did this episode differ from actual events? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
  • Cesare stabs Juan in the gut and throws him over the bridge into the Tiber river
  • Cardinal della Rovere places his young assassin in the papal household
  • Provoked by Cesare, Savonarola undergoes an ordeal by fire only to succumb to the flames and fails in his ordeal

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  • No one knows who killed Juan, and Cesare was not a suspect until about a year after the murder
  • Della Rovere was residing at either Ostia or the French court at Blois during his exile (1492-1503)
  • Savonarola reluctantly agreed to the trial by fire to which he was challenged by a rival friar: a bonfire was lit but a sudden rainstorm extinguished it and the whole episode was a damp squib - literally!
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