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'Da Vinci's Demons' season 2 premiere recap: Catching up with Leo

Season 2 | Episode 201 | “The Blood of Man” | Aired Mar 22, 2014

David S. Goyer: Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He’s the writer of a few modest films like Blade, Batman Begins, Man of Steel and, according to rumor, the upcoming Justice League. Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons is his project, but you probably knew that already if you’re here reading a recap of the season 2 premiere — enough backstory.

When we last saw our hero, Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley), he and the preternaturally attractive cast of Da Vinci’s Demons were battling through an attack on the Medicis by the Pazzis and their henchmen.

As season 2 kicks off, Leonardo shares a dusty cell with his archrival in the search for the mystical (and fictional) Book of Leaves: Girolamo Riario (Blake Ritson), the Pope’s ruthless and righteous nephew. Some painted, primitive New World tribe has captured them and, at knifepoint, brings the two men before their exotic and, of course, sexy leader. They watch as the leader oversees the sacrifice of a beautiful young girl at the hands of a golden-masked executioner.

Pause for a second: What the hell is going on? The last time we saw Leonardo and friends (and his not-friends), they were traipsing around Florence, trying to skewer each other in one way or another. This interlude is like Indiana Jones and the Temple da Vinci. We’re trusting you, David S. Goyer…. Da Vinci's Demons, s2 premiere: Welcome to the New World (Starz)

Back to the show: The sexy, feathered leader slinks over. “Now Patamama shall drink your blood,” she says, grasping Leonardo’s jaw with her full-finger rings.

“Six Months Earlier” appears on screen — aha! — and we zoom down on a map of Italy.

Riario, slimy Francesco Pazzi (Elliot Levey) and their men have Leonardo and wounded Lorenzo Medici (Elliot Cowan) cornered. They blast through the door, only to find that the artist and banker have disappeared. Leonardo is wily like that. As Leonardo and Lorenzo stumble through the sewers, Lorenzo promises to kill him.

Meanwhile, Leonardo’s sidekicks Zoroaster (Gregg Chillin) and Nico (Eros Vlahos) debate whether to board the ship the Basilisk as planned, Jacopo Pazzi (Michael Culkin) conspires to storm the Medici palace, and Lorenzo’s wife Clarice Orsini (Lara Pulver) flees to the church for safety, losing one of her young daughters in the frenzy. Captain Dragonetti (Ian Pirie) to the rescue! Her duckling safe in hand, Clarice immediately turns to Fabrizio (Celyn Jones) and makes him promise to kill the ducklings if the Pazzis make it past the gate, because the Pazzis and their thugs would do worse than poison the girls.

The hunt continues down in the sewers. “I can’t go on!” whines Lorenzo. Leonardo analyzes the architecture and hatches a plan to bring the roof down. When Girolamo and Francesco catch up with the two, Lorenzo plays dead while Leonardo hides. Francesco approaches Lorenzo, vowing to decapitate him, but ninja Leonardo falls from above, disarms him and holds the entire band of merry men at bay with some form of hand cannon. After witty repartee, Leonardo shoots the sewer arch and, yep, the roof falls in, blocking off the pursued from their pursuers.

Clarice confronts Leonardo’s dad, Piero (David Schofield), asking where Lorenzo is. Piero reassures her that Lorenzo wouldn’t have left his family willingly. So Clarice turns her glare on Captain Dragonetti: “Did you know of this attack?” Silence. “My husband would have you killed just for that hesitation.…I’m in your debt for the life of my child, but if you betray the Medici family again, I will have you gutted like a pig.” Clarice does not play.

When she finds out her brother, Cardinal Orsini (Nicholas Rowe), was involved in the attack, she orders him arrested. Her brother, meanwhile, is convulsing with the knowledge that his sister is still alive and will most certainly have his hide for his betrayal.

Exposition! Riario explains to the fearsome, one-eyed Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (Vincent Riotta), why he’s so obsessed with Leonardo: He stole the keys to a treasure worth all of Florence — worth 1,000 cities! The duke has been having a laugh with Lucrezia Donati (fair and pillow-lipped Laura Haddock), master spy, killer, former lover to both Leonardo and Lorenzo, and current captive of Riario. He threatens to take her eye if she doesn’t divulge Leonardo’s plans. She tells Riario about the Basilisk sailing for Pisa.

Lupo Mercuri (Nick Dunning) reminds Riario that the Holy Father said securing Florence is of the utmost importance. Riario disagrees: He must find the Vault of Heaven before Leonardo and retrieve the Book of Leaves, which supposedly holds the answers to the entire universe. (That’s surely a lot of answers. But, remind me, what are the questions?) The Duke of Urbino offers to give Riario provisions and men, because he dislikes him so much, so “I’m quite happy to see you sail off the edge of the world.” Riario accepts. The Duke plants an unnerving kiss directly on Riaro’s mouth. It’s a nice mouth — who wouldn’t want to? But this was no foreplay. Da Vinci's Demons, s2 premiere: Leonardo, Vanessa, Andrea (Starz)

Having staggered into the workshop of his trusted mentor Andrea Verrocchio (Allan Corduner), Leonardo wakes from fever dreams about his mystical guide, Al-Rahim (Alexander Siddig), to find shop assistant Vanessa (Hera Hilmar) ministering to him. Then he finds Lorenzo dying in the center of the workshop and invents the process of blood transfusion on the spot. (The truth: Leonardo lived approximately 200 years before the first documented human blood transfusion in 1667; plus, the chance of Leo and Lorenzo’s blood being compatible is slim, and Lorenzo is much more likely to have died from a combo of his wounds and an allergic reaction.)

Belief suspended, back to the show: Leonardo’s MacGyvered blood-transfusion kit involves a sheep’s intestines, clamps and pen nibs — it’s a messy business. The blood loss causes Leo to have more fever dreams, or he’s dying. Don’t go into the light, Leo!

Clarice bleats about Lorenzo’s disappearance to anyone who’ll listen (mostly Piero), then some thugs bust in and try to kill them both. Captain Dragonetti to the rescue! This guy has some kind of timing. It’d be suspicious if it weren’t for the fact that he slips his sword into the attacker’s neck so effortlessly.

The next morning, both Lorenzo and Leonardo are miraculously still alive. Leonardo wakes and announces that his “soul has come unmoored.” I know a few people with unmoored souls and can attest that it ain’t pretty.

Zita (Estella Daniels) begs to go with Riario to Pisa. The quick and dirty: He tells her to pull up a horse and follow the party as a free woman.

Best line of the episode goes to His Holiness Pope Sixtus IV (James Faulkner): “Believe it or not, I find it less unnerving for you to just interrupt me than for you to linger like a vomitus stench.” I don’t know when or under what circumstances, but one day I will use that line.

Da Vinci's Demons, s2 premiere: Riario (Starz)On the ship, Zoroaster and Nico try to stall the captain of the Basilisk. Riario emerges, monologues a little bit, takes everyone captive, confiscates all of Leonardo’s trinkets, and eventually tosses Zoroaster and Lucrezia (his cousin, BTW) overboard, as he looks on while wearing a fetching pair of sunglasses (truth: Tinted spectacles first appeared in the mid-1700s — i.e., not during Leonardo’s lifetime).

His Holiness goes to see Lucrezia’s dad, who is his twin brother and whose captivity is generally responsible for Lucrezia’s misdeeds. They’re talking, talking. Lucrezia’s dad babbles something about a Neapolitan — not the ice cream, though that would be delicious right about now.

Leonardo is fever dreaming again, and Al-Rahim is pissed: “So you abandon your destiny?” He predicts that the Book of Leaves will be lost forever (most likely, maybe, probably) and fall into the hands of their ancient enemies. That can’t be good. “You rang?” say the agents of the Horned God. Al-Rahim was just leaving. What they actually say might be important, but currently makes no sense: “We are the horns of the Increate. We are the shadow at the center of the Labyrinth. And you will pay for the sins of Daedalus.”

In non-dreamland, Lorenzo awakens on the workshop slab, straddles unconscious Leonardo and raises a knife.

Do you have misgivings about the promise of Leonardo’s adventures continuing in the New World? Are you jarred out of the story when you see sunglasses on historical figures who have no business wearing them? Give your insights on the new season in the comments below.

New episodes of Da Vinci’s Demons air Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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