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‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ recap: Storms, mutiny and superstitions

Season 2 | Episode 204 | “The Ends of the Earth” | Aired Apr 12, 2014

To kick off the intrigue in this episode of Da Vinci’s Demons, Lucrezia Donati has a rendezvous with the curator of the Vatican’s secret archives, Lupo Mercuri. No, she’s not up to her old tricks. She just wants to see her father, and Lupo has a plan to sneak her in. Lucrezia tells him her father’s tale is a story of the oldest rivalry there is, alluding to the brotherly rivalry of Cain and Abel. She describes how her usurper uncle blamed his miseries on his brother and that Allessandro even tried to kill Francesco as a child.

On the ship, Leonardo has been up nights navigating by the stars. Amerigo and Zoroaster confess that they started a rumor that he was a vampire. The kids want to play, but Leonardo is too busy recalling the map to the Book of Leaves from memory, discovering new stars, disproving the work of the preeminent cartographers in the known world — his usual. But the captain thinks they have a mutiny on their hands, that the superstitious slaves that helped them take the ship are now plotting to slit their throats — or some other form of knife handiwork. Leonardo vows to make them see that the world is round, and they’re not going to fall off the end of it.

Riario prays in front of Zita, who observes that she has seen goodness in him and even grace. He doubts it.

Piero grouses on his road trip with Lorenzo, who takes the opportunity to give some exposition, presumably for the viewers’ benefit: They’re almost to Naples. Florence’s mass excommunication means that no one will trade with them, soon the banks will shut down, the people will fall and Rome will take over. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 Lorenzo, PieroThey need to get King Ferrante to break his alliance with the Vatican. Piero would prefer that Lorenzo do it from the comfort of his home, because his butt is purple from bouncing along these back roads.

Lucrezia almost doesn’t recognize her father. She flashes back to seeing him after he was newly anointed as Pope, when he came to visit her and her younger sister. She remembers the bloody entrance of Allessandro aided by Riario (dashing in his long hair). Then, the weak spot in this plot reveals itself: Allessandro starts monologuing about how Francesco has been so privileged in being born first, and that’s basically his insane beef with his brother. Meanwhile, all of these men who follow Allessandro, with no good explanation as to why, listen to him confess to hunting down and murdering the poor doctor who had the misfortune of attending their mother and to his flimsy excuse for taking the Papacy by force. Of course, monarchies have risen and fallen on lesser pretenses, but why do any of these fellows have any kind of loyalty to crazy-pants?

In any case, Lucrezia tells her imprisoned father that he needs to stop strategizing and get the hell out of there, that she can’t continue this course without knowing that it will end soon, that she’s committed atrocities herself in her pursuit of his safety and freedom. His answer: “Have faith, my child.” Right. They’re Catholic — she should go to confession.

Riario visits Nico and attempts to disrespect Nico’s choice to hang out with Leonardo. Nico, in turn, points out that Riario is “the bastard son of a hateful Pope,” is sleeping with a slave girl, and has risked execution by disobeying Vatican orders in order to go after the Book of Leaves “all because it would give you the same knowledge and power that my Maestro was born with — curious.” Burn.

Leonardo leads The Earth Is Round 101, a course for uneducated, superstitious former slaves. Visual aids include an improvised paper globe, an apple and a bowl, as well as enormously complicated star maps that these brutish people couldn’t possibly begin to comprehend. Homework will be given, and there will be a final exam at the end of the semester — especially on that part about how Venus revolves around Earth.

Riario comes to the point and asks Nico what he knows about the Book of Leaves. His Holiness believes it was written by nephilim, the offspring of angels and men, but Riario believes it was written by ancient ancestors of the people of Crete who came from a little island called Atlantis. “And that sounds more likely?” Nico asks. Then Riario reveals that his opinion about the value of the book is more in line with those of Leonardo and the Sons of Mithras than the Pope, and that they may have a common rival for the book, a dark and dangerous rival who operates in the shadows. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 Traveling priestThe captain calls for Riario. A storm is on its way. Nico reminds him that they’re all going to die.

Lorenzo chats with Piero about why Piero doesn’t have pride in Leonardo, given his talents and accomplishments. “Never even considered it,” Piero says, which, as these things usually go, reveals more about Piero’s deficiencies than his son’s. A ragged vagabond priest shows up at their campfire with a thuggish-looking associate. Lorenzo had blown him off earlier and does so again, but then the thug lovingly embraces Piero, putting a knife to his throat. The priest IDs Lorenzo as Il Magnifico, the First Citizen of Florence, and tries to extort money from him. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 Golo, PieroI would watch The Continuing Adventures of Priest and Golo, but I have the feeling that Lorenzo won’t allow a sequel.

Looks as though Lucrezia has convinced Lupo to give her access to the Vatican’s secret stores. He shows her the Sword of Osman Gazi, “the gallant leader of the Turks, founder of the Ottoman Empire.” Lucrezia informs him that she’s taking the sword. Lupo says it would be “a blessing” to end her sinful life right there. Lucrezia calls his bluff and pushes the sword away from her neck. Now that Lupo knows that such a great injustice has been perpetrated, she says, he must do everything necessary to help free her father, including handing over the sword. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 LucreziaThe captain of the Vatican’s guard walks in and frog-marches Lucrezia out, but Lupo puts the sword through his back before they get far. Lucrezia bolts with the sword and sheath.

Lorenzo “negotiates” with the priest, pressing his point with steel. There will be no continuing adventures.

Leonardo promises tasty slave girl Yana (Dilan Gwyn) that Venus will rise in a left crescent, but when it appears as a right crescent, she screeches that they’re sailing to their doom and the former slaves rise up once again. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 Yana, LeonardoMuch punching later, the sailors and Amerigo argue that the mutinous former slaves should be thrown overboard, but Leo convinces them to return the slaves to bonds until they reach land. Falling off the end of the Earth or facing the New World tribes that practice human sacrifice — it’s doom either way, really.

Lorenzo and Piero relax in front of the campfire. Piero tells him he recalls this one piece, Leonardo’s first work in oil paint, a bowl of fruit. Piero threw it away, and now it’s the one piece he’ll always remember. Leo is a genius, he concedes, but the boy’s mother left Piero, and it seems the old man hasn’t gotten over it.

Zoroaster yells at Leo for chaining the slaves, arguing that their superstitions about the flat Earth are no more crazy than Leo’s quest for the Book of Leaves. He says that he follows a genius artist, but that guy is still back in Florence. Except, Leo then has an epiphany and deduces that the planets revolve around the sun. Da Vinci's Demons: s2, ep4 Leonardo's universe  (Starz)(Truth: German astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus first presented the heliocentric model of the universe sometime before 1514, about 30 years after a 30-something, swashbuckling adventurer-lothario Leonardo might have sailed for the New World on a quest for a book containing the vast knowledge of all the universe written by a resident of Atlantis. But, who knows, they certainly could have had a chat at some point in all that swashbuckling.) I always love the animations that pop up when Leo has his moments of inspiration.

There’s a problem in the hold: The slaves have killed each other rather than face the end of the Earth. Feisty Yana is the last one left (naturally). Kill me or I kill him, she says, holding a knife to Zoroaster’s throat. The scene ends in tears. All of Leonardo’s crazy talk broke Yana’s brain. He tries to hug it out.

Lucrezia: Ready the horses, my Asian friend. We’re road-tripping! Destination: Constantinople.

Flashback to Allessandro and Riario deciding the fate of Lucrezia and her sister. Allessandro snaps the younger’s neck. Francesco spirals into full meltdown. Riario, looking sincerely forlorn, notes: “I tried, cousin.” She spits at him. He tells her that she blames it on bandits or else her adopted family will meet the same end. “Further instructions will be forthcoming,” he says before he exits.

Nico yelps, “Let me out!” as the storm tosses him around in his cage. Looks like their little party may actually meet the ancients of Atlantis on this voyage. Maybe they’ll have another copy of the Book of Leaves hanging about. Riario orders Zita off the ship. Where the hell is she going to go? Do NOT leave the ship, Zita! To Nico, he says: “I fear your prophecy may be right.”

As Yana pays respects to her dead companions, Leonardo observes to Zoroaster, “We’re one spinning orb in a chaos of spinning orbs just floating through the cosmos.”

It occurs to me that Leonardo doesn’t need a book with the secrets of the universe; he’s discovering all of them just fine on his own in pursuit of the book. I theorize that this isn’t literally a book, but a journey — one that he’s already undertaken.

Next week’s preview promises Leonardo’s meet-cute with the New World natives. Given the storm, I’m still not clear on how Leonardo and Riario will end up landing in the same spot in this vast New World, but I sure am eager to hear the explanation. Any hypotheses? Tell us in the comments.

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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