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'Da Vinci’s Demons' recap: Infidels at the gates

Season 2 | Episode 210 | “The Sins of Daedalus” | Aired May 31, 2014

I have to revisit the end of episode 209 before diving into this, the finale of season 2 of Da Vinci’s Demons, and just say, “OMG, they killed Verrocchio!” I have mourned the loss of Allan Corduner’s character since then. He was a kind and faithful maestro.

In “The Sins of Daedalus,” we pick up in the burning workshop. Captain Dragonetti battles his way through the fire and saves Leonardo. Zoroaster, Nico and Vanessa come running as Florence’s citizens fight the blaze. Zo goes for a doctor when they see how badly Leonardo is wounded. “Carlo de Medici … he’s the one who did this. He killed Andrea,” Leonardo tells them. Nico calls after Leonardo — “Maestro!” — as he  attempts to go after Carlo.

Leo takes off on horseback, but his bleeding wounds and a low-hanging tree branch get the better of him. Struggling to rise and continue the pursuit, he recalls his younger days as Verrocchio’s student — amazing how many years a close shave and a good night’s sleep can take off a fellow. Verrocchio gives him his workshop in this remembrance, in which Leo thinks of him and addresses him as a father.

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Nico, Vanessa (Starz)Clarice comes to the scene of the fire and approaches Vanessa, telling her that all will mourn him. Vanessa growls at her for sleeping with the enemy. Clarice doesn’t believe it, but Captain Dragonetti confirms. In any case, Vanessa should come back to the palace. When she resists, Clarice attempts to insist. Nico steps in. Clarice says she makes the decisions for Medici babies, and who the hell are you, by the way? He’s Niccolò Machiavelli, son of legal scholar Bernardo and future diplomat, poet, author of literary masterwork The Prince, and on and on and on. The short story: He knows the law. Clarice can live where she likes — that is, after she drops her Medici cub, who has chosen this very moment to make his/her debut. Now she has to go back to the palace.

It’s a boy. They hand him to Clarice, who definitely seems taken by the adorable li’l bug, but apparently has mixed feelings: “A male heir at last. Lorenzo will be pleased.” Vanessa was a trooper.

Leonardo awakens to Al-Rahim tending his wounds: “Are you really here?” He is. Leo accuses him of lying, because the Book of Leaves was not in the Vault of Heaven, where Al-Rahim sent him to fetch it. Al-Rahim: “It was your mother who lied — to us.” She’s not the first ally to falter and lie to the Sons of Mithras. Maybe it’s because they’re called the “Sons” of Mithras and not the “People” or “Children” of Mithras — you can’t be expected to follow the rules of an organization that excludes you solely based on the color of your skin or which naughty bits you’re sporting. (Another: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlepersons.”) Moving on.

Leonardo: Carlo killed my maestro and is on his way to find the book. Al-Rahim: Are you just out for vengeance? Leonardo, staggering around in not-death throes: Kinda. Step aside. I’m staggering here! Then Al-Rahim drops a bomb: The book is in Constantinople. That works out, because Lucrezia is there, and Leonardo will surely help her escape from whatever fate required that vicious bath she was subjected to — I’m guessing. Al-Rahim tells him to go to the port city Otranto in the kingdom of Naples first because it’s got what Leo needs. Leo finally succumbs to his not-death throes and collapses, so that he’s only mostly dead. As we all know, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead: Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Riario — all alive and bound in a torture device — meets with the Labyrinth dudes. They can all rot in hell along with their damned Book of Leaves obsession, as far as Riario’s concerned. They think his vision is cloudy and set him up with some clarifying saltwater eye drops that burn — man, do they burn. This is not the suicide holiday Riario had envisioned for himself.

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Leonardo, Zoroaster (Starz)Back to mostly dead Leonardo. Zoroaster has found him. Hoorays! Leo fills him in, then says he can’t ask Zoroaster to go with him. Zoroaster wasn’t going to go anyway — but if he happens to be going that way, well, he may as well tag along. Zo brought Leo’s sword, and they’re going to stick it to Carlo but good.

In Naples, Lorenzo strides in with great news: Urbino is dead and the Pope can suck it. Alfonso still wants to sword-fight. “Child,” Lorenzo calls him, and shows him what a good hard right can do. And just as Lorenzo is about to run him through the skull with a sword, a messenger arrives with news. “Well,” inconvenienced Alfonso snaps with the point of the sword at his cheek, “what is it?” (I really did laugh out loud — thanks for that, Kieran Bew.) Messenger: The Ottomans are coming! The Ottomans are coming! Alfonso: “Kill me, and you’ll all die at the hands of the heathens.” Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Pope Sixtus(Starz)And the Pope suddenly becomes conciliatory: Oh, just don’t, Lorenzo. We’ll need each other. “Oh my lord,” says me to me, as the Pope tries to guilt Lorenzo into helping Naples and, by extension, Rome — hells, all of Italy. Florence is excommunicated, Lorenzo reminds him. Well, we can accept y’all back into the fold now, methinks, says Faux Pope. K.

Leo and Zo ride horses over the not-quite-Italian landscape. I envy them their ride, in any case, as I’m overdue. “What the fuck’s going on here?” asks Zo. Cut to Bayezid’s ship. Jacob tries to warn Bayezid not to trust the slave woman. Bayezid tells him to git. Bayezid wants his fortune read, but the slave-oracle is rather opaque about the outcome: The righteous will win and Bayezid has nothing to fear. Well, if you subscribe to the philosophy that the dead have nothing to fear, then Bayezid may want to turn back.

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Leonardo da Vinci (Starz)In the city of Otranto (at the sole of the heel of Italy, which, by the way, is a heck of a long way from Florence — how’d they get there so fast on horseback? Just saying …), 20 ships of Turks await in the harbor. Leo and Zo think they have Carlo, but no; instead, they have waltzed into a nest of the Enemies of Man. Zo comports himself well with a sword, but flinches when Leo starts running people through. They just missed Carlo.

Alfonso leads Lorenzo and Pope to his overlook. “The Ottomans just brought their holy war to my doorstep,” Alfonso says. Like they chose him especially. In the war room, Alfonso divulges he has four cannons (not one of which can reach the Turks’ ships) and 800 soldiers, who certainly won’t be able to hold the city long. Lorenzo will offer handsome sums for reinforcements. Alfonso wants the Pope to send for his Swiss mercenaries, but the Pope scoffs — again with the scoffing. Then they’ll take all of Italy. “And they will,” says tardy party-comer Leonardo, “unless you enlist a war engineer to help.” The Leo soundtrack plays and all bow before him. Just kidding. “Where’s my fucking ship?” demands Alfonso. Meh. “The Book of Leaves?” asks Lorenzo. Double meh. Ugh, then he tells the whole room he has to go to Constantinople to get the book. He and Lorenzo — Mr. “Secret” Ride to Naples — deserve each other. A horn sounds. Zo IDs it as a request to parlay.

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Piero, Lorenzo, Alfonso (Starz)Lucrezia arrives on shore and the guys spy her through their telescope (not yet a thing, but sure). They all look at the Pope — what’s she up to? Him: I have no idea. Currently the smartest person in the room, Alfonso wants to know why she’s an emissary of the Ottoman Empire.

Lucrezia says Bayezid offers the safety of the Italian people on three conditions: 1. Cede control of Otranto to the Ottoman Empire without resistance, 2. All heads of state must renounce Christianity, accept Allah and convert to Islam, 3. The Pope has to go to Constantinople and kiss the feet of the sultan. Pope: Kill her. “Wait! Why?” Leonardo asks Lucrezia. She tells the whole story about the double Popes. Her uncle steps up to throttle her, but her two lovers hold him back. Lucrezia will be imprisoned and Alfonso is going to let his army address Bayezid’s conditions. You’ve seen 20 ships, says Lucrezia. Then she sets off a red signal that reveals a hundred or more ships off the coast.

Lucrezia’s dad prays over his machinations.

Alfonso is getting desperate. The Pope is running back to Rome and threatens to tell all about Alfonso’s dad if the young king tries to stop him.

Clarice faces the fact that 500,000 Florens have been stolen — more than the holdings of two Medici bank franchises combined — and she has to take the blame.

Vanessa is given a choice: Her son can be heir to the Medici fortunes, but she has to give him up. Or not. “I am not signing it,” she tells her new advocate, Niccolò Machiavelli. She rips up the legal papers. She’s taking her boy away and starting over. “You’re making a mistake,” says well-to-do teen Machiavelli, who probably knows what it’s like to be a favored male heir — sounds good, sign me up! — but surely has no idea what it means to be a single mom getting shafted. Anyway, he takes her case into his own hands and writes what appears to be a counteroffer.

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Leonardo da Vinci (Starz)Piero approaches Leo. “You do not honor Verrocchio by following him to the grave,” says Leo’s astute biological father. Lorenzo and I are leaving for Florence. You should come! Then he praises Leonardo’s gifts, surprising both his son and seemingly himself. He leaves and Leo watches as the city of Otranto falls into chaos around him. And then, basically, Leo devises a 300–esque plan of attack in which a first-wave bottleneck of carnage will allow them to stopper the harbor and kill boatloads of people. Cannonballs filled with gunpowder will blow everyone to smithereens.

Clarice visits Vanessa while she sleeps, waking her, and has a very touching, maternal moment with her. Something about a difficult decision and how it’s for the good of Florence … and Vanessa will probably bolt upright in the morning when she vaguely recalls this conversation. (And Nico will be in trouble.)

Lucrezia stews in her cell. Lorenzo: “It was better when I believed you were dead.” Lorenzo: Did you love me? Lucrezia: I didn’t. Sorry. Lorenzo throttles her. Leonardo to the rescue. Whatevs. Lorenzo’s all like: You expect me to forgive? She almost killed my WHOLE family. Leonardo: She sent me to save you. Me: That makes it better? She almost killed the WHOLE Medici family for a father she hardly knew. Who does that? Lorenzo agrees. Leo resorts to the sword. Lorenzo is baffled. OH! “You’re in love with someone utterly incapable of it.” Leo: “Perhaps the same could be said of me.” Lorenzo: “Perhaps you deserve one another.” Lorenzo stalks away. Lucrezia explains: “This wasn’t about my father. This was about my sister.” Ok, fine! Leonardo releases her. They kiss. She’s got to go.

OK, the Horns of the Increate are becoming annoying. Riario answers the question: Four occupy the chamber. Wait! One. Yes. “We are one.”

Da Vinci's Demons s2 finale: Nico, Vanessa (Starz)Nico pleads with Vanessa to stay. Captain Dragonetti comes with word from Clarice. She’s left with her girls, and Vanessa’s boy is the only Medici left in Florence. Vanessa has to back Nico’s play, or he’s in serious trouble. Of course. Captain Dragonetti: “Your son is the sole representative of their bloodline, which makes you, as his mother, the regent head of the House of Medici and the most powerful person in all of Florence.” Holy crappers. Way to go, Nico.

Leo approaches Lorenzo tentatively — he may swipe his head off with their brotherly sword. The New World was cool and all, but … then there’s this: the Ottoman invasion and everything.

Leo’s plan is in place. The cannon contraption is ready. 3-2-1 …

Vanessa addresses the Medici staff.

Clarice takes to the road.

Riario sees Carlo “clearly.”

Lucrezia prepares herself to witness the carnage from a safe distance. (Lame.)

Piero gets a moment with the telescope, then rushes toward his son: “The woman on the deck standing next to the Ottoman prince: That is your mother.” Fu-u-u-u-dge.

Thus ends season 2. Best of luck to the stars and crew on filming season 3.

Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz

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