Da Vinci's Demons 1.07 "The Hierophant " TV REVIEW
Writers: Sarah Goldfinger, Corey Reed
Director: Michael J Bassett
THE ONE WHERE Determined to get inside the Secret Archive, Leonardo travels to Rome and breaks into the Vatican where he finds wonders beyond his wildest dreams. Meanwhile, the net is starting to close around superspy Lucrezia, who's not going to go down without a fight.
VERDICT After six episodes of skirting around the issue with some far-fetched Renaissance tech – and even introducing a "real-world" Dracula – Da Vinci's Demons has finally nailed its colours to the mast on the issue of whether it's a genre show. Turns out it is, as the wonders Leonardo discovers in the Pope's Secret Archives are so clearly fantastical – most notably the magic, glowing, kill-anybody "Spear of Destiny" – that there's no denying he really isn't living in history as we thought we knew it.
Elsewhere, this is a fun episode, one of the best of the season so far, as Da Vinci turns Indiana Jones to break into the Vatican – and get his first audience with the Pope. It's an outing of adventure and ingenuity as, yet again, Leonardo makes almost-implausible leaps of logic to get what he wants.
It's also gotrevelations that bring the arc plot to spectacular life. We've learned the identity of the old incarcerated guy Riario (rapidly becoming the best character in the show) was playing games in episode four – he's Lucrezia's dad, and the reason she's been coerced into working for the Vatican. The net's starting to close around her, now that Giuliano and Leonardo have both worked out she's Riario's spy. The fact that Giuliano plays for his detective work with a very cruel dagger to the belly suggests that Lucrezia will go to great lengths to protect her secret. It'll be interesting to see what Leonardo's next move is (would she kill the man she loves to save herself?), and whether her dad starts to become a key player.
And poor, poor Giuliano. We'd come to really like Lorenzo's noble little bro, and so had Vanessa. Their short-lived romance is rather touching, and the show will be a less fun place without him. On the plus-side, at least he didn't have to go through with that arranged marriage to a Pazzi – not that those conspiratorial Pazzis would have let things get that far anyway.
SPECULATION What's the importance of the grave Riario visits? Is its occupant an old flame? His mother, perhaps?
SPECULATION 2 How does the Pope know Leonardo's mum? And how could he reunite them? Is he more closely connected with the Sons of Mithras than we'd previously suspected?
SPECULATION 3 Why is Lucrezia's dad so important that he must be kept incarcerated in solitary confinement? Surely, if he was just an ordinary threat, the Pope would have had him killed, so presumably he knows something useful nobody else does.
DID YOU SPOT? All the cool stuff in the Pope's secret archives? It's like the warehouse at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, only with more architectural interest. On the manifest:
Alongside a dinosaur (or "dragon"), there's showrunner David Goyer getting a plug in for Man Of Steel with some Kryptonite...
...a sword (we're assuming it's Excalibur) wedged in a stone...
...the Spear of Destiny, and, unless we're very much mistaken, that's the corner of the Ark of the Covenant.
See what we mean?
CREDITS WHERE CREDIT'S DUE We should have known some vintage diving equipment was on the cards. It's been sketched out in the show's opening credits from the start.
TRIVIA Director Michael J Bassett's filmography includes Solomon Kane and last year's videogame adaptation sequel Silent Hill: Revelation 3D .
IT'S WOTSISNAME Cardinal Orsini is played by Nicholas Rowe, most famous as Young Sherlock Holmes in the 1985 movie.
NITPICK How does Da Vinci see so well underwater? It's nighttime and there's no significant light sources. Maybe that diving helmet comes with built-in night vision
THE HIERO-WHAT? No, we didn't know what it meant either – but like all the episode other titles in the series it is a regular in a Tarot pack. According to our dictionary it's "a person who shows or reveals sacred things", so presumably it's referring to the Pope and his magic cellar.
MAKING HISTORY The Pazzis really did lead a plot to kill the Medicis in 1478. In fact, the "Pazzi Conspiracy"succeeded in wounding Lorenzo, and killing Giuliano – so having bumped off by Lucrezia is a fairly radical change to history. Unless, of course, Giuliano survives his wounds – but we reckon this is unlikely because the first thing he'd do is tell Lorenzo about his assailant.
APOCALYPSE THEN Someone's been watching Vietnam movies again...
Da Vinci [to Riario]: "There may come a day when I am forced to take your life. But not today."
Da Vinci's Demons airs on Fox in the UK at 10pm on Friday nights.
"That's not a knife..."