‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ Review: “The Fall From Heaven”
Tonight's episode of 'Da Vinci's Demons' brings a close to the South American portion of this season (it seems). But that doesn't mean that Leonardo and company finally get the Book of Leaves. Alas. The episode opens with Leonardo and Riario in prison, both musing on their upcoming death sentence and their lives. Leonardo was born a bastard, so he doesn't know how to give up, while Riario reveals he was raised in a monastery under the tutelage of the fake pope. Ima comes to talk to Leonardo and Riario, and are told that their deaths will please her gods and allow her people access to the Book of Leaves. He's also shown that Zoroaster and Nico are now slaves, but won't be killed. Da Vinci then passes a message to Zoroaster to get out of there, so Nico kills a guard, and they try to find their way out.
The Sultan's son goes to meet with Sixtus, but the son doesn't know that Lucrezia wasn't sent by the pope, so he's kicked out of the Vatican in the most demeaning of ways. Meanwhile Lucrezia meets with Jacob Pasha, an adviser to the Sultan, who knows exactly who she is, and plots to have Lucrezia reveal her true reason for being there.
Lorenzo talks to Ippolita about their arranged marriages, and she wants them to run off together, but he's dedicated to his people. Meanwhile her husband Alfonso consults with Sixtus and they plot an attack on Lorenzo. Now freed, Piero meets with an emissary when he's kidnapped by pirates, which leads Ippolita to suggest Lorenzo best the pirates to curry favor. Lorenzo and Ippolita are able to double cross the pirates, but it turns out that she set the whole thing up to make Lorenzo look good. This leads to the two coupling where Lorenzo proves his skills in oration, but their session is interrupted when Lorenzo gets a note that the king will see him. His meeting with the King goes well until Alfonso comes home and brings Sixtus with him, who wants Lorenzo to surrender.
Leonardo and Riario are led up to be sacrificed, while Nico and Zoroaster work on a plan to set them all free. As Riario is about to be killed, Leonardo uses a distraction to get a sword to the neck of their leader. He tells the people that he was able to get close to the Book of Leaves and wants to go back to the Vault of Heaven as should be his right. Zoroaster's distraction bomb goes off and Leo is able to get the key back from Ima. Leonardo, Riario, Nico and Zoroaster all head into the vault and lock themselves in to keep Ima and her people away. Leonardo hears his mother, and is able to open the vault, where he finds a metal head that has a recording of his mother's voice and it tells him the only way to find the book is to give up his quest to find his mother. They then parachute out of the vault, but only after Leonardo tells Ima that there was no book (which makes her say that her people are doomed). Everyone lands without dying, but Riario breaks his leg. Zoroaster suggests they leave him, but Nico and Leonardo say they should take him along.
As Leonardo and the gang wait on the shore, Leonardo and Riario bond as Riario tells him about how he once had to kill a prostitute for Sixtus, only to realize as he was killing her that she was his mother. They muse about the quest for the book being over, though Da Vinci admits he won't give up. Then Amerigo shows up.
The most awesome thing about tonight's episode is that Riario and Leonardo seem to be working together, and possibly are now friends. As a fan of 'L.A. Confidential,' I like that sort of development. Any time people diametrically opposed to each other can come together is always entertaining. That said, with no book and no real leads it means that -- since the show was just given a third season -- we may yet see another season dedicated to Leonardo getting nowhere in his quest.
That said, the political machinations felt a little stronger this week as we head to the end of the season. Everything with Lorenzo was great, and the stuff with the Sultan's son was entertaining. Perhaps this worked as well as it did because Clarice was nowhere to be seen. On a whole, the fact that going to South America was a dead end should make this more of a bummer of an episode, but the relationships between the characters and the machinations that had nothing to do with the book made it work.