‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ Review: “The Sun and the Moon”
'Da Vinci's Demons' finally makes it ashore in tonight's episode, which finds Leonardo Da Vinci hot on the trail of Riario and his people (those who survived, that is), while Lorenzo is in jail and his wife Clarice is trying to hold Florence together, not to mention the pope! There's a lot going on tonight, and though some plots are set aside, it's another gripping episode.
The episode opens with Leonardo hitting dry land. He sees the wreckage of Riario's vessel, but neither he nor Zoroaster are sure if Nico or Riario survived. Amerigo plots to map the land while Leo and his crew look around for the next three months and jokes that the place should be named... Vespuccia, because it's an easy joke. In Naples, Lorenzo's in jail with Piero, and bribes a guard to get word to a friendly source.
Back in Florence, Vanessa vents to Verrocchio about her imprisonment, and he shows her a whisper corridor in the castle, which will obviously be used later in the episode because duh. Clarice is dealing with the bankers, who tell her that her account has been suspended, and there's nothing she can do about it. Leonardo makes his way inland with Zoroaster and two others, and he's intrigued by the wildlife. They find a sign that they're on track, and then they're spotted by a local. The men's swords scare him off, but Da Vinci's worried this may lead to violence.
Lorenzo's contact is Alfonso's wife Ippolita, who he used to be in love with, but Alfonso shows up shortly thereafter and says he will take Lorenzo to his father. Carlo shows up in Clarice's bedroom offering to help with the bankers, but she can't help but hold a knife on him. As he's black she feels he will get no further with them than she will. He asks to be appointed to the board to help her, and she agrees.
Back in America, Leonardo finds a bridge, but he and his explorers hear voices, which make them nervous. They're caught by the locals, and Da Vinci notices that the tattoos on their chest match the symbols on his key. Carlo talks to the bankers, which reveals he's been conspiring with them. They plan to use their only account to put Carlo in charge, but Vanessa uses the whispering corridor to overhear their plan. Leonardo and company are imprisoned and are walking to parts unknown as Leonardo tries to translate their language.
Lorenzo and Piero have a tense meal with Alfonso and Ippolita, and it turns out they've been drugged. Vanessa tells Clarice about the banker's scheme, but also that Carlo might be turned to her favor. Back in America, Zoroaster attempts escape, but they are subdued, and then a female leader shows up. They are matched to a woman who wears wings and who takes Leonardo's key.
Carlo is unanimously elected to the bank, and then the banker reveals his plot to get her off the board. Carlo saves Clarice's chair, and reveals that the bankers plotted against her, which allows Clarice to kill one for treason. Power played. Lorenzo wakes up in bondage near King Ferrante who's carving up a body and suggests that Florence is a cancer. Da Vinci and his crew are taken to a temple where a man covered in gold speaks, and they marvel at the key. Leonardo and his men are presented with a stick, a cup filled with a liquid and some corn. One of Leo's men chooses a stick and is beaten to death in a pretty graphic way.
Clarice talks to Carlo and is happy that he saved her butt, but she's still wary of him. Ferrante takes Lorenzo to his museum of death. Lorenzo is put up to a game to save his life. Back in America, the second of Da Vinci's anonymous sidekicks drinks from the chalice and is stabbed through the throat. Tonight's episode is surprisingly violent. When it's Zoroaster's turn Leonardo finally figures it out: They need to show the people that they can harvest. He shows them his smarts, which saves their life, and the female leader whispers his name in his ear. They're put in a prison and find Nico alive... and Riario and Riario's ladyfriend Zita. Riario takes a beating from Zoroaster but points out that they have to work together and Leonardo agrees. Riario suggests this is God's Will. Imaca, the winged woman, reveals that she speaks English and knows of the Book of Leaves, and Leo's face.
Lorenzo waits in prison for his trailer when Ippolita visits, while Clarice has sex with Carlo, which Vanessa spies (and Carlo notices her). Imaca shows Leonardo their drawings and history of the people who came to their village before. One was the man with the map on his body, while the other is Da Vinci's mom. We then see a flash into the likely holding place of the book, which looks booby-trapped.
One of the problems with television in the post-'LOST' world is that mysteries on television shows are easily suspect. Sure, you can set up ideas and things that our heroes chase after, but can you deliver once they finally get what they've been searching for? Though it's still unclear if this show can stick those landings, much of season one was dedicated to Leonardo's curiosity about his mother, and here that is starting to get paid off. Now, whether the Book of Leaves adds up to much is unknown, but tonight's episode suggests there is a game plan, and there may have been a payoff worked out that will make sense.
Lucrezia was left out of this episode, though it's likely all four main story lines will come into play during every episode for the rest of the season. As for tonight's, Clarice and Carlo were definitely the weakest link, and the two sleeping together... eh. Carlo's appearance felt hinky from the start and it was nice to see him not be pure evil, but there's a long con in the works it seems. Then again, as Lorenzo had his affairs, who's to say they weren't just looking for a quickie. Perhaps the show felt the lack of nudity over the last couple and wanted to throw in a sex scene where it could (knowing the show, that means that Da Vinci and Imaca will get down to business in the near future). To make up for the lack of sex, tonight's episode was extra gruesome, which isn't exactly a fair trade off. But now that this season has achieved a certain momentum, it's cooking.