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‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ Season Premiere Review: “The Blood of Man”

Da Vinci's Demons The Blood of Man
Starz

Season One of ‘Da Vinci’s Demonsended on a cliffhanger, with Lorenzo swearing to kill both Leonardo Da Vinci and Lucrezia (who ended up being a lover to both men), though he was on the verge of death with a slit throat. This season promises to show Leonardo heading to find the Book of Leaves, and discover what’s going with his mother, but there’s a lot that needs to happen before he can make that quest.

The episode opens on a flash forward with both Leonardo and Riario awaiting their execution on top of a Mayan temple. It looks like Leo is going to make it to the promised land, but after that, who’s to say. They’re next on the chopping block, and a woman  promises to drink Da Vinci’s blood when…

The episode flashes back to six months earlier and shows how Leonardo got out of the end of the first season. Chaos has broken out in Florence, and the Pazzi-led revolution seems to have the upper hand. Pazzi’s men seemingly have Leonardo and Lorenzo trapped, with Riario leading the way. Da Vinci escapes with Lorenzo down into the sewers, with Lorenzo still threatening Leonardo’s life.

There’s an army waiting outside Florence looking to invade, but Riario wants to see that Lorenzo is dead first, so he can’t rally his people. They need Lorenzo’s corpse, and so Riario and the others head into the sewers. Zoroaster and Nico are waiting for Leonardo to catch their ship, and decide they should head to the rendezvous point with or without him. The chaos has hit the streets, and Pazzi’s men are hunting the Medici’s people. Clarice is simply trying to protect her children, thankfully Captain Dragonetti is on her side (for the moment). One of Clarice’s daughters gets lost in the confusion, and almost gets trampled to death, but is saved in the nick of time. With the children safe, Clarice gives one of her men poison for the children in case their castle is breached.

Lorenzo and Leonardo hide, and Lorenzo reveals that he can see how Lucrezia was a spy now, while they are being pursued. Once they hit a dead end, Leonardo comes up with a genius scheme. He gets Lorenzo to play dead and is able to disarm Francesco Pazzi. He uses Pazzi’s gun to destroy part of the tunnel structure, which blocks the way, which leads Riario to go talk to the army. The Medici house plot to protect themselves, and Clarice confronts Dragonetti about his flirtations with disloyalty, and tasks him with — once the fighting has stopped — capturing her brother Cardinal Orsini.

Francesco Pazzi leads an attacking force on the castle, but they are repelled, while Leonardo is able to get Lorenzo to Verrocchio’s workshop. Riario shows up at the battle camp and tells the forces to hold off and tortures Lucrezia to get information. She reveals that Da Vinci’s heading to the Basilisk ship. Riario then takes off for the ship with Lucrezia in tow. Leonardo dreams of Al-Rahim and wakes up. Lorenzo has lost too much blood, so Da Vinci comes up with another grand scheme: blood transfusion. Clarice gets her men to keep searching for Lorenzo while Da Vinci gets the transfusion going. The blood loss causes him to hallucinate a meeting with Lucrezia, but the dream gets darker as he flirts with death.

Piero da Vinci wants to move Clarice and her children to someplace safe when they’re attacked by traitors. Fortunately Dragonetti is there. Vanessa freaks out when she worries that Lorenzo will die, while Da Vinci continues to hallucinate. Riario is about to leave and is asked by a female slave to join his group, which he agrees to. Back in Rome, the pope is made aware of what’s going on in Florence and what Riario is up to, while Zoroaster and Nico get to the boat, but are too late as Riario has already taken the ship. Riario gets all of Da Vinci’s tools for travel, takes Nico as a cabin boy, and plans to have Zoroaster and Lucrezia walk the plank.

The pope meets with the mysterious prisoner Francesco, who tells the pope that if the Medicis win, then Rome is lost, and that Francesco and pope are related, he also gives him a plan for the future, though the pope is wary to take his advice. Zoroaster and Lucrezia are given the plank while in Leonardo dreams that Al-Rahim is disappointed with him for not having pursued the book over protecting Florence. Da Vinci’s dreams get darker, but the good news is that Lorenzo is awake and mobile. The bad news is he’s ready to kill Leo.

That was an exciting and seemingly very expensive episode of the season, which showed Da Vinci’s cleverness in fun ways, and much more of the revolution than one would expect from a television show that isn’t ‘Game of Thrones.’ “The Blood of Man” wastes little time and the scale is impressive, though considering how much terrain the episode had to cover, it’s no surprise that not everything from the end of last season is wrapped up in this one.

I recently talked to David Goyer, and he revealed that each season is plotted in a similar manner as a long feature film, so this is the first chapter in the continuing adventures. As such it is just starting to get things in place for the rest of the season, but also has to deal with the fallout from the last. Having watched a couple of the new episodes, I can safely say that we’re almost on the road for the new adventure, though watching multiple episodes made me forget how the season premiere is almost all set-up. This is a cliffhanger episode, but a fun one as it shows all the pieces are in motion for something bigger. It’s as if the show was singing Neil Diamond, cause the show is “Coming to America,” though not today.

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