Sunday, 19 March 2017

RECAP I MEDICI (MEDICI MASTERS OF FLORENCE) Epiphany

In this secular age, it is perhaps not easy to imagine how much faith mattered to people back when the Catholic church was a dominant force in Europe. Whilst the papal business accounted for a significant percentage of the income of the Medicis, the fact that they were bankers to the pope added to their prestige and allowed them to rise above all other competitors. So, when the Pope decided to move his business from the Medicis to Andrea Pazzi, he was not simply taking the Catholic Church's money from them. He was also putting the Medici bank back in line with everyone else, whilst elevating the Pazzi bank. 


Cosimo's next move was to fund a warrior Bishop's army so he could retake Rome by force and reinstall the Pope. Ugo told him that the Medici bank would survive even without the Pope's accounts, though it would become a smaller operation, but Cosimo was adamant. He was fighting not just for his bank, he claimed, but for the future of the Christian faith.

Was this a claim that could be believed? Cosimo certainly believed it. For Cosimo, the lines between personal interest and altruistic motives have long been blurred. When Pazzi appeared to be winning, his mind framed his rival's victory not in terms of its impact on the Medicis, but on Florence he believed he served better.

Cosimo was not the only one with a greyed moral code. The Pope was well known for his preference for a simple life. The murders of the Albizzis clearly disturbed him, and he all but implored Cosimo to confess to save his soul from damnation. Yet, when told that the retaking of Rome would result in mass casualties, the Pope simply accepted it as a fact of life. From his point of view, he would do much good when he had his city back. If innocents had to die, then that was just the cost of war.

Even Giovanni died clutching grapes and a rosary in his hand. Giovanni, who compared the dead Rosa to a mule, saw no conflict between his faith and his contempt for those he deemed beneath him. It was Giovanni's contempt, his utter lack of care that a woman and her babe died because of his orders, that led Ugo to murder him.

Ugo has long been a loyal servant to the Medicis. Many times, he was framed by the camera between an open or mildly cracked door, a presence who has always been there that the Medicis barely notice him. He was the repository of their secrets. He executed their commands. Once, he decided that the master he served needed to die.

Ugo genuinely thought that the place he left Rosa in was a sanctuary. Too late, he realised that it was a place of punishment. Overwhelmed with guilt, fearful for his immortal soul, he sought Giovanni, who felt nothing. Rosa was not a person to be mourned for Giovanni. He did not view her as a person at all. She was a roadblock for his son's advantageous marriage. He wanted her gone, and now she was.

It was as though Ugo saw his master with complete clarity for the first time. Ugo knew Giovanni's routine, knew which batch of grapes he would taste the next morning. He laced them with poison. He also killed the apothecary who could have implicated him, and framed Marco Bello.

Ugo clutched his rosary as the weight of his sin almost crushed him. He overheard Cosimo and Contessina agree to raise Maddalena's child, as Lorenzo would have raised Rosa's baby. It would be a way for husband and wife to atone for their sins. With complete sincerity, perhaps even with the wound of his sin salved a little, for Cosimo, unlike Giovanni, revealed himself to be a man burdened by his sins, Ugo told master he was a much better man than his father.

Ugo's actions inadvertently caused a breach between Cosimo and Lorenzo that had only began to heal when Lorenzo's life was cut short. Cosimo persuaded Lorenzo to help him find proof of Pazzi's guilt in the murder of Bredani. Lorenzo found the assassin, and would have died had it not been for the timely intervention of Marco Bello. Lorenzo and Marco Bello made peace with each other before they parted, and Lorenzo rode back to Florence. He had with him not just the assassin, but a letter written by Andrea Pazzi to the Duke of Visconti. Pazzi had been conspiring with the very same man who conquered Rome and caused the Pope to flee.

In the cell Cosimo and Albizzi once occupied, Lorenzo tried to get the assassin to confess to the murder of Giovanni. The Signoria guards who had come in with them repeatedly stabbed Lorenzo. Before he left, the assassin whispered to the dying Lorenzo never to underestimate Andrea Pazzi.

The Medicis won, anyway. The army Cosimo paid slaughtered their way into Rome. Cosimo showed the letter to the Pope as proof of Andrea Pazzi's guilt. As the Pope led a procession in the streets of Florence, Cosimo was by his side, a place of honour.

Medici: Masters of Florence ended its first season with a victorious Medici clan, and a promise of a future. Lucrezia was pregnant, and told Contessina she would name the child Lorenzo. Lorenzo the Magnificent. Bring on Season Two.

Strays

■ When Lucrezia learnt that Maddalena was pregnant, she worried that the child would be seen as an heir to Cosimo rather than Piero. She did her best to boost Piero's confidence as he prepared to speak to the Signoria on behalf of his father.

■ Proposing a one off tax to the Signoria to pay for the Pope's war was Cosimo's idea, but I am not certain if the idea to tax only the banks was his, or Piero's. Though Piero started awkwardly, he found his stride as he spoke and was well received by most of the Signoria.

■ Contessina thought of leaving Cosimo before news of Lorenzo's death came. As often when there was a challenge to the family, Cosimo and Contessina's hands found each other.

■ Cosimo: 'A man always has a choice, if he is willing to lose.'

■ Ugo: 'What will God's judgement be on us?'

■ Maddalena told Ugo Marco Bello's saddlebag was new. It made no sense for him to transfer the bill of sale that proved his guilt from an old saddlebag to a new one. Maddalena believed the evidence was planted by someone in the household. Ugo told Maddalena not to breathe a word of what she knew.

■ After his conversation with Maddalena, Ugo was briefly overwhelmed with guilt. He clutched his rosary and cried, and staggered against a wall for support. Moments later, he was back to being the smiling, compliant, competent servant.

■ If you find yourself struggling with the many characters in Medici: Masters of Florence, you can refer to this brief guide.


Director: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Writer: John Fay
Original Air Date: November 8, 2016

MEDICI: MASTERS OF FLORENCE SEASON ONE RECAPS

101 Original Sin
102 The Dome and the Domicile
103 Pestilence
104 Judgement Day
105 Temptation
106 Ascendancy
107 Purgatory
108 Epiphany 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the excellent recaps. They were very helpful.

    Superb series. Can't wait for season 2.

    MikeE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Happy to hear you found them helpful. Thank you for your kind words as well. Here's recent season 2 casting news - http://variety.com/2017/tv/global/daniel-sharman-bradley-james-netflix-medici-1202522384/

      Delete
  2. What's up, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to get most recent updates,
    so where can i do it please help.

    ReplyDelete

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