Sunday, 21 April 2013

"Da Vinci's Demons" TV series Starz Episode 2 "The Serpent" review, minor spoilers

Better than the first episode. Just as silly but with more substance. You need to forget about what Renaissance history you learnt in school and just sit back and enjoy this stuff. It's like Indiana Jones meets "National Treasure" (particularly the last scene). David S. Goyer (creator) has taken a  few key facts of the period and then gone on a roller coaster ride.
Goyer seems to like to shock the viewer with his first scene in each ep. Last week it was the naughty, soon to be stabbed Duke of Milan. This week it's a circumcised member ("I haven't seen one of those before" intones a girl). By the way, 'the hanged man' is quite well hung. We then get a very graphic autopsy performed by Leonardo.
"The Serpent" refers to the Pope's nephew, Count Riario (Blake Ritson). My new favourite character. If there was a railroad track in Florence, he'd have tied half a dozen damsels to it. He just has to put up with old fashioned decapitation and a nifty torture device called The Widow's Tear.
Once again there is the gorgeous black and white animation (the mechanics of the dual keys and lock). Our swashbuckling hero escapes up the scaffolding of the Duomo - a great scene. Tom Riley is definitely doing a bit of Sherlock (Johnny Miller version) when reconstructing the fate of the Jew and the Book of Leaves.
Loved the quarry scene - say hello to Leo's "little friend".
Da Vinci's mates are good value, the loyal servant, Nico the irreverent Zoroaster (whose favourite turn of phrase is not "Mamma Mia!" but a very English: "F*ck me!").
The use of colour to signify the two worlds - evil, forbidding, secretive Rome - shadowy scenes in the Vatican, black clad villains and the decadent, but enlightened Florence of the Medicis - garish colours, fireworks, torches, extravagant bejewelled costumes. Check out the Adam and Eve floorshow in the Medici ball scene.
Knowledge and the control of knowledge is the theme of the series (as well as bonking and butchery, of course, it's cable!)
The final scene with Leo perched above the grid pattern of pages was inpirational.

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