Da Vinci’s Demons: The Sun and the Moon review

Da Vinci's Demons sends Leonardo and friends across an ocean and into new trouble. Here's Marc's review...

Writers Dan Hess and Corey Reed take us to a new continent this week on Da Vinci’s Demons as Da Vinci and his intrepid crew arrive in the New World. Things come full circle as we get a good idea just what the heck was going on in that Inca-driven prologue to this season and how the heck Riario, Da Vinci, and Zoroaster get involved in what seemed to be the most expensive masked Mexican wrestler movie ever produced. With “The Sun and the Moon,” the change of locale has breathed some new life into a show that was in no way getting stale in the first place.

We kick things off as Da Vinci arrives in the New World with Vespucci and Zoroaster discovering the wreck of Riario’s ship from last episode. Hey, history class never told me Da Vinci came to the Americas…what a gyp! Da Vinci immediately notices the differences between Europe and this brave new continent. The first difference you’ll notice is the production values for the South American scenes. Good for Starz, making with the green to make the show look even more impressive. The new locale allows the writers to really open up Da Vinci’s character, break the confines of history, and take him anywhere. I say next season…space!

Zoroaster is hilarious to watch make his way in the jungle, the thief certainly loves his comforts and is not at home in the malaria infested jungles of the Americas. As he complains and swats, more natives appear and attack and make with the Ewok weapons. Things don’t go well for the visiting team. Zoroaster and Da Vinci are trussed up and led through the jungle. Instead of figuring out a way to escape, Da Vinci is more concerned with deciphering the native language.

Poor Lorenzo Medici is also in hot water as the episode presents some nice contrast between the confines of Lorenzo’s prisons and the airy and open New World. It seems the Duchess holding Lorenzo prisoner once knew him in a biblical way but, oops, she’s married to Prince Alfonso of Naples, the double sword wielding  asshat who dueled with Da Vinci a few episodes back, he of the batshit crazy royal father obsessed with deformed monkey heads.

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Lorenzo and the senior Da Vinci enjoy the Prince of Naples’ table but also must endure his insults as he mocks Leonardo for being a sodomite. They shouldn’t have chowed down too much, as the food and wine was drugged. Now, you didn’t see that coming?

The Lorenzo stuff is pretty fascinating to watch unfold, and the Da Vinci in the jungles of an untamed continent being attacked by natives stuff is of course beyond insane and awesome, but the Clarice and Carlo banking subplot? Not so much.

Carlo de’ Medici is named to the board of the Medici bank, even as a bastard of non-European descent, his name carries weight it seems. A confusing sequence follows suggesting that Carlo is in league with the bank scumbags. They tempt Carlo into betraying Clarice and the whole thing is trying a bit too hard to be clever. Vanessa overhears them as more layers of confusing intrigue are added.

I must confess, I have no idea what’s going on here. Clarice doesn’t trust Carlo anymore, but Vanessa provides servant scuttlebutt that Carlo is considered a true blue Medici. As Carlo joins the bank council, the bank springs that the throne of Spain wants Clarice to stand down. This all makes the Trade Federation scenes in The Phantom Menace seem riveting.

Hot voting action takes places as the council must decide whether to retain Clarice. Carlo exposes the banking douches and Clarice uses the word “malfeasance” which is always impressive, and now Clarice trusts Carlo explicitly which I guess is the point of this whole thing. Can we get back to the luchadores please?

That little bit of fluff is thankfully interrupted by Da Vinci and his men being led up a sphincter clenching mountain trail. Zoroaster escapes the ropes, as he will, and the first (but not the last) tussle between white man and American native occurs. The natives get the best of the Europeans and Zoroaster is stunned by the arrival of a spectacularly hot native woman, whom he wishes to “service.” They are joined by a gaggle of hot native women.

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Things get all Fulci (another Italian master) as Lorenzo wakes up to the King of Naples dissecting a human body in one of the show’s greatest gore scenes. As Lorenzo pleads Florence’s case, the King pulls out organ after organ as the show is fast making up for the banking nonsense with some Clive Barker level grue. While Da Vinci is caught in an Indiana Jones film, Lorenzo is stuck in a ’70s horror masterpiece, and I’m grooving on both.

Things come full circle to the beginning of the season as Zoroaster and Da Vinci are brought to the Mil Mascaras looking high priest from the first episode’s prologue. Boy, the show totally used the costume budget this season with these natives, huh? One of Da Vinci’s jobbers is brought forth and forced to choose an item from an alter. He chooses a weapon, or what he thinks is a weapon, and he gets his head bashed in with it. I would totally choose a bag of marshmallows if that was the case.

The next no name character chooses a chalice of wine and is bisected by Mil Mascaras’ dagger. Da Vinci is growing frustrated by not being able to figure out the riddle of the execution game. It’s Zoroaster turn next, it’s probably good for Zoroaster that Da Vinci is going to his mind palace and figures out that all the items are implements to plant corn and figures out the natives worship it. Da Vinci uses all the items to plant corn, and the natives let him live. Man, if Da Vinci figured that out a minute earlier those Renaissance Red Shirts could have lived.

Da Vinci and Zoroaster are tossed into a cell and are shocked to see Nico, which must mean Riario must be there as well. Zoroaster beats the piss out of the Church’s favorite weapon but is shockingly stopped by Nico who believes they all must unite to survive the natives. The head native girl enters and reveals that she once knew Da Vinci’s mother and she teaches Leonardo about his mother’s past. This type of non-linear storytelling helps make this show great, and some threads from season 1 involving the Da Vinci matron are finally rewarded as he now knows that her quest was very real.

More awesome horror work follows as the King takes Lorenzo on a tour of his Black Museum, a place where he keeps the trussed up corpses of his former victims. So Lorenzo is in deep doodoo, Da Vinci has finally found the truth about his mother and her quest for the Book of Leaves, even though he is still imprisoned by Incas and should have already been killed by dysentery and malaria, and Clarice is making sweet, sweet love to Carlo. Well, at least something good came out of that watching paint dry subplot.

Anything that has hot Incan woman and a place called the Black Museum can’t be all bad, let’s just hope this is the end of all that banking nonsense.

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This Week I Learned…

– Incan corn did wonders for that civilization’s females.

– When about to be sacrificed by Incans, start farming.

– That banking in the Renaissance was…zzzzzzz…huh? Wha…? Where am I?

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3 out of 5