Da Vinci’s Demons: The Voyage of the Damned review

Ninjas and submarines only make Da Vinci's Demons cooler...and crazier! Here's Marc's review of the latest episode...

This episode of Da Vinci’s Demons is written by Brian Nelson, the man who wrote the screenplay for the awesome cerebral horror flick and Ellen Page vehicle Hard Candy (2005), the film adaptation of 30 Days of Night (2007), and Devil (2010), so we got a writer that knows his way around multiple genres to lead Da Vinci through his latest adventure. Nelson also penned a 1997 television adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Michael Caine and he uses the nautical knowledge gained from that obscure piece of cinema history to guide Da Vinci, Zoroaster, and Vespucci through this ocean romp, as the trio must secure a vessel to save Nico from the clutches of the evil Riario.

Speaking of the Church’s favorite living weapon, I totally forgot Riario was the Pope’s nephew, but Da Vinci didn’t and opens the show disguised as the holy killer to charter a ship. Tom Riley does a killer impression of Blake Ritson’s Riario, but not good enough, it seems. Da Vinci should stick to painting over acting as he gets busted by the arrogant Prince of Naples who engages Da Vinci in a bit of swordplay. The duel doesn’t go well, as the Prince is an artist at swordplay and Da Vinci, well…isn’t. Da Vinci must flee, but not before dropping his sword into the slave galley.

Pope Sixtus gets the news that Lorenzo once again controls Florence and that a Cardinal was hung during the failed Pazzi revolt. Sixtus finds this amusing (‘cause he’s an evil sack of poop) and lets out a nice Palpatine cackle. Now Sixtus is justified in taking any and all action against Florence. You see he has UNLIMITED POWER (am I taking this Pope/Palpatine analogy too far? Leave your comments below). The violence towards the Church, as played out on Florence’s streets, allows Sixtus to excommunicate the city, which means no Christian is allowed to trade with Florence. This is an effective and vile strategy by the Pope who is one step closer to controlling a city of knowledge. Science versus religion continues to be the chief conflict of the show with Da Vinci as the principal warrior.

“Voyage of the Damned” really centers on Da Vinci, Zoroaster, and Vespucci securing a ship and crew. Before Da Vinci can continue his quest he must find a way to out duel the Prince of Naples, a man he cannot hope to best physically. If only Da Vinci could somehow channel the power of Zoroaster’s chest hair to take the Prince of Naples’ ship. It’s cool how the siege of the ship has turned into a mental puzzle rather than a physical challenge for Da Vinci. Da Vinci tries to find the key to the puzzle in an awesome scene in a fish market as the genius of Florence tries to find inspiration in the creatures Naples perfected. He also might find the inspiration to invent Legal Seafood.  

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As Da Vinci tries to find divine inspiration in shrimp, Lorenzo bravely wants to ride to Naples to save Florence from Church persecution. Moving forward, this puts Clarice in a nice place to rule over men who would spit on her and her gender. So it seems Clarice will handle all the political intrigue while Lorenzo springs into action.

From one brilliant woman to another, it seems Lucrezia now has her own personal ninja. She uses her new killer to find information on her father, who is still serving as the Pope’s pet prisoner. Mute ninjas now! This show freakin’ rules. By the way, Lara Pulver also rules every inch of this show as she reveals that Lucrezia was responsible for the death of Lorenzo’s brother. This prompts a heated exchange between husband and wife that showcases every inch of their passion and lust for victory.

The interaction between Zoroaster and Vespucci is delightful, as is the interaction between Zoroaster and anyone really. While the two trade barbs, Da Vinci begins building a submarine inspired by a turtle, a squid, and a lamprey. Of course he is. Da Vinci is becoming more Doctor Who every episode. This is a good thing. The show continues to up the ante as last season Da Vinci built a diving suit, this season, it’s a sub. On board the ship, Da Vinci plans to sack, and the Prince of Naples punishes his galley slaves for taking Da Vinci’s sword. He singles out a woman for punishment and dubs her his “toy.” The actress is so pretty she must be a new character.

A new member of the Medici family is introduced and surprises Clarice. He is of African descent and a bastard son of Lorenzo’s grandfather. Da Vinci’s Demons certainly is a creation engine for new characters. The new Medici tries to prove his identity to a doubting Clarice. He should provide a great new character for Clarice to interact with while Da Vinci and Lorenzo are on quests of their own.

The climax approaches as Da Vinci and Zoroaster settle under the Prince of Naples’s ship. The leaks in the sub make me want to Pee Vinci (editor’s note: boooooooo!). Vespucci infiltrates the ship and sabotages it, and all of a sudden, the whole thing turns into Black Sails as Zoroaster and Da Vinci board. While the Prince is busy raping his new “toy” (ewww), Da Vinci busts in. A stirring sword fight ensues and thank god the Prince put on pants.

Da Vinci holds out long enough for the master thief Zoroaster to pick the locks of the slaves’ chains. They surprise their douchebag former master and the fight is over. Da Vinci once again wins with his brain as the slave girl carves the word “toy” into the Prince’s chest…you go girl! Da Vinci goes from Tyrion to Khaleesi by freeing the ship’s slaves who, of course, join him as his new and loyal crew.

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Being a captain doesn’t stop Da Vinci from seeing his Turkish dream guide who reprimands the artist from deviating from his quest. Now Da Vinci is seeing him while awake as Zoroaster overhears the genius chit-chatting with himself. Oh well, Zoroaster followed him into a leaky, Renaissance era submersible, clearly batshit crazy doesn’t bother the master thief.

Another stirring episode that is afraid to be silly at some points and dead serious in others. Some new players bring the intrigue as we look forward to Da Vinci’s adventures at sea.

Things I learned:

– Lucrezia is even sexier now that she has a ninja.

– Lampreys can be used as inspiration.

– He might be an evil and vile soul, but I missed Riario this week.

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3.5 out of 5