Medici: The Magnificent season 2, episode 2 recap: Standing Alone


Episode 202 of Medici: The Magnificent is brimming with jousts, family feuds, and some compromising arranged marriage politicking.

This episode of Medici: The Magnificent begins with Lorenzo as a boy (Sam Taylor Buck) witnessing some jousting for the first time. He learns the lessons, “You must win in everything,” “A great man does good,” and that “All of Florence [Italy] is counting on you.” It’s quite a mental burden, but one the older Lorenzo de’ Medici (Daniel Sharman) will proudly carry on his still young shoulders.

Fortunately, Lorenzo has success with his plan to keep away Galeazzo Sforza (Tam Mutu), the violent Duke of Milan. However, when Lorenzo’s father, Piero (Julian Sands) is informed of some recent developments, he attributes them all to Pazzi’s mischief — specifically, his rival Jacopo de’ Pazzi (Sean Bean) and his family. Honestly, though, the deal with Galeazzo to besiege Florence seemed cruel and unnecessary. In any case, Piero’s wife, Lucrezia Tornabuoni (Sarah Parish) says she would have supported Lorenzo’s actions to spare the people of Florence.

Lorenzo and mommy Lucrezia head off to ask Pope Sixtus IV (Raul Bova) for an extension, wanting to end the insolvency that’s threatening chaos to their family’s reign. Unfortunately for them, Francesco Salviati (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) threatens to block the Medici’s request, suggesting he will not budge. Lucrezia argues with this, saying that, unlike certain rulers, the Medici use the bank to enrich the people. Clearly, they need a plan, as this guy just won’t listen.

Lorenzo’s marriage, a bargaining chip

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Lucrezia is crafty, knowing that Lorenzo is the nephew of Father Carlo (Callum Blake). Carlo’s own mother was a slave, but the Medici took him in. In other words, he owes them big time, and now may be the time for payment. Meanwhile, Salviati and Lorenzo exchange words. He insists, “If you do not pay the holy mother church, you will lose your papal accounts.” In other words, their bank serves the church, not the other way around. On the bright side, mother and son are invited to a banquet, which will give them further opportunity to craft a plan.

Love (or something like it) is in the air

Love (or something like it) is a ready theme of this episode. Bastiano (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) speaks with Bianca de’ Medici (Aurora Ruffino) about their engagement, but she seems reluctant to get married. Also, even though Lorenzo has another woman, it’s arranged that, to strengthen ties to the church, Lorenzo should marry Clarice (Synnove Karlsen). In fact, Lorenzo has to talk her out of becoming a nun, doing his best to sweet talk her. While it’s hardly the most authentic love imaginable, she eventually agrees. As part of the arrangement, Clarice’s brother Rinaldo is to be installed as Archbishop of Florence.

Although Carlo initially says he can’t turn Clarice away from god to marry Lorenzo, he eventually sort of does (though she can presumably believe what she wants — just not as an officially sanctioned nun). When Lorenzo talks with papa Piero, the words are spoken: “If we lose today, we must have faith we will win tomorrow.” While all this is happening, a big jousting event was approaching, and it’s an opportunity for macho men to charge at each other on horseback and show their athletic prowess.

The Medici joust against the Pazzi

Sports are a big part of today’s world, but that’s always been the case. In Medici: The Magnificent, jousting takes on special political dimensions. In fact, it basically is a consciously political event. Just before the game, Vespucci (Alessio Vassallo) calls the Medici “arrogant peacocks who like to be seen.” However, that could probably describe any one of the jousters.

With the first match, between Guglielmo Pazzi (Charlie Vickers) and Giuliano de’ Medici (Bradley James), it’s a draw. However, it’s established that Giuliano could have killed him, but his sister never would have forgiven him. Soon after that peacock display, Lorenzo faces against Francesco de’ Pazzi (Matteo Martari). Unexpectedly (for most viewers), Lorenzo is knocked off his horse. Apparently, though, papa Pazzi, Jacopo (Sean Bean), had cheated by cutting loose Lorenzo’s saddle. Talk about bad sportsmanship (though, truth be told, one wonders if this actually happened, or if this is a case of history being told by “the winners”). Although Jacopo urges Francesco to kill Lorenzo, he rejects the idea, saying that could only happen in a fair fight. In the second round, Lorenzo appropriately wins.

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Lorenzo wins, but his family’s still mortal

Things basically work out for Lorenzo. Mommy Medici had success with her diplomatic mission. Clarice’s brother Rinaldo is slated to be Archbishop of Florence. Also, the whole reason for it all: The papal credit is to be extended. While away, Lorenzo is married by proxy to Clarice. It’s not all happy times for the Medici clan, though. Piero dies!

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