After a fun episode that focused on the fantastical secrets within the Vatican archives, it was a bit disappointing that the Da Vinci's Demons finale returned to Florentine history for its season finale. But it finally brings the Pazzi conspiracy into the open, with plenty of blood. Spoilers ahead.
Over the last few episodes, it has become clear that Da Vinci's Demons is strongest when it focuses on Leonardo's quest for the Book of Leaves and the Vault of Heaven rather than on the various political machinations between Florence and Rome. Leonardo's character tends to overwhelm the Florentine politicos, and there's a great deal more suspense when we're confronted with Count Dracula or the possibility that there's Kryptonite stored beneath the Vatican. But we knew we'd have to get to the Pazzi conspiracy out of the way sooner rather than later.
A few commenters rightfully pointed out last week that Giuliano Medici isn't quite dead, just a bit worse for wear after Lucrezia stabbed him. He makes the perilous journey back to Florence, but not in time to avoid insulting his Pazzi fiancée. The Pazzi's are naturally peeved when Giuliano doesn't show up to his own wedding, but unlike some families, they're not going to take it out on the guests—at least not yet. No, they're just going poison the Host at Easter mass.
It's not a good time to be Lorenzo. His brother's missing. His mistress is a Vatican spy. His supposed ally, the Duke of Urbino, seems to be rethinking his allegiances. And his war engineer is about to take off for parts unknown, leaving the city relatively defenseless. As much as Lorenzo always seems to be acting in the best interests of Florence, his eyes are closed, especially when it comes to those closest to him. When Giulinao interrupts mass to unveil the Pazzi conspiracy, Lorenzo's not blindsided, but he is ill-prepared. He does seem blindsided by the revelation that Leonardo is in love with Lucrezia, even though Leonardo asked if Lorenzo would offer her to him as an inducement to stay in Florence.
We do get one scene of Leonardo being Leonardo, embedded above, as he searches for clues to the next step in his quest. They're entertaining, but I can't help but wonder if this particular mystery could have used a bit more of the illustration overlay Goyer uses from time to time. The little bits of animation are lovely, but I feel like they could be used to better storytelling effect.
One nice thing that comes out of the Easter massacre is the growing sense that the female characters will become more important next season. Vanessa is carrying Giuliano's child, and now that he is dead, she may very well have the only male Medici child growing in her uterus. Lucrezia steps in to protect Clarice, as well as Lorenzo's children. We've gotten hints that Lucrezia and Clarice could have a rich and complicated relationship, and hopefully that will grow stronger in the coming season.
The episode ends with Count Riario attempting to storm the room in which Leonardo and Lorenzo have locked themselves with a very modern weapon: a gun. It may be a fitting cliffhanger to the end of the series, but I would have rather seen the ending unveil something grand about Leonardo's quest for knowledge. Oh well.
This was a season of definite ups and downs, but I'm rather looking forward to next season. David S. Goyer has laid a lot of potential on the table, and some new writing blood, including Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction, could draw something great out of the show.