Is The Borgias going to be returning to TV?
—Carl Nelson, New Haven, Conn.
The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI, will be back for a second season April 8 on Showtime. In season two, the pope will begin to think about his legacy, but first he will have to deal with his conscience over the actions he took to become the Holy Father. He isn't showing his softer side and continues to use his power for personal gain.
In the second season, Pope Alexander rallies his family to help him take revenge on the noble houses who opposed him, but he finds he is having difficulty with his children, who may become his biggest problem.
"The whole power structure within the Western world was completely different," says Irons, 63. "I think the Pope then was more of a monarch than a pope, but, like everybody, he was a believer. He was Christian, as everybody was. They might have their different ideas, some were a little odd, but Christianity was a given. The God up there was a given. That aside, the world had to be ruled. Power had to be exerted. Alliances had to be made."
One unlikely alliance is the one Rodrigo's daughter, Lucrezia, forges between Vannozza and Giulia, and together they plot to battle Vatican corruption. "She had a lot more innocence last year, and this season she's a lot more willing to stand up for herself because I think she's seen the consequences of not doing that," says Holliday Grainger, 23, who plays Lucrezia. "She's not going to allow even the closest members of her family to take advantage of her."
The sibling rivalry between Cesare and Juan will turn to hatred as their father's unwavering favoritism toward Juan triggers Cesare to engage his dark side. Also this season, Pope Alexander VI will be facing off against two arch enemies: the French king, who is suffering from the pestilence in Naples and beginning to think about his revenge, and Della Rovere, the moral compass of the series, who enters the city incognito and conspires to assassinate him.