The Borgias Recap: “The Banquet of Chestnuts”
Things were deliciously awkward when Cesare (François Arnaud) and Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) first bumped into each, following their night of passion. It didn’t help that Rodrigo (Jeremy Irons) kept needling “blushing bride” Lucrezia about her wedding night.
Alfonso’s cousin, the King of Naples, came by the next morning to get all the lurid details about what Lucrezia was like in bed, and quickly deduced his cousin was still a virgin. Alfonso was even worse at lying about sex than Steve Carell’s character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Defeated, Alfonso quickly admitted to his cousin nothing happened between them.
Alfonso apologized to Lucrezia for their quarrel, in an attempt to “seal the deal” with his wife. Lucrezia softened, but lacking passion for her husband, she denied him affections. Alfonso became increasingly desperate (probably already hearing his cousin screaming, “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” over and over in his head).
“Maybe our love has to be more of the soul,” she told him. “Like brother and sister,” asked Alfonso. “No, not like that,” Lucrezia concluded awkwardly. To his credit, and the show’s, Alfonso was a decent human being (unlike Giovanni Sforza and Juan), and not a rapey jerkface. This pleased me, since I could not handle another season of Lucrezia being repeatedly raped by her husband.
The King of Naples was incensed the marriage had not been consummated, and determined to secure his alliance by any means. He asked that he be able to witness the act, saying that "a [sexless] few days become a few weeks, then the lovers come,” and he wished to see the Naples-Rome alliance cemented personally.
Apparently, this wasn’t completely uncommon back in the day, although the Borgias were grossly offended. Cesare was enraged and said his sister would not be insulted thus, however he was overruled by Rodrigo.