‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ Season 1, Episode 7 Review – Trial By Water

Published 2 years ago by

Tom Riley in Da Vincis Demons The Hierophant Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 7 Review – Trial By Water

Leonardo da Vinci has not been seen in Florence for two entire episodes now and Da Vinci’s Demons is suddenly an adventure series because of it. Sure, it’s still a deeply flawed adventure series, but at least things are happening beyond da Vinci’s involvement with the Medicis and it feels like the story is progressing (albeit at a very deliberate pace) toward the storyline the series had promised since that first episode way back when.

Last week saw da Vinci and his companions, Nico and Zoroaster, spend an evening in Vlad the Impaler’s castle and learn a thing or two about the concept of real evil and witness (inconclusively) forces beyond what the world would have them know existed. While it felt like a throwaway episode, what with the trio traveling the lengthy expanse between Florence and Vlad’s castle in the blink of an eye, as the supporting cast was scattered across the country, securing favors, plotting, scheming or otherwise being punched in the face by the pope with his massive pope ring, ‘The Devil‘ was the closest Da Vinci’s Demons had come to expounding on the larger narrative, and the inclusion of Dracula seemed to suggest the series was, in some small way, prepared to accept its hokey nature and simply run with it.

In some regard, that’s also true of ‘The Hierophant.’ Da Vinci’s Demons has had enough trouble getting its main character to do anything remotely related to the Book of Leaves and the Vault of Heaven, and by giving da Vinci time away from the brothers Medici, it’s seemingly remembered that this is supposed to be a quasi-fantasy adventure series and not a historical drama.

James Faulkner in Da Vincis Demons The Hierophant Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 7 Review – Trial By Water

If anything, the last two episodes have illustrated what a burden the subplot of Lorenzo and his go-nowhere misadventures in Florentine banking and Giuliano’s halfhearted investigation into the circumstances surrounding Becci’s death have been to the series’ ability to progress its own storyline. It’s even more unflattering to realize the only interesting thing Giuliano has done this entire season is float down a lazy river after being stabbed by Lucretia Donati.

More importantly, however, ‘The Hierophant’ finally gives the audience a glimpse at the stakes of the series, by allowing da Vinci access to the Vatican archives with Pope Sixtus as his tour guide, after a wonderfully ridiculous sequence that found Leonardo drilling into the papal bath and emerging through a thick, swampy fog as though he just crash-landed on Dagobah. At any rate, things go gloriously over the top when Sixtus takes da Vinci to Vatican’s treasure trove via an elevator system built right into the archive’s floor. Once there, we see Excalibur, the Ark of the Covenant and the Spear of Destiny, among many other artifacts.

But the series finally goes full-boar when da Vinci winds up skewering a heavily armored guard with the Spear of Destiny as though he were cutting through warm butter. And yes, da Vinci makes like Samwell and leaves an incredibly powerful weapon behind after dispatching a single foe with it, but at least he manages to secure the second key to the Vault of Heaven since Nico and Zoroaster managed to detain Riario after a brief scuffle.

Gregg Chillin and Eros Vlahos in Da Vincis Demons The Hierophant Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 7 Review – Trial By Water

‘The Hierophant’ is really the first episode this season to have its plot tied into the overall narrative of the series. The fact that the first real glimpse of plot progression comes to us in the season’s penultimate episode, however, shows just how bungled the storyline has been since the premiere. It’s hard to think just what we’ve learned in the episodes between the ‘The Hanged Man‘ and ‘The Hierophant’ that couldn’t have been given to the audience in a brief bit of exposition or a flashback sequence, which ultimately speaks to the tremendous lack of direction this season has seen.

There’s still one episode left this season, and considering where we are at the end of ‘The Hierophant’ it seems unlikely that we’ll see any significant progression of da Vinci’s quest for the Book of Leaves. With any luck, the Medici’s feud with the Pazzi’s will come to some kind of conclusion, so as this series trudges toward season 2, it will have a better shot of actually telling the story it set out to in the first place.


Da Vinci’s Demons will conclude season 1 next Friday with ‘The Lovers’ @9pm on Starz. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Lucretia has to die. That’s all I got to say.

  2. Why is the writing for these DaVinci`s Demons episode reviews always so negative? The show has its flaws, it really does, but the author makes the show seem unwatchable.

  3. I’m sorry but imo this show is unwatchable,the only good thing it has is it’s premise,everything else is just a complete mess,from the forced english accents in 15th century italy to Leonardo’s fighting skills(???),seductive appeal,modern clothing and his terrible 21st century styled hair. THAT made me and some friends REALLY pissed,i mean, we’re all 22 and none of us are history scientists or anything,not the kind of people that would care about that stuff,but that’s the level of disappointment this show has brought upon us.

    • I feel sorry for you if you can’t watch something for not having normal aesthetics for it’s setting. Poor logic there for watching a show. It’s contextually correct with a few writing liberties to mix it up. You can tell it’s not meant to be taken seriously.

      It’s fun and colorful and more importantly different from shows like The Borgia’s – if made to look period correct it would be too similar. For me it’s replaced BBC’s Merlin.

      • English accents are vogue when it comes to period shows. Gives a sort of educated feeling and makes it easier for audiences everywhere to understand what’s being said.

        That being said, I stopped watching this show some time back, it really wasn’t that good and never engaged me enough to care. Hannibal did that too btu at least that show picked up in episode 2, Da Vinci’s Demons didn’t.

        It’s a shame because the premise is good, it’s just that the delivery lets it down.

        I saw that Merlin was mentioned too. God I hated that show. Terrible acting, terrible writing.

        Noticed that The Borgias was also mentioned. Love that show. Can’t wait for season 3 to start on June 17th. It’s weird how Screen Rant hasn’t reviewed that show but at the same time, I’m glad because I can’t help looking at articles and spoiling shows for myself (for instance, I knew that Danny would die in Revolution when we’d only had episode 4 airing and it actually happened this past friday in episode 11).

  4. I lIke the show and think it has been good so far. The episodes are interesting and they will get to searching for the book eventually. I don’t like they killed off the giuliano since I liked his character. Should have killed off lucretia since she adds nothing, but I guess they need her for the boobs. Just my opinion

  5. Also the guy commenting he and his friends hate the show because of Leonardo’s hair. Hilarious.

  6. Excalibur and The Sword in the Stone are two different things. Did no one play Tomb Raider Legend?!

  7. I really don’t understand this review. If they had rushed the plot line you would have said they rushed it. It seems to me the show has given us the right amount of fantasy, action, history and art. I guess you have to critique something.

  8. What’s with the complaining about “forced” English accents?? It’s made in Britain (Wales, rather than England, but that’s a small point) so the accents are those of the actors. Should the show be in medieval Italian?

  9. fk you director of da vinci, how could you kill giuliano, he was the single best character of the series, instead let that b**** live? da faq happen with this world, you fkd up the one of the best promising TV series!
    no no i still can`t believe it