Obstacles and Opportunities
Blood with Blood
Ties That Bind
Back for a second season, Medici returns for another slice of biographical drama involving the infamous Italian family. Set some time after the events of the first season, Medici: The Magnificent sets its sights on Lorenzo and his siblings for these 8 hour-long episodes. With a renewed vision and a fresh perspective, the second season turns a blind eye to historical accuracy, instead depicting a story rich in drama and tension but not quite hitting that same standard the first achieved so valiantly.
Whereas last year’s story gravitated around an intense rivalry between Rinaldo and Cosimo, with a dash of mystery around his father’s death for good measure, this second season is far more straightforward. Most of the drama revolves around a bitter feud involving the Medici and Pazzi family. Fronted by the hot-headed Jacopo de’ Pazzi, these men do everything in their power to undermine the Medici’s. Sensing an opportunity to snatch at power during this tumultuous time, the opportunistic youth Lorenzo goes behind his father’s back early on in the season and makes himself head of the bank.
In this life you reap what you sow and with this added responsibility of leadership comes a wealth of debts that threaten to overwhelm him; a tough price to pay for becoming leader. Fortunately, Lorenzo has the business savvy blood of the Medici’s coursing through his veins and what follows is an intricate web of negotiations, deals and alliances being formed across the season in a bid to make the Medici household a powerhouse once more.
Alongside this familial journey to resurgence are various love interests, triangles and affairs that bleed into the main narrative of the story. While Lorenzo does manage to instill more charismatic charm compared to Cosimo last season, the depiction of this man as more of a favourable protagonist than he actually was is a perfect example of the historical accuracy being abandoned. It’s particularly disappointing too when you consider the way Cosimo was presented last season.
Still, the cinematography and general set design is just as impressive here as it was in the first season. Now completed in its entirety, the various shots of the Florence cathedral dome and establishing shots in, and around, Florence are beautifully captured. On top of that, the streets are bursting with life which works well to complement the costume and set design teams who, again, do a wonderful job bringing the fifteenth century to life.
While still compelling and endearing throughout, in comparison to last season Medici: The Magnificent just doesn’t have the same star power and aura. The decision to steer away from historical accuracy in favour of a more dramatic and politically intriguing plot is a bit of a shame too and a noticeable drop in acting quality does hurt the show too. While still enjoyable, Medici The Magnificent doesn’t quite achieve its self-titled expectations, instead falling closer to Medici The Acceptable instead.