'Medici' Season 3 brings closure to Lorenzo's story in a dramatic and sentimental ending
Season 3 begins by telling the story of Lorenzo's quest for vengeance for his brother's death and how in doing so, he lost grips with what made him and his family great
Big Light Productions' drama series on the Medici family began with the story of Cosimo de' Medici, played by Richard Madden. The second and third seasons followed the story of Lorenzo de' Medici (Daniel Sharman), Cosimo's grandson. Both Cosimo and Lorenzo were patrons of some of the best artists of medieval Europe, including Donatello, Michaelangelo, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci.
From the beginning, 'Medici' had a tale of epic proportions to tell. The first season was brilliant with excellent performances by Madden, Dustin Hoffman (who played Cosimo's father, Giovanni), and Annabel Scholey (who played Cosimo's wife, Contessina). Sharman certainly had big shoes to fill when he took over the mantle from Madden from Season 2.
Season 2 built up to the Pazzi conspiracy, when the Pazzi family — rival bankers of the Medicis — plotted with the Catholic Church to kill both Lorenzo and his brother, Giuliano. Giuliano was stabbed to death, but Lorenzo survived and his life thereafter became a lot about getting vengeance for Giuliano's death.
Season 3 begins by telling the story of Lorenzo's quest for vengeance and how in doing so, he lost grips with what made him and his family great, to begin with. While Cosimo worked on increasing the Medici family's banking prowess, Lorenzo sought to expand the family's political power. He was great at doing so being the brilliant strategist that he was. Lorenzo was even instrumental in keeping the peace between the three Italian principalities of Florence, Naples, and Milan.
For the first half of Season 3, Lorenzo's main rival is Girolamo Riario, who was one of the conspirators during the Pazzi conspiracy. Riario is played by Jack Roth and if viewers found him familiar, it is because he is the son of actor Tim Roth ('Reservoir Dogs', 'Pulp Fiction'). The younger Roth does a good job of playing Riario, who was singularly focused on the downfall of the Medicis. While Riario may not have seen that happen in his lifetime, it happens during a later period.
The second half of Season 3 sees Girolamo Savonarola (Francesco Montanari), a puritanical friar who began as a friend to Lorenzo, but slowly turned against the latter when he felt that Lorenzo held his political power to be of more importance than God. Savonarola was also a self-proclaimed prophet and used his oratory skills to amass more followers, including Lorenzo's former friend, Botticelli, and turn them against Lorenzo.
Season 3 ends with Lorenzo's death. As he was dying, Lorenzo asks for God's forgiveness from Savonarola. This is mostly true, as Savonarola did visit Lorenzo on his deathbed. Rumors swirl that Savonarola damned the latter and the final episode tries to depict what may have happened. Savonarola intends on destroying all art that flourished because of Lorenzo and tells him that Michaelangelo and Botticelli will be forgotten. Lorenzo tells him that he thinks Savonarola is wrong and that this period in Florence will always be remembered.
This is true and while it may not have happened as shown, it helps give a fitting end to the story of Lorenzo the Magnificent who worked all his life for Florence, even though some of his actions may have been misguided. The ending was certainly too sentimental to be real, but this is drama and perhaps that could be forgiven.
As mentioned, Sharman had big shoes to fill when he took over from Madden, but the British actor whose credits include 'Teen Wolf' and 'Fear the Walking Dead' does a fine job of playing the aging Lorenzo as the Medici family slowly loses all its worth.
All episodes of Season 3 of 'Medici' are now streaming on Netflix.