What were my pre-existing notions of this series? Probably along the lines of "what a gross show; I think there is incest?; it's Showtime so it's definitely disgusting. Yeah, no, hard pass." Honestly, I wasn't even sure which historical figures the Borgias were. I took one look at this show title on his resume and immediately decided not to associate with it.
But, while trawling YouTube, the first thing I came upon was his death scene, from which I simply harvested the useful emotional footage and moved on, not inclined to dip my toe any further into those waters. (see also: the five minutes I spent with "Welcome to the Punch," an action movie even worse than its name)
And then I was in the Tumblr tag, and when I came upon this gifset?
My heart immediately blew ALL THE WAY UP.
For about an hour, I was even content to just enjoy it context-free and make up my own stories....but then I spent a feverish night giving myself a crash-course in canon, disappointingly learning he was only in one episode, and promptly running down every fanvid and keyword I could find until I had seen enough footage to convince myself I needed chronological order and scene audio, so off I went to the library for the DVD.
And that's where I've been for about the past 24 hours, just completely sparkly-eyed and enchanted by his every second of screentime, particularly with Lucrezia (a dearheart so sweet that I have now watched her scenes through three additional episodes, but more on that later).
As my new favorite recap puts it in describing "The Most Happiest Heathen Ever Who Loves Everyone" -- "Okay, the thing you need to know about Djem is that he is the happiest person ever, and I don't get that, because I know my Ottoman history and it's not like he left the Ottoman Empire to work on his bodybuilding, so he's like Lucrezia in male form; impossibly perky, in love with everyone, BFFs with Wee Juan of Cowardice, respectful of Cesare, totes in love with Lucrezia, and abruptly decides--I kid you not--to convert to Christianity just as Rodrigo decides to kill him for the 400,000 ducats offered by Cjem's brother for his body. It's like killing a puppy, but we'll come back to that." #ACCURATE AF
I cannot believe that my Naked People Prejudice* almost led to me missing the Best Character Ever (*which, by the way, I don't think was even an issue in this episode?? I know it exists in this series, but talk about a lucky strike).
And for all that, there is somehow not a single Djem/Lucrezia fic I can find, none that even reference him without devolving immediately into incest. COME ON, FANDOM. You saw all of their incredibly adorable interactions, and you had no urge to create more?? Because I want, like, fifty, and that's before I get to the ones that involve them getting the most blessings I have ever given to random illicit affairs.
IN CASE YOU NEED A REFRESHER (x):
Heck, since apparently she's younger than I presumed, I am outlining my demands for a YA novel right now, even though this show has probably already taken all the historical liberties available.
Now I absolutely cannot be coherent about this any longer, so out this post goes, even though I haven't even touched half of what I love about this role. Just know that I have literally spent, like, 2 hours watching scenes from this episode he doesn't even show up in until the second half.