Early in the morning and with the help of Paolo, Giulia and Lucrezia escape Pesaro. While Lucrezia is optimistic to see her Narcissus again, she knows that everything will change once she leaves. For his help, Paolo is whipped and while he doesn’t reveal where the ladies have gone, he does let Giovanni know Lucrezia finds him repellent and implies that she much prefers stable boys. On the road to Rome, the ladies are captured by French forces and taken hostage by the king. (It was all very polite, actually--considering how the French have acted thus far.) Lucrezia, the captured, easily dazzles the French King and captures him in her allure. At dinner, with della Rovere present, Lucrezia charms Charles by telling him his fortune and begins her careful plan to protect her family and the papacy. Clearly, everyone's patience for della Rovere is wearing thin.
In Rome, Rodrigo feels power slipping from him. All the cardinals and many citizens are fleeing: fearing that the French will sack Rome and the Vatican before moving on toward Naples. Rodrigo demands a review of the guard. Cesare, unsure and frustrated, has to go find his thoughtless brother in a whore house and drags him to his father’s presence. Italy has never faced cannons before, and unable to fathom that France would use them in battlefield combat, Juan plots to meet the French King just there to outwit the cannons. (Cesare knows better -- okay, that's what I've been led to believe...and yet everyone is dazzled by Juan's military know-how.)
Juan’s forces and the French army meet just outside Rome and Charles does exactly what Juan never thought would happen – he fires the cannons. Lucrezia, terrified for her brother and sick from the carnage, gallops into the middle of the field to beg Juan retreat, saying they would offer safe passage through Rome to Naples. Confused but trusting, Juan listens to his sister and turns about.
As French forces begin to enter the city, Cesare goes to beg Ursula to leave Rome. When she tells him she will not leave and says his name, Cesare begs her to at least let him protect the abbey. She agrees, saying it is his abbey after all. (Their love? Totally hopeless; yet very very sweet.)
Rodrigo searches his soul desperately for guidance. When his soul is quiet, he turns to his Spanish monk for advice. Standing in the Vatican, looking at the monk’s simple robes, Rodrigo finds his inspiration. He will face the French invasion, and he will do it humbly in Spanish sandals and brown robe.