Let's Discuss 'Medici' Season 1 vs. Season 2

Medici Masters of Florence Contessina de Medici Annabel Scholey Cosimo de Medici Richard Madden
If you need a breakdown between the first and second installments of “Medici," you have come to the right feature. Both seasons of the dazzling costume drama are terrific, in their own way. To better appreciate how; let's explore the ways “Masters of Florence” and “The Magnificent” differ from and resemble each other, especially when it comes to its protagonists.

“The Magnificent” continues the story of the Medici family with some familiar faces and a new generation of characters, challenges, and dramas. How does it compare to its predecessor season? Time for a deep dive.

Warning: Spoilers for both seasons of "Medici" are discussed below.

Cosimo vs. Lorenzo

The first season follows Cosimo de’ Medici, while the second follows his grandson, Lorenzo. Where Cosimo fights aspects of his "heir-dom," Lorenzo embraces them head-on. For those who found Cosimo’s angst off-putting, Lorenzo offers a lot of refreshing enthusiasm.

Cosimo and his grandson share a lot in common. Where Cosimo's goal had a strong tangibility to it, Lorenzo is more generally focused on maintaining the Medicis' prominence.

Like his grandfather, Lorenzo is smart and capable. The way he maneuvers is much the same, and he shares similar flaws with Cosimo. How Lorenzo handles his marriage is very different though. More on that in a bit.

Cosimo’s grandson marks an evolution for the family. A welcome combination of Cosimo’s mind with Contessina’s heart. The man Cosimo could never entirely be.

The Stories

Both seasons maintain a steady throughline, and it gives them each a strong backbone. Telling a story, rich in texture, and fully fleshed out in eight episodes is no easy task. There is tremendous flow to both installments and a marathon-worthy quality to each.

The main difference is in their endings. "Masters of Florence" concludes with its story feeling complete. While "The Magnificent" also ends satisfactorily, it simultaneously leaves one wanting to know what comes next. In its final moments, there is an intense sense the story of this generation of Medicis is far from finished.

Cosimo and Contessina vs. Lorenzo and Clarice

The Medicis and their romances! Neither Cosimo or Lorenzo start out as ideal husbands to their wives. One man learns from his mistakes and admits his foolishness, the other struggles to do so for a much (emphasis on much) more extended period.

Despite how wonderful Contessina is to him, Cosimo treats her poorly throughout “Masters of Florence.” She waits a long time for him to come to his senses, remaining with Cosimo in the face of his behavior.

Lorenzo’s virtuous wife, Clarice, is also loyal to him, in spite of learning he is still carrying on with his long-time flame post-nuptials. Upon this crushing realization early in their marriage, Clarice confronts him and takes a stand. She will not leave her heart open to him if he continues the affair.

Thankfully, her tough stance ends up resolving itself happily. Lorenzo acknowledges his folly, changes his behavior, and embraces Clarice as his wife, solely and completely.

Poor Contessina suffered throughout “Masters of Florence” enduring Cosimo’s disrespect. She ended up winning Cosimo’s heart. However, the things she had to put up with to get there were painful. Comparatively, "The Magnificent" gives viewers a romance that is fortified earlier on.

The Romances

In "Masters of Florence," Cosimo openly resents Contessina due to his desire for other women. Unlike his grandfather, Lorenzo never shows any ill will towards Clarice, nor does he speak to her callously. He does disrespect her, and when he is called out for it, he eventually realizes the error of his ways.

Both love stories demonstrate the power of patience and the value of accepting love where you may not have expected to find it. The merit of non-love-at-first-sight romance is real, and it shines in both seasons. If it is an abiding love, it takes time. To his credit, Lorenzo learns to appreciate his marriage far sooner than his grandfather.

The Siblings

Cosimo has his brother Lorenzo in “Masters of Florence,” and his grandson has two siblings, Giuliano, and Bianca in “The Magnificent.” The bond between brothers is terrifically highlighted in both seasons.

With Cosimo's grandchildren sharing such disparate personalities, “The Magnificent” seizes the chance for “Medici” to showcase the relationship between the brothers Medici and their sister. There is a lot of sibling drama that plays out as a result. Genuine care and affection are always a steady undercurrent though.

Some shows shy away from giving the sibling dynamics in a family all the attention they deserve. “Medici” does not make that mistake in either season.

The Villains

You should be able to watch a show and root for the lead protagonist. Sadly, that is not always the case.

Both seasons of “Medici” showcase why having a robust villain is as important as having a strong hero. You have to get the audience to invest in what they are fighting for, and in some cases -- against.

The Music

One of the aspects that gives the “Medici” series such an unmistakably regal feel is its sensational score. The musical accompaniment in both seasons helps contribute to the show's epic bearing.

In Summation

The first two seasons of “Medici” act as a related anthology. They are entertaining and build upon each other. Having watched them sequentially, it is difficult to imagine one without the other.

You need Season 2 to see how everything the Medici set out to do in Season 1 pays off. And you have to watch Season 1 to understand everything that happened to make that possible.

Both seasons are exquisite and well worth the watch. Few series can go back-to-back with quality installments, and "Medici" is in that rarified company.

“Medici: Masters of Florence” and “The Magnificent” are both streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Netflix]