Let's hope he's packing some garlic. Friday's episode of Starz's historical-fantasy series Da Vinci's Demons will feature a face-off between Leonardo Da Vinci (Tom Riley) and Vlad the Impaler (Paul Rhys), the notorious inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's not that crazy a notion: Da Vinci and Vlad were Renaissance contemporaries and close enough neighbors. And Vlad, despite his lust for horrific torture, was hailed as a savior by the Catholic church because he kept the Ottoman Empire from conquering the Italian states.
There's no evidence the two ever met. But a guy can dream, can't he? "I couldn't resist having these two very real people — each shrouded in legend and lore — have a go at each other," says series creator/executive producer David S. Goyer. "Our Vlad is very aware of the rumors and myths about himself, and he plays them up so people are even more afraid. Is he a supernatural being? Is he completely insane? We skirt the edges of both."
Vlad isn't the only big bad on the horizon. The episode finds Leonardo searching for the Abyssinian (Shaun Parkes), yet another member of the secret society known as the Sons of Mithras, who has been imprisoned by Vlad. Coming episodes will reveal much more about the mysterious Sons, who "represent the ancient brotherhood of man," Goyer says. "Think of them as the Jedi from Star Wars. That means there are some Sith out there, too."
Da Vinci's Demons airs Fridays at 9/8c on Starz.