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Rome Fodder

Rome: Son of Hades - Capsule Review

Rome 2-2 “Son of Hades” Capsule Review.

Pullo and Vorenus return home from their little Fulmen headectomy detail. Vorenus casually tosses the head on the floor under a cabinet, and heads to bed and oblivion.

There is fighting in the streets as chaos reigns, especially in the Aventine – one of the seven hills of Rome and the former franchise of capo Erastes Fulmen. Later Pullo and Eirene talk about getting a place of their own, Eirene being sure that Vorenus’s house had a curse over it and any child conceived there will surely be a monster.

A month passes. Vorenus lies in bed, a mess. Pullo tries the old ‘time to cut the mourning beards’ ploy without success.

Antony and Atia discuss Cleopatra, who is apparently paying a visit to Rome. Both are just full of themselves for their triumphs over Brutus and Servilia, respectively.

Octavia waylays Antony, post tete a tete, and wheedles him about getting Caesar’s money from the will. Apparently already an old wheedle. Antony’s all ‘what’s your hurry?’, and promises to look into it. Like we haven’t all heard that from government bureaucrats a thousand times.

Antony is holding court and receives Cleopatra. Cleo is looking a bit more regal and attractive than the teen-age tart we saw previously. Maybe she’s stayed off the hard stuff. Antony mentions they’ve met before. Cleo says ‘all you guys in uniforms look alike’ and feigns not to remember him. Posca, whom Antony’s apparently had the good sense to retain the services of, suggests ‘beginning negotiations’. The essence of the deal is Rome is to guarantee Cleo keeps her throne and Cleo guarantees a certain number of grain shipments to Rome (Egypt being sort of the Iowa of the Mediterranean). Oh, and a few payoffs on the side to Antony, personally. (Rome being sort of the Chicago of the Mediterranean). In other side negotiations, Antony would like to relieve Cleopatra of her pants, while Cleopatra is amenable if Antony will have little Caesarion (now 4) named Caesar’s legitimate son. Antony disses Caesarion, and Cleo leaves, but on the way out, spots Pullo – who may be the father of Caesarian – in the crowd and gives him a sharp look. If I was Pullo I’d start sleeping with my sword in my hand and my back to the wall.

Antony is holding more court, and an anonymous businessman protests about the violence in the Aventine since the recent demise of Evil Businessman Erastes Fulmen being bad for business. Antony promises to do something about it. After he’s gone, Cicero the Smarmy chimes in with agreement about the lousy business climate on the Aventine hill. Antony wants Cicero’s agreement on a list of candidates (which he says is ‘Caesar’s list’ although it may actually be Posca’s) for political office which Cicero protests is full of low-lifes. Antony would like to de-Cicero Rome, but needs him for the moment to control the senate, and so agrees to allow Cicero to edit the list. Cicero knows his leash is short, but pulls a Scarlett O’Hara “I’ll worry about that tomorrow” move when Antony remarks how easy he would be to kill.

Antony tires of various haranguers about money and closes up shop, only to be assaulted by more haranguers about money outside, whom he ignores, but halts when he hears Titus Pullo call him from the crowd. Pullo asks for advice about helping Vorenus who’s sunk into a huge “I cursed my dead children” funk.

Next we see Antony visiting Vorenus's house. He’s apparently seen Jack Web in “The D.I.” or R. Lee Ermy in “Full Metal Jacket” and takes the same approach to comfort and succor. He braces Vorenus and picks up the shrunken head of the long departed EBEF. Pullo chimes in “I tried to get rid of it but it seems to comfort him somehow.” Antony backhands the head out the door and over the parapet into the courtyard below. For a second it looks like a distressed Vorenus is about to follow it, but his discipline takes over. Antony reminds Vorenus of his personal oath of loyalty way back when, and calls in his marker. Vorenus gets the job of cleaning up the Aventine. Maybe slightly easier than the Augean stables, but only slightly.

Later Atia and Antony disport themselves in a pool in her house, where they discuss Cleopatra some more, then Antony does his “Great Roman Peninsula Hump-Backed Whale” imitation – or is it a moray eel?

Atia is giving a party! Servilia comes! What fun! Atia greets her old friend Servilia and professes forgiveness (now that Atia’s triumphed) and reconciliation. Servilia’s having none of it, but goes though the forms, while speaking volumes with her eyes. Octavian, no fool he, notices Timon and his merry men hanging about in the yard and correctly deduces Atia’s planning a little Fulmenesque after-party for Servilia. He puts the kibosh on that and Atia dismisses Timon et al.

Now we see the motivation for the party, as Cleopatra arrives. For all their republican professions, the Romans sure seem to have a fascination with royalty, as everybody vies for a glance or a word, none more prominently than Atia. There follows about the least cheerful party you’ve ever seen, full of reclining, knowing glances, eating, more reclining, and no conversation whatsoever. Atia, Cleopatra, Antony, Octavian, Servilia, Octavia, the camera darts back and forth.

We cut to Timon’s house, seeing it and meeting his wife for the first time. He’s greeted there by brother Levi, whom he hasn’t seen in nine years. Levi at first professes to be there for business reasons, but it soon becomes clear he’s a little bit on the lam. A revolutionary even. Timon warns him he (Timon) has a wife and business to care for so don’t go trying any of that rebel stuff around here. Levi will have some wine with Timon, but not eat there since Timon’s house doesn’t keep Kosher. Ah, the old Conservative/Reform split.

At the party, Cleopatra leaves, following which Atia screeches “Party’s over, everybody leave!” in a fingernails-on-chalkboard voice. Jeeze, can’t keep the royalty, can’t kill your rival. Atia’s parties are no fun any more.

Somewhere on the Aventine, some local gunsels (spearsels?) are seen lifting a large cloth sack out of a fountain. They cut it open and out spills a woozy, but still living guy. Well, it wasn’t quite a snake, a dog and a monkey and tossed into the Tiber. I didn’t even see a dog or monkey, but they seem to have made up for it with extra snakes. Apparently non-poisonous snakes, since the idea seems to have been to ‘send a message’ to a rival gang, sort of like a horse-head in the bed. More fighting seems imminent, when a religious procession brings it all to a stop with an announcement of truce and all gang leaders to gather at the Aventine Collegium for a parley, in the name of the goddess Concord, goddess of truce and supersonic transports.

At the parley all the gang bosses hang around wondering who called this mess, and everybody’s all “Not me”, “Not me”, when Vorenus and Pullo walk up and invite the chiefs all in ‘to learn something to their profit’.

Vorenus puts on an Al Haig “I’m in charge here” performance, but with a little more vim. A few gang bosses object, wondering who Vorenus is to take over. Vorenus points out that besides being the guy who did for EBEF, he’s “A SON OF HADES!”, and smashes the idol of Concord, declaring ‘f*** Concord in the a**'. And them thar is NC-17 stars, brother. Pullo gets a little nervous at insulting the gods, but the gangsters are impressed and decline to object to Vorenus’s self appointment.

Back to a meal at Atia’s. Antony, under fire re Cleopatra, does a Clintonesque “I never touched that woman”. Heh. Now that I think about it, Atia does bear some resemblance to Hillary. Octavian’s still on Antony’s case about his inheritance. Antony asks “What would you do with the money?” Octavian replies “That’s a complex question.” But doesn't answer it. Meanwhile Octavia grumps about her salad. Nothing gets settled, for anybody.

Cut back to Vorenus and Pullo discussing the “Son of Hades” remark, which still makes Pullo nervous. Who’d have thought Pullo the more religious of the two? But come to think of it, there have been many small hints. Pullo praying to Mars over his kills in episode 1, sacrificing a cockroach to Dis for Eirene’s happiness, back when he thought he was going to die in the arena, etc.

It’s morning and the town crier dude announces that if any citizen will kindly make his way out to [some field], Octavian will personally hand him the 300 sestertii from Caesar’s bequest. I thought it was 75 denarii last week. Inflation? Gotta go review the DVD’s and get back to you in the full recap, coming soon. This wake-up call gets Antony and Atia right out of bed, and they go toss Octavian out of his. Guess either everybody lives right next to the forum, or town crier dude’s got one righteous set of lungs.

Antony and Atia demand to know where Octavian got, or thinks he can get, such a pile of loot, and Octavian says he’s borrowed it against his expectations. This sends Antony to chewing the rug. Octavian tries to convince Antony that his (Octavian’s) venture into politics can be the basis of a mutual support society that benefits them both. Antony’s having none of it and they tussle around the bedroom, Octavian getting by far the worse of it.

Back to the Aventine some time later, where Pullo now has the world’s greatest job – hiring talent for a bordello. He’s interviewing a real babe, who’s name I don’t catch (look for it in the full recap) but who says she’s not ‘talent’ she’s supervisory material. Pullo approves, and Eirene better keep an eye out. Pullo also hires an old army buddy whom he takes to the back room to see Vorenus, and they chat about old times for a while – the buddy’s name is Mascius.

Servilia’s house, and Servilia and Cicero are creaming themselves over the news of the falling out between Antony and Octavian. Servilia wants to bring Brutus back, but Cicero says ‘not quite yet’.

We next hear a letter Octavian’s composed to Atia, saying he’s sorry she’s taking Antony’s part, and he’s ‘going south’ to Campania, and to visit his good friend Agrippa (who was not, as I mistakenly wrote earlier, the third leg of the second triumvirate, but a famous Roman general who I'm sure we'll be seeing more of, later - thanks TJ.).

As his caravan proceeds south, they pass a slave wagon, and as the point of view pans across the unhappy faces of the slaves, we recognize first Lyde, then Vorena the elder, then Vorena the younger, then finally, little Lucius… … all alive.

Next Week: Rome appears to be a free for all – everybody against everybody.

Previous Capsule: Rome 2-1C - "Passover" - Capsule Review

Next Capsule: Rome 2-3C These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero - Capsule Review

Full review now available HERE.

- Cecil

Posted by Cecil on January 22, 2007 12:54 AM
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