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Rome: 2-5C Heroes of the Republic - Capsule Review

Rome: 2-5C "Heroes of the Republic" - Capsule Review

Previously: Althea dies of the poison intended for Atia, Duro is tortured, Pullo meets Octavian on the battlefield of Mutina, Servilia is tortured, Pullo finds Vorenus, Antony rallies his spirits as his armies retreat, Brutus and Cassius raise their armies, the Vorenus children rescued by Vorenus and Pullo,
(Bear with me readers. The flu and asthma are making me dizzy. This episode is making me dizzy. I counted 25 changes of scene in a 55 minute drama. The world reels. Great changes are afoot.)

Opening scene. Timon prays in a Jewish temple somewhere, rocking and chanting with the rabbis. He has one of those box-thingees on his forehead. No disrespect intended, Jewish friends, help me out here – what is that? Whatever, it’s the last we’ll see of Timon this ep.

Cisalpine Gaul. It’s a wet miserable camp as two legionaries squat over a small fire stirring some gruel. A twig snaps, the legionaries alert, but it’s only Tom Hanks from “Castaway” with a deer over his shoulder. No, actually, it’s Antony in long hair and beard, looking like it’s a fun camp-out with the boys. He slings down the deer carcass with a hearty ‘Let’s eat!’. The legionaries fall to butchering with a will.

A wagon on the road. Vorenus and Pullo wax philosophical as they carry the sleeping children home. Pullo doesn’t think the Aventine Collegium will make much of an child-care facility, and advises Vorenus to take off for, well, anywhere. Vorenus still figures he has this duty, see – to a fled dictator, Antony. Oh, those life oaths. They are stopped by soldiers, who turn out to be Octavian’s men – Octavian’s back in the Big Olive. With his army. Here we go again.

Cicero and Octavian confer. Octavian wants a triumph, but Cicero quibbles on several technical grounds, such as the victory wasn’t over the enemies of Rome, but rather other Romans, and the victory wasn’t quite complete, being that Antony is still alive, and the victory wasn’t quite Octavian’s either, since the now-dead generals Hirtius and Pansa did most of the fighting. So no triumph. Octavian says ‘at least make me a consul’ which Cicero figures he can OK since he can control this 19 year old upstart. (Somewhere we hear echoes of a certain Lepus Insectivorus “He don’t know me very well, do he?”) Octavian has sent Lepidus, his best general, with two legions to deal with Antony.

Atia’s house. Atia and Octavia discuss Octavian. Octavia wants Atia to make peace with Octavian. Atia insists Octavian must come to her.

The Aventine Collegium – Mascius flirts with the ever voluptuous Gaia. Pullo and Vorenus return – the place doesn’t look quite like the smoking hulk we remember from when Pullo returned to Rome. There’s walls here, and ceilings.

Octavian’s house. Octavian and Octavia reunite. “You still eat like a horse?” Octavian sibling-natters. They trade tit for tat (no literalism intended) on the subject of Atia. Octavian can’t get over “She set her lover to beat me!” Nothing resolved, Octavian dismisses her “Until I’m less busy.” “What an ass you’ve become,” she parting-shots.

Aventine Collegium again – Vorenus reviews how business had been while he’s been away. Mascius, who’s held down the fort against the other gangs while Pullo and Vorenus have been out rescuing maidens, is disturbed to hear he’s still number 3 to Pullo’s number 2. Lyde enters, hesitantly, dressed in white and head in a scarf. “You’re in the temple, now?” asks Vorenus. Vorenus takes her to see the children, but makes it clear he will keep them, not her. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the collegium, Eirene accuses Pullo of loving Vorenus more than her. (P-V shippers everywhere alert.) Pullo says if Vorenus and Eirene were both drowning in the Tiber, he’d save her first. “Really?” Eirene starts to thaw. “Certainly, you weigh half what he does.” Dude, you so don’t want to joke at this point.

Octavian’s house (which was Caesar 1.0’s house) – Atia come crawling (literally) and begging for forgiveness. It works. Tears all round. (Are there some dry-eyed crocodiles in the wings?)

Atia’s house - “Welcome home, brother,” says Octavia.

A religious ceremony. A priest invokes ‘Father Janus’ (God of new beginnings, remember) to heal the Vorenus children of their bad spirits. Vorena the Elder gets a healthy smear of sacrificial blood on her cheeks.

Antony’s camp. Antony receives Lepidus “My old friend.” It seems as soon as they got close, Lepidus’s legions deserted and went over to Antony. Antony makes Lepidus an offer he can’t refuse – second in command.

Octavian’s house. Octavian and Pullo stroll and discuss the finer points of marriage. Pullo delivers the message that Vorenus recognizes Octavian as the legitimate legal custodian in Rome, even as he must obey his sworn oath to Antony. For now Vorenus will keep the peace on the Aventine, even though he can’t guarantee his actions if Antony returns. Octavian agrees to let things rest there, for now.

The Senate – Octavian has been made consul. His first speech rouses the senate to declare Brutus and Cassius murderers and enemies of the state. His oratory has improved. Cicero is furious at being out-maneuvered. Soldiers appear behind the new consul, soldiers, who the new consul says ‘loved Caesar’, and who will be very upset if the senate does not comply. A furious Cicero summons a scribe to take a letter to Brutus and Cassius, which he begins “Heroes of the Republic, Greetings…” (Didn’t my draft board’s letter start the same way?)

Aventine Collegium – the kiddy quarters - Vorena the younger is sneaking something from a box in a storeroom. She scoots back to her quarters. Suddenly Daddy comes in. “All is well?” Vorenus is being as tender as his nature allows, which is not very. The children say ‘all’s well’ or at least Vorena the elder does. To date, we haven’t seen a word pass the lips of Vorena the younger or little Lucius. As soon as daddy leaves, Vorena the younger spits. Remember, as far as the children know, Vorenus killed Niobe.

Back in the bar, Gaia is cleaning up the empty chamber where Vorenus sits. She makes her move “You can have me, if you want… or I can go.” “Stay.” Cut to sweaty sex. Afterwards, Vorenus dismisses her “You can go… there’s some coins on the table.” Gaia is offended “I thought you liked me.” They go back and forth several times with “Take the money.” “F*** you.” (Q. Isn’t that what started all this?) Vorenus finally prevails, preferring to keep the relationship on a commercial basis.

A sit-down orgy for, oh, hundreds. An uptight Agrippa wants to leave, feeling it beneath the dignity of a ‘second to consul’, but Maecenas is OK with it. Leaving, Agrippa spots Octavia on a bed getting stoned on that far-out Grecian hemp with Jocasta. He picks her up and apparently carries her though the streets in his arms to…

Atia’s house – where he leaves her with Castor to be got to bed. Atia appears and wants to know what this soldier is doing with her daughter. “He abducted me!” Octavia whines. “And brought you home to your mother? Strange sort of abduction.” Good one, Atia. When it come out she was at an orgy, Atia doesn’t think this will sit well with Octavian’s restoration-of-morality campaign.

Aventine Kiddy-Korner – The children are sneaking off, with stolen money. They run away to aunt Lyde. Aunt Lyde, however, says they must go back, for they can’t live without Vorenus’s support, even though they all think Vorenus killed Niobe – and remember Vorenus wasn’t that far from actually doing so, so maybe there’s some justification for their feelings. Lyde says they must profess love for their father and never let him see their hatred.

Octavian’s house. Cicero’s here. It’s “not a social call.” Cicero wants Octavian to surrender command of his legions. If he does, maybe Cicero can persuade the oncoming Brutus and Cassius to treat with him. “Any war would be short and bloody, and not to your advantage,” Cicero says.

Agrippa’s getting intelligence of Brutus’s “twenty legions”.

Servilia writes to Brutus, encouraging his advance and sending him his father’s father’s ring, said to be made of gold from the crown of the last Roman king.

Brutus crosses into Greece near the Hellespont with his legions.

Antony and Lepidus are planning their march into Rome. Into camp, with great ceremony, rides a sultry and serene looking Atia. Her first remark to Antony “I’m not sure about the beard.” They embrace. Later, in bed, Antony asks, “How did you manage to get here?” “I’m not alone,” Atia replies. In the morning, Octavian rides into camp. Antony and Octavian consider each other for a moment, then embrace like old friends. Oh, Brutus, you are so, so screwed.

Final scene. More or less a family dinner. We see Vorenus, Pullo, Eirene, Gaia, Vorena the elder, Vorena the younger, Little Lucius. Vorenus compliments Vorena the elder on the food. Oh, Vorenus, maybe you need to confer with Atia about the advisability of employing a taster. Vorena the elder accepts the compliments, but behind her back she’s making some sort of hex sign.

Fade to credits, this time the music has an Eastern flair.


Next Week: Maybe we finally, finally, finally get to see a big Roman a Roman battle. At least the episode’s named for one, and the brief scenes hold out some hope.

- Cecil


Previous Capsule: 2-4C “Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare) – Capsule review ”

Next Capsule: 2-6C “Philippi"

Full review available now, HERE.

Click here for complete "Rome" broadcast schedule, including reshow days, times, and HBO Channel

Posted by Cecil on February 11, 2007 4:58 PM
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He has one of those box-thingees on his forehead. No disrespect intended, Jewish friends, help me out here – what is that?

It's a tefillin.

-- Posted by: X at February 12, 2007 2:54 AM

The look on Vorenus' face when he blew his load was hillarious!

-- Posted by: Eric at February 12, 2007 9:56 AM

>>He has one of those box-thingees on his forehead. No disrespect intended, Jewish friends, help me out here – what is that?

>It's a tefillin.

-- Posted by: X at February 12, 2007 02:54 AM


By the time I'd finished the full review I'd found it on Google and posted a couple of links in the longer review. Would you believe you can find it with a query of "Jewish box thing worn on forehead"?

-- Posted by: Cecil Rose at February 15, 2007 7:13 PM

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