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Sometimes I find it hard to think that these episodes are not the work of a committee which doesn't actually see the other parts



By which I mean that while I really like this episode, I thought it was a bit all over the place in how it affected me. Some of it was quite, quite marvellous, but some of it I just found myself going 'enough, already!' I get it that Atia is ruthless and cold and a woman of needs!

The Atia vs. Servilia stuff I could have done without. I don't actually hate Servilia like many people do, so I couldn't be all gung-ho about the retribution or whatever Atia was doling out. Mostly I was astonished that these people were all so very stupid. Who kidnaps an aristocratic Roman whose son has 8 LEGIONS IN THE FIELD, has her raped and beaten and let's her know for sure that that is what you are the person behind it? Who does this in THEIR HOUSE WHERE ALL THE SLAVES CAN HEAR IT AS COULD ANY VISITORS? Are there no gangland holes you can do this in? Even if Servilia will not act openly against Atia because she won't want to admit the rape then what is to stop her burning down Atia's house? Or moving against Octavia say, - she's got the power, she's got the connections. Bah. I am tired of Atia at the moment; she's the least interesting thing the show had this week, which is a pity because quite clearly she is the one who is supposed to showcase a lot of Rome's corruption and its capacity for endless cruelty up close and on a personal level. Going from the trailers for next week she is still evilly plotting doom for Octavian - I wonder how she will react to the Octavia-Antony marriage?

Despite the brilliance and the emotion of Vorenus' reunion with his children, I found what I was most moved by was Cicero's parting words to Agrippa; 'it's all vanity, you know.' I know Cicero is not everyone's cup of tea and he can be a hard man to like, but I do believe that he was the only one out of the whole pack of them who actually believed and cared for the republic. I may not share his view of what that republic should have been, but I think that in the end he was disinterested in a way that none of the others were. And that must have been a terribly lonely position to have held.

I really hope we get the scene where Antony and Octavian bargain over who they are going to kill and Octavian swaps Cicero for Antony's uncle, like some sort of trading card. Now, that's coldness for you....

Agrippa's mad crush on Octavia is rather nice; given that Octavia is about the only woman in the running who isn't ruled by her lustful urges (to use a nice term from the historians they obviously use for their view of Roman woman) it's nice that she is actually getting some screen time in her own right and not as an appendage of evil mother or winsome brother.

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lesbiassparrow

August 2011

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