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Rome Thoughts, with Spoilers

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My thoughts…

  • I am displeased by the depiction of Marcus Agrippa. The Moltke to Octavian’s Bismarck is portrayed as a stammering schoolboy, and he looks like a damn hobbit. Octavian wasn’t worth a plugged sesterce in a fight, and the chief architect of his military triumph deserves better. And since when did they decide that what Rome needed was more drug humor?
  • Cicero is getting a little bit more lively, or at least they’ve decided to increase his visibility and give some access to his motivation. I do wish that they had quoted directly from his Second Philippic Against Antony instead of giving him some half-assed claptrap. I think that they’re closer to showing the true Cicero, though; a man willing to maximize his own power and prestige within the established rules of public life at the time, but nevertheless possessed of a deep respect for those rules, unlike Antony, or Octavian.
  • The Vorenus as mafia don plot is interesting enough, I suppose, if only because it evokes comparison to Al Swearingen and Tony Soprano. However, it would be nice if they demonstrated that he had any talent as boss. He has owed all of his positions to luck and to friendship with Caesar and Antony. Moreover, he has the personality of a junior military officer, not of a mob boss. As Tony Soprano has ably demonstrated, managing a mafia family depends less on direct authority than persuasion and camraderie, the ability to convince both one’s own soldiers and other mobs that they enjoy being part of the organization and will do better within it than without. Vorenus simply orders people around, instead of making the compromises necessary to keeping everyone happy. Pullo is more charismatic, and I think he would make a better don. However, I did like the scenes in which Vorenus recovered his children, and thought that the icyrelationship that ensued was well done.
  • Lepidus is often treated as a minor figure, but he was part of the Second Triumvirate and a major personage in Rome after the Civil War. I rather liked his brief appearance, and hope that he’ll be featured in future episodes. I recognized the actor, but couldn’t identify him, and I can’t find anything on the web to identify him, either.
  • Where the hell is Cleopatra? We need more Cleopatra. I need more Cleopatra…
  • Next week it looks as if we’ll see the end of Cicero and the Battle of Philippi. The previews indicate that we might see an actual battle, even. They’d damn well better be saving some money to put together a good Actium…

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