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Rome: How Titus Pullo Brought Down The Empire

by Ryan j Budke, posted Sep 5th 2005 7:56PM
Last week I said that this show was just too immense that I was having trouble covering everything. My favorite parts of the episode last week may have been the (mis)adventures of Titus (Pullo) and Lucious (Vorenus).  Like a buddy cop flick set in ancient Rome, they evoked Mel Gibson and Danny Glover perfectly. Titus, the spiraling out of control roughneck and Lucious, the ever faithful family man soldier. I think they will be fan-favorites in the show, bringing a bickering humor in a very dark and serious hour. Luckily this week the story weighed heavily on their sholders and it was an immense treat.
 We open with Caesar and his aides discussing the fact that his reign as Governor will soon be up and that he will more than likely not be reelected by the senate. In the meantime, he appoints Marc Anthony as Tribune of Plebes to the Senate, a very highly respected and proper position. This would be similar to appointing Paris Hilton speaker of the house. An example of his partying ways occurs as soon as he, along with Titus and Lucious as his guards and Stravo (one of Caesar's aides) as his Jiminy Cricket, are on their way back, when he quenches his "thirst" with a local farmer's daughter on the roadside. The rest of the legion that was sent with him is sitting a mere 20 feet away on the roadside, waiting.for him to fill his thirst.

While waiting, Lucious and Titus discuss their plans for once they are back in town. Titus plans to "drink all the wine, smoke all the smoke and f*** all the whores in the city" as soon as he can, while Lucious can simply not wait to get home to his wife whom he has not seen in nearly 8 years. They arrive to much fanfair from the common people, being envoys of Caesar and all, and Marc Anthony immediately begins the ceremony inducting him as the Tribune, one he hopes will just take a few moments... Lucious and Titus however must deliver Octavian home to his mother Attia before they can be on their way. Once at Attia's home, Octavian insists on having his two saviours remain and join him and his family at dinner. They eat and drink with the royalty and become embroiled in political debates with Attia, whom loves every moment of it.Lucious and Titus are dismissed and quickly go about making good on their fantasies about their homecoming, neither really succeeding...

Lucious makes his way home looking forward to the wife he hasn't seen for the better part of a decade, only to find her with a baby in her arms as soon as she is in view. It's never a good idea to call your wife a whore in front of half of the village, especially when those are more or less the first words you've said to her in years. She quickly explains that it is their grand-daughter and not her's. Lucious can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that his daughter is old enough to bear child and he is also introduced to a daughter he has never met. Titus, is well along, doing, well, pretty much everything he fantasized about as well. Drinking the wine, smoking the smoke, fu- well doing that too. He finds a bar that looks like it could be some fun and goes in to partake in a couple of table games.  He loses and loses and loses before finally realizing that the pro-Pompeii group he is playing with is cheating him. He quickly "dispatches" the main cheater whose friend looks on in absolute shock. A complete brawl erupts as everyone and their brother tries to take down Titus. He holds his own against all odds but as he's backing out he is clubbed from behind, shattering a clay pot into his skull with shards sticking out. You can quickly see that he is seriously injured as he stumbles away in a daze.

Meanwhile, Marc Anthony is just now completing his ceremony into tribunalhood (yes i just made that word up). He has too much energy built up and immediately makes a beeline for Attia's home. When he arrives though, Pompey and his major allies are there awaiting him. Both factions try and work out a peaceful resolution for Caesar, yet neither side is willing to budge. Pompey wants Caesar's complete surrender of all power, while Caesar, through Anthony, wants complete control over Gaul. After leaving Pompey's men come up with a plan, they will sway the senate into passing a movement to brand Caesar an outlaw. No one actually wants to call Caesar an outlaw so they know that the newly appointed tribune (and we know who that is) can immediately veto the movement, they just want to prove a point to Caesar that he is not loved in the senate anymore. They're putting a lot of faith in the fact that Marc Anthony will be able to do his job though... When the senate is in session the following day the movement is presented but when it is favored by the majority, all hell breaks loose. Marc Anthony has to be told to veto and by the time he does, there is too much commotion that his voice is not heard. In the wake of the rumble in the senate, Pompey, panicking, realizes that the senate never officially ended therefore they can reconvene and Marc Anthony can veto it then.

After his fight, Titus managed to stumble his way through Lucious' front door.  Lucious, fresh from an emotion-less round of love-making with his wife runs to the aid of his fellow soldier who still has shards of pottery sticking out of his skull.  Lucious yells for his wife to run and get the doctor.  After a bout of medieval surgery and a metal skullcap implant, the doctor lets Lucious know that Titus may never wake up. We all know he's too stubborn to die though. Lucious is called upon by Marc Anthony to rally the troops within the city to protect him as he travels to the senate. Anthony is convinced that Pompey will try and kill him so that he can't veto the motion, while in reality the last thing Pompey wants is for it to pass. Pompey orders his men not to harm Anthony, yet they rally around the senate anyways. Anthony comes strolling down the street with his men surrounding him, led by Lucious and a fresh Titus. Tensions were higher than with the Sharks jumped the Jets but no one was making a move when all of a sudden the friend of the man that Titus killed in the bar came lunging out of the crowd. Titus killed him in one fell swoop, but that was all it took.  The fight between the two groups hit a fever pitch almost immediately as a horrified Pompey looks on. Anthony and his men leave for Caesar's camp, he never gets a chance to veto.

Caesar, now an outlaw in the Roman empire has no choice. He's going to invade.

As I was writing this show review (which I apologize for the lateness), I could not get over the fact that this is only the second episode! It's fantastic and completely engrossing. This hour goes by too fast. Great show. Once again, if you're not watching this show, you should be.

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you have to be a fool (and completely in the dark about the most basic aspects of scriptwriting, or story telling in general for that matter) to think that those who wrote the show added the closing shot of niobe feeding the baby for any reason other than to prove that it was her child to the audience. common sense!

December 11 2005 at 6:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Bovenzi

I thought your description of the episode was very good. I read it to see if I missed anything. I believe it was Lucius's wife's baby considering that he had been declared dead and had been away for years. But, maybe not! Keep up the good work. Maybe a little more crtitique would be welcomed.

September 09 2005 at 4:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As I said above, I saw ep 3 because it is available on demand and it sure is her baby. Lucius was right she totaly is a whore and liar to boot.

September 08 2005 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Kew

"are you sure that meant that the baby was her daughter?" Almost certainly, yes. Milk production is stimulated by pregancy, and by continued breastfeeding after delivery. The most obvious answer is that Lucius's wife is indeed the mother of the baby. Induced lactation without pregnancy is possible, but is unusual; arguably too she could simply have been offering a nipple to pacify the baby; but what are they more likely to have been telling us? "being 13 her daughter may not have developed enough to breast feed" No, I think you had it right to begin with: mature enough to concieve means mature enough to bear and feed a child. Breast and milk duct development are stimulated by hormonal changes during pregnancy. (The human body is quite good at ensuring that, by the time a child is born, there are systems in place to feed it.) [ Wikipedia is good on the biology involved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding ]

September 07 2005 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Budke

Hey I work for you guys so I'll change up my style a bit next week and you let me know what you think. James, some of my friends and I were arguing about that last shot, are you sure that meant that the baby was her daughter? Just to play the devil's advocate it was not uncommon for any woman within the family to breast feed an infant. And being 13 her daughter may not have developed enough to breast feed, yes i know she was "developed" enough to have a daughter, but that could happen. What do you think?

September 07 2005 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Kew

And I'd second the request for more reviewing, less summarising. For example, why do you feel the show "fantastic and engrossing"? Is TVSquad's role really to fill in the plot for those who don't have HBO and so aren't watching the show anyway? Re: "this hour goes by too fast" -- my experience was pretty much the opposite. By the end of each of the first two episodes, I've felt like I've been watching for more than an hour. Partly because the cinematography, and the lack of ad breaks, make it feel more like a movie than a TV show; and partly because the show is so thick with detail and plot. It demands a lot of attention; and delivers a lot in return.

September 07 2005 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Kew

"Lucius makes his way home looking forward to the wife he hasn't seen for the better part of a decade, only to find her with a baby in her arms as soon as she is in view. [...] She quickly explains that it is their grand-daughter and not hers." Note that the closing shot of the episode (Lucius's wife feeding the baby) reveals that he was, in fact, right...

September 07 2005 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Budke

Ouch! Man i'm getting torn apart today! j/k I really do appreciate everyone's criticism, that's the only way i'm going to make it more enjoyable for you. So keep them coming! I apologize about the names, that was just sloppy and I could have easily gone to imdb.com and fixed the spellings. And while I knew going into this episode that my actual "review" was going to be a little lite, some people who read here do prefer a more thorough review. Most people don't have HBO and are looking for something a little more thorough than what is on HBO's website as a synopsis. And I know it seemed complex and daunting, but there were things I skipped, and I wrote what I thought were the most pertinent and most enjoyable plot points. Again, I appreciate the comments, thanks for your time.

September 06 2005 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You're a good write - sloppy, but good - but the point of a REVIEW is not to recap the entire episode point by point, but actually critique it along with the PERTINENT plot points. There was not a single word of review in there except for the brief last paragraph. I suggest, as well, that you get acquainted better with the role of reviewer, and with the characters' names, as said above. You could save yourself a lot of time by realizing, as well, that most people who read the review have already seen the show, and have no interest in having it re-told to them. Keep up the good work, though!

September 06 2005 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone notice that ep 3 is already available on demand. I saw it last night. Weird.

September 06 2005 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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