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August 21, 2014

Rome: Stealing From Saturn

by Ryan j Budke, posted Sep 19th 2005 9:36PM
So this week with the arrival of Caesar in Rome, we finally get our first real taste of him as a character and we get to see Ciaran Hinds finally show us why he was chosen for this role. Many of you will probably recognize Ciaran from his roles in Phantom of the Opera or The Sum of all Fears. I've thought he was the perfect fit for Caesar since the moment. I started seeing the ads for the show. He's a great actor and although we've seen him in some subtle moments in the show already, no one would have guessed that a show called Rome wouldn't have a Julius Caesar-centric episode until the 4th episode in. Now on with the show!
We start off with Pompey and his men, concerned about how to finance their ever less intelligent exodus from Rome. Pompey's son is put in charge of retrieving it and after learning that the Lucius led scouts were the one who decimated the caravan last week, sets off to find Lucius. Within the walls of Rome, Caesar declares marshall law and seeks approval from the high priests/gods for his actions and intentions. Caesar puts Atia in charge of setting up a "welcome home" party for him, with only the most influential and powerful attending. Caesar leaves all decisions within Atia's welcoming hands, but makes at least one request, that Servilia, Brutus' mother, is present. Atia, worried that she may not be the most powerful woman in Rome any longer is consoled by Mark Antony, who claims she'll only be there as Brutus' mother, although he knows better.

Across town, another party is being planned. Lucius, trying to cut all ties with his military past is organizing a party to introduce him to the rich and powerful of his class. He wants to break into the slave trade business and is looking to make some connections. Before his party kicks off though he is summoned by Antony and asked to rejoin th e legion and even offered a promotion. Although the banter is polite at first, it quickly grows hostile as Lucius still believes Caesar is in the wrong and does not want to support a tyrant. The two part on bad terms. Back at his home, Lucius' wife Niobe still fears that her husband will learn of her infidelity with her sister's husband, and tries to think of a way to prevent her sister from attending.

Caesar prepares as well by gathering a list of those he must payoff, though his aides worry that there is too little money. He also gathers his wife, whom he, uh, cares for, so.. very... much. Both parties go along swimingly with both Caesar and Lucius accomplishing what they set out to do: connecting with and paying off the right people. Caesar pays off the high priest, guaranteeing that the gods will see favorably on him. Lucius connecting with those that will make the import/export business a little easier.

However the bottom quickly drops out of Lucius' party when his sister in law has a little too much to drink. Niobe and the rest in the know try and usher her out before she can blurt out her husband and Niobe's dirty little secret, and while she doesn't, she does knock over Saturn's statue bringing an abrupt end to the evening. After the guests have left and Lucius and Niobe are cleaning up, Pompey's son and his men barge in trying to find the gold that they're convinced Lucius has. In the background of this scene we see Titus arrive being carried on men's shoulders, swamped people. Any ideas where the gold went?

With Titus' arrival, he an Lucius quickly dispatch of Pompey's men. Afterwards, Lucius scolds Titus and he tells him to to return the money to the treasury. He takes the money and Pompey's son to Caesar who keeps the money yet tells the younger Pompey to return to his father with a truce. Caesar has designed the truce to be appealing to those of the senate that went with Pompey, yet impossible for Pompey to agreee with, thus driving a wedge between them. It works. The episode ends with Caesar meeting in secret with Servillia for a rendezvous.

Another fantastic episode, and as i said in the begining it's nice to see a little Caesar. This is starting to remind me of Soprano's and Deadwood in that you can feel the tension building and building in every episode and you know the payoff is going to be worth it. I'll be there, and I can't wait.  Let me know what you think.

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