Rome: De Patre Vostro (About Your Father) (series finale)
(S02E10) When HBO failed to renew Carnivale for a third season a few years back I was absolutely outraged. Carnivale was like a lover to me. Sexy, intelligent, mysterious, and beautiful in a bright but dirty way - all attributes of a good mate in my book.
To this day, it remains the only show I ever coordinated a watch party for which is saying a lot because I like a lot of shows, and I still quote Brother Justin's "Be Still!" line when I want someone to shut their mouth. Needless to say, I was pretty much heartbroken when the show was cancelled but I didn't go down without a fight.
I signed every online petition available to try and get the show back on the air. I left hundreds of messages to the HBO offices voicing my discontent with their foolish decision. I even went so far as to mail every HBO executive a circus midget in a box holding a sign that said "What would Sampson do?" for a solid month, but all was for naught because HBO stuck with their decision and left the show in an unfinished state. Lame.
I didn't think I'd ever forgive the network for what I deemed a horrible transgression, then I sat down and watched Rome, and Carnivale became nothing but a fond memory. And now, here we are at the series finale and another love affair of mine must come to an end, but at least this one received a fitting ending.
My favorite relationship in the show has always been the one that existed between Vorenus and Pullo. Although they weren't brothers by blood, the bond that existed between the two was no less binding.
Octavian summed up Vorenus best when he said, "the man turns loyalty into a vice." In a tragic show full of tragically flawed figures, I found Vorenus' flaws to be the most compelling to watch.
You could always tell that Vorenus was a kind-hearted human being, despite his dance with darkness while he was head of the Aventine. It was pretty fascinating that he was able to let his loyalty for Antony supercede his aforementioned kind-heart and not stop Antony after he'd morphed into the epitome of corruption while in Egypt.
In the end, I was happy to see that Vorenus showed the most loyalty to Pullo by bringing Caesarian back to his father - and also appreciate the whole Pullo knocking up Cleopatra thing being written into the plot - despite there being a 100% chance it is historically inaccurate. It made for good television.
And now is as good time as any to point out that Titus Pullo has a Garmin GPS unit implanted in his cranium. I count no less than three times this season where he was miraculously able to track down and find Vorenus despite having no clue of his whereabouts. I found it very impressive.
Atia, or as I like to call her - Debra Messing with boobs, was another one of my favorite characters. Her relationship with every other character on the show, particularly the one that existed between her and Servilia, always made for uncomfortable but entertaining television to say the least.
Although, Atia was pretty much evil, I found myself sympathizing with her when Octavian arranged the marriage between Antony and Octavia. In the screen capture that accompanies this commentary I can just imagine her wondering why she was doomed to a fate of misery and unhappiness. To that I say, she bore and nurtured the mechanical beast who is responsible for making her life miserable. That, and people tend to reap what they sow.
I was pretty shocked to see Cleopatra pull the wool over Antony's eyes when she sent him the faux suicide letter. For most of the show Antony was very crafty, self-assured, and cunning. Had he not been all cracked-out, as indicated by the fuzziness in the camera when viewing through his eyes (nice touch), I'm sure he'd have seen through the ploy. That being said, Cleopatra redeemed herself in my eyes by killing herself by Antony's side.
The series kind of painted Octavian as this robotic, methodical, and cruel figure illustrated best by his parading the bodies of Antony and Cleopatra through the streets of Rome and his lust for killing Caesarian. Be that as it may, from what I understand of history, Gaius Octavian actually goes on to lead Rome to several years of prosperity during his rule.
I got a real kick out of Caesarian not really being Caesar's son, and the "about your father," line Pullo throws out to end the series was a riot. It was little touches like this that made the show so enjoyable to me.
It was actually terribly difficult reviewing this series finale not having had the opportunity to muse on the 21 episodes that came before it, but the show was just so epic in nature and well executed that it deserved some sort of acknowledgement. From the acting to the writing to the cinematography - there are just too many good things to say about Rome. Sunday nights are going to feel really empty for a while to come.
I highly recommend everyone run out and purchase these on DVD.