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November 21, 2014

Rome: De Patre Vostro (About Your Father) (series finale)

by JJ Hawkins, posted Mar 26th 2007 12:21PM

rome(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.

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Doug

Too bad Rome was cancelled. I looked forward to watching the show every Sunday. How can we petition HBO execs to rethink their decision and bring the show back?

April 07 2007 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kathleen

In reply to comment 23,I found it very interesting. Especially about the books. Durning the season I read the Twelve Ceasars to get more historical info. Then I actually went to Rome 9/05 and saw the site where it is believed Julius Ceasar was murdered. It was amazing to say the least! I also wish all our unessasary spending be put to better use as you suggested. Education would be so interesting this way maybe kids would find learning more fun. Thank you for your comments!

April 04 2007 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kathleen

I too,am very disappointed about Rome ending. Carnivale was also one of my favorites. and that final episode was left open,I thought. For me. HBO has the finest programing on TV today.I also heard Deadwood is not returning. It is really sad when these kinds of shows cannot be kept on.I do look forward to the 5th season of The Wire! At least, I am perpard that its the last one. I just hope HBO keeps the quality in their programs. I will have to get Showtime now!

April 04 2007 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Real

I had read Julius Caesar and the lives of the 12 caesars before watching Rome, so the general plot was not as interesting to me as the many details that helped me better understand this part of human history and the lives of those people: the importance of Roman religion and gods, the presence of violence and death, the pre-christian more natural relation to the body,...
And of course the idea of creating Titus Pullo and Vorenus to link everything was brilliant.
And the money to "recreate" Rome, Alexandria and the wars was well spent.
And all the actors were perfect, even both Octavians. My favorite was David Bamber who so convincingly played Cicero.
I wish HBO had the resources to recreate all of Roman and Greek history. Think about what they could have done with the money spent in Iraq!
Now we have to read history books to stay in Rome! I recommend you listen to Michael Parenti's A Republic Against Caesar , and the interview The Assassination of Julius Caesar. Easy to find. Or read his books.

April 02 2007 at 6:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nicole

I agree with this article and it made me laugh to think of you sending the midget in a box to the executives of HBO, but i completely understand your frustration with the show being canceled. I love the rome series and I just started watching it, i went out and rented the first season to catch up on it and i had no idea they were ending the series. I am not as eloquent with putting my feelings into words but I can say I am extremely disappointed that the show has ended!

March 29 2007 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ulric

As far as voicing my opinion in favor of continuing ROME I would say, DEFINITELY!!!

I apologize to anyone I might offend, but this series is much better than a bunch of teens running around in LA with their agent, trying to score in some way or another (Entourage....yuk)

I would also like to point out that thought
"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."

If it is of any interest, Octavian of history wanted to rid of his cruel harsh image. Thus his change in address to Augustus Caesar, 1st emperor of the Roman Empire."

You might be right about the above reason, but it's very easy to paint someone in any frame of light when they are dead and can not defend themselves. I once read a piece where the author insinuated that Octavian / Augustus was gay. In any case, cold or not, if you were to compare him with all the other emperors who came after him, none are as celebrated (and in my opinion come close) to Augustus, save for Claudius of course.

If anyone would like to see more great acting set during the time of the Roman Empire, I would strongly suggest viewing and/or purchasing "I Claudius". It's a great show that was written and performed beautifully. If anyone knows where it is being showed again, or how to purchase a copy of the show, please send me the link. I will be forever in your debt.

Best Wishes

March 29 2007 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nan4ROME

Why is everyone here so blah about HBO cancelling Rome? Romans unite!Stop HBO's tributes!Let THEM go w/o grain!Follow me across the Rubicon, and let's make the barbarians bring Rome back!

March 28 2007 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rogphi

This Series was brilliant and Im sad to see it End. You can always follow BBCs I claudius to see what happened to the Characters( Pullo was Made up so Not so Much with finding out about him) Its a little dated but the acting is superb!

March 27 2007 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rogphi

This was a great Show, Im sad That its Over But if anyone wants to folow the characters( Not Pullo Because he was made up) you can watch I claudius. The sets are a bit BBC cheesy but the acting is still superb!! well worth watching!

March 27 2007 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ad

"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."

If it is of any interest, Octavian of history wanted to rid of his cruel harsh image. Thus his change in address to Augustus Caesar, 1st emperor of the Roman Empire.

March 27 2007 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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