Do you miss it, the political intrigue, the violence, the sex? The series Rome, in particular season 2 breathes life into the names of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and Titus Pullo? Yes, this show based on some of the largest figures in history centered around the friendship of Centurion soldiers Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson). Together they fill in the blanks as to why Caesar was left unguarded on that fateful day on the Ides of March, and just who is the father of Caesarean.
What is so amazing about this show is that it came across as if you were peeking into the lives of these people. It transcended acting and went into a realm of voyeurism. And you loved every moment of it. Still why center around Pullo and Vorenus? What makes these men so important? Perhaps it is because they are the only soldiers of lower rank to be named in Caesar’s writings – one among the many tidbits that can be found in the audio commentary.
Season 2 begins with Caesar in a pool of his own blood and Mark Antony running for his life from Brutus’ thugs. We also see Vorenus crying over the betrayal and death of his wife Niobe (which causes him to cast out his children and sets up a subtext that runs through the remainder of the series). We also see the underbelly of Italy, the corruption, gang wars and how alliances are tentative at best. And then there is the boy who grows up to become “First Citizen.”
Octavian early on is named Caesar’s son in his will, upsetting the balance of power. After he is mercilessly beaten by Mark Antony, he reaches adulthood soap opera style – by being aged within three episodes, while his mother and sister remain nearly the same. All grown and experienced in the machinations of human nature, Octavian wields his power like a skilled surgeon. He eliminates enemies, avenges his uncle’s death and rids himself of the debauched behavior of the brute that is Mark Antony. But Octavian isn’t all about stoicism. It seems that the man who holds great power likes to be dominated and dominate in the bedroom. The scenes with his wife Livia are just some of the many things you’ll love about this show.
Still it is the interaction that each of the characters have with Pullo and Vorenus and the men themselves that make this series so special. Whether it’s Pullo ripping out the tongue of his enemy with his teeth, or Vorenus insulting Cleopatra, you will be entertained. This is one series that though historically accurate will not bore you.
Should you own it? Yes – if nothing else than to hear Atia (Octavian’s mother) say to Livia “I know who you are. I can see you. You’re swearing now that, someday, you’ll destroy me. Remember that far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go look for them now.”