HBO's Rome S2 Ep 9 (and a link to Prof. Socrates)
I must say, this was one AMAZING penultimate episode. SPOILERS as usual.
I think this episode was very much about coming full circle, reunions and alliance shifting. A few years have apparently passed, and Antony is living it up with Cleopatra. They are keeping the grain shipments from Rome. Antony seems to be high, um, all the time. He's also gone Egyptian. I think I'm going to have to talk about this by character, rather than by events (a chronological summary is available on the offical site anyway).
Octavian is an amazingly asshole-ish and cunning character. His speech when he out-maneuvers Antony was very well done. While I can't like him as a person, Simon Woods does an amazing job with him. And Livia? I really didn't want to watch them have sex, because she looks 12. I really hope she's older than she looks.
Atia being sent to Egypt and then turned away by Antony! Poor girl, she really does love Antony. But the best part is that we're back to Servilia & Caesar when Atia tells her beloved son to get Antony. I think I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that. Brilliantly done.
Atia and Octavia had a bit of a cute role-reversal too, what with Octavia becoming bitter and Atia acting all girlish on her way to see Antony. Octavia also has a daughter, Antonia, with golden curls who looks more like Agrippa than Antony . . .
Vorenus!! This episode redeemed him in my eyes. Being away from his troubles in Rome, he seems to have found some semblance of honour again. When keeping Atia away, you could tell he felt for her and thought Antony had done wrong. He also told Antonty (at Antony's bidding) exactly what he thought of him--that Antony has a disease in his soul, and that he recognized the symptoms as his own. When he had the chance to go home, you could tell he couldn't both because he couldn't break his pledge to Antony and, I think, because he knew his presence would hurt his children.
Pullo is also now with Gaia, and while I'm unsatisfied with Gaia pretty much getting away with it, she did partially redeem herself. She saved Pullo's life from Memmio (who was locked up in a cage and half-starved, but he escaped), but she in turn was stabbed. On what looked to be her deathbed, she confessed to Pullo that she had killed Eirene out of love for him. Pullo, in his usual fashion, strangles her. While I really can't stand Gaia, this was probably the *only* way they could have made her seem just a little less vile. But it also keeps us from getting a fully satisfactory murder-by-Pullo. I mean, she's already dying anyway. But he does dump her in the water, rather than giving her a proper burial. And, to be fair, she does recognize that Eirene was the good woman, and she tells Pullo that when he tries to tell her (before she confesses) that she's a good woman. Also, I really hate to say this, but Pullo did kill Eirene's first love, so it was appropriately cold justice, even if I don't think he deserved it.
Also, when Pullo hears about Caesarion, you can tell he's thinking of him as his own son. Vorenus, in a nice turn of events, is actually the one who seems to look after Caesarion--playing ball with him and telling him (by C's demand) about "his father." You can tell from what he says that Vorenus has interpreted "his father" as being Pullo, not Caesar, which was a *really* cute touch. And, of course, meanwhile, Pullo is back in Rome taking care of Vorenus' children.
Posca and Jocasta are also in Egypt, and when they realize there's a ship heading back to Rome (when Antony sends Atia and Octavia away), they immediately scurry to pack their things and leave. Vorenus catches them but lets them go. Posca tells him he should leave to Rome also, but Vorenus is unable to break his vow to Antony. He looks very tortured. Posca, upon his arrival in Rome, seems also to have brought the last will and testament of Antony and Cleopatra with him, in which they declare themselves gods and give Rome to Caesarion--basically, exactly what Octavian needs to declare war on Antony.
In short, I find this episode amazingly brilliant, filled with delicious role-reversals and such. I'm eagerly anticipating the last episode, but I'm so sad it's all about to end! In all fairness, though, I do think this will make a brilliant ending. I'm not sure if they could accomplish another season so brilliantly. Although, knowing these writers, I'm sure they'd find a way.