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Rome: “About Your Father”

That’s it. That’s the last episode of “Rome.”

I’ve said before, with all the jumping ahead in time, that this season felt awfully rushed, but the final episode provided a fitting conclusion to most of the show’s storylines.

It starts with a great monologue by Mark Antony as the remainder of his navy rowed its way back to Alexandria.

Then, in contrast, we get another monologue from Atia as she laments the news of Antony’s defeat:

Probably?

Antony’s meltdown in the palace is a brilliant piece of acting by James Purefoy. When Cleopatra pleads with him to come up with some military trick to win the war, Antony quips, “I’m a soldier, not a fucking magician.”

Then, he has a “GoodFellas” moment when one of his guests laughs as he gets knocked down. Antony shouts, “I’m a fucking clown?” before killing the weakling in a swordfight. (I had visions of Joe Pesci.) That moment is Antony’s “lampshade” moment. You know, that moment when a partygoer partakes a little too much and their night spins out of control. I’d like to applaud the hazy cinematography of the scene. It really adds depth to Antony’s frame of mind at the time.

He has another great line when Cleo’s slave comes to tell him of her death and to urge him to commit suicide: “Anything to cure this fucking hangover.” The suicide scene with Lucius was intense, and it was a nice gesture that Antony did not force Vorenus to follow him into death.

Then there’s the matter of Caesarion. Though there isn’t any real-world evidence of this, the show’s position is that he is the son of Titus Pullo. When Lucius offers to take Caesarion to his father, Cleopatra asks, “Is he a good man?” Lucius answers, “Define good.”

The negotiation scene between Cleo and Octavian was terrific, and I can see now why they wanted Simon Woods instead of Max Pirkis for the latter half of this season. Octavian was actually 33 when he invaded Alexandria, so casting Woods was a logical choice. Of course, Caesarion was 17 at the time, and the creators didn’t have any problem shaving seven years off of his age.

It was good to see Atia get back to her old self. That was a terrific diatribe she laid on Octavian’s wife before the triumph. Now that the series is over, it’s comforting to know that the bitch is definitely back.

Finally, there’s Titus and Lucius. Even with all its politicking and betrayal, the show is really about the friendship between these two men. It was sad to see Lucius go, but I’m glad he got his wish to see his children and that his eldest daughter decided to forgive him. Titus got his wish - a son - and appears to have finally found some happiness in his life.

And, speaking of Titus, how’s this for the last line of the series?

All in all, the finale did an excellent job of providing fitting conclusions to virtually every major character, but in reality, the only good thing about “Rome” ending is that we’ll finally get to see the last nine episodes of “The Sopranos.”

R.I.P. “Rome.” We’re sad to see you go.

Rome: “No God Can Stop a Hungry Man”

Rome: “A Necessary Fiction”

Quite a bit happened this week, and you can really sense that the series is getting ready to wrap up.

Octavian is busy trying to clean up the morality of Rome, but is having difficulty keeping his own family in line. In reality, it’s his own fault since he tried to keep Antony and Atia apart and was oblivious to Agrippa’s affections for his sister. Regardless, his heavy-handedness resulted in Antony’s banishment to Egypt and Agrippa’s decision to break up with Octavia, but not before she could drop a pregnancy bomb on Agrippa’s head.

Meanwhile, Octavian has his own marriage lined up, and it started with a great exchange:

Octavian: Tell me, how would you like to be married to me? Girl: I would like that very much if my husband does not object!

Wow.

Maecenas was in the middle of everything this week and I was really hoping that Lucius would lay him out when they were questioning him about the missing gold.

Down on the Aventine, Titus’ world is turned upside down as Eirene dies from a miscarriage caused by Gaia’s treachery. Gaia is scary-hot, and it looks like she might work her way into Titus’ good graces. The only thing that could blow that deal is if the alchemist decides to tell someone about what Gaia bought from her. Kudos to Chiara Mastalli’s work in Eirene’s death scene – it was amazing. You could literally see the life leave her body.

Lucius’ discovery of his daughter’s betrayal leads to his decision to leave for Egypt with Antony. Titus was kind enough to take responsibility for his children and for the business, but it’s a lot to ask of the big man.

Mark Antony had a great line when Lucius asked to come with him: “You’ll not turn to drink, will you? You stoic types often do when disappointed in life.”

Memio’s makeshift alliance with the other captians runs into a brick wall on the Aventine. He underestimated Titus’ ferocity in the wake of his wife’s death. And did you see the way Gaia handled herself in the battle? She and Titus probably belong together. Even though she’s inherently evil and he’s inherently good, they both solve problems in the same way – with violence. Titus killed his competition when he murdered Eirene’s husband. Gaia did the same thing - only she did it intentionally.

Rome: “Death Mask”

Rome: “Philipi”

Once Octavian rose to power, it was only a matter of time before Lucius and Titus became directly involved in his organization. Octavian put what might be the first ever hit list together (1,000 strong!) in order to quell support for Brutus and Cassius. Interestingly, the writers’ decision to use Titus in the role of Cicero’s killer isn’t based on any historical fact. The assassination itself was quite brutal, which is a perfect example of how unusual this series is. Titus and Lucius do nasty deeds time and time again, but they’re somehow still completely likable. While most of TV deals with heroes against villains, “Rome” uses anti-heroes, and with great success.

Even though Titus was used for such an important task, he wishes he were a soldier again. Eirene’s announcement that she was “preglant, or whatever you call it” was both comical and sad as the girl burst into tears. Titus seemed happy about the news, so it will be interesting to see if he sticks around for the child’s birth. Complicating matters, the temptress Gaia also has her eye on him, and it seems like she’s bound and determined to land a man in power, damn the consequences.

Agrippa’s scene with Octavia was the lone bright spot in an episode of murder and mayhem. It looks like this relationship is headed for disaster, however, as Atia has made it clear that the two will not be married. Her daughter has already proclaimed her love for the young man, so it’s bound to get pretty ugly.

We were treated to a gorgeous shot as the two armies clashed in the Battle of Philipi. In the real world, there were actually two battles, but for creative purposes, it was condensed to one. Also, in real life, Brutus fled the battlefield and committed suicide. But I’ll admit that his one-man attack made for pretty good television, especially since he died of multiple stab wounds, just like Caesar.

The best line of the episode goes to Mark Antony, during the battle…

Octavian: “What is happening? Do you know?” Mark Antony: “No idea. When in doubt, attack!”

Rome: “Heroes of the Republic”

Rome: “Testudo Et Lepus”

You have to hand it to HBO. When every other network either goes dark against the Super Bowl or has programming aimed at the fairer sex, HBO just goes about its business, airing new episodes of “Rome” and “Extras.”

I also like how they edit the previews together at the end of each episode. It’s an art, really. Show enough to keep the viewers coming back but don’t show too much as to ruin the surprise. These days, it seems that there are very few series that follow these rules.

Based on last week’s previews, I thought for sure that Atia would be poisoned, but they didn’t actually show her on the ground. One of her servants bit the dust, which allowed Atia to unleash her wrath on the assassin, and later, on Servilia. With the show delving into Timon’s life at home, it was clear that he was going to do something out of character. By letting Servilia go, he really put Atia in a tough spot. Of course, Atia made her own bed, so to speak.

She had a couple of great lines during the scene where her men tortured the assassin, calling Octavia’s friend a “bad influence” (now the pot calling the kettle black) and later saying, “it isn’t a legal confession unless there’s torture.” It’s just another example of how much times have changed.

We met the new Octavian/Caesar, who is now played by Simon Woods. Max Pirkis did a great job building the role, and probably could have played it for a while longer, but Octavian’s break gave the show the perfect opportunity to make age. Agrippa appears to be Octavian’s most trustworthy friend. It looks like they are setting up an angel/devil scenario with Octavian’s two advisors. Agrippa’s budding romance with Octavia provided a few laughs, and is just another example of how times have changed.

It’s good to see Titus and Lucius together again, because at its core, “Rome” is just a buddy story. I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the slave boss when he took them down that hallway with all the little rooms. You’re not going to get very far in life pimping out Lucius’ daughter, knowingly or unknowingly. I’m interested to see how Lucius plans to deal with his bastard son. It’s clear he’s got too big of a heart to kill an innocent kid, but will he be able to deal with the constant reminder of his wife’s infidelity?

Next week, Octavian and his army should return to Rome, which sets up nice conflict between he and Cicero. Speaking of the Senator, he sure has his swagger back, doesn’t he?

Rome: “These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero”

Rome: “Son of Hades”

About a month passed between episodes and Lucius is still mired in guilt over the deaths of his wife, children and Caesar. Titus continues to be a good and loyal friend, but it’s clear that his new wife doesn’t want to stay with Lucius any longer.

Mark Antony has bit off more than he can chew and is quickly finding that the day-to-day responsibilities of consul are more than he can bear. He has to deal with Octavian, who justifiably wants his inheritance, with Cleopatra, who wants her son proclaimed to be Caesar’s, and with the gangs, who have all tried to fill the power vacuum present after Lucius’ antics last week. For the last bit, Antony enlists Lucius’ help, giving the soldier a swift kick in the ass in the process.

Lucius takes to his new mission with vigor and declares himself a “son of Hades.” Titus continues to worry about the dark path that his friend is taking, but hasn’t shown any signs of leaving Lucius’ side.

Atia’s loyalty to Antony has more to do with her underestimation of her own son than any true affection she has for the consul, though she did throw out a unreturned “I love you” early in the episode. She is still distracted by her hatred for Servilia, but has a new foil in Cleopatra, who has certainly caught Antony’s eye.

Towards the end of the episode, Octavian made his move by promising to deliver the money that Caesar originally pledged to the plebes. He decided to borrow against his inheritance, which caused the throw down between he and Antony. Octavian has decided to leave Rome, and will no doubt return with an army and loads of support from the citizens of Rome.

Now, for a few of the best lines from this episode:

Atia: (to Antony) “I love you.”

Antony: (to Cleopatra) “Your son will eat shit and die before I make him legal.”

Antony: (to Lucius) “Look at the fucking state of you.”

Cleopatra: (to Atia) “I have made a friend for life.”

Lucius: (at the parlay) “I am a son of Hades and I fuck Concord in her ass!”

Cicero: (to Servilia) “I doubt [Octavian] will be more than a nuisance to Antony.”

Rome: "Passover"

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