Rome
A Necessary Fiction

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B- | 2 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Lock Up Your Women
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

At his villa, Octavian is delivering a lecture to the upper-class women of Rome that's all about how, while Roman men were strong and powerful in the old days, it wasn't until they had wives to civilize them that the culture began its rise to greatness. He credits female virtue and morality with making Rome what it is today. And of course, his unwitting hypocrisy is underscored by shots of Mark Antony screwing Julii Cooper (so, clearly, they got back together), Agrippa screwing Octavia, and Gaia leaving the apothecary's shop with the evil, fetus-killing herbs tucked into her dress. I can't tell you how glad I am that this storytelling technique was not available to news reporters years ago when Newt Gingrich was going after Clinton for having extramarital affairs. Octavian promises to make laws rewarding fertility and punishing all forms of sluttery. Legislating morality, in other words. That always goes well.

Afterward, there's a reception going on the courtyard. Maecenas rescues Octavian from having to schmooze some old women, quietly telling him that the audience "bought it wholesale." "I mean every word," Octavian protests tightly, but Maecenas isn't cursed with Octavian's sincerity. "I suspect the women of old Rome were a parcel of whores and termagants," he remarks. Octavian pompously lets the subject drop, just in case you still thought there was anything he couldn't do pompously. Maecenas points across the courtyard to a young woman, and Octavian declares her "very presentable." And about fifteen. Maecenas assures Octavian that she comes from good stock, and has already proven fertile; she's got a son named Tiberius. "Introduce me," Octavian orders. They head over, Maecenas makes the introductions, and Octavian's first words to the girl, Livia, are, "Tell me -- how would you like to be married to me?" And here we thought Octavian had no game. Livia and her mother can't believe their good fortune, and Livia's smile reveals her as something of an orthodontic heir to Brutus. She says that would be awesome, as long as her husband doesn't mind. Octavian asks who that is, and upon being told it's Claudius Nero, he says there shouldn't be a problem, what with the Neros being a "patriotic" (i.e. Octavian ass-kissing) family. "See to the details," he orders the women, and he and Maecenas move on. Octavian expresses his approval of Livia before they move on to the real business of this episode, which is the huge bribe that's expected from Herod any time now. Apparently the ship with its twenty thousand pounds of gold is waiting offshore at Ostia. Maecenas says that he's planning to have our good friends of the Aventine Collegium oversee the delivery. Octavian's cool with that, but he wants Maecenas to make sure he has plausible deniability. If they get busted, he wants Antony to take the fall alone. So splitting everything three ways has its limits, I guess.

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Rome

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