Rome
An Owl In A Thornbush

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We're On A Mission From Caesar

Vorenus and Pullo ride across the Italian countryside at the head of their cavalry detachment. The other horsemen wear black clothes and fur hats instead of fancy red capes and Roman helmets. Sucks to be Ubian. But at least Pluto's arse does not loom on the horizon.

Niobe's in her little shack. She appears to be preparing the next meal, a process that at this time in history no doubt took a week or more. Some dude comes in and looks at her all stalker-like. She doesn't seem too happy to see him. He ignores her complaint that she told him not to come. And it's obviously not the first time he defied that request, since they've got that baby there. The guy storms across the house to peer at the tyke chilling out in the incredibly unsafe crib (those slats are way too far apart, and they obviously haven't been sanded properly. The things you notice when you have a kid). Niobe repeats her demand that he get out and stay out, but he's not buying: "You loved me once; you'll love me again." Niobe lies that that isn't true, which would be more convincing without that tear rolling down her cheek. Stalker Guy says that Vorenus, like everyone in Caesar's legion, is doomed to be killed as the traitors they are. Niobe says that may be true, but that she made a vow. She continues begging him to go until he shuts her up with a kiss. Just then, the daughter who's being blamed for the baby bursts in, and Niobe finally gets her persistent suitor out of there. Young Vorena's a little grouchy about the guy showing up again, because the last thing she needs is for her mom to get pregnant again and then be expected to take the fall for Niobe's expanding belly in a few more months. She tries to convince Niobe to tell Vorenus the truth about the baby. Hey, what's the worst that could happen? "He will kill us all," Niobe says. So that's a no, then?

Vorenus sits by the campfire at night. Hey, Caesar said no burning! The cavalrymen are loudly drinking and yammering nearby. Pullo approaches the Centurion with a flask, but Vorenus wants something else from his sidekick. No, not that. He recalls Pullo's boasting about his prowess with the ladies, and now wants his advice on how to handle his own. Vorenus begins by saying that his wife hates him. "What's your question?" Pullo asks. And then there's some Abbott & Costello business while Vorenus corrects Pullo's misimpression that he's trying to get Niobe to hate him on purpose. He's certainly doing a good enough job at it for that to be the case. "I love her," Vorenus insists, "and I require that she love me also. Otherwise I am merely her slave. I cannot tolerate that." Oh, I see. It's all about you. Once Pullo's up to speed, he asks what difference it'll make if Niobe loves Vorenus, since they'll all be dead soon anyway. Vorenus just wants someone to remember his name and make the appropriate offerings when he's gone, as well as pour wine on his grave. Pullo, the ur-homie, says he'll step up if it comes to that. Vorenus is touched, but not too much to say that it's not the same thing. And more to the point, Pullo will be dead as well. So who'll pour wine on Pullo's grave? Ah, the Roman Civil War, when the streets ran red with Merlot.

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Rome

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