If this week's episode seems like a lot of chess pieces moving around on the board instead of attacking each other, that's because it is. Upon returning to Rome with his army, Octavian asks to be made Consul. Not seeing the harm, Cicero agrees, and quickly regrets it when Octavian's first act is to coerce the Senate to declare Brutus and Cassius murderers and enemies of the Republic. Vorenus and Pullo return to the Collegium with the kids, who are still pissed at their father and plan to run away until Lyde (now a temple devotee) talks Vorena the Elder out of it. Vorenus makes peace with the other mob bosses, screws Gaia and insists that she take money for it, and sends Pullo to tell Octavian that Vorenus is on Octavian's side, unless of course Mark Antony returns from Gaul ready to rumble. Speaking of Antony (and his new beard), he catches a break when the legions sent by the Senate to wipe him out desert to his side in their entirety. Over in Turkey, Brutus thinks that this is great news; Octavian and Antony can wipe each other out and Brutus can swoop in to pick up the pieces. Octavian for once seems out of his depth when he learns that Brutus is returning with twenty legions (as opposed to his four). And then, believe it or not, the best chess player of the week turns out to be none other than Julii Cooper, who engineers an alliance between her son and her boyfriend. Sure, I'm impressed now, but since it was her idea, it's bound to turn out catastrophic. Also, Timon remembers how to pray, Agrippa tells Octavia he loves her some more (this time in front of her mom), and Vorena decides to make nice with her father. Except she's totally making devil-horns behind her back. Literally.
We open on Timon's brother Levi at temple, praying fervently and fluently, a prayer shawl over his head and a tefillah (one of those little boxes containing Torah scrolls) strapped to his forehead. Next to him? Timon himself, also wearing a shawl and tefillah and doing his best to keep up. But his eyes soon roll back in his head. Whether it's in devotion or boredom, it's hard to tell. And that's all the time we have for Timon this week. Keep us posted on that redemption thing, though.
In Cisalpine Gaul, a couple of miserable-looking soldiers are about to settle down for some pretty poor rations. The already dreary meal is then immeasurably cheered by the start of a light rain. Just what they need. Through the surrounding trees, they see movement, and they rise with their hands on their sword hilts. But it's only an unarmed man in civilian garments with a heavy beard and a self-satisfied smirk, as well as a dead deer draped over his soldiers. "All right, boys," he says, tossing the carcass to the ground. "Let's eat." The soldiers draw their blades after all, and set to work. It's not until later that I'll realize this shaggy mountain man is none other than Mark Antony. I wasn't sure of the point of this scene either. You can draw your own conclusions.
Pullo and Vorenus appear to have traded one of their horses for a covered wagon. Vorenus is currently driving it back toward Rome while Pullo rides shotgun, or whatever it was called back then. Bow, I suspect. All three kids are asleep in the back, except Vorena the younger, who looks up blankly at Pullo when he steals a peek. Pullo suggests to Vorenus that maybe they shouldn't go back to the Collegium, since Antony's orders don't technically stand, and a place full of criminals might not be the best place to raise kids. Vorenus hotly asks Pullo for other suggestions, now that the children have been defiled and disgraced. Dudeus, they're right behind you. Pullo says that they could go anywhere and not tell anybody: "Who's to know?" Vorenus angrily scoffs at the idea of "living dishonestly." "Well there's lies and there's lies, innit?" Pullo observes, for all the good it does.
On their way into the city, Pullo and Vorenus run into an official roadblock that appears to be rather backed up. Vorenus and Pullo approach the Roman solider running things and ask what's up. The soldier says that the road's blocked "by the authority of Gaius Octavian Caesar." Who has apparently decided that coming back into Rome should be as much as possible like coming back into the U.S. from Tijuana. Meanwhile, on the cart, Vorena the Younger wakes her sister to tell her that they're unattended, so this is their chance to make a dash for it. Vorena the Elder tells her not yet; they can't run without any money, and they'll have to wait. So I take it they're not as happy to be back together as Vorenus is. Up at the roadblock, the soldier is telling Pullo and Vorenus that Octavian and his army of 15,000 have set up camp on the Field of Mars outside the city. On their way back to the cart, Vorenus remarks to Pullo, "Your boy's a bit aggressive, isn't he?" Pullo amiably shoots back, "My boy gave your man a whipping. I expect he knows what he's doing." They're like Mets and Yankees fans or something.