This show is so like Deadwood for me, in that I find it terribly diverting and entertaining, despite the fact that I have absolutely no idea what's going on, like, ever. That said, I think I got the gist this week: there's a whole lot of blah blah blah between Pompey and Caesar (via Marc Antony, who's been made Tribune, which is apparently important or something) about Caesar's return to Rome, up to and including a big old brawl on the Senate floor. While the politicos are, you know, politicking/smacking each other, Vorenus and Pullo hit the streets of Rome, where Vorenus finds out that his family thought he was dead, and they're really not super-thrilled that he's back, especially since he forgoes the hellos in favor of calling his wife a whore, just because he finds her cradling a baby he knows isn't his. She claims it's their eldest daughter's child, but no one who's ever watched a soap opera is surprised when it turns out to be hers after all. As for Pullo, he goes gambling and ends up in a huge brawl, getting his head bashed in for good measure. He goes stumbling to Vorenus's not-so-happy household, where he gets to have a metal plate put in his head right on their kitchen table, sans anesthesia. Delightful. Anyway, eventually, Antony gathers his troops -- including Vorenus and Pullo -- and heads down to the Senate to try to figure out the whole Caesar's Return To Rome thing without further incident. But en route, the guy who smashed Pullo's head in earlier goes after him with a knife, and when he successfully defends himself, Pullo both appears to have saved Antony's life and starts a big old fight in the streets, which leads to Casear's being declared an enemy of the Republic and, you know, the break-out of total civil war. Apparently, the shit is really about to hit the fan. And in other news, Julii Cooper continues to rock and, I must confess, Marc Antony is kind of totally hot.
Friends, Romans, readers, bear with me this week. Your fearless leader M. Giant is off on vacation, and although I have considerable experience in recapping shows that feature shadowy political machinations, troubled kinky families with a tendency toward bizarre rituals, and protagonists with unusually large skulls, I apparently don't remember my Ancient History at all. I dimly recall making a model of a traditional Roman house out of sugar cubes in eighth grade, and that's about it. I remember the Ides of March, sure, and that whole "et, tu?" thing, and, you know, Cleopatra and Marc Antony and the asps, and...yeah, I'm afraid that's about it. I don't even know Roman numerals. But I did see I, Claudius, so I'm looking forward to some good orgies, lots of nudity, some people getting poisoned -- possibly by their own family members -- plenty of slaves get slapped around, some incest, and possibly some fiddling as Rome burns. But I don't know how accurate any of that is, so you should probably rest assured that this recap will no doubt contain terrible mistakes of great historical proportions.
Last week: lots of white men in English accents plotted things against other white men with English accents. Then everyone took his tunic off. This week, I presume the plotting continues, but I can only hope for further tunic-less-ness.
We open in Caesar's camp, which the lower third of the screen helpfully tells us is located in Gaul, near the Italian border. It is winter. How long ago did everything that we saw last week happen? A week? A day? Six weeks? Twenty-seven years? I have no idea. I guess we just have to say that an indeterminate amount of time has passed since we were last were in ancient Rome. Anyway, a servant/slave/someone comes into Caesar's tent, and reports that they've got three more deserters, because the men are all tired of being away from their families, sleeping in the mud, in the middle of winter. And it's been almost eight years. Also, they're sick of being dragged over to the barber-tent and being forced to get that awful haircut. (I'm fairly certain that the only man who can work a Caesar is George Clooney, and I'm including the actual Caesar in that.) "None of the good men have run, nor will they," Caesar mutters. "Nor will they follow you to Rome," This Guy With All The Information About the Deserters tells him. "Not yet," Caesar says. "Time is running out," This Guy Who I Suspect Is About To Provide Some Helpful Exposition says. "We cannot wait here forever. This is a very precarious position." "What happens in January when your term runs out and we're still sitting here?" he asks. Caesar tells This Guy -- whose name, we blessedly learn, is Posca -- that motivating soldiers is ever so terribly tricky and that maybe he shouldn't try and understand it, being merely a slave. "I trust an education in these subtleties will begin shortly," Posca snips. He sure is sassy, for a slave. Maybe he's not as much a plain, everyday slave as much as he is a LOVE SLAVE. At any rate, Caesar just gives him a vaguely hilarious "oh,you" look, and gets back work. While he rummages around with his paperwork, Posca digs through some of Caesar's stuff, and finds a bag of cash. We finally get the exposition for which this scene was born: Caesar has put Marc Antony up for the position of "People's Tribune," and the money is for the bribes needed to get the votes. Posca is shocked -- SHOCKED -- that Marc Antony is going to be People's Tribune! Why, as far as he understands it, People's Tribune is "a sacred office with power of veto over the senate." Thank you for explaining that, ExposoSlave. No, seriously. The more I can equate Roman politics with, say, Big Brother, the easier this whole thing will be for me to grasp. It's "an office of great dignity and seriousness," apparently. Which is where this whole thing begins to differ from Big Brother. Caesar thinks about this and agrees to send "Strabo" -- an old dude standing in the corner of the room with a book -- along, to make sure that Marc Antony behaves himself.