Stealing From Saturn

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: C | 1 USERS: B+
Toga Parties
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Fade up on a slow pan across a large, semi-military encampment at night. People are still up and walking about, and at least one of them is moaning and screaming in a way that suggests that something worse is happening to him than having his marshmallows fall off his stick into the campfire. Eventually we see the silhouette of the screamer hanging upside-down in leg-irons from a tree branch, and another silhouette doing something to the first silhouette, but it's not clear what that is. Safe to say it doesn't involve marshmallows, though.

Inside one of the nearby tents, Pompey, Brutus, and a handful of the Senators most loyal to Pompey are hanging out, listening to the screaming with varying degrees of discomfort. Most of the men are wearing leather armor, except of course for Cato, who's decked out in his usual off-the-shoulder toga. I wonder if he considered attempting that look in leather and decided that it would just make him look like an octogenarian dominatrix. Pompey assures everyone that they'll be sleeping in nice, warm houses the day after tomorrow. Cicero remarks, "Here we are, refugees in our own land--" Pompey corrects "refugees" to "maneuvering," which I'm certain is a word that would go over well with all the Americans that have been maneuvering from hurricanes this month -- "...while the tyrant sits in Rome. Yet in my tent, I sleep sound and deep as a child." Another scream rips though the night. "Though perhaps not tonight," Cicero amends, picking at a plate of food. Pompey offers a slightly affronted apology for the ambience, but says that it'll be over soon. "Quintus has a knack for this kind of thing," Pompey assures everyone. Pompey exposits that his son arrived this morning, just as the screaming stops, to Cicero's relief: "Screaming makes poor sauce, I find," he comments, and goes back to his dinner. I think this is one of the first times I've seen a character on this show eating at a table instead of reclining on the floor like they usually are. Must be the new director they have this week. Pompey praises Quintus's loyalty and fearlessness, and Brutus assures him that nobody thinks otherwise of his son.

At that, Quintus himself enters the tent. I could say that Quintus has "Napoleon complex" written all over him, but this is before the time of Napoleon. I could say he looks like one of those guys who compensate for their small size by cultivating a sadistic streak a mile wide, but this is also before the time of De Sade. So I'll just say "vicious chipmunk" and have done with it. Quintus brings the news that the suspect he's been torturing confessed. "Blood, on your face," Pompey says sharply. "Wash yourself." Interesting detail there that shows how civilized these conquering, raping, looting, murdering, slave-owning, bad-haircut-having pagans really were. That being taken care of, Pompey asks what happened to his man Durio and the gold from the treasury. Quintus says that the soldiers killed Durio and headed north on the Via Flaminia with the gold, where they ran into Caesar's scouts. Which we knew, except for the name of the road, which would have come in handy while recapping last week. And now I'm wondering how the driver/drover who was escaping to the north ended up getting caught by Pompey's men. We'll never know, so I'm letting it go. Pompey doesn't believe the story, since he has recent word that Caesar doesn't have the gold. Quintus vouches for his torture guy, saying that the story must be true. The scouts must have just kept the gold for themselves, Quintus guesses. "Go find these scouts," Pompey orders. When Quintus says he will, Pompey shouts, "Now!" Quintus heads out, looking mildly put out that he's not even going to get any dinner after a hard evening of torturing. Pompey takes the opportunity to indulge in some more of his usual optimism, saying that since Caesar doesn't have the treasury, he won't be able to afford to control Rome without violence, which will turn the populace against him. Outside, Quintus polishes up a wicked little hooked blade he has and takes off. "Without the people, [Caesar] has nothing," Pompey promises. I'd be more inclined to believe Pompey's optimistic projections if (a) a single one of them had turned out correct to date, and (b) his black leather tunic didn't make him look like an inner tube.

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