Duro not only fails to poison Julii Cooper, he also confesses under torture that he's working for Servilia. Julii Cooper makes Timon kill Duro anyway, which puts her henchman in quite the mood. Someone's growing a conscience. Pullo arrives in Gaul post-battle to learn that Mark Antony has gotten a right spanking from the actor now playing Octavian, who offers Pullo aid in finding Vorenus. Octavian also sends his friend Agrippa with a message for his sister. Said message doesn't include Agrippa's confession of love for Octavia, but Agrippa delivers it anyway. As well as word to Cicero that Octavian is returning to Rome with his army. Cicero's all, "Here we go again." And he doesn't even know that Brutus and Cassius have succeeded in raising their own army in the East. Julii Cooper has her men capture Servilia, planning to have Timon torture her until she snaps, but Timon snaps first; he releases Servilia and tenders his own resignation, not at all tenderly. Pullo finds Vorenus, and then the two of them find the hellish slave camp where the kids are being held. Vorenus locates his younger daughter, embraces Little Lucius, and liberates his elder daughter from a non-manual-labor form of slavery, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. And the family's all back together, except the dead one.
It must be quite a long walk from the stove to Julii Cooper's dining room, because the kitchen maid has apparently been carrying that tureen of poisoned stew since the end of last week's episode. She secretively dips a couple of fingers in and samples the stuff. Ew, it's got to be freezing cold by now. As she reaches the dining room, Julii Cooper is complaining to her lady-in-waiting, Merula, that circumstances have conspired to deprive her of musicians while she eats her dinner this evening. "Althea sings well," Merula suggests, as Althea delivers the stew to the table. Julii Cooper prevails upon the poor, nervous girl to sing "Crown of Sappho" for her, and sits up expectantly, turning a simple dinner service into an audition. Althea's terribly nervous and begins weakly. For all her other faults, Julii Cooper's no Simon; she patiently gives Althea time to recover. Merula and Castor are standing on either side of Julii Cooper. I wonder which of the three of them will be Paula? Althea eventually finds her voice, and sings a few lines beautifully. After a moment, though, it's not just music coming out of her mouth, but blood as well. Talk about singing your heart out. Instead of helping her or asking what's wrong, they let the poor girl keep singing until she collapses to the floor. They have to send her to Hollywood after that. The senior slaves rush to her, and realize that there must have been poison in the stew. Castor glances up toward the kitchen, where Duro is peeking around the doorway. Smart, that. At least the kid has the brains to know that he's busted: he makes a break for it, Castor giving chase. He's probably not the best guy for this pursuit; Duro will only be that much more motivated not to get caught from behind.
Pullo rides north. Scene.
Octavia's receiving another visit from Jocasta, who's boasting about some "beastly fun" sex she had with one of her pa-PAH's litter bearers. "Penis like a horse," she reviews, and they cackle naughtily. But the mood is shattered by a loud scream of agony echoing through the house. Oh, Jocasta's not that bad.
Oops, my mistake. The source of the screaming would be Duro, who's already been caught, tied spread-eagled between a couple of support columns in the stable, and whipped to within an inch of his Passion Of The Christ. Timon gets in a couple of bare-knuckled punches to Duro's face, and then applies a hot branding iron to the kid's side. This is only the first of three torture scenes I'm going to have to recap this week, so pardon me if I pace myself in my outrage. Octavia and Jocasta enter, the former irritated with her mom, and the latter reacting like she's never seen anyone being tortured before. "What's her name again?" Julii Cooper asks her daughter. Jocasta manages to whine her name through her fingers. "She's a bad influence," Julii Cooper mutters, and turns her attention back the young man she's having tortured. She tells Octavia that one of the servants tried to poison her. Instead of acting all worried and righteously shocked, Octavia makes me grin by snitting at her mother, "What are you doing to the servants that they want to murder you?" Julii Cooper says she knows Servilia's behind it. As for why Duro's being beaten, she explains, "It isn't a legal confession unless there's torture." That's the future of law enforcement, right there. Octavia says that Julii Cooper will have to take Servilia to court, but her mom plans just to kill her enemy instead: "I can always claim it was self-defense. I'm thinking ahead, you see?" Well, her version of it. "This is wrong in so many ways I don't know where to start," Octavia recaps for me. And then Jocasta vomits, and the girls leave. "Is this going to take all night?" Julii Cooper asks Timon, who says that Duro's blacked out again. Come on, kid, this episode isn't that boring. Timon's assistant throws a bucket of water in Duro's face. Timon's about to get to work on him with this nasty wire claw-looking thing, but Julii Cooper's decided that it's her moment to play angel of mercy. She goes in close to Duro, acting all gentle and promising to spare his life if he gives up his employer. He manages to croak out Servilia's name. Julii Cooper turns triumphantly to Timon, saying, "There, that wasn't so hard, was it?" She rewards Timon with a drink and tells him, "After you've killed him, dispose of the body discreetly." Timon's throat somehow goes dry in mid-swallow. And here he thought he was only torturing, not murdering.