Testudo Et Lepus (The Tortoise And The Hare)

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
A New Man

Octavian and Agrippa return to their camp and the general's tent. Apparently, they're traveling with some poet named Maecenas, whose entire purpose appears to be lounging around in the tent, making sarcastic comments, and getting on my nerves. And those of Agrippa as well, who wonders if Maecenas couldn't be of more use. "Victory is not victory until it has a song," Maecenas declares. I can already tell this kid's a waste of armor. Octavian asks after Hirtius and Pansa, and is told that they died of their wounds. Agrippa feels bad for their compatriots having died in their hour of glory, but as Maecenas points out, "The victory is now ours alone." Considering what a waste of armor this kid looks like, I'm thinking "ours" is being used pretty generously. "You really taught that old bully a lesson, eh?" he sucks up. Octavian stiffly insists that it was for the good of the Republic. "Of course," Maecenas smirks. I hate him already. Sitting at his writing desk, Octavian tasks Agrippa with delivering some letters to Rome. The first is to his sister. "Octavia?" Agrippa gasps, causing Octavian to snark, "I only have the one sister, Agrippa." He tells Agrippa to make sure he hands the letter directly to Octavia: "My mother has a habit of stealing mail." Totally not setting his friend up with his sister at all, no way. The next letter is destined for Cicero. "Why send a general to do a courier's work?" Maecenas pipes up. Agrippa quickly says that he doesn't mind, although he doesn't mention that he's looking forward to drooling on Octavia's floor some more. In answer to Maecenas's question, Octavian says that he's asking Cicero for a triumph: "He'll know I'm serious if Agrippa is there looking grim and soldierly." Are we aware of any occasions where Octavian has been anything but serious? About anything? At this point, trumpets sound loudly outside, giving Maecenas a start. Agrippa says that Octavian needs to give his troops a speech, and Octavian asks which one. "The one about money," Maecenas suggests.

Octavian exits his tent to address his assembled men, all sixty or so, filmed a few at a time so that it looks like they fill the whole camp. They stand there silently, waiting. Octavian gives a rather anemic speech, complete with stiff, awkward hand gestures. Whatever enabled this guy to raise and lead an army, I'm sure it wasn't charisma. Even the soldiers listen dutifully and politely rather than raptly. "We have saved the Republic from those who threatened her," says Octavian. "Rome is now in our debt. And we are owed a great deal of money. So while Antony drags the remnants of his men to the frozen north, I thought we might head south to Rome. What do you say? Is it time to tell the Senate to pay up?" Not surprisingly, the soldiers think it is. Octavian seems relieved that his men are actually human beings and not just cardboard cutouts.

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