#LegionXIII Rome Watch-Along S02E03: “These Being The Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero” or “This Being An Epic Slam By Marcus Tullius Cicero”

A picture of a big roman number XIII, in front of an ominous sky, in the middle of a road through a field. In the crotch of the X, I, dressed as a centurion, naturally, am slumped over, sleeping. Bronwyn Green, dressed in a stola, is looking nervously at a harp, and Jess is depicted as the woman with a bloody knife from the DVD cover of season 2.

CW: Rape (although honestly, CW: rape for the whole show from here out)

Quick rundown of the episode: Vorenus is still tormented by the fact that he killed his wife and children. Fair enough. The mental strain is making him a bad ass ruler, though. One of his gang captains comes to him for permission to kill a guy who got his dick sucked by twelve-year-old. it’s a thing about family honor, but Vorenus denies his request on the basis that the twelve-year-old was paid, and therefore wasn’t defiled, but working as a prostitute. Pullo puts in his two cents, which Vorenus does not want. he tells Pullo never to question him in front of the other gang members. Pullo doesn’t appreciate this, but he is who he is, and he goes along with it.

Continuing on her journey of self discovery in the realm of not giving a shit, Octavia has brought home her new stoner friend, Jocasta. They are bogging out the house “inhaling hemp”, and Atia isn’t impressed. I mean, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with the hemp, because she takes the pipe and hits it like a champ, but she’s really not happy that Octavia is hanging out with a merchant’s daughter. She tells Octavia that her slumming better not go any lower.

Meanwhile, Timon is still pining for Atia, while his brother is usurping his place with his children.  The brother (Abraham? Avram? I don’t remember the guy’s name.) Is also doing this whole shadowy meeting thing in alleys, which Timon definitely notices. Again, due to the show’s cancellation, the storyline will go nowhere.

Atia has soured on the idea of going to Macedonia. She tries to convince Antony to stay in Rome and keep playing the politics game, and from his frowny concentration face when he rides his horse away, it seems like he might be considering it.

Vorenus and Pullo are having  a perfectly lovely lunch when in comes that asshole who paid a twelve-year-old to have sex with him. Also, he’s missing his penis. Turns out the dudes ignored Vorenus’s ruling and went ahead and got their revenge anyway. Vorenus blames Pullo for this; if Pullo hadn’t questioned his authority, they never would have been bold enough to go against his word. This leads to a huge fight, in which Pullo accidentally slip that he knew about Niobe’s cheating all along and killed Evander for it. This is new information to Vorenus, and as is the theme of this season, Vorenus doesn’t take this well.

Meanwhile, Cicero and Mark Antony are chilling together, the way enemies do, and Cicero heaps praise on Octavian, bragging on the huge army Octavian is raising. Antony expresses his opinion on this by whizzing into a potted plant. He also tells Cicero that he doesn’t plan to go to Macedonia. He’d rather be governor of Gaul. Cicero is like, yeah, that’s not going to work, some other guy is running Gaul right now. Antony tries to intimidate Cicero into making it happen, and that’s exactly why Cicero won’t do it.

Agrippa, a.k.a. Tom Branson, comes to Atia with a message from Octavian, but he meets Octavia first and is “entranced” by her harp playing, which is also accompanied by frustrated swearing. Octavian sends his best wishes to Octavia, and Agrippa informs her that Octavian is a pretty important and powerful guy.

What nobody is worried about, though, is this new asshole, Duro, who works in the kitchen at Atia’s house, because he’s working for Servilia. His job is to poison Atia, but it’s taking a long time; Octavia almost always eats with Atia, and Servilia doesn’t want to kill Octavia. Duro is crude and nasty, and he demands Servilia kiss him before he’ll carry out his job. She wants Atia dead so much, she does it. So like, she’s committed.

Meanwhile, in some other place, Brutus is trying to raise money to crush Antony, but apparently the people he’s trying to win over think Brutus is cowardly for killing Caesar only after everyone else stabbed him about a billion times. They also want to watch some pretty specific bestiality. Things aren’t going great for Brutus, who later has a weird John The Baptist type scene in a pond.

Meanwhile, back at the hellmouth, Vorenus accuses Pullo of sleeping with Niobe, and he’s so out of control, Pullo is like, yeah, you know what, I totally had sex with your wife. Fine. They end up getting into a brawl so big that it breaks furniture and pieces of the building, and Pullo is like, fuck this, let’s go. He and Eirene leave the city.

Antony shows up to the senate to find that Cicero hasn’t bothered to show up at the senate, where he was supposed to propose that Antony’s governorship be transferred to Gaul. Instead, he basically sent a long speech about how much he hates Antony and basically telling him to fuck off. Meanwhile, Cicero has left the city and is going to align himself with Octavian.

Three months later, Octavian is a real threat to the city, and shit isn’t going well. Pullo and Eirene have returned to the city, after traveling like, forever. They find the Aventine all burned up and wrecked, and barricades have been erected to protect the mob house. Vorenus went to Gaul with Mark Antony. All of the nonsense in the Aventine stems from the gelding dispute, and a retaliatory rape. While Pullo and Eirene try to decide what to do next, Lyde stumbles up. At first they don’t recognize her, probably because they expected her to be dead. But she’s escaped from slavery, and come back to tell them that the children are still alive.

We cut back to Atia’s house, where she’s just about to tuck into some delicious poison, because Octavia isn’t home. Just as the servant brings her the food, the episode ends. CLIFF HANGER!

My favorite part of the episode: When Atia acts all outraged by her kid smoking pot, then hits with nary a flinch.

My least favorite part of the episode: In the first season (and I believe early on in this season), passage of time was marked by showing a person climbing a ladder and changing a big public calendar. Out of nowhere, “Three Months Later” is slapped on the screen. It’s so jarring and unnecessary. They trusted the audience to understand the passage of time in the first season, and yeah, people did complain about it being difficult to follow, but a few episodes into the second season is not the time to start introducing title screens.

Favorite costume: Octavia’s casual wear for pot smoking:

Octavia's dress is made out of some crinkly silk fabric, with wide off-the-shoulder straps in a cream color, while the rest of the dress is like, streakily-died blue green. She's also gulping down water, because she's high as goddamn.

I wish we would have seen the whole outfit.

Team Atia or Team Servilia: Atia, all the way. I want to admire Servilia’s dedication, but she’s so desperate at this point that it’s kind of hard.

Favorite watch-a-long tweet: 

What hairdo or costume would Bronwyn steal? Bronwyn is a sucker for drapey, ethereal bullshit:

Octavia wears what is basically the exact kind of Roman palla people imagine when they think of Roman pallas, and it's all in gauzy white.

Guess Jess’s head canon. Jess’s headcanon was dealt a blow in this episode when Pullo and Vorenus fell out, but the fact that Pullo returned to Rome to set things straight only further validates her ship.

Now go check out Bronwyn’s and Jess’s posts, and join us Monday at 9 PM EST for season two, episode four, “Testudo et Lepus”. Tweet to #LegionXIII to join us!

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