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#LegionXIII Rome Watch-Along, S02E08 “A Necessary Fiction” or “An Unnecessary Death And Demonization Of A Character”

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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: Octavian sets the tone for this episode by talking to a group of Roman women about the “steely virtue” of Roman women, and how he’s going to enact laws that punish promiscuity and reward fertility, so basically he’s establishing Ye Olde Republican Party. He goes directly from this speech to meet a woman and proposition her, suggesting that divorcing her husband would be no big deal. So, virtue, infidelity, blah blah blah, he just stole a wife from her husband.

Timon and his family leave Rome, and the show, for good, with their storyline pretty much unresolved. Glad it took up so much screen time for no reason.

Jocasta is super enjoying being married to Posca, because he indulges her every whim. She can’t move without her jewelry clacking. Posca and Micenas have a plan to steal money from a bribe that Octavian is sending by way of the collegium. The guy who’s name I can never remember, who’s the “third man” in the gang is mad that Pullo is getting the job guarding the gold, and he storms off.

As predicted last week, Gaia gives Eirene the abortifacient in her tea, and she dies. Here lies Eirene, the only decent person on the entire show, murdered to cause Pullo manpain.

The shipment of bribe gold gets ambushed, and Mascius (who gets the job guarding the gold after all, since Pullo is catatonic with grief) gets seriously wounded. The gold is gone. Micenas says it’s convenient that the only person Octavian trusted suddenly couldn’t guard the gold, and Antony takes that as an accusation. Micenas thinks Posca has double crossed him with Antony.

Meanwhile, Vorenus goes to see Memio (what is up with all the M names?), who is drinking and whoring like there’s no tomorrow, but who insists he doesn’t know anything about the stolen gold. He assembles all the rival gang leaders together and tells them it’s time to overthrow Vorenus. They’re all like, you took Vorenus’s gold, stop making it our problem. And by the way, Memio totally stole the fucking gold. He uses it to buy off the other mobsters.

Pissed off about the gold the suspected double-cross, Micenas tells Octavian that his mom is still fucking Antony, and that Octavia didn’t tell him because she’s busy banging Agrippa. Octavian calls the family together and airs all their business like it’s Thanksgiving. Agrippa admits to his affair with Octavia, resulting in Octavian putting his mother and sister under permanent house arrest and banishing Antony from Rome.

Vorenus is about to have Pullo kill Mascius for betraying them and stealing the gold, when he sees one of the straw dolls the fiddly, greasy guy has been making Vorena the Elder. Vorenus confronts his daughter, who totally takes responsibility for betraying him and telling Memio about the route for the gold. And he’s like, why would you do that, and she points out all the egregious shit he did to them, like kill their mother (the kids don’t know that he didn’t), and curse them to Hades, resulting in their enslavement. He strangles her, but Pullo stops him before he can actually kill Vorena in front of the other children.

Antony is banished to Egypt. He goes to see Atia first, and promises he’ll send for her when he can.

Vorenus tells Antony he resigns from the collegium, citing personal reasons, and promises that the gold will be returned. He practically begs Antony to take him to Egypt, and Antony is like, you’re a fuck up, but I need guys on my side. Vorenus leaves his kids in Pullo’s protection, and the two men say nearly-tearful goodbyes to each other.

Meanwhile, on house arrest, Octavia is taking out her boredom on the houseplants when Atia tells her that Agrippa is in the kitchen. But Agrippa isn’t there for funsies; he tells Octavia that basically he’s choosing loyalty to her brother over her. He won’t help Octavia escape, because Octavian has the right to lock her up. In other words, this prick was happy to dance to the tune, but he’s going to make Octavia pay the piper. Octavia tells Agrippa she’s pregnant, and he’s all, “Who’s the father?” and she says it doesn’t matter because both options are shitty. She’s not wrong.

Now that everybody knows that Memio stole the gold, it’s time for a rumble on the Aventine. Pullo and Memio parlay, but Pullo apparently doesn’t know what that means, because he headputs Memio and bites his tongue out. Then he hurls an axe into greasy guy’s chest, and bam, everybody was kung fu fighting. Even Gaia, who is finally given something to do besides use her sexuality for evil.

Antony arrives in Rome, where he’s met by Cleopatra. We all pretty much know where that goes from here.

My favorite part of the episode: When Octavian Grey tells Livia that he plans to get sexual pleasure from beating her. I guess his tastes are “very singular”. He gives her about as much agency in the decision as Christian Grey gave Ana Steele, and it’s just about as romantic.

My least favorite part of the episode: Let’s talk about how fucked up Eirene’s storyline is. She starts off as a slave, gets freed by the master who raped her, he kills the man she loves, she tries to kill him, ends up marrying him instead, gets pregnant, then gets murdered by a woman who sees her as competition. The audience is supposed to go, “Okay, this is fair payback. Pullo killed the person she loved, now he’s lost the person he loves.” Which is bullshit, because Eirene doesn’t deserve to die to teach Pullo a lesson or further his characterization.

In the meantime, we’ve got Gaia, who exists only to murder Eirene. Name a single thing she’s done of importance to the plot other than poisoning Eirene. Her sole function in the story is to be the conniving, jealous female. Why? Because it has an effect on the characterization of male character.

At least Atia, Octavia, Cleopatra and Servilia were given motivations that weren’t solely wrapped up in a man’s journey. Eirene and Gaia aren’t so lucky, and that pisses me off.

Favorite costume: Jocasta’s purple dress and mauve veil:

Jocasta is wearing a purple dress with slashed sleeves banded at the elbow with ribbon and buttons. She has a little tiara in her hair, with a long mauve veil of some kind of knit cloth with a lot of rustic pilling.

Team Atia or Team Servilia: Since Servilia is dead, you’d think this question wouldn’t have much of an answer, but Servilia’s curse seems to be playing out, so gotta give it to Servilia this time.

Favorite watch-a-long tweet: 

What hairdo or costume would Bronwyn steal? The dress itself isn’t that exciting, but the fabric is light and has a delicate pattern, so I’m going to go with Octavia’s lavender/blue-ish dress:

Octavia's dress is of a sheer blue/lavender fabric with a print of lines that criss-cross to form squares. Inside each square is a little flower or something.

Guess Jess’s head canon. Her boys have broken up, but they parted tenderly, with face touches, a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. A shipper can’t ask for much more without something becoming truly canon.

Now go check out Bronwyn’s post, as Jess is still nursing her injury from the fight she lost to an avocado, and join us Monday at 9 PM EST for season two, episode nine, “No God Can Stop A Hungry Man”. Tweet to #LegionXIII to join us!

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4 Comments

  1. Lia
    Lia

    “At least Atia, Octavia, Cleopatra and Servilia were given motivations that weren’t solely wrapped up in a man’s journey.” I wonder if it is, because they are historic figures, so the writers had plot points and storylines for them, based on real women. Even though the Rome Atia seems to be more based on the historic Clodia than on the historic Atia. While Eireen and Gaia are completely fictional characters.

    April 29, 2016
    |Reply
  2. Noisyninja
    Noisyninja

    I gotta say, Jocasta is making out like a bandit. So far she has the best marriage. Granted, the bar is pretty low. Oh, and when Octavian started going all Christian Grey on Livia I literally started shriek- laughing. Gift from the Gods. As was Livia’s face when he told her.

    April 30, 2016
    |Reply
  3. Noisyninja
    Noisyninja

    PS, the Pullo and Vorenus ship really isn’t that far off being canon. Bromances that were also physical happened all the time in Ancient Rome, especially among soldiers. I think it’s one of their categories of love, like how the love between a young boy and his much older mentor was (conveniently) the most sacred love of all. I may be confusing some of this with the Greeks, but I’m pretty sure you can fire the Vorenus/Pullo ship cannons.

    April 30, 2016
    |Reply

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