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#LegionXIII (Rome watch-along) S01E01: “The Stolen Eagle”

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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.

It’s time for another watch along with Bronwyn Green and Jess Jarman! Our new banner is made by the lovely and talented Isabel, who also made our Merlin Club banner (I’m the sleepy centurion)!

Anyway, this watch-along party is a lot shorter than our previous TV watching club, because are only two seasons of Rome. So enjoy this one while it lasts, and join us on Monday nights at 9 PM EST. This one is only available on Amazon prime or DVD. Sorry about that, but I really wanted Jess and Bronwyn to watch this one, so I can destroy their lives the way I did when I made them watch Game of Thrones.

Quick rundown of the episode: episode one speeds us through the demise of the friendship between Caesar and Pompey. Imagine if Obama and Biden had a falling out, and they started sending each other really passive-aggressive letters, and then Biden tried to steal Obama’s golden eagle, and then Obama cut the head off of Biden’s secretary and sent it to him in a box. That’s kind of how this whole ancient Roman thing goes down. Also, Pompey bangs Caesar’s niece, and then doesn’t marry her. There’s also this whole thing with a horse.

Related to the horse thing, Caesar’s niece, Atia, buys this horse (which is a really nice horse) and sends her teenage son through like, the most dangerous part of Gaul to deliver it to Caesar, just so she can get some brownie points. Octavian (the aforementioned teenager) gets captured by some bad guys. Like you do when you’re a completely unarmed kid just riding a horse through Gaul.

So back to this golden eagle thing. I’m not talking about the Midwest chain of grocery stores, but an actual golden-eagle-on-a-post thing that Caesar really enjoys having. It’s this emblem of his might in Gaul. Or something. Anyway, after Caesar captures Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls, he makes the poor defeated dude kiss it, and then somebody steals it. So now someone has to find it.

Those someones are Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo. They don’t get along real well. Pullo is a disobedient drunk, and Vorenus is a real uptight military dude. Also, there was this whole thing where Vorenus had Pullo flogged and sentenced to death, which is kind of a sore spot. They go on a buddy cop mission to find the eagle, and in doing so, also find Octavian, and Pompey’s slave who helped steal the eagle in the first place. And then Caesar sends the slave’s decapitated head back to Pompey and writes a letter that’s basically, “hey, I’m bringing the military back and I’m super pissed at you.”

 My favorite part of the episode: When Vorenus and Pullo rescue Octavian, and Octavian furiously bashes in the head of one of his kidnappers over and over and over. It looks a lot like this:

An animated gif of the scene in Office Space where Michael smashes the copy machine over and over with a bat.
“PC load letter? What the fuck does that mean?”

My least favorite part of the episode: the part were poor Octavia have to get all tarted up and paraded in front of Pompey to ultimately be publicly humiliated after he sleeps with her, then marry someone else. I want to protect Octavia at all costs.

Favorite costume:  Mr. Jingle Dick.

A mummer's costume with a big phallus with jingle bells on it. I'm not kidding.

Team Atia or Team Servillia: Team Atia, always. Well, not always. But in many episodes. In this one, definitely, because she’s the most interesting.

Favorite watch-a-long tweet:

What hairdo or costume would Bronwyn steal? Servilia’s party hair.

Servilia, with beautiful copper spiral curls.

Guess Jess’s head canon. It’s probably way too early to start thinking of head canon, but I have a feeling Jess will be slashing Vorenus and Pullo before too long.

Now go check out Bronwyn’s and Jess’s posts, and join us on Monday at 9 PM EST for season one, episode two, “How Titus Pullo Brought Down The Republic”. Tweet to #LegionXIII to join us!


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  1. Lieke

    Oh, Rome! I loved the first season so much, but then for some reason I didn’t watch season two. I don’t remember why. This happens to me a lot. I didn’t really watch the second season of Joan of Arcadia either and that show was awesome.

    Anyway, I will be reading along.

    November 6, 2015
  2. SandorCelgane13

    I love this show. It gets quoted probably more than is healthy in my house. So happy to see a watch-along for it!

    Protect Octavia at all costs please. My heart goes out to that poor girl for how screwed over she gets, and she develops her own brand of badassery in the latter part of the show.

    November 6, 2015
  3. Gabby

    Such a good show that was cut back and canceled for huge budgets and sets. I can only imagine what HBO could do now that they have game of thrones money to throw around. Oh, by the by the whole series is also on HBO go.

    November 6, 2015
    • Pax

      Seems HBO blame the BBC, since it seems that after they made season one, the BBC went “whaddaya mean you plotted out five seasons? We only wanted to make two.” Which is why the second season goes as such a phenomenal pace. Several seasons packed into one.

      November 6, 2015
      • Lia

        Oh that’s new to me. All I ever heard was some rumor by a rome actor (don’t remember who it was) who blamed actually game of thrones for the cancellation. Because HBO began with the development of GOT and Rome was really expensive and they wanted to save money for GOT or something like that.
        Plus after the cancellation the whole rome set burnt down and it was for ever too late/too expensive to bring the show back.

        November 6, 2015
        • Pax

          That may have been part of it, but the BBC do seem to have been real shits about the whole thing. They cofunded the first season (to the tune of around £800,000/ep), but told HBO that they’d only contracted for 2 seasons and extending it would have been “difficult” due to “cost”, and then didn’t fund any of the second season at all, saying it was “too early” to gauge reactions.

          Always did wonder about that fire… especially since it didn’t burn down enough to stop the BBC filming the Pompeii episode there after it was cleaned up a bit. 😉

          But even up to 2014 there’s been talk about a movie finale that Bruno Heller’s written and is hunting for a studio/director for… I’m guessing it won’t be HBO or BBC though. *grin*

          November 7, 2015
          • Pax

            *Pompeii episode of Doctor Who. I have noooo idea where a whole three words went there. O_o

            November 8, 2015
  4. Kristin c
    Kristin c

    I love Rome! Been so long since I’ve watched it, I think I may need to join this watch along!

    Also- Ray Stevenson as Neil Elwood- yes please!

    November 6, 2015
  5. Suzy

    It’s Giant Eagle, not Golden Eagle. Unless there is another grocery chain, in which case Rock On.

    November 6, 2015
  6. Mel

    Hey Jen, I watched all of Rome on HBO GO, so I’m pretty sure it’s still available there too in addition to Amazon Prime and DVD :]

    November 6, 2015
  7. OMG. How the fuck did I miss Mr. Jingle Dick. *immediately rewatches episode*

    I did enjoy Servilla’s elaborate party hair. And *now* I finally understand the PC load letter comment. And, as such, feel much better.

    November 6, 2015
  8. “PC Load Letter?” made me laugh so hard.

    And I couldn’t resist JD and Turk’s “Eagle”. I may have been saying it just like them every time it was brought up in the episode…

    I think the chances are good that I’ll get on board with a Vorenus/Pullo… Um, yeah, probably well on my way there…

    November 6, 2015
  9. Nikki

    Fun fact: I’ve always pictured Ray Stevenson as Neil, too.

    November 6, 2015
  10. Zelphia Vinci
    Zelphia Vinci

    Thank you for reviewing my favorite recent TV show! I also have to thank my Classical Latin professor in college. She informed me that even though they are not speaking Latin per se, the series went above and beyond and out of their way at portraying a living time capsule for people. And yes, to this day my boyfriend and I quote the show regularly.

    If anyone gets the chance, please rent or buy the DVDs/Blu-Ray – they have in depth historical notes and it is translated into many languages via audio and subtitles. And the historical notes are closed-caption – so when you are watching the episodes, they go into more detail about the scene you are witnessing.

    Positively Brilliant!

    P.S. Team Atia! (When the show came out, I made my boyfriend dress up as Marc Antony for Halloween – Roman legion outfit and all and I made my own Atia costume from Indian fabrics just like they did in the show and then used the outfit again for the end of the semester play that each student had to compose their own and perform for Classical Latin. (Three out of the four semesters we had to!)

    Thanks for bringing back fond memories!

    November 6, 2015
  11. Manna Francis
    Manna Francis

    Oh, I love Rome! Especially the first series.

    My favourite ever comment about Rome was a friend of mine who said, “Titus Pullo is the luckiest man in Rome, and Lucius Vorenus…isn’t.” That’s really all you need to know about the pair of them.

    November 6, 2015

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