Remember when this show started, and Vorenus was a pious centurion with a high sense of honor, while Pullo was a more base guy who didn’t mind casual blasphemy or murder?
Yeah, times change.
Let’s see…we have three power players to watch out for here:
The Queen of Egypt comes blowing into town, and she wants one thing: legitimizing her son Caesarion by Julius Caesar (unless it was by Pullo). Marc Antony knows that’s just asking for trouble, so he says no, though not without asking for the sorts of sexual favors that we’ve come to associate with sleaze ball Marc Antony. The kind he would deny to Atia that he asked for. That doesn’t stop Cleopatra from showing up at Atia’s for a dinner party. Atia has enough insecurity with Servilia as it is. Heck, Octavian managed to stop his mom from murdering Servilia during the feast. Bodyguard Timon goes home to see his brother visiting, and those guys are Jewish, and that might go somewhere. We’ll see.
Point is, while Cleopatra may have made waves, she hasn’t gotten anything…yet.
Cicero has never liked Antony, but he knows Antony needs him alive to run the Senate, so he can play a bit with what Antony wants for now, and even says as much. His role in this episode is rather minor, but he’s working with Servilia to dethrone Antony and bring Brutus back at some point.
I’ve made no secret my opinion of Octavian as a human weasel, but damn if this kid isn’t the politically smartest guy in the room. Yeah, Servilia thinks setting Antony and Octavian at odds will end with both dead, but history tells us that won’t happen. Everyone, and I mean everyone, underestimates Octavian due to his age. Though named Caesar’s son and heir, Antony won’t release Caesar’s fortune to the lad, and Octavian wants to fulfill Caesar’s will to give a bit of cash to every plebe in Rome. Antony claims if you give people free money that they’ll just want more. Whether he’s right or not, Octavian eventually takes out a loan to give out the money and use it to make a public debut as a statesman. This leads to a massive slap fight between Octavian, Antony, and Atia, and all three get their licks in. I was personally pleased when Octavian clocked Antony with a piece of wood. Yeah, I mean, Antony almost killed him for that until Octavia intervenes, but it was so satisfying.
Octavian’s plans are actually well thought out, but no one takes him seriously. I mean, he’s still a human weasel and a punk-ass, but he’s right. That means he ends up leaving home to join the army and serve Rome that way for a period.
As for others, well…
Two months after killing Erastes, Vorenus is still a shadow of his former self who kept the loan shark’s rotting head in his bedroom. Pullo is worried. You know it’s bad when Pullo is worried, as Eirene is looking to get away from her former master’s house. Pullo goes to Antony, and Antony goes to Vorenus and basically orders Antony to take Erastes’ place in the city. Without Erastes, major gang war has broken out in the streets, and Antony wants Vorenus to become some sort of Tony Soprano type to keep them under control. Under a concord, Vorenus gets the captains of the gangs to meet in a place where there’s supposed to be peace, but when one guy questions Vorenus’ leadership, Vorenus grabs the idol of the goddess Concordia and smashes it, shouting he’s the son of Hades. Impressed, the captains sign on. Pullo, he looks worried even more than he did before.
And when at least one of their former comrades in arms shows up looking for work, Vorenus lays bare that he’s not afraid of divine punishment here since he’s already lost his family and he’s as low as he can get. What can the gods do to make his life worse? Pullo seems to think he doesn’t want to find that out.
So, Vorenus went from magistrate to crime lord. Wow. Can anyone see how it might get worse for the guy?
Well, the viewer might because a slave caravan is carrying Vorenus’ not-dead-at-all children out of Rome.