Rome (LWM) | Season 2 | Episode 1


TV-MA | 58 MIN

Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Bruno Heller

Moments after Caesar's murder, Mark Antony emerges from the Senate in a state of shock, only to face Quintus Pompey and his thugs, who immediately set off after him. Brutus returns home shaking, his mother already plotting for him to fill Caesar's shoes. "Our name is redeemed," she tells him. "The Republic is saved." Back inside the Senate, Posca weeps over Caesar's body.

In the courtyard just below their apartment, Vorenus cries over the limp body of Niobe. When young Lucius approaches, he lurches for the boy, just as his two daughters return with their aunt Lyde and catch sight of their ashen mother. "Whose child is this?!" Vorenus demands, hoisting the boy in the air as if ready to hurl him over the gates. As Vorena the Elder reaches for the boy, he smacks her to the ground, then lets the boy go, redirecting his anger. "I curse you!" he says, pointing a crooked hand at his kids before stumbling out of the courtyard, leaving them to weep over their mother's corpse.

Having just heard the news about Caesar, Atia collapses in grief, as Octavia festers with fury, realizing Servilia used what she shared about Vorenus's wife to leave Caesar defenseless. Octavian instructs his sister to never speak of it again. Atia begins plotting to flee the city, convinced Mark Antony must be dead since he hasn't come for her. Octavian argues against it, insisting it's what Servilia wants. They are interrupted by Antony himself, still out of breath from Quintus Pompey's chase, but Atia's relief soon turns to anger; he talks of heading north and raising "an army of monsters" to avenge Caesar's death...all without her. Eventually he gives in and invites Atia to join him.

In a meadow in the Roman countryside, Pullo proposes marriage to Eirene, both of them oblivious to the chaos unfolding in the city. When he explains that she is no longer a slave and can say no to his proposal, Eirene accepts, and Pullo smears wet dirt on their faces to make it official.

At Caesar's villa, his long-forgotten widow Calpurnia presides over her husband's body as formal mourning rites begin. Mark Antony, Atia and her children arrive to pay their respects - and they are the only ones to do so. Calpurnia rejects Mark Antony's offer to escape the city under his protection; she is happy to die in Rome. She insists that Posca read Caesar's will, which stipulates that every citizen receive 75 denarii, and every soldier and veteran 100. Atia scoffs at "the waste."

None are prepared for what's next. All of Caesar's property and remaining money, as well as the legal obligations and benefits of his estate, are left solely to one person: Octavian, whom Caesar has designated sole heir and his lawful son. Atia can hardly believe her luck; Antony can't conceal his wounds. But he quickly recovers, explaining that Brutus and his men are now the law, and Caesar's money and land will go to them. "They will declare his death a rightful tyrannicide," Posca concedes, "and his will and all his acts become null and void."

While Antony plows ahead with plans to head north, Octavian announces he must stay in Rome. "I am Caesar's son. I must defend my status and rights." He insists his mother stay too, so that the family appears united. Antony laughs at the boy, but Octavian explains his logic: Brutus will have to declare Caesar a tyrant to justify his killing, but all the acts of a tyrant are unlawful, including those that put Brutus and Cassius in power. Antony continues to dismiss him, but Atia is coming around, realizing she could still be the mother of the richest man in Rome.

Lyde leads the children in preparing Niobe for her journey to the afterlife, when their ritual is interrupted by Erastes Fulmen and his men, who have come in search of Vorenus, realizing he's no longer protected by Caesar.

At Servilia's villa, Cicero arrives to applaud Cassius, Quintus and the others - he wished he wielded the knife himself, he says to derisive stares. Brutus assures him that the city is secured with 2,000 armed men, and that Caesar's people have all fled. Still, Cicero is disappointed to learn they left Mark Antony standing, and suggests they take care of the matter. Making a hasty exit, he comes face to face with the man himself. "Friend Cicero," Antony says with casual confidence, "Why so pale?"

As Mark Antony takes a seat at Servilia's table, Cicero insists he knew nothing of the plot to kill Caesar. Antony explains he's come alone, in good faith, to help them out of the "wolfpit" they've created. To their scoffs he responds that despite the man's tyrannical tendencies, "a great many people will worship Caesar until they die... and those people are mine now." They don't need such people, Cassius insists; they've secured the city, the Senate and the knights and the Pontiffs are with them. "Best wait 'til after the elections," Antony responds, before offering up Octavian's logic: all of "the tyrant's" acts and appointments will be nullified, and "messy" elections will have to be held for them to reclaim their powerful posts.

Realizing he has a point, Brutus and the others hear him out. Their strengths are balanced, Antony claims, and neither can win without terrible bloodshed. "I want peace and stability," he tells them. His proposal is for a general amnesty: Caesar will not be declared a tyrant, and they will not be killers. His death will be a natural death, and all his acts and his will shall stand - allowing all of them to keep their positions. And for a show of unity, they will hold a public funeral for the fallen leader.

And after that? Antony assures them he will serve out his term and retire to the provinces, to "plough my fields and f**k my slaves like old Cincinnatus." Skeptical, they ask him to leave and debate his offer. Brutus is furious that his co-conspirators tried to kill Antony as well, setting him up to be dishonored twice. While conceding Antony is "a vulgar beast," he insists the man has broken no capital law, and should not be killed. Alas, Brutus convinces no one, not even his mother. But when he meets Mark Antony outside, he accepts his offer of "friendship." On his way home, a smug Antony turns to Quintus and slashes his throat.

Pullo and Eirene return to Vorenus's villa to find him holding Niobe's limp hand. "I cursed my own children," he says through a fog of remorse. "It wasn't their fault." Pullo assures him they'll be back and he can lift the curse, especially since he didn't kill any animals on it.

Pullo pays a visit to Octavian, who tells him how Vorenus was lured away...ultimately admitting it was he who passed on the detail Pullo shared about Niobe's son. Octavian apologizes and asks him not to mention it to anyone. When Pullo learns Octavian has been named Caesar's heir, he offers to help exact vengeance.

As Niobe's body is carried out to the countryside in a handcart, Caesar's body is carried on an elaborate litter, lined by regal magistrates and mourners carrying candles that light the masks of his ancestors. Mark Antony, Atia and her family take their place on one side of the litter, Brutus and the conspirators line the other. As the doors of Caesar's villa open, a massive crowd roars at the sight of their ruler's body.

By the time Vorenus, Pullo and Eirene make their way back towards the city from Niobe's funeral pyre, Caesar's body is engulfed in a large plume of smoke, set atop a sprawling bonfire, an unruly mob of rioters unleashed throughout the city. By the time Brutus and Cassius arrive at Servilia's, they are greeted by Mark Antony, who has a new proposal: they are all to leave town, save for Servilia. He will offer Brutus a grain monitor post "to leave the city in dignity." Furious by what has transpired, they steadfastly refuse, insisting they still have "the men of quality" behind them. "And I have an angry mob," Antony fires back, "and they will roast and eat your men of quality in the ashes of the Senate house."

Returning to the apartment, Vorenus, Pullo and Eirene catch Clarissa rummaging through their cupboards, though she insists she's only taking back what she loaned Niobe. They demand to know where the kids are. "Erastes Fulmen took them," she says hesitantly.

At the Aventine tavern, Erastes holds court before a tableful of hard-faced gamblers and gangsters. One of his men reports on Caesar's funeral: Brutus carried on monotonously about the Republic and its laws. Then Antony got up, gave Brutus a hug, and pulled out Caesar's bloody toga. He paced the stage lamenting the loss of the great man, stirring the crowd to tears before he tossed the toga into the crowd. That's when they turned into an angry mob. Disgusted with Antony and the lack of respect shown at Caesar's funeral, Erastes warns his tavern men to stay away from the "disgraceful" rioting, or risk being "disjointed." He heads to the tavern's steam room, and just as he lies down, he's startled by the wraith-like appearance of a bloodied Vorenus - sword in hand - demanding to know where his children are. Erastes manages to escape past him back into the tavern, where he finds Pullo standing over the bodies of all his men. Resigned to what's next, he tells Vorenus he took his kids as payment for his many slights. "I f**ked them. Then I killed them. Then I threw them in the river." With barely a pause, Vorenus swings his sword at the man, killing him with a single blow.

Just outside the city's walls, Brutus and Cassius escape on horseback, a large retinue and a baggage train in tow. Back in the city, a blood-streaked Vorenus walks through the streets carrying Erastes Fulmen's head, lost in a furious haze, Pullo following along behind him.