About Your Father
TV-MA | 1 HR 5 MIN
Directed by John Maybury
Written by Bruno Heller
Vorenus, Mark Antony and several tired oarsmen make their way across the Aegean, returning from battle, as Antony notes, unconvincingly: "All my life I've been fearful of defeat. But now that it has come it's not near as terrible as I'd expected. The sun still shines, water still tastes good...glory is all well and good but life is enough, nay?"
Back in Rome, the newsreader declares that the forces of Octavian Caesar under the command of Agrippa have won a decisive victory over Cleopatra and "her slave Mark Antony." While at Caesar's villa, Livia holds court about Antony's cowardice before her captive guests, Atia and Octavia.
At his camp in Alexandria, Octavian rejects Antony's offer of defeat in exchange for being able to live a private life. But Octavian asks his emissary to return to Antony with the news that he will only accept complete surrender, and to bring word to Vorenus that if he opens the palace gates for them, his life will be safe. Octavian pressures Pullo to offer up some private message to Vorenus that will prove his safety and Pullo acquiesces: "Tell him his children are well, and I hope my child is well also." Responding to Octavian's quizzical look, Pullo explains "Private joke."
Inside the palace, Antony and Cleopatra preside over a debauched, orgiastic party. Antony, drugged and worn out, refuses to surrender to Octavian. Cleopatra suggests they flee, but death is the only solution Antony proffers. Meanwhile, receiving Pullo's and Octavian's message, Vorenus refuses to turn against Antony. Suddenly, Antony calls out to the emissary with another solution: "I challenge your master to meet me in single combat."
While Antony practices for battle, high on opium, Octavian and Agrippa discuss how to handle Antony, not wanting to get into a lengthy battle or further anger the Egyptians by burning down the palace with the Queen inside. Instead, Octavian appeals to a sober Cleopatra directly, promising her she can retain her crown and her life if she delivers Mark Antony dead. When she receives the written offer, Cleopatra is tormented: "My life for my honour." Antony finds her upset, and tells her they must decide together how to end their lives before Octavian's legions attack. She urges him to wait until the next day and he returns to the party, to drink some more with Vorenus. When Antony asks if he believes in an afterlife, concerned that there are some who say this is all there is, Vorenus responds: "Greeks talk a whole pile of nonsense. F**k 'em"
Antony gets a note from Cleopatra, delivered by her slave, saying goodbye. "With her last breath, she called your name." Devastated, Antony, impales himself, with Vorenus holding the sword, "Tell the people I died well. I died Roman." As he falls to his death, the slave runs off to give the news to Cleopatra, who is, in fact, still alive.
Vorenus, dressing Antony's body in the armor befitting a Roman general, is surprised to see Cleopatra, who walks through Antony's blood to weep over his body. Disgusted with the Queen, Vorenus confronts her and insists that he take Caesarion with him, so that Octavian won't kill him. He vows to take him to his real father, Titus Pullo.
Vorenus and the boy escape in traveling clothes, while Cleopatra opens the palace doors to Octavian. Insisting that they are to be friends and vowing that Cleopatra and the children are safe, Octavian asks but one favor, that Cleopatra sail with him tomorrow to Rome to show that Egypt and Rome are reconciled.
Though steely throughout the meeting, afterward Cleopatra realizes the mistake she has made. As Antony had predicted, Octavian's only interest after killing Caesarion is parading the Queen "in chains for the mob to spit on.
Weighing the options, Cleopatra decides on the snake as the means to her end. She lays the asp on her breast and the Romans arrive just in time to see her take her last breaths as she spits out at Octavian: "You... have a rotten soul." "Find the children!" he orders.
Learning that Caesarion has escaped with Vorenus, Octavian sends Pullo out to look for them, telling him to persuade Vorenus to return, as only the boy has to die.
Vorenus is camped in the desert with his young charge, beneath the ruined head of a pharaoh. Pullo finds him there: "Never thought I'd see that old bastard glaring at me again." "I knew you'd remember," Vorenus replies. Pullo delivers the news of the death of the boy's mother bluntly and Caesarion rebuffs him rudely, but realizing he has no other options, remains by the campfire crying. "I thought he'd be bigger," Pullo notes of his son. He explains to Vorenus there are ten legions out looking for them. The only way to go is south. Pullo gives his friend an update on his children, hoping to lure him home. But Vorenus agrees to go only as far as Judaea with them.
Octavian returns to Rome and heads to Atia's Villa to report to his mother and sister the news of Antony's death by his own hand. He asks Octavia to look after Antony's young children. "Kindly Uncle Octavian shows mercy. People will love it. Clever. No end to your cleverness," she says.
Coming upon a road block with Roman legionaries along the route, Pullo suggests they attack immediately but Vorenus insists they try to talk their way through. When Caesarion can't hold his tongue, a sword fight breaks out. They are victorious, but Vorenus has been stabbed through and collapses, begging Pullo to take him home to die so he can see his children.
One month later, on the day of celebration for Octavian Caesar's official return as first citizen, Atia is despondent, unable to dress for the occasion. "I don't know what I shall do if you give up," Octavia pleads with her mother.
Pullo arrives home with the dying Vorenus, but his children don't want to see him. Watching Lyde nurse him, Vorena the Elder finally comes to her father to say goodbye, and her brother and sister follow her lead. Vorenus can die in peace.
Atia arrives just before Livia, Octavia and the women of Octavian's party are to enter the Forum, taking the first place of honor even though Livia insists it is the wife who takes precedence. But Atia will have none of it, she sees through Livia: "You are swearing now that some day, some day you will destroy me....Remember: far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go look for them now."
The women take their seats in the Forum, as Octavian Caesar rides in on his chariot and takes his throne. Atia looks at her son, but memory and regret triumph over aristocratic pride.
Afterward, Titus Pullo visits Octavian and reports that he killed Caesarion in the desert and that Vorenus has died. Octavian rewards him. "He bought it," Pullo tells Caesarion outside. As the boy spews forth his oaths to avenge his mother and his father, Pullo interrupts: "Listen, about your father...." as they disappear into the crowd.