Monday, November 14, 2005


Wow, Rome last night was great. It was the episode, "The Spoils," the one before the big-big finale. Usually a high point of any HBO series, the work-up to the finales, but especially with this new series, and the inevitable next week, the Death of Caesar.

But there's a big question now. The writers of this series have shown a tendency to bend history to their will. Sure they're leading everything up to Brutus' assassination of the man himself, but will he go through with it? Will it work? Brutus is shown to be an almost bipolar character, conflicted from multiple angles. There's no rule of law anywhere that says the writers have to follow history next week. (but they will probably will.)

Back to last night's episode, the Arena sequence was amazing. Tense, bloody, realistic. Shawn was screaming in disgust, I couldn't help but smile. When the dude got his head chopped of reminded me of the kind of brutal "truth" of Oz. That's what arena battles were like, they did justice to history. When I was living in San Francisco, my friends and I would watch episodes of Oz and cheer with every fatal maiming or dismemberment. (Maybe it's a guy thing.)

And Vorenus continues to be the most interesting character. Ceaser's political dealings are more out in the open now (at least, shown more on the show, while still "in the shadows" in the Rome world) and we can plainly see Vorenus being corrupted and resisting that corruption. When he negotiating "buying" one of the Veterans, it's a chilling scene. The camera lingers afterwards on Vorenus' face and he looks like all the shit in the world just fell on his head.

My favorite scene, though, (and this should be no surprise), is Brutus talking to Ceaser. All season long, Caesar has been "playing" Brutus. Nudging him, toying with him. I don't think Caesar anticipated Brutus' siding with Pompey but he nevertheless encouraged his "son" to doubt himself and Caesar by Ceaser's repeated cries of pure, unadulterated, loyalty. That's Ceaser's game. He says one thing and means something else (sometimes, but not all the time - hence the hidden motivations). He says, "You are my best friend. Now leave the city." And, finally, Brutus steps up against his rhetoric. My favorite line of the episode was, "Only tyrants fear tyrant-killers. And you are not tyrant. As you've told me SO MANY TIMES." Brutus' motivation is still a little weak. I prefer to think of him more as totally confused and being pushed around by his mother and "popular" opinion. When he finally does "the deed," I think his mind will be even more perplexed. But we'll see. Maybe his stance will cement during next week's craziness.

I await the finale with bated breathe!

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