Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Rome. Season 2. Episode 6

Cicero's dead. So are Brutus and Cassius but I won't miss them nearly as much. There was a big CGI battle which- in spite of all the spurting blood- wound up looking a little perfunctory- perhaps because we had nothing invested in the anonymous grunts who were getting spitted.  It wasn't a patch on the corresponding scene with Pullo and Vorenus playing gladiators in Season 1.

I've been disappointed in Season 2. Mainly because it's effectively a remake- with Mark Antony and Brutus taking the places of Caesar and Pompey, Atia and Servilia continuing their feuding and Vorenus' descent into the underworld mirroring Pullo's in season 1. Also Pullo (my favourite character) has been reduced to being Vorenus' side-kick.

But he does get to murder Cicero. This is a beautiful little scene. Orders is orders and no hard feelings on either side.  Pullo- in holiday mood, having left his friends enjoying a picnic- asks Cicero's permission to pick peaches and Cicero, in spite of how scared he is, comports himself like a noble Roman and says help yourself.  

Simon Jones who has taken over as Octavian seems constrained by having to reproduce Max Pirkis' vocal patterns.  It's a pity Max couldn't have continued, but I guess he was just too young. Pirkis made you love the clever little bastard. He gave him a sulky vulnerability. Jones, on the other hand, plays him as merely autistic. But I like it how Octavian is surrounded by very young men. It's as if he's heading a teen revolution.  

There's another revolution underway in Rome's Jewish community.  The fanatics are challenging the cynical old men. It's a good idea to have this simmering under as a dire portent of things to come. It's just a pity that it plays like lost footage from The Life of Brian.

Sequels are usually a mistake. Season 1 had a perfectly satisfactory story arc.  Much of what is happening now seems like a postscript. We know how it ends- and maybe it would have been more effective if that ending had been left implied, with Caesar dead on the floor of the senate and Brutus enjoying his brief, illusory triumph. Ah, well- but then we wouldn't have had Pullo and the peaches and that would have been a shame...
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