sevilia road  
an historical evaluation of Season 1
 
   
 
Plot Summary: Episode III
An Owl in the Thornbush


The third episode of the first season of “Rome” begins with Atia whipping a slave in anger. Atia is upset that Caesar crossed the Rubicon with one legion and in doing so has committed treason. This is told by Brutus to Atia’s son Octavian. Through Atia’s relationship with Caesar, she believes this leaves her and her family ruined in Rome.

The scene then fades to Pompey Magnus in his home with a Cato. He has just heard of Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon with one legion and he believes that it is “foolish.” Pompey then begins to tell a story of him as a youth fighting pirates. Pompey’s companion appears to be more interested in strategy against Caesar than in the pirate story. Pompey’s reassures Cato that he is gathering legions and that Caesar is a dead man.

Meanwhile, Caesar and Marc Antony are giving orders to Lucius Vorenus. Caesar tells the men that they are to scout the roads and defensive strong points along the road until they are met with resistance. Caesar makes the point to say that they are not to fight and that there should be no pillaging. Antony appears to be much more eager than Caesar as he tells Lucius to post Caesar’s proclamation on the Senate door. While riding away, Caesar asks Antony about Lucius’ moroseness and Antony tells Caesar that Lucius believes that he is going against the gods by following the orders. Caesar tells Antony that Lucius may be right. Caesar then makes a point to remind Antony that he is only pursuing his right. Antony reassures Caesar that Vorenus is deep member of the 13th.

The next scene shows Niobe with her illegitimate infant. The father of the child then enters the room. Niobe had a relationship with this man because she believed that her husband, Lucius, was dead. Niobe tells the man that he is not allowed to visit any longer for she fears that Lucius will kill her and her family. The man then claims to have loved Niobe and then kisses her as Niobe’s daughter walks in.

While they are on patrol, Lucius is staring longingly at a fire when Pullo sits next to him and they begin to talk about Lucius’ marital problems. Lucius confides in Pullo that he wishes that Niobe would stop hating him. But then decides that he mostly wants someone to remember him when he’s dead. Pullo offers to be the person to sacrifice on Lucius’ behalf to Jupiter and pour wine over his grave; however, Lucius believes that Pullo will be dead too. That Caesar was on a fool’s mission.

The last scene in this chapter shows Atia telling Timon, her worker, that she will be having a party that evening and needs more bodyguards. Timon does not believe that this is a good idea because of the upheaval in the city. Atia decides to go forth with the party and Timon decides that he will accept a sexual form of payment from Atia.

The next scene begins with Lucius and Pullo seeing Pompeian troops. Following the orders of Caesar, Lucius commands his men to stand down; however, Pullo, caught up in the fervor of the moment, commands the troops to proceed forward. The Ubilian auxiliary cavalry, completely willing to fight, decide to follow Pullo. The Pompeian troops run away from this attack.

The next scene shifts back to Pompey’s house. Pompey is telling his fellow senators that Caesar is only 30 miles away from Rome. He attributes that speed to the fact that Caesar does not have an entire army; instead, Caesar has an armed gang that can move very quickly. Further, at the time, Pompey only has three legions to protect the city. Normally, this would be enough; however, the troops are mostly raw recruits and some of Caesar’s old military men. The former are inexperienced and the latter cannot be trusted. Pompey declares that it will take four days for him to gather an army that can beat Caesar; yet, Caesar is only two days away from the city. Therefore, Pompey’s response is a strategic retreat to the south. That way he can gather his troops in a timely manner and then retake the city. Cato believes that this is a weak strategy. Pompey responds by telling Cato that his war strategy is never wrong.

At the beginning of the next scene, there is an angry Pompeian mob outside of Atia’s party and one of the scum throws a burning stick into the house through the oculus splashing into the impluyium. Atia believes it is the “suicidal rebellion” of Caesar that has caused the mob’s anger and that the Julii have been deserted by all their friends. If Caesar were there right now, she would stab him in the neck. Brutus then speaks to make light of the situation by saying that fleeing the city would be to “fashionable” for his family; however, there is an undertone that he does believe that siding with Caesar is wrong.

The next scene shows Pompey and his wife quietly packing and leaving their house. Pompey appears to be distracted; however, his wife is calm and collected. After threatening the household slaves with death for shirking their duty, she reminds Pompey to get the gold from the treasury for payments. His wife is turns their flight into a game for the children and then reassures Pompey. They then stealthily leave the city.

Meanwhile, the picture goes back to Atia’s party. Some time has gone by and Atia is telling her guests that it will be safer for them to stay the night. The mob outside has grown and appears to be rowdier.

The next scene begins with the Pompey’s soldiers taking the gold from the Capitoline vaults. As they leave, Durio questions the direction of the ox cart, the driver kills him and they make off with the gold.

In the next scene, on foot Pullo and Lucius are leading horses and men through the woods and are still talking about Lucius’ marital problems and have yet to meet any real resistance. Pullo gives journeyman advice: talk to her, to treat a woman like a skittish horse, praise her beauty constantly even when she’s not, also don’t forget to attend the flower bud.

Scene shifts to the gold laden ox cart winding its way on the tomb-lined road. A young woman traveling on the road is snatched by one of the horsemen.

The location then changes back to the party. There is a really startling contrast of the mob outside Atia’s house using a battering ram on the door and then the people inside the house preparing to commit round robin suicide. The only thing in between the two different groups is the double door. Atia confirms the arrangements for individuals inside the house to kill themselves or receive suicide assistance from her slave Castor. There is a lot of tension in the room when the Octavia refuses to let Atia assist her suicide and they begin fighting with each other. Atia and Octavia have unresolved issues over Octavia’s ex-husband. In the midst of their fighting, Octavian calls their attention to the sudden silence. The mob having left behind some graffiti directed at Atia is nowhere to be found.

In the next scene, the newsreader announces that Pompey has left the city and all noble men were encouraged to do the same; further, anybody who did not leave the city would be considered an outlaw and an enemy of the republic. The scene is filled with people (Cato and Cicero among them) leaving the city while the streets are lined with people, pelting them with trash, mooning them, and yelling words such as “coward”.

In the next scene, Niobe is boarding up her house with her friend Clarissa and begins discussing Lucius. Niobe speaks of not loving her husband and being unsure if she wants him back. She had thought he was dead for the eight years he was away and she was very young when they married. Clarissa also makes the point that boarding the house was useless because anyone will be able to get in anywhere. Next, the location changes to a conversation between Brutus and his mother, Servilia, in their home. Brutus announces that Pompey and half the senate have left the city and that staying here meant declaring loyalty to Caesar. Brutus believes that this is a no win situation because he had to pick a side, going meant siding with Pompey and staying meant siding with Caesar. Servilia leaves the decision to Brutus and Brutus decides to ally with Pompey. This is decided because he believes that supporting the republic is more important that any one friendship. He believes that Caesar might control Rome for a time; however, another ambitious man will overthrow Caesar and there will always be a need for the republic. Servilia respects her son’s decision; yet, she does not leave with him. Servilia is Caesar’s mistress and has waited too long for Caesar’s return to leave now. The two part with no animosity between them.

The following scene shows Octavia sneaking out in the night to visit her ex-husband. She fears for his safety as everyone knows that he is aligned with Pompey. They then share the night together. Her mother, Atia, is interrupted in bed by her maid with the news, immediately orders Timon to kill Glabius.

The next scene begins with Pullo and Lucius gazing up at the stars. Lucius has been the more contemplative of the two men and this is shown in this scene. They begin to talk about philosophy and what the stars are.

Back at Rome there is nothing but chickens in the streets. Shift to Attia’s atrium, where she sits imperiously before a long line of suppliants. Enjyoing her new found power, she demands protection money from a newly converted Caesarian.

The next scene catches up with Pompey’s caravan to the south. Cato is worried that the gold has not reached them yet; however, Pompey believes that his best man, Durio, can handle the task. No one has any idea of the murder or that the carriage was stolen. It is once again reinforced that the gold is needed to pay the legions for Pompey.

The location changes to Lucius and Pullo riding their horse on an open field with their men. Lucius is confused as to why they have not been stopped and why no one is defending Rome. Lucius then contemplates that this might be a strategic trick or that Mars has abandoned Rome. Pullo makes a crude comment about the gods and Lucius believes that it is comments like that that have caused Rome such degeneration. They happen upon Pompeian soldiers, the soldiers who took the gold, dressed like drovers. The drovers recognize them as Caesar’s men and tell Lucius that Rome is completely unoccupied and that they will have no resistance. Pullo asks to buy the girl tied to the wagon, who is not for sale. Vorevus notices the men’s soldier boots, becomes suspicious. He then demands to see the cargo. When told that it is grain, he wonders why nine good soldiers would be guarding a grain shipment. The Pomeians attack, then flee. Caesar’s soldiers in pursuit win easily. With the slave girl still attached, in the midst of the fighting the startled animals begin to move the cart. The leader of Pompeians, hiding in the woods, survives.

After scanning Rome’s deserted streets, it’s back to Atia’s, where she holds a patron-client interview. Atiad chides Proculus, despite his protests of fidelity, for being long absent from her morning levies but accepts his fat-greedy-man goiters excuse. This is interrupted when a slave whispers something to her. She immediately goes outside to find the corpse of Octavia’s ex-husband in the street. Octavia follows her mother to find this and is heartbroken.

Lucius and Pullo are now in the outer boundary of the city only to find that the city really is unguarded. Lucius takes this as a sign that the gods are taking their time to smite Caesar. Pullo wants to turn back to find the wagon and that poor girls. When Vorevus orders him to do his duty, Pullo pulls the no-wonder-Niobe-doesn’t-love-you card.

The location changes to Octavia mourning her loss in her bed. Her mother wakes her up and then pretends to share her grief. Octavia confronts her mother and asks her whether she had anything to do with her Glabius’s death. Atia is hurt by the accusation and then looks into her daughter’s eyes and lies to her. Octavian is then shown at the doorway of the room when he asks his mother who could have done this. Atia replies that the streets are full of corpses, it could have been anyone.

In the next scene, Pullo and Vorenus ride through a triumphal arch. Lucius pound Caesar’s decree onto the doors of the Senate. This appears to be a solemn event for Lucius. The decree is read in the background of the picture by a narrator. The degree essentially states that Caesar is simply protecting his rights and that he will accept anyone and allow anyone to keep all his possessions if he chooses to side with Caesar. This is the clementia persona Caesar uses. Lucius then tells Pullo that he has completed his orders and that he is quitting. Since Lucius is already a rebel then he can stand to be a deserter as well. He gives Pullo his sword. Lucius then goes to make a sacrifice to Venus for the love of his wife. He then goes and talks with Niobe. He tells her of his love and that he is willing to do anything to restore his marriage. Niobe is full of shame and begins to tell him that she has been unfaithful. He cuts her off. They decide to erase the past and start again.

The next scene begins with Pullo riding out to find the slave girl who had caught his eye. He does find her and then frees her. He then checks the carriage that she is still attached to. Pullo is surprised to find the gold and then sees Caesar’s army in the distance. He then leads his horse away puts a drover’s cloak over himself and begins to move the carriage and the girl in this disguise.

The picture changes to Caesar and Antony. Antony mentions Caesar’s calmness and Caesar replies that he is glad he appears this way. The small army following Caesar is playing solemn music and then he requests that they begin to play something more upbeat.

 

 
Dramatis Personae
Lucius Vorenus
Vorenus spends the episode scouting the path to Rome for Caesar. The episode deals mostly with his struggles in marriage and his duty to Caesar while remaining loyal to the Republic. This character is based on Lucius Vorenus.
Titus Pullo
Pullo is sent to scout alongside Vorenus for Caesar. The character is meant to portray the lower class, which is displayed anytime Pullo and Vorenus converse. Pullo spends most the episode scouting; however, at the very end of the episode he goes alone to find the slave girl and stumbles upon the stolen money. This character is based on Titus Pullo.
Julius Caesar
Caesar is mostly absent from this episode. He appears at the beginning of the episode to give orders to Vorenus then is shown at the end alongside Mark Antony. His orders and influenced are the focus of the episode, rather than Caesar himself. This character is based on Julius Caesar.
Pompey Magnus
The legendary general who is attempting to rally the Roman senators against Caesar’s advances. He is not a fictional character. Pompey spends most of the time trying to plan his systematic escape from Rome. This character is based on Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus.
atia
This episode focuses on her desire for power as an effect of Caesar’s success. Atia transforms in this episode from overbearing to her family and friends to overbearing to anybody left in Rome. She also continues her loose lifestyle in this episode. This character is based on Atia Balba Caesonia.
marc antony
Caesar’s right hand man. Mark Antony only appears in the two scenes that include Caesar; however, he appears to be very confident in the cause. This character is based on Mark Antony.
brutus
A young man who is close with Caesar; however, in this episode, he sides with Pompey. He believes that he should side with the Republic. The rest of the episode Brutus is shown in relation to Atia and her party. This character is based on Marcus Junius Brutus.
Servilia
This is the mother of Brutus. She is only shown in scenes with Brutus or at Atia’s power. This character is based on Servilia Caepionis.
Octavian
He is only shown sparsely throughout the episode and the situations in which he appears is in relation to his family. He appears to be very confident in his thinking abilities and he understands the war better than most. This character is based on Caesar Augustus.
Niobe
The wife of Vorenus. Niobe is seen throughout the episode trying to come to terms with her family problems. Having thought Vorenus was dead, she had a child with another man. In this episode, she breaks off her relationship with the other man, complains that she does not love Vorenus, and then reconciles Vorenus. This character is fictional.
Posca
Content 10
Octavia
The sister of Octavian. Prior to this episode, she was forced to divorce her husband; however, she has not stopped loving him. This episode she snuck over to see her ex-husband; further, when Atia found out she had him killed by Timon. This character is based on Octavia Thurina Minor.
Glabius
The husband of Octavia. Glabius is killed in this episode by Timon as ordered by Atia. This character is fictional.
Cato
Seen in the episode as the follower of Pompey. He is only shown while Pompey is making major decisions. This character is based on Cato the Younger.
Scipio
Content 14
Cicero
Content 15
merula
The slave of Atia. She tells Atia that Octavia has snuck out in the night. This character is fictional.
Newsreader
The man makes the announcement that anyone who stays in Rome will be considered an enemy of the state; further, he also announces that the senatorial class has left the city.
EIRENE
The slave girl who captures Pullo’s affections. She is introduced late in the episode but she is captured by Pullo. The character is fictional.
Vorena the Elder
This is the oldest daughter of Vorenus and Niobe. In this episode, she is forced to pretend her mother’s child is her own. The character is fictional.
Castor
Content 20
curial Magistrate
Content 21
crucified man
Content 22
Cornelia
Content 23
Durio
Content 24
Head Priest
Content 25
Julia
Content 26
Lyco
Content 27
Prisoner
Content 28
Rubio
Content 29
Sextus
Content 30
Slave Trader
Content 31
Strabo
Content 32
Vercingetorix
Content 33
Timon
Atia’s fixer. In this episode, he gets ready for Atia’s party, attempts to defend the party from the mob, and lastly, he and Atia have special relations. This character is fictional.
Eleni
Content 35
Milo
Content 36