1. POISON IS QUEEN

The episode begins with cranky old Claudius toiling over his manuscript. He is pleasantly interrupted by a couple of slaves with a case of dusty cellar treasures. As Claud excitedly fumbles through the scrolls, complaining about "the way people just dump things," he comes upon Augustus' will. Fade to the Curia Julia, circa AD 11. Germanicus triumphantly reports on Germania to Augustus and the Senate, elicting much cheering and fanfare.

2. THE TRUTH BE TOLD
During a moonlit rendezvous, Claudius and Germanicus compare notes on married life. Claudius somewhat enviously compliments Germanicus on his good fortune. They joke about Claud's amazon bride and horrid son. Germanicus relates tales of theTeutoburg Forest and his vengeance on the savage Germans. He asks Claudius about Postumus. Claudius, paranoicly looking over his shoulder, brings Germanicus up to speed on the evil machinations of Livia and Livilla. His litany of Livia's victims is spoken without a stutter- proof that it must be true. Germanicus is now persuaded to bring this info to Augustus.

In the light of day, Augustus systematically exfoliates his peristyle garden while Livia nags. His inane whistling does little to cover his state of agitation. He and Livia seem to do nothing but bicker. Livia interrogates him on his upcoming visit to Corsica. Augustus uses his preoccupation with the garden to fend off her prying into his itinerary. Livia, suspecting a stop-off on Planasia (island of Postumus' exile), offers to accompany him. Through melon-eating, pruning and praising Germanicus, he goads Livia with his indifference.
Livia, unhinged by her encounter with Augustus, goes looking for answers. Frantically bitch-slapping Livilla, she accuses her granddaughter of ratting her out. Grudgingly, however, she comes to the realization that the rat may in fact be Clau-Clau- Claudius
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3. MAKING AMENDS
Fast forward to Planasia. Postumus, catching some ZZZs, is awakened by the sound of soldiers entering his hut. A couple of veiled mystery men follow who reveal themselves to be Augustus and Flavius Maximus. Postumus harshly criticizes Augustus, wondering if he's found a smaller rock for his exile. Augustus, shocked by Postumus' condition, breaks down asking for forgiveness. Postumus angrily rebukes him. Augustus explains himself, condemning Livia. Augustus reveals his plans to obtain a recall for Postumus from the Senate.



4. FALSE PRETENSES

Some time later back in Rome, Livia meets with Camilla Pulchra the chief vestal. After some air kisses and saccharine pleasantries, Livia gets to the point. She wants to see Augustus' will. Playing on Camilla's desire for the rebuilding of the house of the Vestals, she wheedles critical information out of the Vestal. Augustus has recently changed his will and Flavius Maximus was his witness. Camilla, although eager to believe that the will change is a gift to the Vestals, is hesitant to break a vow. Livia, assuring her that it is for such a good cause, reveals that she has access to Augustus' seal. No one need know and if the alteration is not for the Vestals she would feel bound to find the money- Rome owes so much to the sanctity of the Vestals.
Fade to Augustus in anguish. While his physician attends to him, Livia tries to drown her guilt with wine. Augustus, somewhat recovered, reveals portents of his death to Flavius Maximus, interpretting the signs to mean Agrippa Postumus will be his successor and that he has only 100 days to live. Maximus provides an alternate reading which buoys Augustus' spirits.
Meanwhile in the peristyle, an awkward Claudius stumbles into Livia's way. She proves herself to be a nasty drunk, going out of her way to insult her grandson and threatening to decapitate his twitching head. Claudius makes a clumsy retreat, knocking grapes into the piscina and running into his uncle Tiberius. Tiberius quips that Claudius could make a wreck of the whole empire just by strolling through it. His inquiry about Augustus' health is answered by Livia taking a few more quaffs from her goblet. Tiberius wonders whether her fondness for the grape is because Augustus nearly died or because he didn't. Livia counters with a slurred revelation of August's new will. She hits her mark. Sneering,"Cat got your tongue?" she taunts the slack-jawed Tiberius. Finally gaining his composure, he asks who is favored by the will change. Livia, turns this into a guessing game, ridiculing Tiberius for his incorrect answer- "Trust you to get it wrong. I must have been nodding when I gave birth to you." "I sometimes wonder, mother, if you ever did anything so natural as giving birth," Tiberius retorts. No it's not Germanicus, but Postumus. An incredulous Tiberius tries to pin Livia down on the details for Augustus' 180&Mac251;. Livia's deft deflection, sends Tiberius into a temper tantrum. His rant about his ill-treatment at the hands of Augustus and his threat to re-retire, steels Livia to a decision. She advises Tiberius not to travel too fast to his new post in Illyria- he won't have so far to come back if something happens
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5. THANKING CLAUDIUS
Late one night, Augustus surpises Claudius who is out scrolling in his garden. After pleasantries about health, Augustus reveals his secret for a healthy diet- milk your own cows, grow, pick and prepare your own food- let no other human hand touch it. The talk then turns serious. Augustus asks Claudius' forgiveness for his low opinion of our hero. Germanicus has opened his eyes to Claudius' virtues. He lets Claud in on a few juicy tidbits which he supposes to be secure secrets: his visit to "a certain island" and the alteration to his will. He gets all warm and fuzzy with Claudius, promising to have many talks with his new friend on his return from Capri and Nola.
The scene shifts to high rollers at Nola. Augustus, surrounded by a corona of gambling buddies, is in top spirits as craps show host extraordinaire- he's even bankrolling the losers to keep them in the game. Livia tries to throw a wet blanket on his enthusiasm by suggesting it's Gussie's bedtime. He's having too much fun to heed her advice. In the middle of collecting his winnings, he succumbs to a violent attack and has to be carried to his bed by slaves. As he leaves the room, he shoots an accusing stare at Livia, who having made no effort to aid her hubby, looks on with stony countenance
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6. THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE

Augustus instructs his physician that he will eat no prepared food- only figs from the garden picked by his own hand- no one else should touch his food not even Livia. Later Livia pensively listens to the physician's update, staring out into the garden. Her focus is on a fig tree. The scene shifts back to Augustus whose condition worsens. Livia chides Augustus about his diet and suspicions of poisoning. Augustus grimaces at Livia's mention of Tiberius. As she prattles on about his favoritism, his misogynistic ill-treatment of her and her own self-sacrificing altruism, he expires. Tiberius enters as Livia closes Augustus' eyelids. She announces his death and her intent to inform the Senators and consuls who have arrived as a delegation from Rome. She leaves orders with Tiberius: stay with Augustus and by the way, don't touch the figs. A somber Tiberius stares first at the corpse and then at the bowl of figs as the scene shifts to the delegation. Livia buys some time, by telling them that Augustus stayed awake long enough to receive Tiberius but then fell into a deep sleep. As they depart, Livia gives Sejanus the go-ahead to carry out his latent orders. Scene shifts to Planasia, where Sejanus perfunctorily despatches Postumus. A quick shift to Rome reveals hooded assassins eliminating Fabius Maximus. 



7. FALSE WILL
Tiberius presides over the reading of the "last" will & testament of Augustus Caesar which names, surprise, Tiberius as the primary and Livia as secondary heir. Back at the palace, Claudius awkwardly offers his condolences to a very sodden Livia. She slings vicious slurred barbs at Claudius who reports on the Senate proceedings. It seems he's been eavesdropping. Livia snidely retorts that she's not allowed in either, she being a woman, he being a fool -the irony being that the senate is full of nothing but old women and fools. The senate has asked Tiberius to be Augustus' successor and are now debating about making Augustus a god. Claudius has some portentious incites- in Etruscan no less. Livia ridiculing the Aesar reading, "If Jove wanted to talk to us, don't you think he'd talk to us in Latin?", nevertheless, suggests Claud drop a note to Uncle T-who needs all the arguments he can get. She, in fact, has a few prophecies of her own making: Augustus is a god, and she, someday will be a goddess, oh and Claudius minus a C equals jackass. Claudius recoils with revulsion at the thought of her divinity. She cruelly dismisses Clau Clau, waving what appears to be the "real will" in his face. The room resounds with her wicked laughter which now permeates the present as an agitated old Claudius irrationally berates the wicked woman, waving the "real" will at her empty seat.