Return to Rome
When last we saw the toga-wearing cast of HBO's swords and sandals mini-series Rome, Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) was being turned into a bloody pincushion by Brutus (Tobias Menzies) and his fellow senators as his friend Marc Antony (James Purefoy) was but yards away. A betrayed Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) watches his wife Niobe commit suicide for deceiving him, while Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) finds a little piece of heaven with his slavegirl, Eirene (Chiara Mistalli).
The first episode of the series' second and final season starts just mere moments after the last blow has felled the great Caesar. From here on, those loyal to the deceased tyrant and those who murdered him are set on a bloody war to the finish. Meanwhile, Titus Pullo tries desperately to help Vorenus recover from his grief. The episode has two funeral pyres, quite a bit of sex, politicking, conspiring and quite a few bloody corpses before the credits roll. Most of the loose ends from the earlier season seem wrapped up (and thrown in to the river...) and a couple of characters bite the dust in this one.
As interesting and gripping to watch as ever, Rome continues to keep me entertained with it's exceptional cast and the gratuitous violence, sex and language we've come to expect from this HBO title (Italy DID spawn the Mafia, after all). Historical correctness be damned, it all makes for entertaining television. As always, the duo of Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus are fun to follow, and once again prove in armor or out, they're the two most bad-ass legionaries ever to swing a gladius. What their part will be in the bloody chaos that will surely come in this season remains to be seen. For now, I give the first episode of Rome's Season Two a hearty (and bloody) thumbs up.