We got a strong, assertive Octavian in this episode, which was good. The scene where he tells off Atia, Octavia, Antony and Agrippa reminded me a lot of I, Claudius, and the scenes where Augustus rounds on all those men for sleeping with Julia. Speaking of which: not completely sold on Livia yet, but maybe I'm too influenced by Sian Phillips' portrayal, where she was a bigger cold-hearted bitch than Atia and Servilia combined. This Livia seems almost meek by comparison, and I can't believe that she wouldn't make Octavian try to win her, rather than just accepting his marriage proposal at first sight. Boo on just mentioning Tiberius too- if it weren't for Drusus, we wouldn't have Claudius!! For the pace of the series, there was no way we could have included all three of Octavian's wives, but I wish Scribonia could have somehow been worked into the plot- Octavian's leaving her just as she gave birth to Julia says more about Octavian's cruelty than placing his mother and sister under house arrest could.
Oh, and Maecenas is such a pimp, travelling about in that huge litter with his lesbian girlfriends and plotting to steal some of Herod's gold like that. I like this Maecenas a lot! As far as minor characters go, his development has been particularly good, much better than other supporting players like Lepidus and Agrippa. The actor plays a huge part in that with the writers, and I hope to see more of Alex Wyndham in other stuff in the future.
Timon's storyline just sort of petered out, didn't it? The scene where he leaves Rome with his family might be worked better if it'd been included in the last episode. Here it just seemed a little out of place. A whole show like Rome could be done in Judaea- in fact, the next episode of Ancient Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire I'm due to watch is the one about the Jewish War, which I'm probably more interested in watching than anything else!
I felt so bad for Vorenus when Vorena admitted that she hated him the whole time and had deliberately worked against him. I loved that Memmio got what was coming to him. Pullo biting out his tongue in the massive gang war at the end was just sort of the icing on the cake there. Why the hell was Gaia fighting though? I can appreciate a kickass female character in the ancient world, but if you're striving for accuracy, Roman woman, slaves or not, generally didn't fight. Or maybe I'm just being nasty because I hate Gaia for killing off Eirene and her baby, which was SO FREAKING SAD, btw. I'm just waiting to see what Pullo does when he finds out- that apocathery she bought the herbs from has to tell him, I bet.
And finally, yay for Cleopatra! The great love story finally makes a proper start, and there is the added novelty of Antony in eyeliner in the next episode.
Also, I have resisted it for a long time now, but I have decided to give the US version of The Office a second chance. I'm told that while the early episodes are rubbish, they do improve. And hey, it's one of the few times that an Americanized version of a British comedy actually survived past the first season, so it can't be too bad, right? I might just choose to ignore that it's based on the British show, since it might be better to look at it as a completely separate entity.