Monday, March 19, 2007

Ten Pack

HBO: Rome: Episode Guide: Summary: Season 2: Episode 21

Last night HBO showed the penultimate episode of one of the best shows on television, Rome. Amid all the squabbling over how to feed the people of Rome while Antony and Cleopatra horde their grain in Egypt, the characters managed to bring back one of the show's signature elements from season one: gratuitous sex.

It all served to advance the plot, though. Vorenus had a dream of Niobe, only to be jolted to reality by the bald Egyptian prostitute who had actually shared his bed for the night; we got a better picture of what's going on in his head. Antony and Cleopatra's violent, passionate romps elucidated the intense, destructive nature of their relationship. Pullo and Gaia's fleshy, grasping lovemaking seemed indicative of the secondhand quality of their pairing.

But all of that paled in comparison to the scene with Octavian and Livia. Simon Woods, who took up the role of Octavian for Max Pirkis when the character aged beyond Pirkis's range of believability, clearly gave up food in favor of sit-ups in preparation for this scene, which revealed a whole new set of abdominal muscles that have been heretofore known only to sculptors. To call him chiseled is to understate the case. Ahem...after a tense meeting between Octavian and his mother and sister, we find he and his wife alone. Pounding away at Livia like a jackhammer, Octavian slows down, and she slaps him. Steely eyed, he looks down at her; she slaps him again. Unperturbed, he carries on. The scene cuts to the end of this torrid session; Livia is on top now, her hands at Octavian's throat, apparently enhancing his orgasm by cutting off his oxygen supply.

What does this tell us about Octavian? Mostly that he's an odd duck, really, who gets off on a bit of S&M. The sex scene wasn't as illuminating as the pillow talk that followed, as Livia figured out Octavian's plan to deal with Antony while Octavian caught his breath post-coitus. But I have to mention this scene, because Simon Woods is incredible. I was very sad when I heard Max Pirkis would be leaving, but after last night's feast of flesh--Max who?

The series finale is next week. Don't miss it!

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