Rome S02E04: Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare) or The One Where Atia and Servilia Continue to Vie for the Title of Literal Worst
Content Warning: Rape and Extreme Violence
Okay, so last week, the episode closed with Atia’s kitchen servant carrying a big ol tureen of poison stew to the dining room. But in this episode, we see that the servant sneaks a taste. Once, she’s served the stew to Atia, Atia decides that what she’d really like is an impromptu concert performed by said servant. She begins singing but clearly isn’t feeling the greatest, and when the blood starts trickling from her mouth and she collapses, they realize that someone was trying to poison Atia, and they see that sneaky new serving boy making a run for it.
They capture him, of course, and he gives up Servillia right away, but I guess that’s not a legal confession from a slave unless torture is involved? (Oh, you silly Romans…) so Timon tortures the fuck out of this kid while Octavia and Jocasta stop by, and Jocasta pukes in the hallway. After the torture times, Timon kills the kid, dumping his body in the sewer. He goes home to see the family still covered with blood to find out that his houseguest brother is totally usurping his position with his kids.
Next Atia has Servillia kidnapped and brought to her super cool torture room, and Timon works her over, too, flogging the crap out of her. Servillia is defiant until the end and spits in Atia’s face. Atia screams at Timon to torture her harder and Timon has finally had enough of her shit and cuts Servillia down and sets her free. Pretty sure he handed in his resignation at that point, too.
Meanwhile, Pullo has come upon all kinds of dead soldiers and is frantically searching the battlefield for Vorenus when Octavian/Caesar (now played by this guy) comes upon him.
He explains what he’s doing, and Octavian, of course helps him, points him in the right direction to find Marc Antony’s retreating troops and gives him his seal in case anyone tries to stop him. Octavian then gives a rousing speech to his troops and sends Agrippa off to Rome with a message for Octavia and Atia to let them know that he beat Antony.
Agrippa delivers the message and also tries to clue Octavia in to his deep and abiding, hopeless (I assume, because no one gets what they want on this show) love for her, and she delivers an epic brushoff.
Pullo finds Vorenus and gives him the news about his kids and Vorenus, ever the perfect legionnaire, asks Antony’s permission to leave the army to find his kids. Pullo and Vorenus, together again, repair their friendship on the way to save the children, and Pullo counsels Vorenus about the horrors of a slave camp (he was born into one) and warns him that these won’t be the same children he remembers. Pullo also urges him to save Niobe’s son along with his daughters.
The camp is an unbelievably horrific place, and Pullo insists that he be the one to do the talking. He spins a completely legit sounding story about needing to retrieve three runaway slaves for Caesar and has the seal to prove it. Against his better judgment, the slaver allows them to search the shack where the very young and the very old are kept.
A very emotional Vorenus finds Vorena the Younger and hugs her. Then he sees Lucius, who looks like he’s going to run, but Vorenus has had a charge of heart and hugs him, too.
He’s very upset when he can’t find Vorena the Elder, and the slaver has caught on at this point that the kids aren’t runaway slaves, but a short sword at his back convinces him to quietly lead them to Vorena the Elder where they discover that she’s been forced into life as a sex slave.
Vorenus is gutted. They rescue her and kill the slaver.
And now, the questions.
My favorite part of the episode:
This episode was fucking rough. I’m going to have to go with Jocasta puking during the torture of the slave and Octavia’s skillful brush off of Agrippa.
My least favorite part of the episode:
Pretty much the rest of it. The torture was bad, but the stuff with the kids. Fucking awful.
Octavia’s Agrippa brush off number. So pretty!
Team Atia or Team Servilia, and why:
Neither. But this tweet by Jen sums it up, nicely.
Favorite watch-a-long tweet (obviously used with permission):
Guess Jess’s head canon:
Pullo and Vorenus have mended their friendship which can only lead to sexy times as far as the Admiral of the Jarmada is concerned.
What made Jenny super happy?
Jess’ take on Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare).