Season 2 Episode 8

A Necessary Fiction

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 11, 2007 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
218 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Octavian proclaims a new era of virtue in Rome, a program that his family and subordinates find impossible to obey. Vorenus is sent on a mission after a missing shipment of gold to discover who mysteriously hijacked it on its way to the Roman treasury. Pullo's loss and rage are channeled against Memmio, Omnipor and their henchmen. Octavian pursues Livia as an "appropriate" bride, and issues Mark Antony an ultimatum he knows he can't refuse.moreless

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  • A Necessary Fiction

    A Necessary Fiction was a perfect and mind blowing episode of Rome. I really enjoyed watching this episode because it is full of change and show cases how far the characters have come with every thing they have each been through. Every thing about this production was perfect from the actors and scenery to the cinematography and writers. There was a lot of emotion in this episode for the characters as all of their lives change forever. The humanity of each character and their situation was portrayed beautifully in a touching manor. It is sad that a good man like Vorenus has seen so much tragedy, and luck has finally run out for Pullo who has been the best friend a man could have had in those days. I wouldn't have wanted to be against him there in the end. It was cool to see Mark Antony's entrance into the Egyptian Palace. I love how it looked like the Royal Family were Gods in the inner sanctum. The Royals of Ancient Times certainly had many handlers, servants, slaves and guards to get through just to look upon them. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • One of the best!

    This episode was definitely one of the best. The plotting was excellent, there was good character development and the acting was really great. The plot thickens, to say the least. But they also finish off some plotlines and move on to other ones.

    The opening speech by Octavian was a nice scene. It was a great set-up for what would happen later in the episode with Atia and Octavia. Octavian cracks me up though. His sense of romance is really... something. It took him what, ten seconds to propose to Livia? For some reason I find his pragmatic ways very entertaining. Both Simon Woods and Max Pirkis have done a very good job of portraying Octavian as someone who doesn't really know how to convey emotion. Like the scene where Octavian explains to Livia that he's into S/M. He manages to make it sound so "normal", yet at the same time something he's ashamed of.

    Another element that made me smile was Posca and Iocasta. She was so miserable last episode and now she seems to be quite content. Maybe it's because Posca is a generous kind of guy, or maybe she's just realised that he's really a nice and gentle person who won't treat her bad. Either way it was a fun watch.

    The character of Maecenas is quite interesting. The actor does a good job with him, and he's both a bit of a renegade who thinks mainly of himself as well as he is loyal and has some morals. Or perhaps we will learn they were all for show? Either way, he gets more and more fun to watch by each episode.

    What happened with Eirene was very moving. I had a feeling that was Gaia's plan. I felt really bad for poor Pullo, now it's his turn to lose a wife. It was really nice seeing the support he got from Vorenus. Most of the time it's Pullo supporting Vorenus, now it was the other way around. This show is usually very good at showing things without dialogue, and this was one of the episodes where they did it really well. Vorenus helping Pullo to dig the grave and staying with him during the funeral was quite moving. It was also nice to see how he let Pullo grieve and didn't force him back to work. The end where they said goodbye to each other was almost more moving than Eirene's last scenes. I can't remember that Vorenus has called Pullo brother before. The actors did a great job portraying how these two men feel about parting ways. I wonder what will happen in the future episodes when they will be on opposite sides. I've had this sneaking suspicion for a long time now that Octavian will find out that Pullo (possibly) fathered Caesarion and that will be why he kills the child. I've also had suspicions that he might demand that Pullo kills the boy, and that Vorenus will do it in Pullo's place. I might be way off, but time will tell.

    It was interesting to see Antony's confidence in Vorenus. I didn't know Antony had confidence in anyone besides himself. Also interesting to see that Octavian still has all the power in his relationship with Antony. It must be really frustrating for Antony, a skilled general and one of Caesar Sr's closest men, to be played so easily by someone so much younger.

    I really liked the scenes with Atia and Octavia towards the end, when Atia has her surprise for Octavia. We rarely get to see her affection for her daughter, and when we do it's usually quite moving. I was surprised that they let Octavia be pregnant, so far they haven't included any of her children. I don't even know if she had a new baby around this time. I hope the storyline won't turn too... soap opera. I really like Agrippa however. In some ways his situation now with Octavian mirrors Brutus' situation with Caesar. Both Agrippa and Brutus were forgiven, but Brutus betrayed Caesar again while Agrippa has more sense than that. At least at this point.

    The episode ending was also great. I loved how they used the opening theme. I'm really looking forward to the storyline that's to come.

    The one negative of this episode... "Are we there yet?" Please...moreless
  • Yes a 10, what else could I give it's just that good.

    Octavian declares to a crowd of Roman women that the morals of the Roman male have been achieved through marriage, and the tempering of Roman woman. Octavian declares to the group his desire to enact laws of morality while all the while we glimpse a montage of people near and dear breaking said virtues. Yes what a start for an episode named “A Necessary Fiction”. Things are not what they seem in Rome, not what they seem…. So, time for things to come to a head, and with only two episodes left after this it’s time for things to come to a head in a big way! And, of course they do in Rome. Well we have Antony still bedding Atia, we have Octavia still in a relationship with Marcus Agrippa, and of course we have Gaia poisoning Eirene. Octavian meets his soon to be wife upon being introduced to her for the first time after his speech. Soon after introduction is made Octavian ask her hand in marriage, but that is of course as soon as she divorces her current husband, seems she is the right stock for him. A quick reply of yes from her and it’s a done deal; it’s good to be the King or Emperor in the making in this case. The episode gives insight into the personal lives and soon to be trials of our characters as things begin to unravel in a big way. Pullo’s life takes a turn for the worse, while Vorenus is given the task of transporting an important shipment for the Republic. Pullo was chosen to oversee this task as he is trusted by Octavian, and Antony, and yet tragedy would come his way before he could perform this service. The poison in which Gaia had been secretly giving to Eirene, Pullo’s pregnant wife, had taken its effect and not only caused the miscarriage of their unborn child, but claimed Eirene’s life as well. This was truly a sad occasion as Pullo undoubtedly had a deep love for his wife, and as yet to be discovered this was murder. The murder of Pullo’s unborn child and wife will certainly be a subject that when discovered and addressed will no doubt be an explosive as well as deadly confrontation. Unfortunately at this time the gold being transported for Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus is stolen thanks to the inside information given by Vorenus’s daughter who has been seduced by one of Memmio's men to coerce her into doing this with the promise not to reveal the relationship to Vorenus. Unfortunately Vorenus’s daughter, who blames Vorenus for her mother’s death, was all to willing to betray her father because of her hatred toward her father, unbeknownst to Vorenus. Memmio's men lay in wait and after their attack steal said gold, and this action is not one that will have good effect upon Vorenus’s well being as he is ultimately responsible for the property. Memmio's not only stood to gain financially by this action, but also knows that Vorenus would be held responsible and thus sees this as a way of getting rid of Vorenus as the head of The Aventine. Unfortunately or fortunately for Vorenus’s third man Mascius who took over the job from Pullo after the death of Pullo’s wife, he was one of the survivors of the attack which makes him suspect. Marc Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus are not very happy over this failure and charge Vorenus with finding this gold and resolve the matter or that he would be held responsible fully. Yet afterwards Octavian isn’t as worried about the recovery of the gold as are others realizing that there is more money to be made, and yet his aid Maecenas doesn’t feel quite so optimistic as his boss as he, and Antony’s aid Posca are not pleased with said incident not being given top priority as unbeknownst to their bosses they have a personal stake in the said gold. Maecenas’s frustration with Octavian’s attitude toward the recovery of the gold and Octavian’s unwillingness to see this as a possible scam by Antony decides to fill Octavian in on the happenings of those near and dear to him, and thus exposes all the secrets of the family to prove there are those all to willing to decieve him. Octavian takes action. Marc Antony, and his mother are confronted about their continued relationship as well as Octavia and Aggrippa about their yet unexposed relationship. Octavia and Atia are ordered confined to the residence, and Antony is ordered out of Rome immediately. Well Antony is none to pleased with this order but complys as he really has no other option, and Atia is not going with him even though she desires to Octavian won’t allow it. The rift is now evident with Antony and Octavian which no doubt flames the fire for the final showdown of these two men for control of Rome. Aggrippa is too important to Octavian to lose so he is forgiven for what he has done, and as a result ends his relationship with Octavia who as we discover is pregnant, and the father is either Antony’s or Aggrippa’s, so we shall see where this leads. Vorenus confronts Memmio to see if he had his part in the thievery, and walks away with little doubt as to his part, but needs to figure out how he knew. Believeing Mascius as being the one to have betrayed him as an inside man Pullo, and Vorenus almost kill him when he won’t confess yet Vorenus takes a toy from his son which he recognizes as the same type toy he seen one of Memmios men making. Vorenus son tells him where he got the toy from, and it’s his eldest daughter. Vorenus confronts her only to learn she was all to willing to betray him, and that she hates him for her mother’s death. This being all too much for Vorenus he decides to give up his position and to leave Rome with Marc Antony after assuring him of the recovery of the gold to be made by Pullo therefore having learned who the thieves were. Antony welcomes Vorenus whose loyalty has earned him his position with Antony. Vorenus’s departure is to be alone as he gives custody of his children over to Pullo thinking himself no longer capable of giving his children anymore of himself after being so utterly rejected, and makes his exit without saying goodbye to his children only to Pullo. Pullo now head of the Aventine takes care of buisness in one of the nastyest street gang fight seen on Rome, up close and personal. Yes, bloody, brutal, and merciless certainly not for the faint of heart. Well now that all is exposed and addressed there can be only on thing left to see and that is the fallout that leads to the conclusion of this great story. Another amazing episode that makes you want more, but even though the enevitable is written in the history books, this series makes you still eagerly anticipate the next episode to see what happens. Take care.

    Peace To All.moreless
  • With only two more to go this episode has really set the stage.

    I have been disappointed recently with Rome due to the huge jumps from factual history it has taken in the past few episodes. I was more impressed with this episode because of the story development of Lucius and Pullo. Once again we get to see what a killing machine Pullo is and that scene was priceless. Biting out Memmios tongue and then throwing the axe and burying it half way through the man that seduced Lucius daughter to start the fight for the aventine was thrilling. From the looks of things Pullo will probably end up owning the whole collegiate. Of course Lucius going to Egypt with Mark Antony seems ill fated given the events that happen in history. But this show may just take some more liberties and have Antony the victor.moreless
  • Simply great

    I really enjoyed this episode. Poor Pollu had to say good bye to his wife and unborn child because he "punished" a slave. This relatively minor incident caused a domino effect in Roman society up into the ruling households. Thats what I love about this series. The way the small things effect the big picture.

    Marc Anthony's departure for Egypt could mean more violence for Rome (don't read history books for spoilers :P). That could lead to many more bloody episodes! Yay! Vorenus once again had to part from his family after all he did to get his children back. It will be interesting to see his role with Marc Anthony in Egypt.

    Another interesting development is Octavia's news. We'll see how it will shake up Octavian (sorry, Caesar's) politically and domestically.

    All in all, the future looks mouth watering in this show.moreless
Zuleikha Robinson

Zuleikha Robinson


Guest Star

Alex Wyndham

Alex Wyndham

Gaius Maecenas

Guest Star

Michael Nardone

Michael Nardone


Guest Star

Allen Leech

Allen Leech

Marcus Agrippa

Recurring Role

Camilla Rutherford

Camilla Rutherford


Recurring Role

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • In the scene where Maecenas and Vorenus discuss the missing gold, there is a bust of Caesar behind them. However, it is not a bust of the historical Julius Caesar, but a likeness of Ciaran Hinds, who portrayed Caesar in the first Season.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Agrippa: I would go with you to Hades... to Britain even, if I thought we had the right.

    • Agrippa: The fault is mine. It was I who seduced her.
      Octavian: You have many talents, Agrippa. Seduction is not one of them.

    • Octavius: I wanted Livia to be here so that she would properly know and understand what it means to be a part of this family.
      Octavia: It's a species of benign slavery.

    • Caesar Octavian: You should know that when we are married, I shall on occasion beat you. With my hand... A light whip... When I do so you must not think you have offended me. I do it because it gives me sexual pleasure. So remember that and don't be upset.
      Livia: Yes sir...
      Caesar Octavian: I think we should get along very well.

    • Caesar Octavian: Small hands you have... So dry.
      Livia: Thank you.

    • Pullo: No one is a traitor until they are.

    • [Last lines]
      Cleopatra: Antony.
      Mark Antony: Cleopatra.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Nothing in the ancient sources suggests that Agrippa was the lover of Octavia. Agrippa did eventually marry one of Octavia's daughters, and much later would marry Augustus daughter.