Rome

Season 1 Episode 9

Utica

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 30, 2005 on HBO
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
271 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
With Scipio and Cato defeated, Caesar returns home to a hero's welcome. Vorenus and Pullo's showdown with local thug Erastes gets an unexpected reprieve from Caesar. Servilia's plan to use Octavia to unearth a secret about Caesar backfires.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Utica

    10
    Utica was another perfect episode of Rome and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had a lot of character and plot development. I really enjoy how great of friends Vorenus and Pullo have become as well as how they impact the bigger picture by helping important people like Caeser who in turn help both of them some times with out knowing it as shown in this episode. I think it was awesome how Niobe stood by her man and wouldn't hear of him kissing another man's feet. Now that is a ride or die chick! It was crazy what happened with Octavia as Servillia used her, and Octavia made the nasty with her brother for info, and he knew it all along. I don't know what is more disturbing, but it was ancient Rome after all. This was a very entertaining episode and I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Cato and Scipico are Cesar' last remaining enemies, though they are of no threat to him any longer.

    7.4
    Cato and Scipico are deafeated by Cesar's legions, left to their own devices as they wait for his final strike against them. They both however opt for a noble suicide, though their death is mocked in Rome.



    Meanwhile, Vorenus struggels to readjust to civilian life once again after returning from such amazing battles and adventures. He encurs the wrath of Erastes, the wretch who employed him as a "bodygurd" some time ago. And though Erastes makes some prety hefty threats Vorenus is spared due to Cesar's good graces and impress over to make Vorenus his Aventine magistrate, a very auspicious offer considering their previous turmoil and difference in matters of the politics of Rome.



    Servilia, continuing her relationship with Atia's daughter Octavia, presses the girl to retrieve a secret from her brother Octavian. She wishes to know of Ceasar's affliction, what god's have cursed him. In attempt to pry this secret from him she seduces her young brother but it proves to no avail. But Atia learns of the incest none the less. Her angre is not so much taken out on the children but on Servilia. Atia has her attacked in the streets, her slaves killed.moreless
  • The plot thickens.

    7.0
    It's nice to see them all back in Rome after the trip to Egypt. Too bad they leave out the battle against Cato and Scipio. This show does insist on leaving out important events as if they expect everyone to know all about them already.



    Too bad they made no mentionings of Caesar adpoting Octavian. Oh well, maybe that will end up in the next episode. I was disappointed that we didn't get to see Cleopatra and Caesarino in this episode. From what I remember of my history classes she went with Caesar to Rome and stayed there for the rest of his life.



    I like the character of Vorenus, but they really have to stop doing the same thing over and over with him. This time he tried to be a butcher but was drawn back to Caesar. They have a similar plot for him in every other episode! There is so much else they could do with this character, it's getting tedious.



    I don't like the storyline of Pullo and Eirene. It just seems a bit odd and out of place. They're trying to show a different side to him, but it doesn't work all that well. Why is he even so interested in this girl?



    Vorenus and Pullo make a great duo together, it was great to see Pullo act as body guard to Vorenus in this episode. I'm starting to wonder where they are going with this though. Pullo seems jealous of Vorenus and his higher status and family, I'm wondering if this is going to lead to an end similar to that of Caesar and Brutus. They have been letting Vorenus and Pullo grow closer and closer, taking them down the tragic road would be a very interesting path, and it would be a very good parallell to Caesar and Brutus. As much as I like the two characters as friends it would be incredibly interesting to see them turn on each other, with one (probably Pullo) betraying the other to the death. It would serve as a great insight to what went on between Caesar and Brutus without having it be those two characters who go through it. It's easier to depict the inner workings of their emotions and thoughts if you take it through two characters that people don't already have opinions of. If Pullo betrayed Vorenus to the death it would be as surprising to us as Brutus' betrayal must have been to those close to him and Caesar.



    Well, I might be wrong about all that. Most likely Pullo and Vorenus will stay friends throughout the series. Still, the other option would be very interesting.



    My favorite character is still Octavian, it's great to see him back. I'm impressed to see how they've handled his aging, he seems both taller and more mature than when we last saw him. I was really concerned there for a while that he would end up being weak and falling for Octavia's trick, it was wonderful to see that he had the upper hand all along. That's one of the best things about Octavian, he seems to be in full control even when you expect him not to be.



    Servilia is really getting on my nerves though. She's a snake, and even though Atia has done some worse things it's easier to like her. She's more up front about it and not as deceptive as Servilia. I'm starting to suspect that she will be the one to force Brutus' hand when he places himself in the history books. Brutus is being given more depth now, he was a tad one dimensional before and I got no feeling at all of the bond between him and Caesar and why Caesar cared so much about him. Now he's starting to evolve and grow. Tobias Menzies (is that the actor's name?) is doing a wonderful job with a character who hasn't been written all that well.moreless
  • Let's Hear It For The Boys Written by Alexandra Cunningham Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

    10
    "Common sense demands I cannot ask mercy of Caesar, and accept rank and favor from him, then refuse his friendship!"--Brutus



    Wow, time surely does fly! It seems like only yesterday poor Pompey got his head severed by one of his own friends, wait a minute that was only three weeks ago! Anyway, there is a two year difference between the episodes "Phasalarus" and "Caesarion" and in this episode, the soldiers return after several years of fighting.



    In Utica, Africa, Cato and Scipio are badly defeated and outnumbered soon after the Battle of Thaspus. Scipio assures Cato that everything will be alright and they will defeat Caesar but it is too late. Cato fed up with all the nonsense of life, politely leaves the fire to go to the john to kill himself. At Cato's cremation ceremony after everyone leaves, Scipio asks one of his aides to stay behind which is code words for: kill me, now! The aide slices his throat, and lays him peacefully near Cato's body. The aide quickly leaves before anyone sees him.



    Octavian returns from military school where he has been since his mother noblely sent him away after receiving his manhood. Octavian looks forward to seeing his mother and sister but also looks forward to seeing some of his things once again such as his books and room. It is truly a joyous event at the home of Atia when Octavian arrives home since they all give him a warm welcome.



    Soon after, Octavia goes on yet another trip to her secret lover Servilia's home where the two talk of Caesar and Octavian's return home. When Octavia mentions that Atia and the staff thought that Caesar had molested Octavian but was actually true was that Caesar was having a "seizure". Servilia asks that Octavia find out what is true and what is not even if that means incest. Octavia knows not to stoop that low but when Servilia mentions that her mother killed Clavius, her husband Octavia plots her revenge. Octavia successfully seduces her younger brother and the two make love in the dark. Octavia manages to get out from Octavian that he killed Evander, the butcher from Episode 3. When Servilia learns this, she becomes pissed off since she had not intended to hear about some man named "Lucius Vorenus". Atia soon finds out that her children slept with each other which leads to Octavian being punched in the face and a parenting confrontation ensues. Octavia then blurts out that Servilia knows that she killed Clavius. Atia manages to take care of matters by sending Timon and his men to ambush Servilia on the street, who then kills all of her men, rips her clothes off and chops off several locks of her beautiful red hair. Servilia is left in the street but has not been defeated.



    Vorenus and Pullo are slowly adjusting to life as civilians. Niobe finds Vorenus a job at Lyde's butchery where he and Pullo serve under Lyde's command. After Vorenus witnesses a man on the street being bothered by a mob, he intervenes causing much conversation and eventually trouble. The following day, the leader of the pack, the merchant from Episode 4 visits the Vorenii home where he demands that Vorenus apologize in public or his wife and daughters will be killed and raped. Vorenus refuses to give in and sends his daughters in hiding so they will not be tortured if they indeed return. The leader stays on his word and returns the following day, however is soon sent away when Caesar arrives prior with his army. Caesar knows that Vorenus is a valuable asset and does not deserve death for standing up for someone of weaker status. Caesar then and there offers Vorenus a job as a magistrate on the new Senate of Rome. Vorenus is modest and rejects at first but then decides it might actually be beneficial to his status.



    Other important events in "Utica"...

    *Favorite moment: My favorite moment from this week's Rome would have to be Atia punishing her children. "You f**ked your sister!!!" Sad, yet hilarious and of course, Servilia getting ambushed. That poor woman has the worst luck out of anyone on the show!

    *Pullo continues to have the hots for his slave, Eirene who thinks of Pullo as a good friend and master but not really a love interest. Pullo just needs a friend and besides Vorenus, Eirene is just the person he needs--even if the relationship is not sexual.

    *Atia throws another memorable party for Octavian and Caesar's homecoming. As the party advances, Caesar continues to gives Servilia the cold shoulder. Servilia is hurt until she bounces on her next big idea involving Octavia. Also at the dinner, Caesar appoints Octavian to a seat on the governing table which he refuses at first to write poetry instead but his mother urges him to reconsider.

    *Timon, Atia's horse trader/lover is Jewish. I found that very interesting since he is the only character on the show who is affiliated with a non-Pagan religion. Shalom, Timon!



    "Utica" is absolutely outstanding, every actor was brilliant and Alexandra Cunningham's (a fellow writer on ABC's Desperate Housewives) wonderful script carried the show along with SFU director, Jeremy Podeswa's great direction. A must see episode minus the incest.

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  • Back in Rome and Lucius (Lamb) and Chicken (Pullo) get involved with the local crime lord. Not such a good idea.

    9.8




    Last week we had a quick year, and between that one and this it appears yet another has gone by. Caesar and all our soldier-boys have come home to Rome. A fact that prompts much luvy-dovy tween Lamb and Niobe, and much yearning glance from Chicken.



    Presumably because skraggy-shoulder man and friends [the senators who sided with Pompey] have been defeated and the army is being demobbed Lamb and Chicken are no longer soldiers. At first they lounge around, Lamb re-enacting battles and upsetting his supposed grandson, and Chicken watching Eirene. Niobe gets a little fed up with having them underfoot, and suggests they become butchers. Lamb protests a little, but eventually gives in and becomes a hauler of pig carcasses and chopper-off of swine heads. Lovely.



    This is Rome however, and it doesn’t take trouble long to find them. Lamb intervenes to stop some loval bully boys from “taking the nose” off someone who couldn’t pay up[that would be literally ] and ends up on the wrong side of the “big man” of local crime. There are threats, there is the brandishing of weapons, and finally the promise that if Lamb does not publicly kiss the feet of Erastes Fulmen and say that he is very sorry then Erastes will have him killed, but not before he sees his wife and daughters raped.



    So, kids farmed off to the countryside Lamb and Chicken wait, Lamb keeping busy talking to Niobe. Chicken keeping busy by sharpening weapons and hiding them all over the yard. Luckily however, Caesar turns up. And with him a whole bunch of still soldiers, who by simply being there persuade Fulman that maybe attacking the man chatting with the “dictator” is not really a great idea. Caesar offers Lamb the role of magistrate, so he can help bring about the restoration of the republic, and a return to the golden days of Rome. At first reluctant, Lamb of course accepts.



    In the meantime there has been much shennanigans involving Servilia, Atia, Octavia and Octavion, including incest, accusations of murder and plots into discovering what exactly Caesar’s terrible affliction is.



    It all ends badly for Servilia, whose men are killed while she herself has her hair chopped off and is stripped in the middle of the street. Nice.



    As Lamb prepares for his new job, Niobe and Eirene dress him in his fancy white robes. Which poor Chicken isn’t even allowed to touch because he’ll “dirty them” [lets all hiss at Niobe for being mean ] so he wanders off, only to return later on, a little drunk and calling for Eirene.



    He offers he wine, tells her he wants to see her happy, gets her to smile, talks about his mother, then tells her to take off her dress and consols himself with her.



    A great episode, and not just for the wonderful chest of Chicken’s, but because of his oh-so-obvious envious glances at Niobe and Lamb. Also, Octavion returned, although the getting it on with his sister, not so pleasant. But no Mark Anthony this week :(

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Ewan Bailey

Ewan Bailey

Pertinax

Guest Star

Jonathan Coy

Jonathan Coy

Actor for Cato

Guest Star

Kevin Dignam

Kevin Dignam

Lictor

Guest Star

Lydia Biondi

Lydia Biondi

Merula

Recurring Role

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice

Newsreader

Recurring Role

Marco Pollack

Marco Pollack

Lucius

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Octavia: Either you were lovers or some god has cursed Caesar, which is it?
      Octavian: Sister, there are no gods.
      Octavia: Don't be horrid.
      Octavian: There is doubtless a Prime Mover of some sort, but a community of beings that look like us and meddle in our affairs? Highly improbable.

    • Brutus: I assure you mother, I am not proud of myself. Not proud at all. In lieu of a nobel suicide you shall have to be content with that.

    • (Seeing Vorenus in a toga)
      Pullo: You look like laundry.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The Beginnings of Augustus Caesar

      The events in this episode start at February 6, 46 BC - and continue up to (but not including) the famous triumph of Caesar - see next episode.

      This would be roughly the whole year of 46 B.C.

      While it is never mentioned in the series, it was in this year that Julius Caesar adopted Octavian as his official heir - which would lead to the Second Triumvirate after Caesar's death, and would eventually lead to the Principate under Emperor Augustus Caesar - none other than Octavian.

    • They didn't die that way.

      The series writers have taken some liberties with the historical fates of Cato the Younger and Metellus Scipio.

      Metellus Scipio was slaughtered - along with 10,000 troops - while attempting to surrender in the aftermath of the Battle of Thapsus.

      Cato the Younger was not even present at the Battle of Thapsus, being stationed in the capital city of Utica (see the episode title). Cato did commit suicide however, upon hearing of the defeat at the Battle of Thapsus, and that Caesar's legions were moving on Utica.

    • The title of this episode comes from the ancient city of Utica, which was the capital city of the Roman province of Africa.

      It was the city in which the forces of Cato the Younger were stationed, and where Cato commited suicide upon hearing of the defeat of the legions of Metellus Scipio at Thapsus.

      Ironically, despite being featured in the title, the city of Utica is written out of the series entirely! The writers of this episode have decided to place Cato the Younger at the battle of Thapsus, not in Utica.

    • The Battle of Thapsus - which occurs just before the opening scene - was a major conflict in the ongoing "last civil war" of the Roman Republic - but not quite the last.

      After the defeats of Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus, the abandoning of Greece, and death of Pompey, the conservative faction regrouped in Africa, in modern day Tunisia. There, under the leadership of Marcus Porcius Cato the younger and Metellus Scipio (with Titus Labienus, Publius Attius Varus, Lucius Afranius, Marcus Petreius and the brothers Sextus and Gnaeus Pompeius - Pompey's sons), and with the aid of a local king (Juba I of Numidia) they raised a force of nearly 10 legions strong, with Numidian auxiliaries - including a contingent of 60 "war elephants".

      On Dec 28, 47 B.C.E. Ceasar crossed from Italy with his legions. His legions were strengthened by reinforcements from the island of Sicily, and by the defection of two legions of conservative troops.

      The following February, Ceasar besieged the city of Thapsus. Realizing they could not lose this strategically important position, Metellus Scipio and his legions engaged Ceasar's armies.

      The Numidian contribution to the war turned out to be disastrous. Under heavy fire from Ceasar's archers, the war elephants were stampeded into trampling their own forces - although some of them did charge into Ceasar's lines.

      With the loss of the elephants, the conservative forces began to give ground, and were outmaneuvered by Ceasar's cavalry. When the conservatives's fortified camp was finally destroyed, their legions were forced into retreat. At this point, the Numidian auxiliaries abandoned the battle, and the conservative army fell.

      In an atypical move for Caesar, 10,000 enemy troops who were trying to surrender (Metellus Scipio among them) were slaughtered. It has been suggested that Caesar has succumbed to an epileptic fit during the last moments of the battle, and was not conscious or responsible for this bloody aftermath.

      Upon hearing that Metellus Scipio and his legions had fallen, Cato the Younger - who was commanding the forces at Utica - committed suicide, and was mourned by Caesar.

      In July of that year, Caesar left Africa and returned to Rome.

      The remaining leaders of the conservative faction fled to the province of Hispania (modern day Spain), to regroup and gather new forces. They would challenge Caesar one last time at the Battle of Munda.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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