In this “Rome” re-watch – the penultimate episode of the series – Mark Antony goes native, Vorenus is trapped in the past, and Pullo is sleeping with the enemy.
But not for much longer.
In “Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)” (original airdate March 18, 2007), written by Mere Smith and directed by Steve Shill, the series takes its biggest time jump – approximately seven years.
Mark Antony (James Purefoy) revels in a debauched life with his Egyptian queen Cleopatra (Lyndsey Marshal). Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) still dreams of his beloved Niobe (Indira Varma, in her last appearance in the series). Pullo (Ray Stevenson) rules the mobs of Rome with Gaia (Zuleikha Robinson) by his side.
Octavian (Simon Woods), ever mindful of the threat Antony poses to Rome, sends Atia (Polly Walker) and Octavia (Kerry Condon) – mother and daughter, mistress and wife – to Egypt to reason with Antony.
Antony refuses to meet with them, devastating Atia.
The two return with a dividend of sorts – Posca (Nicholas Woodeson), who presents Antony’s will, an explosive document that details Antony’s devotion to Egypt and Cleo.
Octavian shares it in the Senate, thus turning the hearts of the people to war.
Remember Memmio (Daniel Cerqueira)?
The scheming mob boss has spent the last seven years imprisoned in a cage in Pullo’s club and seems mad.
He’s smart enough to fashion a key out of bone and escape, knocking out Pullo and stabbing Gaia.
Gaia beats him to death and then collapses from her wounds.
In a tableau eerily reminiscent of Pullo’s watch over a dying Eirene, Pullo pleads for Gaia to live.
Gaia cannot go to the gods with a guilty conscience: She reveals she poisoned Eirene.
Pullo says not a word and throttles her. He dumps her body in the river to rot.
In reality, Octavian stole Mark Antony’s will from the Vestal Virgins.
Befitting the time jump, Niobe’s son Lucius has been aged and is now played by Stefan Brown. He even has a line or two.
Max Baldry plays Caesarian, Pullo’s child with Cleopatra, and he is an arrogant monster. Baldry has worked steadily as an actor into adulthood and has a role in Amazon’s upcoming “The Lord of the Rings” series.
Robinson, so memorable as the “she-wolf” Gaia, has racked up an impressive string of credits, on shows ranging from “Lost” to “Homeland” to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
In the DVD commentary, star James Purefoy shares his admiration of Octavian and notes that Mark Antony never stood a chance.
“Octavian was ice to Antony’s fire,” he says. “Fire always burns out, and ice can last for a millennia.”
Next: The series finale! “De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)”