I was promised orgies, and by God, I got... something.
Previously on Empire: We went from "boring as shit in slo-mo" to "I'll have to do you over slow and ugly next time." Lord have mercy.
Again, we start with the Vestal Virgin Voiceover (VVVO), and
Camane Camaro is ominousing on about the Return of Dark Omens and Word of Foreign Killers and Master Assassins that Cassius has imported to hunt Crush Boy, which would take about five minutes if he didn't have Tyrannus hauling his stupid ass hither and yon. "Octavius! Tyrannus must not leave your side!" cries Camaro, 1) like Octavius can hear her and 2) giving away the exact plot "twist" that will occur 3/4 of the way through the show. Go you, Triple V!
So, catching up where we were last time: Mark Antony has shown up and, despite his initial greeting of "No more running, prince!," seems to be on Crush Boy's side. So Octavius and Mark Antony and the whole entourage and all are trooping back to his place and Octavius is all like, "Tyrannus, you're bleeding!," you know, from the Arena of HoYay in the previous episode, and Tyrannus is all like, "Whatever, I'll walk it off." Also, Tyrannus wants to go get The Late Magonius's legion. Octavius is stupid, so they don't.
So then out in the woods, there's this Shaggy Assassin, and I have in my notes, "feeds bird from mouth." Ew. The Hawk of Ill Omen is his, it turns out. I guess he jacked it off that guy from King Arthur--I mean, it was an orphaned hawk, after all. Also, The Shaggy Assassin is wearing some kind of leather headband. It's all very '80s hair metal.
Meanwhile, everyone gets to Mark Antony's hizzy and he's all like, "WHERE ARE MY BOYS!" and I'm going, great, this is the part where we Humanize Mark Antony with... wait, giant hunting dogs? So... okay then. And out comes his wife and OMG IT'S AUNT PETUNIA! Man, I love Fiona Shaw so much. So Petunia Antonia's very cool and smooth and all like, "So nice to meet you, everyone come in and get a drink, don't forget to wipe your feet, oh, and we can patch your servantile friend over here right up." And Tyrannus is all suspicious, like, "Why do you care?" And she's so awesome--she says something to the effect of, "Well, we don't want you to die in my house, now, do we?"
Ahhhh, baths. The one thing this show was missing. Except that... it's not the hot I was hoping for. Ah, well. Octavius in particular looks like a sewer rat with his hair wet. Lights reflecting from... somewhere... play off the water and over their faces as Mark Antony tells Octavius that it was, in fact, "like a knife to the gut" that Caesar named Octavius his heir instead of Mark Antony. And they start arguing about Tyrannus being with Octavius--I forget what MA's specific beef is, except that "This is not Tyrannus's world!" and also, Tyrannus being around makes it harder for any shenanigans to be perpetrated against Octavius, duh. Mark Antony says, "You must do what Caesar did" (Skyblade, in chat: "Get stabbed 20 times?")--that is, make them love him [Octavius]. And then he says "Caesar's ring gets you an audience"--with who? The Senate? Dammit, I should either take better notes or recap these in a more timely fashion--and Octavius is like, "Yeah... kinda ditched that in a potted palm back at Magonius's place."
Meanwhile, back in Inferior Quarters Because Tyrannus Isn't Our Kind of People, Dahling, Tyrannus grunts in pain. He doesn't seem to have been given medical attention yet, but damn if they didn't oil him up tout de suite. A pretty black woman we will come to know as the Egyptian Mystic comes to bathe his wounds and she's all like, "I won't hurt you WAHHHHH THAT IS NASTY." So she's sort of halfheartedly dabbing at his ribs and decides to be chatty: "You heard Caesar's last words. [Tyrannus winces.] Afraid, gladiator? [He says nothing, because that's a stupid question.] You are. You're afraid of the future." "It's the present that worries me," he says, in that he's really afraid he's going to get gangrene from this TERRIBLE ATTEMPT AT FIRST AID and oh, that Octavius might do something stupid again. Hell, he's probably done something stupid in the thirty seconds they've been apart. "You're haunted by blood," intones the Egyptian Mystic. "What kind of nursing it this?" he asks, because... word. She flares her nostrils. "Your duty is here but your heart is elsewhere... with your wife and son." Okay, now he's all like, "WAIT WHAT SAY THAT AGAIN YOU KNOW ABOUT MY FAMILY WHAAAAAT?" "They are... in danger," she says, and she picks up her little basin of half-assed healing and is like, "La la la, off to be useless somewhere else," and Tyrannus is all like, "PLEASE! TELL ME!" And I swear to you, she just looks at him like, "Gah, what? You actually want to know? Please." And she leaves. I know.
Mark Antony is prepping Octavius on the big gathering ahead of them, telling him that "Caesar would nod." Something about, "and as he nodded, he would count the legions he had just gained," but basically, he's telling Octavius just to nod and smile and let everyone else fill in the blanks and vague himself to victory. So then we get out into the main hall and blah blah stupid rich people blah, fawning fawning blee. Some blonde coated in jewelry saunters up to Tyrannus, who has managed to stagger in to join the festivities, and wants to buy him. Like, for the night or something. I can't remember if he's just disgusted or actually tells her that he's 1) married, 2) a free man now, and 3) disgusted, but the net outcome is the same. Meanwhile, Octavius is nodding shakily at people, like he's not sure... how this complex... gesture... really works. Later, he's talking to some grand political poobahs about the expense of "bringing the conquered to Rome" as slaves and whatnot (Mark Antony may have bitched about dirty, dirty foreigners. I can't remember very clearly), and he says, "Perhaps we should bring Rome to the conquered!" And he sketches out this brilliant plan of spreading Roman culture and civilization and rule to the four corners of the earth and seriously, I started looking to see if Mark Antony was holding cue cards up behind some senator's back. Some Senator: "You mean like... AN EMPIRE?" Dude, are you trying to tell me that Octavius the Dim is responsible for the Roman Empire? What. Ever. Mark Antony thinks that Caesar would approve. I'm pretty sure that Caesar would approve of anything not stabby at this point, but okay.
sneezydove: they look like they made the costumes with a bedazzlerThen there's all this noise and--a snorfling sound?--outside, and apparently the Antonius household has been hit by... a spontaneous wolf attack. A couple of servants are mangled and slightly dead and nooooooo! Not his doooooooog! Tyrannus is all like, "Octavius, LET'S GO." Octavius is like, "Did you see? Did you see? I was participating in a political conversation like a big boy!" Tyrannus is all like, "Yeah, I saw some big talking. Magonius didn't die for you to sit around having cocktails. We need his legion, LET'S GO." Octavius's reply is that he needs to be here, for the baths and the political alliances and the hot chicks and shit. The Egyptian Mystic looks concerned.
bookworm:: their togas look like something i would buy at Halloween Express
Kiran59:: It's like the suspenseful music you get on a casio
ratkitten:: just wait for the canned bossa nova background beat
So the next day, Mark Antony takes them all out on a hunting party for one wolf. "Why don't you stay behind, Tyrannus?" he says. "I'm sure that NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN to Octavius if you were to stay at home and chill." "I feel quite fit," says Tyrannus." "Well then, show me your moves," says Mark Antony (yes, he uses that actual wording), and now we enter into the Mark Antony Is a Hyperactive Freakshow portion of the episode. Seriously, I've seen that particular glitter in the eyes before, and it's called "ADHD." So he's making a big show out of talking politics with Octavius while whipping around at moments you would theoretically least expect an attack and whaling on Tyrannus. With a big shit-eating grin, no less. Tyrannus is all like, "Moments I would theoretically least expect it, got it," and parries all attacks with one hand on his oozing bandages (thanks a lot, Egyptian Mystic M.D.). Finally he just grabs Mark Antony by the throat all like, "CUT IT OUT, YOU FUCKSTICK!" "Give us the benefit of your wisdom," gargles Mark Antony from inside Tyrannus's death grip. "I'm a fighter, not a politician," he says, letting Mark Antony go. "Excellent!" chirps Mark Antony, and off they all go to hunt. Man, that shit was fucked up.
So a-hunting we all go. "I'll be wearing this wolf by supper!" Mark Antony beams. Tyrannus rides behind them, clutching his wound. They see the wolf and ride after it and there's some impressive horseback bow work from Mark Antony, despite the fact that the arrow in this shot clearly goes wide, but you can't ask your actors to be bad-ass and accurate. Tyrannus is wincing when he sees the wolf again and the Shaggy Assassin, if I remember correctly, so he rides off to try to find him and do his bodyguard thing. In the meantime, the Shaggy Assassin shoots at Octavius, whose body Tyrannus has, therefore, left unguarded for the moment, and Mark Antony totally blocks the arrow with his ARM to the tune of this cheesetastic ssssssslo-mo sound effect. I'm telling you, it's hilarious. He just flicks his forearm up there and bam! takes it in the wrist. Even he looks surprised. Octavius looks like he just wet himself. Octavius's horse looks like he just wet himself.
Meanwhile, Tyrannus finds the Shaggy Assassin's discarded... wrist... armor... something... in the woods.
Back at the ranch, the boys return to find Trudie and the idiot consuls that were "elected" in the previous episode. "YOU DARE SHOW YOUR FACES!" spits Mark Antony. Petunia Antonia comes running out with this total warning tone: "Husbaaaaand!" And then he flicks his forearm up again and the arrow is STILL THERE. Damn! You didn't even, you know, break it off or anything? You rode all the way home with this arrow in your arm? What was that ride like? Was it just Octavius being like, "...Dude" and Mark Antony being like, "...I know, dude" over and over for five miles?
So inside the hizzy the Egyptian Mystic M.D. is pulling the arrow out.
bookworm:: hoo ah?
bookworm:: they pull an arrow out and all we get is a "hoo ah"?
Kiran59:: Octavious looked like he was turned on for a minute there
ratkitten:: love Marky's accent -- he sounds like he's from Essex
Kiran59:: Is Marc Antony on prozac?
Kiran59:: He really is like scary grinning
Trudie has come with some kind of peace offer, I think. From Brutus? No, from Trudie (who is Brutus's mom, after all) and the "two eunuchs over there"--Frick and Frack, as I like to think of them. Meanwhile, Tyrannus is telling Octavius that the Shaggy Assassin is a bestiary--a gladiator who trains animals to kill. Or trades them. I don't know, my notes are a little messy here. Also, the Egyptian Mystic looks angsty. Tyrannus looks sweaty. Also? "We're leaving." "You gonna let him boss you around like that, Candypants?" asks Mark Antony. "Uh... stop! You order me to leave?" says Octavius, rising to the challenge. "Mark Antony wants to help! He wants to send a messenger to find your family! You're so rude! He saved my life! I need his help! I need his legions!" Tyrannus cuts through all this earnest bullshit with the simple question, "What does Mark Antony need?" Octavius sputters. "Caesar wouldn't trust him!" continues Tyrannus. "What do you bring to him?" Man, Tyrannus, are you new or something? Sweet, sweet lovin', of course. "I'M CAESAR!" says Octavius. Yes him is! Yes him is such a cute widdle Caesar!
Finally! It's orgy time! The toasts begin: "To Julius Caesar!" "To booze!" "To his namesake, my friend--Candypants!" In come the women on platters wearing fruit! And boys painted gold, and... jugglers. Tyrannus is wincing behind a pillar. (I know, man. Those jugglers are a total WTF.) People are frolicking with tambourines and timbrels and it is all very twee. And then Mark Antony presents Octavius with Caesar's ring and says, "My messenger rode hard all day to get this." Insert your own "UNH!" here. The Egyptian Mystic looks anxious, but this may be her screensaver face, I don't know. Trudie looks terrifying in an impressive headdress and a shitload of botox. Frick and Frack want to talk, but both Octavius and Mark Antony say, "Now is not the time." Gah, you got your politics in my orgy! Meanwhile, the Presumptuous Blonde Chick and twin brunette dancing girls are fangirling Tyrannus: "You were with Caesar when he died!" Tyrannus is starting to get a little claustro.
Back with the Uppity People, the Egyptian Mystic takes Octavius's hand and says, "I see a sun... a sun dipped in blood." "A son from a father or a sun in the sky?" asks Octavius, because... you know, homophones. A sun it is. What about the blood? The Egyptian Mystic is all like, "Shpffff. You know, men think of blood as death, but women think of it as life." We do? I tend to think of it as "Awww, shit," but... whatever. Not to mention the high mortality rate involved in childbirth back then, so... STFU, is what I'm saying. "No wonder she's never wrong!" shouts Mark Antony, bouncing up and down. "She never says anything you can take one way or the other!" Dude, you are so weird.
Meanwhile, Trudie and Presumptuous Blonde and the Dancing Doublemints are crowding Tyrannus and taunting him ("What did Caesar say?" "He was supposed to protect Caesar!") while Tyrannus starts tripping ouuuuuut. He finally breaks free and storms off. "Go if you need to," says Octavius, like he even cares at this point. The Egyptian Mystic looks anxious.
Outside, Tyrannus is splashing water from a trough or a pump or something onto his forehead. By the way, this scene is totally awesome. "And your wound, how is it now?" asks a hooded Petunia Antonia. "Why do you care? Why are you leaving?" he asks, as she walks towards a waiting wagon." "I always leave before the orgy," she says, perfectly cool, and there's this weird little dip in the music right there. Eeeeeeeee, spooky. I think it was just particularly weird to hear her say the word out loud, because this is ABC, The Family Network and all, and I kind of wondered if they were going to wuss out and hint at "debauchery" (women, fruit, platters) without actually going all the way to "orgy," and here she just goes and says it. "Can I offer you a ride?" she adds. (Yes, actual wording here as well.) More creepy panpipe music. Tyrannus looks ill and waves her off. Exit Petunia Antonia to go console the Widow Andromache, I guess.
What happens next is sort of intentionally confusing--basically Tyrannus thinks he sees the bestiary with his wolf, or Hagrid the groundskeeper, or something, and runs after him into some weird tunnel, and the tunnel leads back to the main hall, and he chases the guy down right into the middle of the party and belts him one. Turns out? It's a general, and hoooooo boy is he pissed. "IF YOU CAN'T CONTROL YOUR SLAVE," he starts shouting, and Tyrannus is all like, "I'M NOT HIS SLAVE!" and Mark Antony is all "SILENCE!!" and the general storms off. "Are you satisfied? Your stupidity cost us four legions!" shouts Mark Antony. Tyrannus seriously looks like he's going to cry. He stalks out of the room and bodyslams Mark Antony on the way out. "GET BACK HERE!!" Tyrannus totally keeps going. Mark Antony turns back to Octavius and the gaping crowd and says, "THE ONLY REASON HE LEAVES THIS ROOM ALIVE IS... uh... AS A COURTESY TO YOU."
So Octavius runs after Tyrannus "Halt! Halt! I command it!" "YOU COMMAND NOTHING," snaps Tyrannus. Ohhhhhh. "You get one more chance because of your wound and your family!" says Octavius, in Beneficent Baby Caesar mode. "I AM A FREE MAN!" shouts Tyrannus. "Caesar would never crawl like this!" I swear to you that Octavius shouts, "SHUT UP!" And then he insults Tyrannus's bodyguard skills. Again. "They would totally like me to behead you back in there! I won't do it, though. Go back to your family. Your service is done." Tyrannus sort of stares at Octavius. "GO! BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND AND/OR REALIZE WHAT A DICK I AM!" Tyrannus gives him one last, lingering look. Octavius storms back inside and slams the door. There is going to be such make-up sex, y'all.
Back inside, Octavius runs into some blonde kid in heavy armor: "Marcus Agrippa of the second legion. If you need us, we are here for you. Hail Caesar." (Drink!) Octavius looks touched that someone even more baby-faced than he would offer support at this time.
Out in the courtyard, here's the Egyptian Mystic again: "You will meet Octavius on the battlefield." "I AM SICK OF YOUR ASS PROPHECIES AND YOUR ASS FACE!" shouts Tyrannus, and rides off.
Octavius returns to the super-lame ABC-approved orgy. "So... I looked over the Senate's proposal, and it actually looks pretty sweet," says Mark Antony, while Frick and Frack look on approvingly. "You go hang out in Gaul, and the Senate gets to take all the flack in Rome, and you'll come back a conquering hero." "I'll take governorship of Gaul," says Octavius, and Trudie just about claps her hands. "...and Germania, and Rome, and EVERYTHING ELSE DO YOU HEAR ME?" Off he storms. There's a lot of storming in his episode. Mark Antony turns to Frick, Frack, and Trudie: "Well? Did you hear him? Yes, I think you did." And he bounces off, just barely restraining himself from a Z-snap in Trudie's direction. God, he is so hyper. Seriously, I can't even tell who he was mocking--Octavius, Trudie, or just everyone involved on general principle.
So now Mark Antony and Octavius confab in a firelit and candlelit room over bottles of wine. Uh-huh. "Tell me about battle!" says Octavius, and Mark Antony gets out his toys to demonstrate how he was once outnumbered 500 to 35,000 by, I am not kidding, "General Quintilius Maximus-Maximus-Maximus!" God, they are both so drunk. Except, Mark Antony adds, that he won the battle by... less honorable means. "I got him in my tent. What else could I do?" Octavius is like, "So... you totally did the nasty?" "NO, I KILLED HIM! I mean, yeah, it was breaking the laws of hospitality and honor and whatever, but what else could I do, you know?" "You took an arrow for me today," obviouses Octavius. "Yeah... at the time I didn't know why. I think I do now... I see potential for a great leader in you, greater than Caesar. I will always take an arrow for you." Aaaaaaand IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will alwaaaaaaaaaays loooooooooooooove youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Mark Antony grabs some parchment or whatever and starts writing out a declaration: "My troops, all that I command, fall to you." Octavius, stirred by the spirit
in the bottle of the occasion, grabs some parchment for himself, reads out as he writes, "And all my legacy falls to NOOOOOOOOO OCTAVIUS DON'T DO IT YOU MORON! ARRRRRGHHHHHHHH.
We see the Shaggy Assassin following Tyrannus in the shadows of the forest. That don't bode too well.
Aaaand finally it's orgy time. Could we ditch the panpipes, please? They're this icky combination of creepy and twee, neither of which you really want underscoring your debauchery. "What happened to your gladiator?" ask the Doublemints. "He's not my gladiator," says Octavius. "Whatever. Where is he? He was hot," says Dancing Doublemint #1. "Let us guard you, then," says Dancing Doublemint #2, who has her eyes more firmly on the prize. So off they saunter arm in arm with Octavius, who smarms, "So, are you twins, then...?" The Egyptian Mystic and Mark Antony look anxious. Mark Antony blows out an oh-so-symbolic candle and retreats to his baths. Alone. The camera roams around the room, and every time you're sitting there thinking to yourself, "I know everyone's still fully clothed, but that right there, if I am not mistaken, is definite writhing and/or humping," the writher in question will suddenly start flailing or thrashing or spinning around. That's not sex, people, that's a seizure. Octavius appears to be getting some, but his "some" is, again, fully clothed. And then the BathCam shows Mark Antony sinking down into his bath up to his eyes with an extremely weird look on his face.
Octavius is awakened by a tortured scream in the distance, and he throws off the sheets to realize that the Doublemints (very sweetly spooned together) are dripping with blood, and so is he. He seems to have been bitten in the neck-shoulder area. The Vestal Virgin Camaro helpfully voices over, "Dozens of asps were set loose, and those who woke had their throats slit." Although, seriously, I thought snakes bit people--I didn't know they chewed them to death, judging by the amount of blood liberally splashed around the bed. Octavius staggers out to find wolves gnawing on partygoers in various stages of decease. Trudie is stretched out on her back, reaching out towards him helplessly. Octavius slips in the blood and falls over, knocking over the Symbolic Bust of Julius Caesar, which shatters symbolically. In come Mark Antony and the bestiary, whistling. "I see you're up," says Mark Antony pleasantly. "Youuuuuu," gasps Octavius. "You know, I tried to tell you," says Mark Antony, smiling. "You know, that whole story about my victory over that guy? The one I totally tricked into coming into MY TENT, and then I KILLED HIM? Duh, kid." Octavius is still struggling on the floor. "Did I deserve more than this house? Yes. But I was happy to be second to Caesar. Saying you are Caesar does not make it so. You? You're just a punk-ass bitch. Not entirely honorable how this worked out, I know. But there you were, there I was. What else could I do?" Octavius is having major seizures now. "Hail Caesar!" says Mark Antony, who's totally not leaving until he's rubbed it in every way possible. Octavius staggers around some more and his bloody hands hit the mosaic sun on the wall. Of course.
Next time (i.e., tonight): Well, clearly Octavius lives, because of the battlefield prophecy and, you know, history and shit. Sigh.