That’s it. That’s the last episode of “Rome.”
I’ve said before, with all the jumping ahead in time, that this season felt awfully rushed, but the final episode provided a fitting conclusion to most of the show’s storylines.
It starts with a great monologue by Mark Antony as the remainder of his navy rowed its way back to Alexandria.
All my life I've been fearful of defeat. But now that it has come it's not near as terrible as I'd expected. The sun still shines, water still tastes good...glory is all well and good but life is enough, nay?
Then, in contrast, we get another monologue from Atia as she laments the news of Antony’s defeat:
[Octavian] wasn’t like that as a child. He was a good, honest boy. I don’t know what happened. I’m to blame, probably.
Antony’s meltdown in the palace is a brilliant piece of acting by James Purefoy. When Cleopatra pleads with him to come up with some military trick to win the war, Antony quips, “I’m a soldier, not a fucking magician.”
Then, he has a “GoodFellas” moment when one of his guests laughs as he gets knocked down. Antony shouts, “I’m a fucking clown?” before killing the weakling in a swordfight. (I had visions of Joe Pesci.) That moment is Antony’s “lampshade” moment. You know, that moment when a partygoer partakes a little too much and their night spins out of control. I’d like to applaud the hazy cinematography of the scene. It really adds depth to Antony’s frame of mind at the time.
He has another great line when Cleo’s slave comes to tell him of her death and to urge him to commit suicide: “Anything to cure this fucking hangover.” The suicide scene with Lucius was intense, and it was a nice gesture that Antony did not force Vorenus to follow him into death.
Then there’s the matter of Caesarion. Though there isn’t any real-world evidence of this, the show’s position is that he is the son of Titus Pullo. When Lucius offers to take Caesarion to his father, Cleopatra asks, “Is he a good man?” Lucius answers, “Define good.”
The negotiation scene between Cleo and Octavian was terrific, and I can see now why they wanted Simon Woods instead of Max Pirkis for the latter half of this season. Octavian was actually 33 when he invaded Alexandria, so casting Woods was a logical choice. Of course, Caesarion was 17 at the time, and the creators didn’t have any problem shaving seven years off of his age.
It was good to see Atia get back to her old self. That was a terrific diatribe she laid on Octavian’s wife before the triumph. Now that the series is over, it’s comforting to know that the bitch is definitely back.
Finally, there’s Titus and Lucius. Even with all its politicking and betrayal, the show is really about the friendship between these two men. It was sad to see Lucius go, but I’m glad he got his wish to see his children and that his eldest daughter decided to forgive him. Titus got his wish - a son - and appears to have finally found some happiness in his life.
And, speaking of Titus, how’s this for the last line of the series?
Listen, about your father...
All in all, the finale did an excellent job of providing fitting conclusions to virtually every major character, but in reality, the only good thing about “Rome” ending is that we’ll finally get to see the last nine episodes of “The Sopranos.”
R.I.P. “Rome.” We’re sad to see you go.