Publicity for this has certainly been building up the sex and the violence, and this first episode did live up to that. Then again, opening with Julius Caesar in Gaul there was bound to be more than a little death and bloodshed. The opening battle shows the disciplined manner of Roman fighting, all the legion fighting as one, effeciently and in concert. But there is always one, isn’t there, and in this case it is Titus Pullo. Drunk, he fights his way through the line and into the midst of the Gauls, forcing his commander Lucius Vorenus to mount a rescue. Don’t think that Pullo is grateful, instead he is insulted when Vorenus orders his “drunken soldier” back into line and decks him. Thereby earning himself a whipping and some time in prison, only being released when Mark Antony sends Vorenus to find Caeser’s stolen eagle, the symbol of the glory of Rome.
As we are introduced to these two characters we are also introduced to Rome herself. The politics between Pompey and Julius Caeser, as well as between the Senate and the “plebs”. And of course the value of various marriages.
So far so good, although my attention was caught by the number of familar faces, Titus Pullo you may remember as Dag from king Arthur, Vorenus was Private Cooper in Dog Soldiers, Ciarán Hinds I saw recently as the Russian premiere in The Sum Of All Fears and there are loads more faces scattered around like “Jez” from Coronation Street.
All in all, a good start to this series.