Mark Watches ‘I, Claudius’: Episode 2 – Family Affairs

Oh my god THIS SHOW. Oh, I can already tell I’m going to love this.

The video file for “Family Affairs” can be downloaded here, and all my Mark Watches videos will now be indexed in my Dropbox folder.

  • Okay, thank you, I, Claudius, for continuing to center this drama around Livia and her absolutely frightening ability to manipulate everything to her favor. Siân Phillips is giving me life, y’all. She is easily the best part of this show so far, though I also don’t want to ignore the fact that Brian Blessed really comes into form as a father enraged by the treatment of his daughter. Oh god, and how great is George Baker? TIBERIUS’S PLANS DID NOT GO AS HE EXPECTED.
  • This really is a family drama, like a Roman version of The Sopranos. Well, obviously The Sopranos came after this. I just meant that it was the only thing I had to compare it to! It’s about the national and personal politics that run their lives. In that sense, we’ve got Livia’s own desire for power intersecting with what Augustus wants for his future.
  • Then there is Tiberius making a thousand billion bad decisions forever. Like seeing Vispania and not doing a single thing to conceal himself. oh my god WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Also, I swear there was almost a moment where I thought he was going to say he was getting “friendzoned” by Vispania. I don’t understand how my brain works.
  • It’s also very clear that you can’t hide anything ever from Livia. Please tell me George R.R. Martin based Varys on her because my god.
  • I’m getting the sense that Livia is going to continue to do anything to place herself in the direct line of power. The entire plot in the second half of this episode concerns Drusus’s fall in a battle, and how Livia subsequently sends her own personal physician to care for him. And by “care,” I mean “quite openly make sure that Drusus never gets better and dies.” Also, jesus, I know that the BBC aren’t necessarily prudes, but that leg wound looked SO GRAPHIC WTF.
  • But this backfires, since Augustus clearly favors Lucius and Gaius as his successors, so… oh god, is Livia going to kill them, too? WHEN THEY ARE CHILDREN? I can’t remember my Roman history particularly well anymore, so GREAT. NOW I’M UNPREPARED WHEN I ACTUALLY COULD NOT BE. Great.
  • I’m intrigued, y’all. This is a pretty neat show.

We’ll continue with the I, Claudius commissions next week!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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