This episode is a giant trick THIS IS NOT FAIR.
The video file for “Fool’s Luck” is available for download here, and all Mark Watches videos are now indexed in my Dropbox folder.
Let’s do this.
- I should have known. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN HAPPINESS COULD NOT LAST LONG.
- But that’s sort of the point. Herod’s warning is a warning for everyone, including the audience. As much as we want to trust that Claudius is doing what’s right for the empire, we can’t. Oh, the man was a fine emperor, no doubt about it. That was clear within fifteen minutes of watching him speak to others! That speech he gives the senators is incredible. Not one caesar before him had ever spoken so truthfully and respectfully to the senators, and you could tell that Claudius was not interested in wielding power just for the sake of it. His approach to being caesar was to “soften” the blow, so to speak, to lead Rome in a way that wasn’t anywhere near as violent or spiteful as the rest of his Imperial family.
- While he does execute Cassius, he spares the lives of the co-conspirators! He makes Livia a god! (WHY DID THIS MAKE ME SO EMOTIONAL OH MY GOD. HE KEPT HIS PROMISE.) He is reasonable, he is exceptionally kind to his wife, he gives an ear to nearly every issue before him, he roots out corruption and then he doesn’t murder people for it, and by gods, HE IS REALLY GOOD AT HIS JOB.
- Which is why this episode is ultimately so frustrating and unnerving. This man tried to be good, and he tried to put his faith in people, but he forgot that he was still living amongst the traitors, backstabbers, the corrupt, and the depraved from Caligula’s reign. If one bad apple can spoil the bunch, then one good apple can’t change the whole barrel. As much as Claudius wants to change the atmosphere of the government, he soon learns that he can’t. Now, I don’t think that’s necessarily Messalina’s fault entirely, though she gets a lot of the blame for pursuing a childhood fantasy and getting Selanus killed in the process. Oh god, she really was Claudius’s Livia, wasn’t she? Manipulating the emperor for her own needs without him knowing. H E L P.
- Anyway, I don’t want to ignore the fact that plenty of men go against the emperor’s wishes or betray him because they are enamored with Messalina. Messalina’s own mother refuses to expose her daughter, too!
- Regardless, the happiness could only last so long. This episode ends with a terrible glimpse of the future. How much longer will Messalina’s power over Claudius last? She’s not in the present-time scenes with Claudius, so she’s clearly dead. That’s inevitable. How does Claudius find out? What does he do when he learns the truth? Oh god, THE FUTURE IS GOING TO SUCK FOR CLAUDIUS, ISN’T IT?