Mark Watches ‘I, Claudius’: Episode 4 – What Shall We Do About Claudius?

Let’s do this!

The video file for “What Shall We Do About Claudius?” is available for download here, and all Mark Watches videos are now indexed in my Dropbox folder.

  •  So… I don’t really care for the first half of this episode. Things are a bit too slow for my taste, and if it weren’t for the fantastic performances, I think I might have been downright bored by a good portion of “What Shall We Do About Claudius?” More than ever before, this really feels like someone is filming a play. The blocking and dialogue wasn’t very engaging, and the complete lack of any music was finally distracting. Before, it was something I noticed and enjoyed, but as the characters kept talking about military campaigns and complicated politics, I could feel my attention drifting.
  • But these actors and actresses are great, and Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, and Derek Jacobi all kept me entertained for the most part.
  • And I say “for the most part” on purpose. This is another chapter in Livia’s continued manipulation to ensure Augustus is succeeded by the person she wants, as well as a chance to further develop Claudius. That provides the audience with what I think is the most disturbing episode yet. So I’m cautiously saying I enjoyed this because… well, the content isn’t exactly enjoyable, is it?
  • I get the sense that Claudius took Pollio’s and Postumous’s advice and played up the fool in order to get his family to underestimate him, and I’m curious to see how this will benefit him. I also think the final scene of this episode gave me an interesting predicament: Why is Claudius so interested in documenting his family history when his family was uniformly awful to him? My god, that wedding sequence is just… sweet babies, it’s unbearable.
  • I also don’t really know how to feel about the whole rape sequence with Postumous and Livilla. I don’t think it’s based on history? Right? I am anticipating the introduction of Sejanus, since I know that much about her, but I think the writers just made up this scene. And it’s uncomfortable? I don’t really have much else to say about it.
  • All in all, this wasn’t my favorite episode of the bunch. I’m eager to see how much of the history that comes after this point will show up on the show, because now we’re getting to Caligula and Sejanus and Nero soon. Right??? Oh god, THIS SHOULD BE GOOD.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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