SUNDAY NIGHT

Rome
Let's start off with lessons-from-ancient-history time, shall we? A huffy Caesar tells his consigliere that "the business of motivating men to fight is a tricky business," adding that he "would not expect a slave to understand the subtleties." So the guy's intelligence quotient drops as soon as he disagrees with your leadership? Nice to see that practice died with the Roman empire. Oh, wait.... Anyway, poor Lucius returns from years of battle only to find his wife holding another man's baby, which she says is his grandson, even though his daughter is only 13. One thing I can say on her behalf, though, is that for all the happiness his spoils should bring her, I can understand why she might not be thrilled when he throws the phallus on the table. And between that and all the copulation, this sure as heck ain't the History Channel, is it?

Now, I was just about to wonder how big a brain Pullo really has, nearly getting himself killed gambling. A moment later, of course, we actually see his brain during surgery. And it's at this point that I'm beginning to wish this was the History Channel, especially when the doctor hacks his scalp open before talking about the "copious pus" and the "purging of the malignancy" to come. (The Romans invented many things, but painkillers weren't among them.) Meanwhile, on the political side, Pompey makes his play, but the senate explodes into violence before Antony can veto the motion. (How cool would C-SPAN be if our own did the same a little more often? I'm betting that, despite the years between them, Ted Kennedy could take Bill Frist, no problem.) Then Pullo shows himself to be a loyal pal, defending Lucius to the missus, but everybody will need all the loyalty they can muster after Pullo's gambling fiasco ends up forcing Caesar's hand, bringing things to the brink of war. You've gotta love the irony when Caesar calls Pullo out of the crowd to praise him for being the one to draw first blood defending Antony, too, when he was really just saving his own skin. "What's going to happen?" Lucius' daughter asks her mother. "War is going to happen," his wife answers, right before her breast-feeding reveals the lie we knew she'd been telling all along. A good show gets even better this week, eh?