Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Britannia, Season 1, Episode 2

Series created by Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth and James Richardson; directed by Sue Tully; screenplay by Tom Butterworth (Sky/Vertigo Films/Neal Street Productions).

Episode 2 of Britannia fills out more about the motivations of the characters. We discover why King Pellenor hates his daughter (her great-grandfather on her mother's side was a Roman). We see more of Zoë Wanamaker's Queen Antedia, who gets a nice joint scenery-chewing moment with David Morrissey's Aulus Plautius. We see more of her tribe, the Regni, and find that they make liberal use of woad and have lots of women warriors, so that's those two obligatory elements ticked off. We also find that she hates the Cantii because Pellenor's daughter castrated her son on their wedding night (which she demonstrates by having her son drop trou in front of Aulus. 

Morrissey as Aulus continues to chew the scenery wherever it is to be found. In this episode he orders crucifixions of prisoners, to show what a nasty man he is (but he doesn't have them nailed into position, so he can't be all that bad), and then traumatises a small child. Ian McDiarmid as Pellenor is starting to chew the scenery a bit himself, though internal political and family machinations at Crugdunon remain not terribly interesting.

Meanwhile, NotArya and NotTheHound have an Expository Walk. He then manages to get rid of her, and she ends up being chased by wolves. (Well, actually, she is chased by huskies,which is exactly the same except when they catch you they lick you to death.)

But some strange things are happening. In this episode Vespasian gets killed. I had assumed that this was the Vespasian, who was, after all, there in historical reality, but survived and nearly forty years later became emperor. So either this isn't the historical figure, but just someone of the same name (which seems odd, as it's a strange name to pick - Antonius, Brutus, I can see, but Vespasian?), or the Butterworths are going full Quentin Tarantino Inglorious Basterds alternate history on us, in which case, all bets are very definitely off. 

And right at the end of the episode, Aulus visits the DruidCave (it's not actually a cave, but it might as well be), and takes a trip (in many senses) to the Underworld. This show may be rather more intriguing and less predictable than I thought.

Link to all reviews of Britannia.

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