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Rome - (S01E03)

History . Drama . Action

With Caesar quickly advancing toward Rome, Pompey begins ordering a retreat and forces his citizens to pick sides. Timon is forced to do Atia's dirty work and Vorenus cannot understand why no one is resisting while on a scouting mission.

Episode Title: An Owl in a Thornbush
Airs: 2005-09-11 at 09:00 pm
  • Tim Goodman

    As good as Rome is -- and it's an epic, multilayered thing of beauty -- it's still not on the level of "The Sopranos" or "The Wire" or "Deadwood." That's almost an unfair comparison, but it's also true. On the other hand, "Rome" unfolds like a marvelously shot big-screen movie, each scene (filmed on location in Italy) dripping with money well spent and a meticulous grandeur that rewards you for paying extra for HBO.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    HBO's splendid Rome recounts Julius Caesar's battle for power with a gritty ferocity that's closer to The Godfather and The Sopranos than to costume epics of old. Following Don Corleone's example, this 12-episode series makes you an offer you can't refuse: It's the best new drama of the fall.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Mekeisha Madden Toby

    [A] captivating and undeniable classic. [26 Aug 2005, p.2E]

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Rome wasn't built in a day, the saying goes, and that applies to this show, too. It's a slow build that requires some effort on the part of viewers, but after the first three episodes, I was hooked. [28 Aug 2005, p.TV-3]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    A wild, careening chariot ride of a new series that debuts tonight. It's like The Sopranos in togas, except without even the faintest twinge of conscience. [28 Aug 2005, p.8]

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Linda Stasi

    The only chink in the series' armour is the miscasting of Polly Walker as the evil Atia. She overacts so much, that it'll make you ache for Sian Phillips' long-ago portrayal as Livia in "I Claudius." While Rome's not as great as that old series, it's still deserves a helluva Hail Caesar!

    New York Post Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    As extravagant, enticing and chaotic as Rome itself, HBO's latest series boasts all the opulent pleasures that lavish expenditures of time and money can buy. Every detail in its re-creation of ancient Rome may not be correct, but the spirit and the overall picture ring true -- and the entertainment value resounds.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mike Duffy

    Rome delivers high-quality television bursting with grimy, down-to-earth life. [26 Aug 2005]

    Detroit Free Press Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    I haven't seen ancient ordinary life so well represented since "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and I am not being funny.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    No, it's not "groundbreaking," as HBO calls its programming. And I doubt it will give the ratings-slipping channel its much-needed hit. But it will probably find a small, loyal, "Deadwood"-size audience that enjoys a good serial melodrama charged up by a villainess named Atia who turns mothering into something akin to pimping. [26 Aug 2005, p.D1]

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Catherine Dawson March

    It demands your attention to keep the many plot threads from tangling, and at times requires a strong stomach, but you never know what to expect next, and that beats the ridiculous reality series seen on every other channel. Give me gore over gonzo any day. [27 Aug 2005, p.8]

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Robert P. Laurence

    The finished product is passably entertaining, intermittently involving, tolerably well acted by an all-English cast, and offers enough kinky sex and graphic violence to satisfy all but the most depraved tastes. [22 Aug 2005, p.D-1]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Less perverse than ``I, Claudius,'' more entertaining than ABC's toga twister ``Empire,'' Rome gets off to an uneven start. [25 Aug 2005, p.47]

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    Whether Rome attains that stature is entirely up to the Nielsen gods, but one thing is certain: The series is a lusty, violent, rollicking saga that is sure to seize plenty of initial attention, if not for its ravishing production values, then for its rampant depiction of ancient-style decadence and debauchery. [27 Aug 2005, p.F4]

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    It's a much more impressive spectacle than ABC's mindlessly entertaining Empire.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Gillian Flynn

    Rome is most entertaining when it laces its wild, ancient antics with winks of the pedestrian.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    While the first hour is daunting, the series offers a terrific villainess who also has a knack for humor. [28 Aug 2005, p.F-03]

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Amply seasoned with treachery, lechery, debauchery, depravity, nudity and infidelity, HBO's Rome also tends to fall victim to filmmaking's cardinal sin - tedium. [28 Aug 2005, p.3]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    After watching six episodes, I'm still not sold on the overall worth of this ambitious period drama.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Sid Smith

    Rome is slow, ponderous, terribly uneven and dense, more "The Wire" than "The Sopranos" draped in togas. But those who stick it out may well be seduced by the series' cumulative effort to create a complete, if repulsive, world. This is a bold cable offering, always a little more than sword-and-sandal kitsch and rarely, if ever, kind. [26 Aug 2005, p.C1]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    There are, in fact, simply too many characters chasing each other up and down the seven hills, and viewers who try to keep track are in for maddening frustration. If only people would address one another by name once in a blue moon, that would help a little. [28 Aug 2005, p.N01]

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    Many aspects of the 12-part Rome might leave you cold. While certainly impressive in scope and scale, HBO’s awkward stab at a series is being made with a programming weapon that’s often blunt, dull and unwieldy... Where Rome gets tripped up is in the uneven performances and lackluster writing. This is what truly causes the fall of this particular Roman empire. [28 Aug 2005, p.J1]

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Jonathan Storm

    All this adds up to $100 million worth of eye-popping bravura on the screen, but not a lot of cash to examine what goes on beneath the surface of the characters. One of the most extravagant soap operas in TV history doesn't even supply the fun of The Bold and the Beautiful. Though stuffed with stupid scenes, it lacks the stupid surprises that can make more traditional soaps so addictive. [28 Aug 2005, p.H01]

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Doug Elfman

    Rome is so jam-packed with Caesar and pals, it feels like a show that high school teachers would ask students to watch, if it weren't for all the whore sex, rape and consensual carnality. It very well might take an apt pupil to follow this cinematic jigsaw puzzle. [24 Aug 2005, p.55]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Diane Werts

    Calling Rome a crushing disappointment would be accurate but too forgiving of its sordidly cockamamy fixations. Brutality and nudity rise in direct proportion to unpersuasive storytelling. Finding someone, anyone, to care about amid all this shock-value Sturm und Drang swiftly becomes an enervating chore. [26 Aug 2005, p.B33]

    Newsday Full Review

  • jumping

  • lie

  • city name in title

  • one word title

  • place name in title

  • controversy

  • cutting

  • mercilessness

  • older man younger woman relationship

  • abuse of power

  • political conspiracy

  • political corruption

  • political intrigue

  • political rival

  • power struggle

  • rise to power

  • intrigue

  • roman salute

  • bad mother

  • historical fiction

  • soldier

  • civil war

  • female nudity

  • male nudity

  • historical drama

  • ancient rome

  • rise and fall

  • power

  • political unrest

  • passion

  • murder

  • manipulation

  • government corruption

  • dictator

  • deliberate cruelty

  • decadence

  • corruption

  • class differences

  • assassination plot

  • treason

  • sword fight

  • suicide

  • slave

  • self destruction

  • poetry

  • glory

  • friendship

  • egypt

  • brother sister relationship

  • brothel

  • alexandria egypt

  • marriage

  • male frontal nudity

  • 1st century b.c.

  • slavery

  • roman empire

  • rivalry

  • politics

  • legion

  • hand to hand combat

  • graffiti

  • emperor

  • courtesan

  • betrayal

  • adultery

  • title spoken by character

  • seduction

  • senate

  • incest

  • jealousy

  • epic

  • greed

  • love

  • homoeroticism

  • blood

  • drawing

  • eroticism

  • family relationships