Another study from a screencap! This time it’s Atia of the Julii from Rome. Usually I don’t pick such recognizable moments buuuut …
1) As a character moment, it’s incredible. I went from finding Atia lulzy to realizing she’s a terrible, terrible person to actually pitying her. She has crushed her rival and triumphed, but it’s a Pyrrhic victory. The love of her life has rejected and humiliated her (and died for the love of another woman), and while her ambitions have been born fruit in Octavian, she has created monster that surpasses even her in ruthlessness. She is left powerless and alone.
2) I love love love that this is the final shot in this sequence. Most series would be content to close on that smug little smile Octavian shoots her right before this, and that would make sense; I’ve been told Shakespeare was fond of ending his plays with the character who would be in the most advantageous position. So the choice to close the series* on this shot is significant to me, because it reinforces just how important Atia (and by extension, Servilia) is. Ostensibly Rome is about Caesar and Mark Antony and Octavian and Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, but every major plot point can be traced back to the feud between Servilia and Atia. And that’s pretty ballsy when you think about it! Rome takes some of the most important events in Western history and says, “Hey, you know that shit that changed the world? It’s all because two women couldn’t chill the fuck out and stop sniping at each other.”
* I ignore the Pullo scene after this, SORRY EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS THE REAL ENDING.