‘Domina’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: Is Gemina Dead Or Alive?

The show on the glorious Roman Empire and the politics of the era, Domina, is back for people to watch, cherish, and enjoy. Rome, being one of the republics of the ancient world, went through its ups and downs. Season One ended with Livia barely escaping the accusations of her role in the murder of Marcellus, Augustus’s nephew and his heir apparent. She came to know of his plan to murder her sons Drusus and Tiberius, which made her take the drastic step, but Octavia could not come up with any evidence to prove these allegations. Will Augustus Caesar believe his wife, or will he listen to his sister Octavia, the mother of Marcellus? Only season two will guide the audience through the politics of Rome all over again and help them understand who would gain from it and who would fall by the wayside.

Spoilers Ahead


Famine Hits Rome

Episode one begins with Livia and Augustus coming back to Rome after three years of expedition on the eastern front of the empire, and on their first night at a local pub, they are attacked by the locals, who hardly recognize them. This could have happened because they had not seen the couple for three years. The locals also lament about the famine that has hit the city, and the shortage of food probably caused a crowd to turn into a mob, which led to Livia getting kidnapped and thrown into a brothel. Their three-year hiatus left them completely unaware of the situation in the city. It appears that the people they handed over the reins to did not do a good job, and it seems like it is time for Augustus to ask questions about the administration. A food shortage was bound to happen, keeping in mind the rampant corruption by the Senate of Consuls, who are just sitting on their high horses and not doing much for the people.

Before any of this, Livia must be located, and thanks to Piso, she is brought back to their palace. Livia brings Ursa, a young girl from the brothel who seems to know a lot about granaries. Since Livia has seen the anger of the people firsthand in just a day, solving this matter becomes of utmost importance for the couple, who have a bigger goal in mind, which is to serve as the emperor and empress of the empire and receive a divine status. This is only possible if they get the support of the locals, and with that, the Senate would be stripped of their power. But Livia’s bigger plan is to restore the republic, and helping Augustus is just her way to gain power.


Firsthand Solution To The Famine

Augustus decided to take things into his own hands and fire the existing grain prefects and replace them with Iullus, Drusus, and Tiberius, for he thought they would be honest with him about the situation. The famine is turning out to be a bigger problem than the Caesar expected. Turns out the fired grain prefects, who are consuls on the Senate, were in cahoots with Octavia’s son-in-law, Domitius, and they hoarded the grain in a secret location to create this demand so that the price would go up. This is an instance of the corruption in the Senate, which Augustus is trying to get rid of by reinstating himself as emperor. The Senate also mirrors the current politicians all around the world, who only sustain themselves by deceiving the people who vote for them, getting rich off of bribes, and creating such hysteria.

With Augustus Caesar catching the culprits, the three main perpetrators are sure he will get to them. Ursa, on the other hand, leads Livia and Tycho to a granary owned by Faustus, a former slave who was made a Roman citizen by one of the grain prefects. The urgency with which the problem is being solved suggests that Augustus may be a good leader, and that he wants to do the right thing for the people of his empire and start serving the Romans the right way.


Drusus’s Mistress

For the first time in this season, viewers see Drusus when he is intimate with the German royal slave girl Gemina. She managed to stay back in the city, and this time he and Drusus seemed to be in love, even though he is engaged to Octavia’s daughter Antonina. The names of the characters in this series seem like a whole dictionary that needs to be memorized, but as the show progresses, it becomes easier to get a hang of their names. Drusus is keen on keeping Gemina around as his paramour, while his mother makes sure she does not become a nuisance because political alliances are the foundation of a ruling family. Besides, Augustus and Livia are trying to build something here, and they will not entertain any obstacle on their way to achieving glory. It proves how ruthless the two of them can get for the sake of power, and they would think twice before shaking their children’s happiness.


Does Augustus Find Out Who Created The Famine?

Domitius, who turns out to be the most corrupt official in Augustus’s circle, is trying his level best to make sure his name does not come up as one of the perpetrators of the famine. If caught, he would be charged with treason, and he is aware Augustus would not play favorites. The grain prefects and Domitius figured they could run the show if the Caesar was far away, but his unexpected arrival ruined all their plans, and they will have to face the consequences of their actions.

Domitius, to safeguard himself, kills the first prefect because this man has proclaimed that if his name comes up, he will take down the entire ring with him. This entire scenario proves that he should not have delivered threats this early. He panicked and was not aware of the power that Domitius carried. Domitius also witnessed the suicide of the other prefect, Titus. With the deaths of two key conspirators, there is no way Augustus would be able to get to Domitius. The man played his game well, but only time would tell how well he could protect himself from getting arrested because, by the looks of Domitius’s misgivings, he would be caught, and there would be a huge dishonor that could affect Augustus’ plans. There is a chance he would do anything to safeguard his position of power, by which we mean getting rid of Domitius.

Augustus and his allies finally get hold of the Egyptian fleet on the coast, which carries the grain meant for the people. At this point, one aspect is not made clear, which is that if the grains have been in the fleet docked at a port for a while, isn’t there a chance that they would be rotten at this point, or have the makers just missed considering this particular aspect?

Augustus gets the famine problem solved, but he is not keen on investigating who created the situation because it would be bad for his reputation, and for now, he wants to come across as a savior who rescued the city from the brink of rampant starvation. Viewers get to see how smartly Augustus not only avoided being questioned but, for the time being, also protected Domitius from being caught. It proves that the famine and its solution benefited both of them in their own way.

Drusus, Livia’s younger son from Nero, is hell-bent on not getting married to Antonina and wants to keep Gemina around as technically she is German royalty, but for Livia, she does not bring any advantages to the table. Livia, who seeks power just like her husband, is a master manipulator, and she physically makes people uncomfortable by making ruthless decisions. Though, as a wife, she remains in the background, she is very much the decision-maker.

Livia takes it upon herself to physically separate Gemina and Drusus while he is sedated. Livia had to do this because she sees Drusus as Augustus’s heir, and she plans to plant him on the throne once there is a monarchy declared in the empire. She wants to bring back the republic through her son, the blood of her father, who believed in the Senate and its power.

Drusus has the potential to be a good leader, and this makes her take matters into her own hands. Gemina is sold to the brothel that Livia was briefly a part of. Meanwhile, Drusus is told that Gemina is dead and that he should look forward to the responsibilities that will be put on him. Augustus brings together all four boys; Tiberius, Drusus, Iullus, and Domitius, and proclaims that they need to prove themselves to be his rightful heirs, thus beginning the actual game of thrones. This is just Augustus’s first step towards being the sole powerful emperor of the kingdom and starting the process of succession by blood rather than Senate nomination.

The episode ends with Gemina being brought back to Rome, and she is keen to know who purchased her. To her surprise, it was Augustus who brought her back from the brothel and kept her in a discreet location. It is not made clear what was the purpose of letting her back in the city. Is she the key to some information he is looking for about his wife and her involvement in Marcellus’s death? Or is Augustus tired of putting up a facade of being a loyal husband and seeking to explore other avenues of pleasure? Only the upcoming episodes will showcase why Gemina is back.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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