The fourth episode of Domina Season 2 ended with almost everyone heading to meet Livia to help solve the crisis that has erupted in the family. Julia’s affair with Iullus was revealed by Marcella in the hope of discrediting Augustus and his daughter. The matter reaches a point where Agrippa and Augustus want the head of the man she’s having an affair with, and thanks to Livia’s intelligent move, they kill the wrong guy. Understanding her role in stabilizing the family, Augustus ends her period of exile, and she is back in Rome, possibly more powerful than she was before.
Julia wants to kill Domitius.
Julia, Iullus, Domitius, Marcella, and Antonia are on vacation away from the politics of Rome. It seems the holiday was set up by someone powerful to understand the intentions of Domitius. Iullus wants to court, wine, and dine Domitius to understand his bigger plan, but Julia intends to kill him and get him out of their way, so that Augustus can focus on Iullus as a serious contender to take over Rome after his reign is over. Iullus is against this proposition because he does not want any suspicion to befall Livia, keeping in mind that she helped him and Julia out of trouble last time. Julia, who comes across as shortsighted, is going the Octavia and Marcella way, where she does not see the power Livia holds over her husband. Julia still loves Iullus, and she wants him to gain power rather quickly because Domitius will waste no time getting rid of his competition. Julia uses Antonia’s predicament to instigate Iullus.
Iullus wants to understand Domitius by getting him talking and tries to lay the trap by badmouthing Drusus and Tiberius. He mentioned that the boys do not have any penchant for politics, and Iullus is not keen on following them. It is his way of massaging Domitius’ ego so that it will allow him to be open about his plans. Hopefully, Iullus’s plan will work because there is no better way to play politics than to keep one’s enemies close, as stated in the book “The Godfather.” Julia was quick to pick up that it was Livia who planted Iullus to speak to Domitius to understand his motives. Julia was not surprised by her stepmother’s moves, and she realized Livia was many steps ahead when it came to politics.
Augustus, Drusus, and Tiberius
The fifth episode of Domina Season 2 truly began with many Roman traders being put to death by the Germanic tribes that the Romans were trying to get rid of in a bid to annex Germania. Augustus joined the Drusus and Tiberius’s expedition. His reasons for joining his stepsons is not made clear at any point in the episode, but it can be assumed that the man is observing how good they are as military leaders. Though Augustus is aware of Livia’s ulterior motive to make Drusus his heir, he probably has different plans. Tiberius is worried that if any of them fails, they will be used as an example of what not to do in the war, so the pressure has been tremendous ever since Augustus showed up. Tiberius is distressed about them perishing in Germania, which would be the end of Livia’s bloodline. He is hoping his brother Drusus takes this as a challenge rather than an honor because he wonders whether their stepfather wants them to fail. These thoughts are bound to crop up because the boys have been away from Rome for a while, and they don’t seem to have achieved much in Germania. Augustus also wants the two of them to take Germania as their territory once it is captured. It could be his way to keep them away from Rome and implement his plan. Maybe Livia does not know her husband after all.
With Augustus away on a war campaign with her sons, Livia wants to get a hold of his will to understand what is in store for her and her children once Augustus passes. She believes this could be his last war, and he might not come back alive. It is just speculation, but she wants to keep herself ready for any wave that will hit once Augustus is no more. Her need to have a look at the will proves that she never trusted her husband to make the right decision, and she intends to make the necessary changes to it if she believes the will is not in her favor. This is rather a bold decision, and she is probably overstepping her boundaries to secure her power. If Livia makes another mistake, she could face a death sentence, but this is the risk she is willing to take for the sake of her power. Livia is smart, but sometimes, in haste, she ends up forgetting to get rid of the trail in a manner that’s led her into trouble in the past.
She assigns Tycho and Portia to trap a priestess from the high temple to get hold of Augustus’ will. Livia hoped her plan would work because, back in the day, the honey trap was the only way to get crucial information. Livia may have acted in haste because the priestess got hold of the will, but she also informed her high priestess, Turia, about the crime out of guilt. Turia has a long-standing tiff with Livia, and she uses this opportunity to her advantage. Turia is not shrewd because it is obvious that whatever plan she is hatching to upstage Livia will fall flat. Viewers could probably guess that this subplot was introduced only to showcase how ruthless Livia can get.
What Are Livia’s Plans For The Future?
Livia gets hold of Augustus’ original will, and she is horrified to know her husband wants Agrippa’s sons, whom Augustus adopted, to be his successor, followed by more power to be given to Domitius as well. The will proves that Augustus never wanted to give her sons a chance, purely because of their bloodline. It also proves that Livia has lost touch with what Augustus is and wants for his future. Augustus also comes across as ungrateful for not thinking of Livia and her sons when he drafted the will. This puts all of her work on the back foot. Augustus’’ moves also prove Tiberius’ theory right. Augustus might want the boys to fail so he can use it as an example to put them aside and make Agrippa’s sons his heirs. Livia wants Drusus to take charge after Augustus because she intends to bring back the Roman Republic and establish a system that will install leaders based on merit and not bloodline.
High Priestess Turia, on the other hand, finally thinks she has the ammunition to corner Livia and blackmails her into writing off all the property in her name in exchange for Turia’s silence in this matter. Livia and Turia were once in love, and the latter’s betrayal led to Turia harboring hatred towards her, and she now had the chance to get back at her with a vengeance. This scene proves that there are times when Livia can lose a battle. By the looks of it, Livia will have to get rid of another person. Her arc so far is becoming repetitive because the plot in every episode of Domina is about Livia projecting her power and willing to do anything to achieve her goals. So far, the viewers have understood that Livia is indestructible.
Livia agrees to Turia’s terms and apologizes for her actions in the past. But Turia should have seen through Livia and her schemes. Turia reveals she plans to retire and move to one of the estates Livia will grant her. Turia is kidnapped on her way to her retirement home and is forcefully trapped in a remote cave, leaving her to die. The scripting of the abduction and elimination of Livia’s enemy has been done in a flimsy and predictable manner. We can blame only the writers and makers for treating audiences as unintelligent. Turia’s imminent death will either make Livia powerful or it will fall just like a house of cards.
Livia took every precaution to change the will and asked Turia to put it back in the temple right before her last journey. Her last obstacle is Agrippa, because she was the one who spoke in favor of Augustus adopting his sons. She is in crisis because she cannot betray her only ally in the capital, and disloyalty will probably haunt her forever. But she had to decide what was best for her and her children’s future. She begins her manipulation of Agrippa by kissing him and asking Tycho to get hold of Agrippa’s will so that it matches Augustus’. Domina Episode 5 ends with Livia asking to lie next to him at night because she does not want to be alone. This is her way of operating her skills. It only feels like Livia’s character is going out of her way to showcase her capability, and it seems the writers are overstepping by not focusing on the actual history of Livia but are taking a lot of liberty with her story. It will be interesting to watch how far Livia is willing to go for power.