The first episode of the second season of Domina ended with the lead conspirators of the famine being found dead and Domitius escaping persecution. Gemina, on the other hand, is bought back by Augustus, and it is yet to be made clear what is his reasoning for doing that. It would be interesting to see if Drusus will run into Gemina and if it will affect the wedding plans.
The Marriage Act Is Proposed By Agrippa
The second episode of Domina Season 2 begins at Octavia’s estate, allowing the viewers to understand how Antonina is feeling about her upcoming marriage with Drusus, who might just be the heir to Augustus. This scene helps the viewers understand that girls as young as her and her sister are still clueless about the physical act of love that is supposed to be carried out by the bride and the groom after their wedding ceremony. It shows how curious women can be about the male body, and it is an interesting approach. This could be a slightly exaggerated and fictional version of how girls and women of that era approached marriage, the only way to protect themselves.
Meanwhile, back in Rome, Agrippa was keen on introducing the marriage legislation act in front of the Senate, which would encourage the people of the town and the royalty as well to get married and have kids to uphold their traditions. Agrippa is expecting the support of his brother Augustus and Livia. Livia and Agrippa have always been each other’s allies, which led to the marriage betweenAugustus’ daughter Julia and Agrippa. The marriage of Drusus with Antonina will cement the marriage legislation act in favor of Agrippa. The entire setup was introduced to pre-empt a conflict within the family which will bring the act into question and also put Caesar and Livia on the back foot. It is very predictable, and the viewers are looking forward to how an oncoming problem will be solved.
The show is only two episodes down, but plenty of scheming and plotting scenarios in it have become repetitive to the point that it becomes easy to predict who is doing what. There are so many incestuous relationships that are brewing in this family that it seems like a Roman-era version of “Gossip Girls.” Viewers can only hope to see more of the plot and less of the melodrama. The constant back and forth between Livia, Augustus and their allies becomes tedious to watch. The makers have nothing new to offer when it comes to a straightforward yet compelling narrative.
As the wedding day is approaching, Marcella, the oldest daughter of Octavia, lets her mother know about having seen Marcellus in her dream, who lets her know his discontentment with the match between Antonina and Drusus. Octavia, who, just like any other woman of her age in that era, is superstitious enough to believe dreams to be portents, is wondering if she should reconsider the match. Her concerns only grew since Livia was suspected of killing Marcellus. She is not keen on getting her daughter married to her family. She had hoped Marcellus would follow Augustus, thus securing her position as a powerful matriarch. With him out of the picture, there is a growing consensus in her family that this match might not be good for the family.
Gemina and Augustus end up having a torrid affair, and the fact that he is the father of her former lover does not bother her. There is a scene where she sees Drusus from afar and breaks down, proving the fact that there is genuine love between the two. Augustus, who was known to be a loyal man, is using her to channel his desires. For the first time, he shows no interest in Livia, which alarms her but she does not take it seriously. It is later revealed that Gemina was planted by Scribonia to distract Augustus. Her plans work because Gemina claims she is pregnant. The whole idea of this ploy is to weaken Livia’s hold over Augustus. Since Livia cannot get pregnant anymore, Gemina could be influenced by Scribonia and, by extension, bringing Octavia in the picture as well. Gemina is young and fertile, and if she gives birth to a son, it will make it easier for the women to take control of the young girl to manipulate Augustus. The entire scenario proves that even though women stay behind the veil, they are very much in control of men and power.
Did Drusus And Antonina’s Get Married?
A day before the marriage, Livia and Antonina have a conversation about the expectations the mother has from the bride. Antonina, who is smitten by Drusus, is keen on the wedding and the life she will get to spend with him. She answers all the questions that satisfies Livia. The only concern about the whole scene lies in the usage of the word “career.” This was used in the context of how Antonina would support Drusus in every way possible. It is not clear if this word was used in that era. “Career” comes across as a very modern term. The writers could have done more research on the lingo of that era. This scene also cements the fact that even though women of that time were smart and were able decision-makers, they were expected to stand behind men. The only job assigned to them is to be a mother and a great caretaker of the home. One could rarely come across a female leader from the Roman Empire who took charge and led the people from the front.
To Augustus’s shock, Octavia backs away from the engagement. It is obvious that Marcellus’ death still haunts her, and she is afraid that Livia’s name will come up in it. Octavia comes across as a short-sighted woman because she does not see that her grandson could be the heir to Augustus from here on, but she is letting herself get carried away by the pain of losing her son. She does not realize how powerful Antonina can get with her and Livia’s help. Her inability to think beyond emotion will not serve her future.
Agrippa is not happy with the news because he cannot pass marriage legislation if the royalty refuses to get into an alliance. Along with Augustus, he orders Octavia to send Antonina to the temple to become a high priestess if she is unwilling to get married to Drusus. This was rather an extreme measure; it only shows what happens when men try to make decisions for women. When Livia hears of this news, her first reaction was to rescue Antonina and allow her to decide for herself.
Octavia and Antonina panic, but the former would rather send her daughter to become a celibate than agree to the alliance with Drusus. This shows Octavia has a high ego and is not thinking straight. Antonina is sadly getting crushed between two siblings, and no one is willing to consider her decision. Antonina’s state is like that of many women of that age, where family and power are considered above the will of the girl.
Livia finally comes to the rescue and makes a deal with Octavia regarding marriage. Livia reveals that she is aware of the affair between Julia and Octavia’s adopted son, Iullus. She uses this information to arm-twist Octavia and make her agree to the alliance because if the news of this affair comes out, it will be Iullus who will have to lose plenty, while Julia will remain protected. This deal-making skill shows Livia is shrewder than Octavia, and she can make the best of the situation. Octavia is stunned and embarrassed by this piece of news because her family cannot go through a scandal and the disappointment of losing a daughter to the temple.
Episode 2 of Domina Season 2 ends with the wedding taking place, even though this was not the intention of Octavia and her family. Marcella and Domitius, who are having an affair, lied to Octavia about the dream. They had hoped the falling apart of his alliance would pave the way for Domitius to be the most influential male figure in Augustus’s life and finally be chosen as the next Caesar in line. Livia turned out to be someone who looks far ahead in the future and takes steps accordingly. Livia and Augustus finally become physically intimate with each other after a long gap.