Being that the first episode was a bit underwhelming, my only hopes were that it compensated for the weak political issues with more of Jogia and Bunbury. Something which it mostly does, but a part of me feels with the realization that those two’s romance was a bit too strong, they decided to try to up the ante, make things more about backstabbing and what have you, and whether or not they succeeded? Well, look below.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Topic 1: Bet You Saw The Last Of Me – Tut
With General Horemheb leaving Tut for dead last episode, and with Suhad helping to bring him back to life, alongside Lagus, we watch the three of them race their way, by chariot, to Thebes. Leading to the moment in which Tut walks in on his sister wedding to Ka, and ends things there and then. Though, rather than be forgiving, and the young man who couldn’t kill, he stabs Ka right in the stomach in front of everyone and notes he is a traitor. Then, as his sister weeps over her beloved, he announces to the people their king has returned.
Topic 2: A Lot Of Smiling Faces, But Not A Friend Among Them – Tut, Ay, General Horemheb, and the High Priest Amun (Alexander Siddig)
With Tut’s return comes the need to address many people, and change the dynamic of the palace. For one, as was already starting to begin in episode 1, Tut decides to use Ay as an advisor, and not have him be his spoke person; he decides to lessen the power of the priest by not demanding tribute; and then, as for General Horemheb, he plans an execution. Something which is a very controversial move since while they have won a battle against the Mitanni, it seems they are ready for war.
This can be seen by Tut offering Ankhesamun’s favorite cousin to try to create a political marriage, and all he gets is the woman’s head impaled with the spear coming out of her mouth. An action which leads Tut to change course on how to handle the general. For with a disease rampaging through Egypt, and his enemies in Mitanni shown to know the great empire is weakened, he knows that killing the great general, who before his execution seemed to have enough men to start a war in Thebes, wouldn’t just end his life, but also the possibility of his empire’s survival. So, for now, a reprieve is made. One which will allow the general enough time to kill the Mitanni opposition, but not enough to live in peace thereafter.
Leaving the topic of what goes around behind Tut’s back. Now, despite Vizier Ay speaking to Nahkt and speaking of opportunity, he largely remains loyal to Tut, and seems to have his best interest. Albeit, topic 3 argues against this, but when it comes to the High Priest speaking against Tut, since his power was demoted, and he feels Tut is becoming as bad as his father, Ay believes Tut is different from his father, in a positive way. Which seems to lead the High Priest into thinking what was once an ally, or perhaps the enemy of my enemy, thus making Vizier his friend, is now someone who has to be watched and monitored for they can’t be trusted.
Topic 3: While Men Fight With Blades, Women Fight With Words – Ay, Ankhesamun, and Suhad
Which, ultimately, perhaps the Vizier can’t. For while the men speak of war, and seem to plan to murder each other, the women, specifically Ankhesamun and Suhad, are fighting for position. Though, being that they are ladies, rather than outright battle with swords and their bare hands, they use language and alliances in order to try to come out on top.
But to just give you a taste of how nasty some of the fighting gets, Suhad, knowing Ankhesamun has trouble with miscarriages, brings up that even with Ankhesamun being pregnant, with Ka’s baby mind you, the chances of it coming to term are unlikely. An insult which hurts to the core since Ankhesamun has already lost two children from Tut, and by losing this child of Ka’s, alongside losing him and her favorite cousin, she will have lost damn near everything. Especially since, as of now, Tut’s favor skews toward Suhad, and Suhad is with child.
Leading to what I found to be the shocking moments of the episode’s end. For with Ankhesamun’s anger festering, as well as jealousy, she begins making moves. All the while, Suhad walks amongst the palace, unescorted by Tut, and thinks between the Vizier and his son Nahkt, she is making friends. Truth of the matter is though, the Vizier shares the opinions of the queen, and seemingly seeks her favor. So, as Tut orders the diseased to be killed, Suhad is tricked to, first, be one amongst them, and then to burn with them. Leaving us watching as Suhad possibly dies of smoke inhalation, though there is always that chance there might be a last minute save.
As noted in the final thoughts last episode, the one thing Tut needed was time. For while the hour and half-length is still taxing, at the very least part 2 is better than part 1. For while I do feel they haven’t made Ay, the general, or even the high priest that strongly interesting, at the very least Ankhesamun has been made into an interesting character for she has placed herself against Suhad. Leading to both women, even if it is fighting for a place beside Tut, to have their own moments in the sun in which we see the sharpness of their tongues, and they too get to play politics and be vindictive.
Take for example Ankhesamun, knowing she is pregnant with Ka’s child, deciding to coerce Tut to sleep with her using his speech to the general about duty. With this, you can see her slowly shake Suhad’s confidence, and lead her to question her position. And while Tut does seem to lean toward his sister/ wife, it is truly something to see Bunbury speak malicious lines, of a deeply personal nature, against another character, with the vibrato of a villain.
Now, as for Jogia as Tut? I have to admit that post-killing Ka, in front of his people, the intensity in his eyes kind of got to me. For, up until then, I was looking at Jogia in a similar fashion to how I was looking at Bunbury – as simple a love interest. Since, as noted, the political strife on the show doesn’t inspire much more than indifference, for those who oppose Tut aren’t that interesting of characters and their motives lead me largely to indifference. However, in this episode, as Tut exerts control, we begin to see Jogia breakaway from simply being another attractive person, and it seems he is really trying to perform. In fact, his intensity reminds me of when Twisted first started. Albeit, he isn’t on that level he was when we were first introduced to Danny, but it seems he might be building to that or, at the very least, trying to tap into whatever internal resource allowed him to make his former character great, and use it in this one.
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