While Caesar is engaging Pompey's forces in Greece, Antony is administering Rome and pushing through laws on his behalf. Among his demands are that the consul-elect for the coming year nominate Caesar as his consular colleague, and then endorse a law that, henceforth, at least a third of Rome's agricultural workforce shall be freeborn, and not slaves. The consul-elect protests at the expense of such a law. "Only to those few rich men that own all the land," Antony replies breezily, "and they will have the consolation of doing something eminently patriotic."
In the home of Lucius Vorenus, all is not well. His wife, Niobe, has taken in her sister, Lyde, since the disappearance of her husband, Evander, and her constant presence grates on Vorenus's nerves. Pullo (who secretly tortured and killed Evander), tells Lyde that he's heard rumors that Evander was killed over gambling debts by some Greek men, and will definitely not be coming back. Pullo urges Lyde to forget the past and get on with her life, looking instead to the people that love her, adding a stern "isn't that right?" in Niobe's direction.
After Pullo leaves, Niobe tries to comfort Lyde, but Lyde will have none of it, calling her sister a thief and a whore. Niobe protests that Evander came to her, and wouldn't have if Lyde has been a better wife - which Lyde takes to mean, if she'd given him a child. Lyde hisses, "by grace of the Furies, I curse you!" She promises to keep the secret for the sake of the child, but insists that Niobe never speak to her again.
Atia, still preoccupied with making a man of her son, suggests that he join Caesar's army to "get some real Pompeian blood on your sword." She also insists that Pullo help him to lose his virginity. Pullo takes him to one of the higher-end brothels in town, where Octavian is presented with an assortment of attractive women and teenage boys. He chooses an "adequate" young woman, and after hearing the sad tale of her murdered family, instructs her to get on her hands and knees. After, she informs Pullo that her young client performed "like bull."
That evening, Vorenus returns home, to see that Lyde is gone, and Niobe has dutifully prepared a meal for him. He invites her to sit with him, and they share a rare moment of contentment, before she invites him to couple with her, since "the calendar is right."
Caesar sends an urgent dispatch to Rome, informing Antony that, after Caesar arrived in Greece, Pompey consistently refused battle, evading Caesar's army and gathering the East's legions together. Now, his army outnumbers Caesar's ten to one, and Caesar is retreating. He orders Antony to set sail for Greece with the 13th Legion as quickly as possible.
Soon after hearing this news, Antony receives a visit from one of Pompey's emissaries, who encourages him to betray Caesar and remain in Rome. He reasons that if Antony goes, he will be doomed anyway, but if he stays, Pompey will give him a province to govern and "money enough to preserve your dignity." Caught, Antony says he needs a day to think on it.
At home, Vorenus is troubled by Antony's consideration of such a dishonorable course. Laughing softly, Niobe chides him for his rigid moralizing, and reminds him that she'd much rather he stay in Rome with her.
Atia also makes a plea for Antony to reconsider his allegiances, and after a night of passion she suggests the two of them get married. If Caesar is defeated, she will need Antony's protection, and he will need "coin and nobility enough" to make himself a king âand her a queen. "If I were to desert a friend. A man of your own blood?" he says, suddenly bristling. Seeing his own shamelessness reflected in hers, he turns on her. "I did not realize until now what a wicked old harpy you are." With this Atia slaps him, and he slaps back, and she screams at him to get out.
After collapsing into a fit of sobs, Atia shifts her focus towards making amends with Servilia, who she will need "when Caesar is defeated." She buys Servilia a set of lavish gifts, including a well-endowed male slave, and a gold crown. She enlists her daughter Octavia to convey the gifts to Servilia, who greets the gifts coldly, but assures Octavia that despite "what others might do," she knows that the girl has a good soul, and encourages her to visit again.
As for Octavian, now that he is a man, Atia has decided to send him to an academy in Mediolanum, outside of Rome, as the city is "not safe for men of the Julii."
Antony prepares to depart for Greece without further delay. Vorenus and Niobe's brief spell of married contentment is halted when the 13th Legion is mobilized. As he is leaving, Pompey's envoy demands his answer, and Antony gives it with a solid punch to the jaw.
The 13th sails for Greece during heavy rains, and stormy seas. Pullo complains about being wet, and Vorenus reminds him that a favorable offering was made to Triton before they sailed, and so they should be perfectly safe. Pullo responds with a blasphemous comment, and, as if in retaliation, the storm intensifies and the ships go down at sea.