“Rome” is profligate with its curses: Mark Antony swears of Brutus and his co-conspirators, “I’m going to eat their livers!” Octavia says of Servilia, her former lover, “I’ll see her eaten by dogs.” And Servilia execrates fickle Caesar with chilling precision: “Let his penis wither, let his bones crack, let him see his legions drown in their own blood.”

This season sees rapid shifts in Rome’s ruling authority—“Long live the Republic!” the town crier calls, hedging his bets—and a deepening of the show’s understanding of where power ultimately resides. In the world view of the Republic, curses were the court of last appeal; soon, Rome’s final word will belong to its Emperor. Power is not bestowed by the gods but seized by the ambitious. And it can even be used, we are rather brutally shown, to quell the unrest caused by other ambitious men—that is, for the public good. By challenging the liberal conviction that all power corrupts, the show, despite its flaws, has finally become a drama worthy of HBO’s name.

more from the New Yorker here.