Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
That thought kept circling my mind throughout this episode, in which alliances quickly arose to defend Pilate’s management of Judea against the Roman governor, Tiberius. I liked that his stance was not, “You are too brutal,” but “you’re not doing enough to crush these people.” Ha, ha. And we thought the relief squad was coming. It’s an interesting direction to take, one entirely consistent with Roman rule (remember, thirty years in the future, Titus crushes Jerusalem for their continued resistances and nearly wipes out the Jewish nation). It almost makes us inclined to want Pilate in charge of Judea, despite his heinous crimes, because … it could be worse. Much, much worse. Just sit and imagine that for a moment. There are worse Romans than Pilate. (Namely, Caligula, but that can wait.) This was the reality Judeans dealt with every day.
I liked this episode because Claudia has been so sidelined until now, relegated to a voice of calm reason and often compassion, but quickly silenced by her husband’s numerous assertions that she not “interfere” in his business. Now, he needs her to, because Tiberius doesn’t like him … but he is not nearly as dismissive of Claudia, who is wielding diplomatic skills and cunning with true grace. While her husband is on the verge of panicking, she is quietly and confidently befriending Tiberius, easing his anxieties, and planting a suspicion in his mind that there is something unsettled about Judea that neither of them can explain. At last, we get to see her in her true role, where a governor’s wife would shine. Roman governors had great responsibilities, but so did their wives… to maintain alliances, to be gracious hostesses, and to work in their husband’s favor at all times. Claudia has that ability and it’s nice to see her using it. Continue reading