You have to hand it to HBO. When every other network either goes dark against the Super Bowl or has programming aimed at the fairer sex, HBO just goes about its business, airing new episodes of “Rome” and “Extras.”

I also like how they edit the previews together at the end of each episode. It’s an art, really. Show enough to keep the viewers coming back but don’t show too much as to ruin the surprise. These days, it seems that there are very few series that follow these rules.

Based on last week’s previews, I thought for sure that Atia would be poisoned, but they didn’t actually show her on the ground. One of her servants bit the dust, which allowed Atia to unleash her wrath on the assassin, and later, on Servilia. With the show delving into Timon’s life at home, it was clear that he was going to do something out of character. By letting Servilia go, he really put Atia in a tough spot. Of course, Atia made her own bed, so to speak.

She had a couple of great lines during the scene where her men tortured the assassin, calling Octavia’s friend a “bad influence” (now that’s the pot calling the kettle black) and later saying, “it isn’t a legal confession unless there’s torture.” It’s just another example of how much times have changed.

We met the new Octavian/Caesar, who is now played by Simon Woods. Max Pirkis did a great job building the role, and probably could have played it for a while longer, but Octavian’s break gave the show the perfect opportunity to make age. Agrippa appears to be Octavian’s most trustworthy friend. It looks like they are setting up an angel/devil scenario with Octavian’s two advisors. Agrippa’s budding romance with Octavia provided a few laughs, and is just another example of how little times have changed.

It’s good to see Titus and Lucius together again, because at its core, “Rome” is just a buddy story. I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the slave boss when he took them down that hallway with all the little rooms. You’re not going to get very far in life pimping out Lucius’ daughter, knowingly or unknowingly. I’m interested to see how Lucius plans to deal with his bastard son. It’s clear he’s got too big of a heart to kill an innocent kid, but will he be able to deal with the constant reminder of his wife’s infidelity?

Next week, Octavian and his army should return to Rome, which sets up nice conflict between he and Cicero. Speaking of the Senator, he sure has his swagger back, doesn’t he?