Saturday, December 25, 2010

Spartacus: Blood and Sand S1E5 and 6

Episode 5, "Shadow Games" - In an attempt to please the gods and put an end to the drought, Capua's magistrate is putting on some games, thinking that the human sacrifices (dead gladiators) might make it rain.  The magistrate wants some big guns for the primus (main fight): hiring Crixus AND Spartacus to fight against Theokoles, some undefeated monster of a man who goes by the charming nickname, the Shadow of Death.  Realizing that the odds are against them, Spartacus tries to get Crixus to work with him, to fight as a team against their common enemy.  But Crixus doesn't trust the Thracian, saying that he doesn't believe in the way of the gladiator, of glory - it's each man for himself.  In the less-testosterony portion of the plot, Batiatus starts an investigation into who tried to have him killed down in the Pits.  He learns that Solonius, a rival ludus owner, hired Whatsisname, to whom Batiatus owed a lot of money, to take care of it; instead, Batiatus takes Barca, one of his pet gladiators with him to Whatsisname's house to slaughter Whatsisname's entire family - Barca does it, but is unhappy about killing the little boy. 

Meanwhile, snooty little Ilythia condescends to arrange for a priestess of Juno to examine Lucretia to discover why she and Batiatus have been unable to have children.  The ritual demands that Lucretia have sex within the hour, but Batiatus is off investigating his would-be assassins, and when she summons Crixus to her bedchamber, the big lug pleads off, saying sex would drain him before the big fight.  Poor Lucretia.  Finally, at the primus, we see Theokoles: a scarred, misshapen giant, scarcely human, wielding two swords and no shields.  In no time at all, Spartacus and Crixus lay him out ... but it's a trick, and the monster comes at them while Crixus is celebrating, and wounds him badly.  Spartacus is left to press the attack alone, which he does mightily, at last decapitating the legend.  As the slaves drag the bleeding Crixus out of the arena, the skies darken and rain pours down, drenching our Spartacus, the new champion of Capua.

Nudity alert: to prove how much Spartacus and Crixus don't like each other, they do some nekkid wrestling in the gladiators' bathing chamber - yay! 

Episode 6, "Delicate Things" - It's still raining as Batiatus gives a victory speech back at the ludus - he's very pleased with ol' Spartacus.  And so he is also pleased to give our hero some good news: he, Batiatus, has found Spartacus's wife and she'll be brought to the ludus to serve as a slave until her husband wins enough coin to free them both.  I guess that is good news.  Downstairs, Crixus is in wicked bad shape as the medicus closes his wounds with a hot poker.  Spartacus does not intend to rescue his wife only to condemn her to another life of slavery and begins to plot to escape the ludus once Sora is delivered.   There is more conniving in the ludus and Barca, who is genuinely a nice fellow (recent murders notwithstanding) and only wants to gain freedom for himself and his little honeyboy Petros, is betrayed: Batiatus is led to believe that Barca did not in fact kill Whatsisname's little boy, who might be able to identify his family's killer, and so has poor Barca killed for disobedience.  They tell poor Petros that Barca was able to only buy his own freedom and left his little lover behind.

Spartacus's plan to escape with his wife is in place ... but when the cart bringing her arrives, she is terribly wounded, the cart purportedly having been attack whilst on route.  Sora dies in her husband's arms and it's all very sad.  Of course, this was Batiatus's doing: he only promised to reunite the two - he had no intention of letting his prize gladiator get away from him.  Lucretia is first horrified by then impressed with her husband's ruthlessness. 

Nudity alert: Lucy Lawless fully topless in the bath halfway through the episode!

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