Monday, January 31, 2011

Spartacus: Blood and Sand S1E13

Season finale: "Kill Them All" - SPOILER in that the episode title pretty much spells it out for you.  Hope you weren't attached to too many characters!  Also, this recap is kind of disjointed because the show kept bouncing around with flashbacks.  I'll do my best.

Batiatus and Lucretia are having a huge party to celebrate their new patron, the Legatus Glaber [note: I thought it was "Glaba" because of all the English/Aussie/Kiwi accents but according to Wikipedia, it's more Glaber/Glaberus].  All the best people of Capua are there, milling about in the villa, watching the entertainment: a fight to the death between Spartacus and Crixus.

Two Days Ago:  The doctore [wish he had a name but I'm too lazy to look up imdb] appeals to Batiatus to intercede when Glaber's soldiers brutally beat on the gladiators.  Batiatus brushes that concern aside, saying that he is hoping to move beyond the day-to-day management of the ludus soon: he is planning to free the doctore and have him run the ludus instead.  The doctore is stunned and honored; then, bravely, he asks Batiatus about what happened when Barca was "freed."  Batiatus admits that he did have Barca killed but - and here's the lie - it was because Barca went against his dominus's orders and killed that family.  Lucretia wanders in, still wounded from Crixus's rejection, and suggests to her husband that they have a Crixus and Spartacus death-match as the party's centerpiece.  With her heart broken, she wants to ensure Crixus's death.  When Batiatus tells Spartacus about the fight, the Thracian appears pleased.  He even asks for a treat: the slave girl Mira.  When she comes to his cell, he asks her to make sure the gate between the ludus and the villa is open during the fight.  She reluctantly agrees, but her price is sex with Spartacus, right here, right now.

The Big Fight at the Party:  At first, Mira is unable to steal away from Lucretia's side to open the gate.  As they grapple on the sands of the ludus, Spartacus asks Crixus to stand with him and his rebels.  Crixus refuses.

One Day Ago:  The doctore tells Crixus that when he is freed and in charge of the ludus, he'll bring Navia [Lavia?] back - all Crixus must do is get rid of Spartacus so he doesn't mess things up.  Lucretia is enjoying bossing Ilythia around, making her invite all her wealthy friends to the party, and even writing a little speech for her to give on her absent husband's behalf.  Ilythia is getting extremely cranky about this.  Down in the ludus, Spartacus approaches Crixus to join the rebellion, knowing that the other Gallic gladiators aren't likely to help if Crixus won't.  Crixus refuses but they do make promises to each other: if Crixus dies, Spartacus will find and free Navia; if Spartacus is the one to fall, Crixus will one day murder the hell out of Batiatus.  Asher, however, on Batiatus's orders, has obtained a potion that will weaken Crixus so that Spartacus is guaranteed a victory.

Big Fight:  Spartacus and Crixus are, of course, evenly matched with no sign of Crixus weakening yet.  Mira, however, has stabbed a guard in the neck, killing him.  She takes the guard's keys and opens the gateway between the ludus and the villa.

Morning of the Big Fight:  Batiatus is giddy with anticipation.  Lucreita pays Crixus a visit, telling him that it is his child she is carrying; when that does not sway him, when he continues to profess his love for Navia, she furiously lets him drinks from the cup Asher dosed.  Spartacus tries to make nice with Aurelia, Varro's widow, telling her that the magistrate's son Nimerius forced him to kill her husband. 

Big Fight:  Crixus begins to weaken and Spartacus tosses him around some, but tells him that he doesn't want to win this way.  Crixus pauses, then agrees to join Spartacus's rebellion.  Spartacus runs up and launches himself off Crixus's shield, vaulting up to the balcony.  He strikes at Batiatus but the wily dominus shoves an innocent bystander in front of himself and the guy takes a sword through the head.  The doctore's whip catches the Thracian's arm - until Crixus severs the whip with his own sword.  The guests panic, running screaming into the villa.  Crixus looks at the other gladiators and roars: "KILL THEM ALL!"  And then chaos and awesome violence ensue.  I can't even describe it - it's insane.

After the guards are killed, the gladiators enter the villa through the open gate and start slicing and dicing the unarmed patricians.  This is compounded by the fact that Ilythia takes the Roman soldiers and leaves, ordering the soldiers to seal the villa's doors from the outside, trapping everyone inside.  Nice.  Crixus finds Lucretia and asks her where she sent Navia.  She pleads for the life of their child and he replies that he'd rather see it dead than suckle from her breast - then he pushes his sword into her belly [not a euphemism]. Aurelia leads Nimerius off, ostensibly to safety, then asks him why he ordered her husband dead.  "Varro deserved to die," says the callow boy, and tiny little Aurelia pounces on him, stabbing him to death with a dagger and screaming.

In the main courtyard, the gladiators have Batiatus surrounded.  A badly wounded Lucretai tries to come to her husband but Spartacus bars the way.  There is some talk about how much does a husband want to hold his wife again ... and then Spartacus slices Batiatus's throat, nearly beheading him.  The immediate battle done, Spartacus looks 'round at the assembled gladiators and house slaves and makes a little speech: "...I would not see the passing of a brother for the purpose of sport.  I did this thing because it is just.  Blood demands blood ... It is done.  Your lives are your own.  Go your own path or join with us - and see Rome tremble!"  And the rebel survivors walk out of the ludus courtyard and into their futures.

Seriously: holy shit, nearly everyone is dead now.  This is who is left: Spartacus, Crixus, the doctore, Asher (who slunk off during the melee), Mira, Aurelia, Ilythia, a bunch of unnamed gladiators and - possibly - Lucretia.  This is a silly show, with weak dialogue and less than stellar acting, a focus on gratuitous sex and violence ... and damned if it didn't suck me right in.  Unfortunately, darling Andy Whitfield has had a recurrence of his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and they've had to recast the role of Spartacus.  We'll see how the new guy does.  In the meantime, there's a prequel out now, set about five years before the beginning of S:BaS S1, showing the rise of Batiatus and Lucretia.  Since John Hannah and Lucy Lawless are quite entertaining scenery-chewers, I'll be picking that up when it hits DVD (as I am too cheap to pay for Starz).  Until then, let's all think positive thoughts for Andy Whitfield because, DAMN, man looks good in a leather loincloth. 


  1. I just finished watching this and, damn, I enjoyed the hell out of this show! Yes, it's a silly, testosterone fueled, blood-soaked, T&A laden show, and...what's not to like about that? I'm totally hooked. Very sad to hear about Whitfield. I hope he gets better. He was very entertaining!

  2. Exactly: silly, testosterone-fueled, blood-soaked, T&A laden ... S:B&S completely succeeds at what it sets out to do.