Monday, December 27, 2010

Spartacus: Blood and Sand S1E7 and 8

Episode 7, "Great and Unfortunate Things" - [Quibble: I find it slightly unfortunate that E6 was titled "Delicate Things" and this one "Great and Unfortunate Things" ... the writers don't have a thesaurus?]  Moving on: Batiatus generously allows Spartacus to honor his poor dead wife with a funeral pyre.  Spartacus is very sad and not really in the mood for training.  The dotore (?) knows Spartacus was thinking about escaping with Sora and warns that next time the Thracian had better kill him instead of just drugging him, and then he pounds on the new widower for a while.  Crixus isn't doing that well either: he's got a fever what with his horrific wounds having gotten infected.  Later on, Spartacus learns that one of the other gladiators has been taking advantage of Barca's absence and is abusing little Petros, raping and beating him.  Our hero is SO not in the mood for this and simply throws the abusive gladiator off the cliff during practice.  Everyone thinks that was a shitty thing to do: sure, that guy shouldn't have been hurting Petros, but he was a gladiator and deserved to die in the ring, not tossed away like trash.

The next games in Capua are a celebration of some old Roman soldier and are to be a reenactment of his victory over a bunch of Thracians.  Batiatus wants Spartacus to play the part of the Roman hero; the tricky bit is that the Thracians he will be fighting are actually Thracian prisoners.  Spartacus is really not keen on fighting his countrymen until he realizes that this might be his out: he agrees, but only if the fight will be six Thracians to his one "Roman."  You know, gladiator-assisted suicide.  The fight goes badly at first, as one might suspect in a 6 v. 1 battle.  But then something awakens in Spartacus and he kills the hell out of all six Thracians, to the delight of the crowd - and Batiatus.  At the end, he renounces his old life, raising his arms and screaming, "I AM SPARTACUS!"

Episode 8, "Mark of the Brotherhood" - This new Spartacus has become quite the killing machine in the ring, laying waste to all comers.  The rich twit Ilythia is becoming bored and annoyed with her husband's nemesis's many victories and to keep her attention and patronage, Batiatus invites her to come see the newest crop of slaves he's buying, to check out the next generation of gladiators.  While Batiatus is at the slave market, Lucretia brings the recovering Crixus to her bed for some sexual healing.  Later, Ilythia reviews the new recruits - who include a couple of German brothers and a big Gaul with dreadlocks - she has them drops their loincloths and, unable to contain her leering, picks the Gaul (with the HUGE penis) to be "her" gladiator.  As Batiatus explains it, she'll pay for his food and training and he'll bring her glory in the ring - eventually.

When Crixus returns to the gladiators' quarters, he finds that the balance of power has changed; he is no longer the boss - Spartacus is.  Crixus can scarcely stand it and, faced with his venomous hatred of the Thracian (which is in part because Spartacus will not revel in the brotherhood of the gladiators as Crixus thinks he should), Batiatus considers selling the former champion off to some hick ludus in Damascus.  Lucretia gets very upset at the thought of losing her favorite.  To try to prove his worth, Crixus challenges Spartacus in the practice yard, but he has not nearly regained his strength and Spartacus handily kicks his ass and shames him further.  However, when Ilythia's Gaul, under orders from his new mistress, tries to strangle Spartacus in the bathing chamber, Crixus hears the struggle and saves Spartacus's life - saying that he is merely saving the life of a brother in arms, who deserves to die in the ring, not drowned in the bath.  As punishment, the Gaul recruit is castrated and strung up on a crucifix.  To his credit, he never sells out his scheming mistress, even as he dies up there on the wall.

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