Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spartacus: Blood and Sand S1E11 and 12

Episode 11, "Old Wounds" - Poor Spartacus struggles in the wake of Varro's death, unable to focus on his training, seeing spectres of his dead friend (and also Spartacus's dead wife) telling him to "mind the wound."  At first Spartacus thinks these visions mean the slight wound Varro gave him in their exhibition. 

Batiatus is taking his future into his own greedy hands: he kidnaps the magistrate, then promises Spartacus that the magistrate and his "whelp" will pay for the pain they have caused in insisting on Varro's death.  When Spartacus is chosen to fight in the primus in the games against Pompei, he asks that his winnings be given to Varro's widow; Batiatus thinks this is lovely and vows to match the purse.  Then he trots down to the sewers where the magistrate is stashed, planning to gloat.  The magistrate spits at him, saying that Batiatus is a low creature, only tolerated because the Champion of Capua is in his ludus - when Spartacus falls in the ring, Batiatus will also fall from favor.

Spartacus's wound becomes infected and he is confined to the infirmary; Crixus will fight in his place in the primus.  It goes badly at first, but as the rock guitars swell in the soundtrack, Crixus wins his match, ultimately putting the heel of his sandal through his opponent's skull.  Yuck.  Up in the box seats, a messenger tells the assembled patricians that the magistrate has been kidnapped.  Batiatus springs up and offers his men for the search and rescue.  Out in the town, Asher finds Batiatus's nemesis, rival ludus owner Solonius, and tells him that Batiatus kidnapped the magistrate.  He is clearly setting Solonius up: as Solonius rushes to the sewers, he finds the magistrate, throat cut, just as the search party arrives.  Solonius is arrested and dragged away while Batiatus grins.

In the infirmary, Spartacus awakens to find one of Batiatus's henchmen lying on the table beside him.  It's the man who brought the dying Zora to the ludus, claiming to have been beset by ruffians, and sporting a gut wound.  But there is no wound, no scar on this man's belly now.  Spartacus jumps on him, chokes the truth out of him - that Batiatus ordered Zora's death - and then chokes the life out of him.  All of a sudden, he's got clarity and focus again.  And when Batiatus commends him later, as he spars in the practice yard, Spartacus snarls, "I am myself again."

Episode 12, "Revelations" - It's stadium time again.  The dotore becomes suspicious when Spartacus mentions that although he's made many mistakes since becoming champion, he intends to make up for them soon.  When Spartacus is sent into the ring - and Oh. My. God. is Andy Whitfield gorgeous - his match is to be Solonius's execution.  Solonius tells the gladiator that Batiatus is the villain, not him; Spartacus promises him that Batiatus will be joining him shortly.  Solonius is still laughing at that when Spartacus knocks his head right off his body.  That evening, when the slave girl Mira is sent to Spartacus as a reward/diversion, he tells her that he knows that Batiatus had his wife killed.  She pleads with him not to attempt revenge since under Roman law, if a slave kills his master, all the other household slaves will be put to death.  Spartacus doesn't seem to care all that much.

As requested by Lucretia, Ilythia has asked her husband, the Legatus Glaba, to be patron of Batiatus's ludus.  Glaba is not inclined to do so, and makes veiled accusations towards Batiatus because of the recent spate of murders and disappearances in Capua.  Later, Ilythia tells Glaba to play along a little, toy with Batiatus and Lucretia.  Then she jumps his bones.

When Glaba and Ilythia go to the ludus, Glaba insists that the gladiators be brought up to the villa.  He wants a demonstration:  Spartacus, armed only with a practice sword, against one of Glaba's armed soldiers.  When Spartacus defeats the man, two more step up.  When he puts them down, the remaining five come after him.  It takes a while, but he clobbers them all.  Glaba is not happy at this, the worst [former] soldier in his platoon having become the greatest gladiator of Capua.  He says that he'll be Batiatus's patron if Spartacus will kneel before him.  Amazingly (and obviously with his own agenda in mind), the Thracian does so.  Still, Glaba balks and is about to leave when Batiatus plays his ace: he shows Glaba the severed hand of Lykinia, she whom Ilythia murdered in her post-coital rage.  That does it - patronage granted.  But Ilythia gets backhanded across the face and her husband tells her that she will not be returning to Rome with him.

Meanwhile, a bunch of other things happen.  Like, Lucretia finds out about Crixus's illicit love affair with her slave girl (Lavia?) and becomes enraged, beating the girl, cutting off all her hair and sending her away.  Crixus gets whipped for his indiscretions.  Lavia tells the dotore that Batiatus had Barca killed when he tried to purchase his freedom - and the dotore is quite upset about that.  And Spartacus begins to speak of rebellion among the other gladiators.

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