“When we have laid waste to the mighty republic, who will you turn your wrath upon then?”
After three seasons of Blood and Cock, plus one prequel season, Spartacus will come to an end – one written in several tons of Roman blood by creator Steven S. DeKnight.
The series gave us two heroes to cheer on: the original Spartacus, Andy Whitfield, who sadly passed away due to cancer and Liam McIntyre who took over in the second season. Both actors won our affection, turning us into fans of the arena and Spartacus’ David vs Goliath war with Rome and those who murdered the gladiator’s beloved. We also met countless supporting heroes – including Crixus (Manu Bennett), Agron (Dan Feuerriegel), Doctore (Peter Mensah) and Gannicus (Dustin Clare) – each one of which we would be more than willing to run into battle with.
Sure, the fight scenes in Spartacus are over the top and worthy of Quentin Tarantino. But it’s that stylized blend movie blood and a peppered sex scenes every ten minutes, bathed in wine, that make this series so damned epic.
And let’s not forget Lucy Lawless as Lucretia. Put Lawless on screen and she’s always captivating to watch – it’s got to be those piercing eyes. From Battlestar Galactica to Spartacus, she’s constantly won our hearts playing compelling characters. Yet, we’ll always love her for being Xena: Warrior Princess, the powerful TV heroine everyone looked up to and wanted to… you know… yeah…
That’s why going into Spartacus’ final season, dubbed Spartacus: War of the Damned, felt like going into the final Christopher Nolan Batman movie. Now, I’m not comparing the two on the basis of story, but rather fan appeal and its larger than life “epicness”. The series may not have the broad sweeping appeal of a network show, but for fans, each one knows that you’ll never find a show quite like Spartacus again. Seriously, who would condone so much blood, sex and cock on screen in the span of one hour? And, it’s not even a slasher movie.
The opening scene of Spartacus: War of the Damned reminded me of a Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee film, where one man goes up against many and fights like a super human being. It was a great setup, with Sartacus laying waste to Romans from atop his horse. None of it is meant to be taking for reality, but rather as the imagery of battle. Spartacus’ legend is becoming bigger than the man – to some he’s a god (which is why several shots frame him in an up angle). The first blood spilled comes from his horse, not from his men who come rushing in after.
Gannicus and Saxa (Ellen Hollman) took the crown for some of the most vicious kills. Gannicus tore open a Roman’s neck with a double sword smile, ear to ear; it resulted in four different spouts of blood spewing from the felled Roman’s neck. Meanwhile, Saxa is jumping on top of Romans, cutting them down with a dagger. Yes. The final season has begun. Huzzah.
The premiere didn’t waste time on words in the opening scene. That’s not what this series is about. It’s all about savoring those slow motion kills.
Our first words come shortly after Spartacus turns the Roman standard into a weapon. Crixus announces, “Spartacus, the roman’s have sounded retreat.”
“Enemies of Rome” takes place several months after the events in Vengeance, where Spartacus killed Glaber (Craig Parker). He’s liberated the slaves from the mines that Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) was held slave.
But, who cares about all those freed slaves? We’ve seen enough fighting. Where’s the sex?
Have no fear, Gannicus is here. It doesn’t take long before Gannicus gets his orgy on. His main girl is Saxa, but she brings along two women to get the wine-flowing orgy started.
Gannicus has yet to take his place at Spartacus’ side as a general of the rebel army. He prefers not to put himself over the other rebels and reminds Spartacus that his allegiance to the cause is merely a promise kept to the fallen Oenomaus. He pointed out to Spartacus that the rebels look to him as a god, which we later saw when Spartacus questioned a man in his camp who had murdered a horse to feed the people.
Oddly enough, in that scene, the man tossed some spare horse parts on the floor and only dark-skinned children ran up to grab the raw meat. Why did he have to throw the meat on the floor and why were there randomly dark-skinned extras to grab that meat? Just before that a man simply walked into his tent and got some horse meat from the table.
“Enemies of Rome” did a smart job of positioning Crassus as Spartacus’ next major threat. Unlike Glaber or Batiatus (John Hannah), Crassus isn’t simply a loathsome rodent of Rome. First, we saw him fighting one of his gladiators, testing his own skill. Then, he fought that gladiator to the death for his freedom. It was a great, arena worthy scene. Just when Crassus was beat, he grabbed the gladiator’s sword in the palm of his hands and turned into the gladiator’s belly. We’ve never had a Roman like this before, much less someone as powerful and wealthy as Crassus. He won by outsmarting his opponent, who thought him defeated.
Later on, Crassus further proved his intelligence by setting up Spartacus to kill two Roman generals, who had greater political influence than he. Crassus made it appear to the Senate as though he was willingly helping his fellow Romans, but we soon realized it was a feint to remove them from power and make him look like the good soldier – who reluctantly took their position on death.
Crassus actually compares himself to Spartacus. This is the kind of enemy we need going into the final season, a man who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and who can “potentially” match Spartacus in battle.
Unfortunately, direct confrontation won’t happen for some months yet. “Winter is coming,” as they say in the North on Game of Thrones.
It’s time to: “Salt mortal wound with blood and death.” Yeehaw!
I kind of want to see a nod to Gladiator. Imagine it. Spartacus is in the snow, some Roman thinks that he has the upper hand and then Spartacus quotes Maximus (Russell Crowe), “The frost, sometimes it makes the blade stick.” Then, wham. Spartacus delivers the crushing blow.
Nine more episodes to go. This is going to be one wild ride.
– Spartacus takes his two swords and slices off the heads of the Roman generals with two broad cuts. It echoed the opening scene, where Gannicus used his two swords to open up one Roman’s neck.
Spartacus airs Fridays at 9/8C on STARZ.