February 2, 2013

Episode Review: SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED, "Wolves at the Gate"

While "Wolves at the Gate" was largely a chess-piece moving episode, there were some significant developments (i.e. the introduction of Caesar) that bode well for the future of the season.

It was revealed during "Enemies of Rome" that the rebel camp's numbers have gotten so massive that Spartacus could not provide for everyone, so he decided that overtaking a city would be the best way to provide for his people. After getting some insider knowledge from Diotimos the horse butcher, Sparty and his men laid siege to a heavily guarded coastal city. While the former slaves were able to claim victory and a new home, Spartacus had second thoughts as he saw innocents slain and spared the lives of the surviving Romans (including a benevolent woman named Laeta, but more on her later).

Meanwhile, Team Crassus was preparing for war as Marcus recruited the brash Julius Caesar to join his cause since they could both benefit from an alliance. The arrival of the soon-to-be ruler of Rome did not go over smoothly with everyone, like Tiberius who was threatened by his presence or Marcus' slave/mistress Kote who was assumed to be there for his carnal pleasures. Unfortunately for Caesar, Crassus decided to appoint his son to a commanding post which meant he would serve under Tiberius, but Marcus admitted that he had bigger plans for Julius.

So, even though Spartacus invaded an entire city, which led to the rape and pillaging of its people, and Caesar made his debut, not a lot of plot development took place during "Wolves," but that's fine because there were some good character moments to fill the void. For example, it was clear that Spartacus' leadership skills were questionable because he had little to no control over his army, and that bit of remorse that he felt as he looked over a dead mother and daughter was hopefully a sign of a shift in tactics from a man who's fueled by the remains of senseless violence. And it's pretty clear that Laeta will be the woman to help him change his barbaric ways despite the fact that he personally killed her husband.

As for Caesar, his introduction was a little over-the-top, which of course was the point, but in the end I thought that it was effective. Unlike Crassus, he seems to fit the "evil Roman who looks down on the slaves" role of previous big bads, which should nicely counter-balance Marcus' unwillingness to underestimate the rebels approach. Add to that the fact that they're both motivated by their own ambitions over any real loyalty to Rome, and they should provide an entertaining one-two punch.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Poor Agron, he keeps being left out in favor of Crixus and Gannicus. It's a shame too because he's one of my favorites, which means he's going to die sooner than later because of what DeKnight learned from Joss Whedon.
  • The stoning scene was particularly brutal but Spartacus didn't need to spell out why he killed the slave. Trust the audience.
  • I hope we get to see more of the blacksmith. He intrigues me for some reason.
  • It's a shame that Diotimos had to die, but it's not like he was much of a character to being with. On the plus side, it looks like we'll be getting another hot slavegirl to take his place.
  • After one episode, I'm more on-board with the possible Caesar spin-off, but I'd much rather have more Spartacus. Oh well.
Every episode does not to be chock-full of plot that's constantly moving forward, but Spartacus cannot afford to spin its wheels too much since it only has a small number of hours left to tell the story. That's not a swipe at "Wolves at the Gate" because we did get some good stuff, but the sooner we get to the Spartacus/Crassus face-off the better.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail