March 10, 2013

Episode Review: SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED, "Spoils of War"

Man, Spartacus is pulling out all of the stops as the final season makes its way towards the finish line, and "Spoils of War" was a fine follow-up to last week's roller coaster ride.

Agron, Saxa, and a rebel named Donar were able to escape the Roman onslaught at the main gate and rejoin the others. Spartacus made the call to retreat, but it was clear that they did not have enough time to abandon Sinuessa, so Gannicus and Donar volunteered to stay behind to buy the rest some time. While Gannicus and Donar were causing distractions, and bumping into Sibyl, Crassus had taken the city and summoned Laeta to join him. At first, he wanted to get an understanding of his enemy, and Laeta was a natural source since she spent so much time with Spartacus, but then he revealed that she was sold to Heracleo for his services.

After the pirate branded his new property at Attius' shop, Gannicus and Sibyl showed up to save the day, and they used a seal Crassus gave Heracleo for safe passage to get them through the city, but they ran into Caesar who knew something was off. Another skirmish broke out, and Laeta was wounded, but the rebels were able to get away. Gannicus, Sibyl, and Laeta made it to the new camp in the mountains, but Spartacus had to break the news that Crassus ensured that they could not pass by digging trenches and building walls.

Elsewhere, Tiberius continued to torture Kore while he organized a celebration in Caesar's honor, which culminated in showdown between an imprisoned Donar and the future Roman dictator. The ex-slave put up quite a fight before killing himself to rob Caesar of the satisfaction.

If you think about it, an episode of Spartacus that barely had the Thracian in it shouldn't really work, but "Spoils of War" was successful because it smartly focused on Gannicus, who has been one of the best developed character this franchise has ever had. Sure, someone like Crixus has been there since the beginning, but he's largely the same person we met during Blood and Sand, whereas Gannicus has grown by leaps and bounds since Gods of the Arena, and that's due to Dustin Clare's amazing portrayal. I was initially skeptical when Sibyl was added to the mix since it felt like the writers were pushing that particular romance, but they did have some great scenes together, so I was able to deal. That said, I'm still pulling for a big brother/little sister dynamic. And then there was the swerve that landed Laeta in chains, which I didn't see coming at all. Good stuff all around.

Much like last week, and for most of the season for that matter, the Tiberius moments didn't quite land because watching a petulant child whine and complain is not as interesting as the creative types would like you to believe. And I really do want to care about Kore, but she's still a non-character at this point so it's hard to. Thankfully, Caesar's perpetual shit-eating grin made some of this plotline tolerable.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I'm getting a little tired of the Agron/Nassir/Castus triangle.
  • Caesar got a shave and a haircut. Honestly, I preferred the scruffy look, but he did have to create a fashion trend, so I suppose it was inevitable.
  • Kore has to kill Tiberius at this point, right?
  • I try to keep the perviness to a minimum when I write about Spartacus, but Anna Hutchison's body is banging.
  • Was I the only one who thought, "Darth Gannicus" when he had that hood on? Come to think of it, Dustin Clare would be a great addition to the Star Wars universe.
  • Poor Donar, we all knew he was dead the second he opened his mouth.
  • Gannicus and Saxa are kind of cute together.
  • Now that Laeta's joined Sparty's camp, maybe their romance is back on the table.
I was initially hesitant when it was announced that War of the Damned would be the final ten episodes because I wasn't sure that would be enough time to do the series justice. I have to admit that DeKnight and Co. have been able to use the little real estate left to put together a strong finish, especially after these past two episodes, but that's not going to stop me from being greedy and wanting more. Alas, it's not to be, but these last four hours should be pretty epic.


DVD deals said...

Things really are getting more intense than even on the show. I sort of regret that the series is coming to an end but that's sort of inevitable, isn't it.

At least Donar got to put up a fight at the end. I didn't want him to be drawn and quartered or put to all kinds of torture without being able to get some blows in.

I wished that Laeta had been able to get in a stab at Marcus but I suppose the shock of the betrayal would have been too overwhelming.

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