April 12, 2013

Episode Review: SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED, "Victory"

The inevitable conclusion of Spartacus has come and gone, and it was an effective one in spite of everyone knowing how the story ended.

Spartacus and his horde continued to terrorize Rome and confuse Crassus as multiple attacks took place along the country all in the Thracian's name. He and Gannicus planned their final stand which would allow the rest of the freed slaves enough time to escape, and a wounded Agron insisted on taking up arms with his brothers but his wounds would not allow him to. That's until Nassir fashioned him a bladed shield emblazoned with a red serpent.

The Romans finally descended on the rebels, but Crassus demanded a meeting before the battle ensued. The two leaders talked about their losses and their motivations before shaking hands. On the eve of the final engagement, Spartacus pleaded with Gannicus to become the leader he's meant to be, and the Celt finally took his place beside his leader. And then the end began...

On the battlefield, the rebels used trenches, make-shift bridges, and horses to engage their enemy, but they fell one by one. It looked like Gannicus and Caesar were finally going to face-off, but the Romans overpowered the gladiator but didn't kill him. Unfortunately, most of his brothers and sisters did not share his fate. During the chaos, Crassus fell and was swept away by his soldiers but Spartacus was close behind.

It quickly became a one-on-one fight, and Marcus was about to use his signature fake-out move to kill Spartacus, but he was able to reverse the reverse. It looked like the Thracian was going to be victorious, but some of Crassus' legions stopped him with a barrage of spears. The imperator was about to deliver the fatal blow, but Agron and Nasir showed up just in time to make the save.

With the battle all but over, Crassus was one-upped by Pompey who claimed victory over Spartacus. Rather than refute the lie, Crassus convinced Caesar to let Pompey have the glory because he would be key to their future success. Meanwhile, Gannicus was nailed to the cross but saw Oenomaus and an arena filled with cheering spectators as he passed to the afterlife, and Spartacus succumbed to his wounds while Agron, Nasir, Laeta, Sibyl and others looked on. When it was all said and done, the Bringer of Rain was buried beneath the red serpent like Sura predicted.

For a show that I've been watching since day one and went from being a guilty pleasure to one of my favorite programs, I don't have much to say about the finale. It was close to perfect. The deaths felt earned, the arcs ended appropriately, and it had the right mix of emotion and action. I really couldn't have asked for more.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I guess we needed one last gratuitous sex scene, but did it have to be between Gannicus and Sibyl?
  • When did Castus become a part of the inner circle?
  • Kore finally came clean to Marcus about what his son did to her, but that didn't stop him for crucifying her for joining the rebellion.
  • Order of the Fallen: Lugo, Castus, Saxa, Naevia, Gannicus, & Spartacus
  • For a minute there, I foolishly thought Gannicus was going to be the last one standing. Thankfully, Agron and Nasir apparently got a happy ending.
  • I'm so glad we never learned Spartacus' real name.
  • The second best part of the episode: the end credits because we got to see all of the characters we grew to love and hate throughout the series.
  • The best part of the episode: the final shot of Andy Whitfield yelling, "I am Spartacus!"
  • "I have had my fill of words and tearful farewells. I desire blood and the cries of our enemy."
  • "Fuck your mothers!"
  • "Do not shed tear. There is no greater victory than to fall from this world a free man."
I know I've written many times before, but I'm one lucky TV watcher. Since I've been writing about television, most of my favorite shows have been able to call their own shot. First, it was Chuck, then Leverage, and now Spartacus. A blood-soaked, sex-filled melodrama about gladiators probably shouldn't have lasted for three seasons, but it did, and I sincerely think the medium benefited because of Steven S. DeKnight's vision of a legendary story. Sure, it would've been nice to have a few more episodes, but everyone involved made the last handful count, and they stuck the landing. Gratitude.


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