Spartacus: War of the Damned "Spoils of War" Review: "Veni, vidi, vici"

Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 6: "Spoils of War"

“In war, one does what one must to survive.”

Laeta acknowledged this grim truth to Caesar early in “Spoils of War.” She was, if not absolving, then at least understanding with regard to his role in the slaughter of Roman prisoners while undercover; saving many meant sacrificing a few. She can certainly relate, considering she committed some light treason of her own while under occupation in order to serve a greater good.

Wielders of power are held to one standard, though, and subjects of that power to another. Sins motivated by military exigency are answered differently due to the actors, not the acts. Caesar’s moves directly cost Roman lives, and he became the guest of honor at a post-conquest hootenanny. Laeta acted solely to save lives, and her own life was forfeit as a consequence.

As Crassus stoically explained, giving aid and comfort to Spartacus demanded punishment, even if it was a necessary evil. Of course, he may also be rationalizing a cold-blooded military decision by couching it in a sense of honor. Crassus, too, is willing to sacrifice innocents to secure his larger victory. Selling the widow of a Roman noble to a reviled pirate in order to gain a vital tactical alliance is part of the cost of doing business under dire circumstances.

This was a necessary sequence of events, given how Laeta’s character progression has been laid out all season, but its execution struck me as a missed opportunity. Having Laeta be branded a literal slave before rising up to slay her dominus forces her onto the rebels’ side. It strips her of her Roman-ness and her agency, giving her no choice of allegiance in the final stages of the war—almost like she the show couldn’t truly accept her in the rebel fraternity without first passing the initiation.

How much more interesting could it have been for her to go over to Spartacus’s camp by choice, as a once-exalted Roman citizen renouncing her world of her own free will? To take a bold measure because of what she believes is right, as Spartacus and Crassus do? After all, she had grudgingly accepted that the Thracian was an unexpectedly decent man. Upon learning that her long-awaited Roman savior had treated her as one of the titular spoils of war, such a decision would be eminently sensible. Ironically, after drawing a stark contrast between Spartacus and Crassus based on their level of respect for Laeta’s agency, the show then negated that very agency.

So instead of walking into the rebel camp, she was carried in by Gannicus, a damsel in distress just like Sybil. There’s no denying this was a great episode for Gannicus (and for you many, vocal fans of his), first staying behind to distract the legions while Spartacus led their people’s retreat, then improvising a daring escape of his own with Sybil and Laeta in tow. He got to be valiant, shrewd, and noble (albeit only after Sybil nudged him in that direction). By the time he took to frigging horseback to single-handedly ride down a half-dozen soldiers, he was all but literally a knight in shining armor. The sequence is a dashing addition to Gannicus’s Greatest Hits compilation, and Dustin Clare has developed a real knack for balancing the character’s happy warrior and reluctant hero sides.

Still, like with Laeta, something in this leg of Gannicus’s arc troubles me. More clearly than ever, Sybil is being posited as his new and more appealing love interest. She’s meek, pious, deferential—she practically worships Gannicus, and even if that’s understandable, it means the two can’t possibly exist on the same level. In other words, she’s the polar opposite of Saxa, who—even as an underdeveloped character—has proven her man’s equal in skill and passion.


There is a well-worn trope in fiction that insists a man’s maturation means giving up the “wrong” type of woman and settling down with the “right” type. In this trope, the “good girl” is typically a docile, dependent wife, while the “bad girl” is challenging, sexually assertive, independently capable. Spartacus has, more often than not, treated its female characters with enough respect and complexity that I’m willing to let them play this out and hope it stays out of that trap. The show may ultimately avoid following that cliched road, but at the moment it is passing some problematic mile markers.

For now, Gannicus’s gallantry is the last burst of action in this phase of the conflict, as the dust settles on our new world order. The rebels are once again out in the cold—literally, this time, pinned down on an impassable ridge north of the city. Their numbers now contain a couple of refugees from enemy camps, Laeta and Castus (oblivious to the betrayal of his fellow Cilicians). And Crassus’s crew commands in Sinuessa, where from the catbird seat the aristocrat opened up about the full breadth of his ambition: “A wise man does not fight for glory alone.” Banishing Laeta to the Good Ship Heracleo removed the last vestige of Sinuessa’s original power structure, creating a vacuum that Crassus and his pliant Senate ally Metellus are only too happy to fill.

Before those aggrandizing dreams could progress, though, the troops needed to unwind and celebrate victory. Caesar was the guest of honor, so naturally Crassus tapped Tiberius—probably the only man in the camp who detests Caesar’s living guts—to head the party-planning committee. His choice of entertainment included party game staples like the drawing and quartering of prisoners, which I suppose was the Apples to Apples of its day.

Yet Tiberius’s grudge against his father’s favorite was raging, all the more so after Caesar took some time out of his day to first condescend to the kid and then rub his nose in the yawning chasm between the success rates of their respective operations in the war. It didn’t help that Tiberius’s primary role on the show at this point is 1) to be aggrieved at people, and 1a) to fall flat on his face in the process of acting on that aggrievement.

Hence his attempt to surreptitiously eighty-six his rival, which was only halfway foolish (for Tiberius, that’s progress). Baiting Caesar into a surprise mano-a-mano with a vicious gladiator cleverly used the glory-showering occasion against him. It might have even worked, were Donar not suffering one or two grievous wounds from the last battle. At one point, the future conqueror was plainly terrified of the Rhinelander—and with ample good reason.

Alas, hindered by the wear-and-tear of one too many impalements, this was not the day on which the mighty Donar forever altered the course of world history. Like Gannicus, he had stayed behind to ensure his compatriots made their way to safety. But where some men get to gallop over the horizon with a pair of lovely ladies and a snappy new cloak, other men must settle for a noble death by their own hands rather than by a Roman’s.

In his demise, Donar delivered one last message to his newly emboldened enemies. Right now, the rebels may be on the defensive, trapped at the edge of the world, while Crassus holds all the cards. But as Metellus aptly recognized, “If this man stands for all the rebellion, celebration may hold premature.”


Notae Aliae

– R.I.P. Donar. You died as you lived: Like an utter badass.

– Speaking of Crassus kin commoditizing women, Tiberius had made his abuse of Kore an ongoing affair. He, like his father, transformed his victim’s status from an asset into a vulnerability. As a slave, whatever agency Kore possesses is due to Crassus’s favor; leveraging that fact to keep her silent lets Tiberius assault her psychologically as well as physically.

– All right, Fashion Legion: How do we feel about this clean-shaven, properly Roman-looking Caesar now?

– Gannicus got the main spotlight, but let’s also properly credit the balls on Spartacus, Crixus, and Agron, who faced down an entire damn phalanx while the rebels beat their retreat.

– “By what means?” “I have no fucking idea.”

– “You mad fuck.”

– “Even the gods grant aid to the fucking man!”

– “I believe you a man of infinite plots, twisting upon themselves to shame Gordian knot.”

– “He fights for what he believes is just.” “There is no cause more dangerous.”

– “Then he and I are the same. Each believes himself the hero, the other villain. It is for history to decide who is mistaken.” Crassus may speak as if history is a neutral force, but any discussion of events like the Third Servile War calls to mind the old adage that history is written by the victors.

– “He is a troublesome man to kill. I have attempted it myself upon occasion.”

– “Greed is but a word jealous men inflict upon the ambitious.”

– “Must Julius Caesar risk life to kill every last rebel himself?”

– “And I believed myself a difficult man to kill.”

Body Count: I saw 59 in the episode, bringing us to the edge of the three-bills mark at 293 on the season.


What did you think of the episode? Have recent events set nerves to edge?

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After a little rewatch I wonder what would have happened if just before Donar offs himself he screams that Tiberius was the one that set him free. What would Crasus have done? He'll be in a bind. The shamed officer attempted to have the Hero of Sinuesa killed. Maybe he would have had to have Tiberius Decimated. It would have spared Kore the trouble.

I think I would have found it amusing if Crasus or Spartacus to find out that the other ask Laeta about them. Laeta is there source of info about the other guy. I realized knowing what we know about history and they way this story is going maybe Spartacus is going to influence Crasus on his future actions.
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Great review for another excellent episode of Spartacus.

I think you and all the comments sum up everything I think/feel about this episode. The comment by others below explain my thoughts of Laeta and basically she has to be a slave before joining the rebels. It seems like Caesar knew what was going to happen to Laeta.

Regarding Gannicus, Saxa and Sybil--not sure what is going on here but I like Saxa. However Saxa and Sybil are different in age and experiences imo. I'm not sure how Sybil will turn out once she "grows up" and I'm not sure how Gannicus feels about either of them. They show Gannicus and Saxa together but are they in love or just "friends with benefits".

"Gannicus’s Greatest Hits compilation"--rock on Gannicus!!
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I think this episode was every Gannicus fans' wet dream.
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I loved the part when Gannicus gave Caesar a very nice cut during his grand escape from Sinuessa. Take that Mr Guest of honor!!!
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I was confused by Caesar's interactions with Laeta in this episode. Did he knowingly aid in selling her into sexual slavery to a foreigner? Even after remarking on how she reminded him of his wife and was all flirty & kind? Because he did recognize that it was her being herded off as a slave at the end, yes?

But yeah, I'm in agreement that they dropped the ball with Laeta a bit. I was wondering how they were going to keep her involved in the plot, and at first I thought it'd just be by her being in the Roman camp with Crassus, and then at the start of this episode maybe even as a love interest for Caesar, but then they decide to literally force her onto the rebel's team.

On the positive side, I did like how they toughened her up a bit in this episode. Though her gentle saintly-ness was refreshing for a show like this, it's nice to see her act like a real grown-up woman too. Not only did she utter the words "fucking shit", but she also stabbed a man through the neck. Now, I don't want to see her go down the apeshit Naevia path or anything (not that she has the justification to anyway), but I do appreciate them not making her just be some Mother Theresa type all along the way. Sybil's got the "angelic & timid" thing going on enough for everyone.

And on that note, right on with the pretty BS & way tired Sybil/Saxa (aka Madonna/Whore) contrast.
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I agree though I want her to go apeshit ON Naevia the guys can't do it cuz Crixus will go nuts on them but girl on girl it can put Naevia down a peg.

I think Ceasar did. I think it was Ceasar who brought the offer to Herakleo to talk to Crasus. No direct proof admittedly but there are enough circumstantial evidence

1. When the Romans were taking the city Navea said something about Ceasar and Herakleo breaking words.
2. Look at the way Ceasar excused himself after bringing Latea to Crasus. He didn't look totally happy and a bit uncomfortable/guilty when he left. (May be I just imagine it I didn't see it during my first viewing but after 2 or three replays thats what I think of that scene.
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This is ridiculous. Up until these last episodes, the logic of the series adhered to some degree to the actual history. Now it's all an illogical mess and veers from it considerably.

If the producers were able to put so much money and effort into honoring Spartacus, the least they could have done is to honor him rightly by showing him at the top of his game, a bold and brilliant general that amassed an army that far outnumbered any of the Roman armies that chased after him. Instead they greatly truncate the story and twist events around in time and place so vastly altered from the actual history that he comes off as a far outnumbered, quixotic scrapper.

It seems as if the producers have tired of the story and lost the money to do it justice and so are now wrapping it up, "history in 30 seconds" style.

If they can show the Roman armies en mass and under strong discipline, certainly they could have shown Spartacus as such, as he was and even more so. Even in ellipsis, they could have in some way depicted the true historical account of the over two-year period of the revolt, with Spartacus and his 120,000 strong army wiping out one pursuing Roman army after another until he arrived at the foot of the Alps with the intent of leaving Italy for good, only to turn around and head back, at the behest of his men, on to conquer Rome.

With the entire time and setting of these last episodes completely out of whack with the history or even any kind of believability, they have become laughable. Crassus able to have a trench built across Italy in one day? Summer turns into winter in one day? Winter with snow and huge mountain ranges surrounding them in southern Italy?

As I described before, Crassus didn't come until the picture until much later, 71 BCE, well more than a year after Spartacus had swept across Italy looting towns, freeing slaves and building his massive army, which never gets depicted in any way in this series, and then moved as a completely unstoppable force northeastward with that army.

Spartacus and his army didn't get betrayed by pirates until they had moved to the south of Rome in order to freshen their supplies -- again, a year after the period during which the events in these last episodes supposedly took place. The bargaining with the pirates was to take them across to Sicily where he had hoped to spark another rebellion and rebuild his army, which had been depleted by then. It was then that Crassus dug the trench and entrapped the rebels.

If this was a completely fictional story, then the entertainment value could be taken purely for what it is. But showing the rebels as just a ragtag group of scrappers, as this series is doing, fails to explain why Spartacus struck great fear throughout Rome and why the practice of slavery came to fade after his defeat, and it unfortunately turns what had at first promised to be an major epic into something far less.
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I think it's a little ridiculous to hold this tits & gore fest fest up to true historical scrutiny. It's like The Tudors in that its storyline is based on and inspired by true events, but it's not a History Channel documentary. It is supposed to be entertainment first & foremost. Furthermore, Spartacus has very short seasons and only a few of them to tell the entire Spartacus epic. How can it not be massively condensed cliff notes?

That's not to say all criticisms are invalid - it still has the duty to be a good show and to tell its story well. And perhaps on that front it is faltering - so far as Spartacus' role goes and his army. We saw in the beginning of the season that he was winning battle after battle and constantly increasing his numbers. Though most likely due to budget restraints, it might not have been the best choice to "skip over" most of Spartacus' conquering as well as to just focus on the few main characters rather than include more of the massive army they do have in the background. For better or worse, the writers definitely seem to be attempting to tunnel toward the Final Battle as quickly as possible as well as to maintain Spartacus always being the underdog. I assume it's all gone a bit screwy not only with Andy's death and recasting, but the huge delays the show has been put through. What could have been a more "elegantly" told 5, 6, 7 season series has been reduced to three and it seems the network and writers/producers want to move on but at the same time wrap it up the best they can for loyal fans who hung in for a lot. I respect that at least.
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Hey, now Ceasar doesn't look like Richard Branson anymore!
Instead he looks like a worked-out Charlie Brown somehow.
Nice, tense episode with just the right amount of boobs, slaughter, thrill and intrigue!
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nice episode, not much screen time for spartacus though.
i've been wonderig for a while... where are the archers? not a single one, even when taking on the whole city? just a random thought :)
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airizarr
just now
I have enjoyed reading your reviews, but there are two points that I found myself disagreeing with:

1. "How much more interesting could it have been for her to go over to Spartacus’s camp by choice, as a once-exalted Roman citizen renouncing her world of her own free will?"

Frankly, I would've your scenario as absolutely unbelievable. Why would Laeta under lesser circumstances choose to freely join with Spartacus and his Roman-hating clan? ... with her husband's killer? ...along with the people who despised her and would've killed her and all her people had they had their way???

2. You state that you're troubled with the likely developing romance of Gannicus and Sybil, stating how Saxa is a better match.

Quite the opposite! When Spartacus in the previous episode mentioned that Gannicus didn't hold Saxa as special, it shouldn't have come as a big surprise. The only woman we have known Gannicus to love, or his "type", was Melitta from the prequel season. Now who is Melitta more similar to, Sybil's meek, caring and softer personality, or Saxa's fierce, independent and mannish personality? I find the choice to be clear. The show is not falling in a "trap" with this; it falls well within Gannicus' character development, that if given enough time he could find Sybil as someone to care for and protect.
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Um... Caesar was bald and pretty worried about it.
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Wow. Crassus is like a Roman terminator - completely relentless and ruthless. Bloody hell!

There has been a lot of debate over the past couple of weeks of whether or not Spartacus & his followers are just as bad as the Romans they are fighting against. For me - the way that Laeta was treated by Crassus answers the question once and for all.

I know that this show can overdo the slowmo shots - but how could you not love that slowmo of Spartacus & co, literally leaping into battle with the Romans. I also loved the Indianna Jones style roll under the closing gate.

Just when I thought that Spartacus had completely desensitised me to violence - they show a guys arm being ripped off! As with another favourite show of mine (TWD) the real horror in this show comes not from the violence but the reactions to it, and watching Caesar and his pals cheer like they were at the superbowl whilst limbs were being ripped off and heads caved in, really made my blood run cold. I may need to watch some cheesy rom-coms so I don't feel so dirty....
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Love the fact that after watching Spartacus everyone starts talking like the characters (at least in text). "....meet his end." ".....still draws breath." Awesome.
As for the episode. Yay Gannicus! So happy he lives. Kind of sad Donar died. He was an awesome secondary character.
Both Saxa and Sybil annoy the hell out of me, but Sybil more (seriously? You hide under a blanket? Could you get any more pitiful???) so I hope he stays with Saxa.
Not at all surprised about Laeta. She's obviously intended for Spartacus and there isn't enough time left in the series to have her mistrusted by the rebels. If we had longer for the storyline to progress I would have liked to see her 'almost' receive the mark (rescued just in time by Gannicus and Sybil) and then find herself among the rebels, with only a few on her side (Spartacus, Gannicus, Sybil, Nasir, maybe one or two others) and the choice to flee back to Rome as a free woman a real option/threat.
Like the cloak ;)
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Oh yeah. Team Saxa all the way. Now there's a REAL woman.
I'm not sure how long they were in the city for but if I were Sybil I would have seized opportunity and taken time to learn how to use a friggin' sword! Sheesh! If Gannicus was too busy she coulda gone to Naevia for lessons...
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“Then he and I are the same. Each believes himself the hero, the other villain. It is for history to decide who is mistaken.” Anyone else notice, he looked directly @ the camera?
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They ripped of his arm!!! I found that to be the WORST thing I've ever watched on this show ever! Even more gross than when that guy got his junk cut off in season 1
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I just realized I wrote 'of', instead of 'off'. My Bad!
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For me the scene that was the hardest to watch was the recaptured slave who was tortured at a party at Batiatus's house. The guests went up to him one at a time and made a cut or a stab. Didn't one of them grab his lip and cut it off? That was painful to watch.

The junk scene was hard to watch too. The arm scene bothered me a bit less. Maybe because it's easier to imagine the pain of a cut.
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No, a man having his junk cut off is the worst.
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a little season 1 mention is nice.
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I didn't mind the manoeuvre with which Laeta was treated, but I also think it was done because they were running out of time for this season. To develop her leaving, you would need at least every episode left, and by then you would lose room to do whatever else is about to come, which by that reasoning must be big. I have to say, I truly have no idea what is going to happen when this season ends.
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I think the women are wearing something to cover up their private parts. It looks like a piece of bear fur perfectly shaped in a triangle.

Of course I only watch for the stories... :-D
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Yes, it looks pretty weird in my opinion.
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its called a merkin. in those days women did not shave their vaginas. all these actresses are shaved so this is what they use. its a toupee` for snatch
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Oh, and best thing about Caesar's cut and shave? Now the comment section won't be half-filled w "Why does Caesar look like Brad Pitt in Troy!?!?!?" comments.
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Right, now he looks like Brad Pitt in some other movie.
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My wife and I are really loving Crassus. This is the first time the main antagonist has been smart and cunning enough to properly respect his opponent. He doesn't just have the mindset of "I'm Roman, Spartacus is slave, therefore victory will be easy". His respect for Spartacus and Co enables him to see the big picture and try to outthink and outmanuever the rebels rather than just running his army at them like a fool. He was also smart enough to realize he had to make sure of his sword skills before even leaving home. He is the perfect rival.
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I'll pray to Gods that the producers go totally Tarantino on the end and made the rebels victorious.
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The gods shall see your faith rewarded!
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Totally agree.

I don't care about accurate history, make the rebels win and kill off the douchebag Julia Cesar that's what i say anyway! :P
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The Swedish actress? I'm pretty sure she's already dead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcehpihFmBM.
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I really hope you're Swedish, tnetennba!
If not, you're scaring me.
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LOL. I just read the first page of comments. I thought the song and especially the music was pure torture, but this is what they are saying (translated):

Julia Caesar What a woman absolutely wonderful

so good! :D

a classic

Things were better in the past (...followed by an untranslatable pun)

Junajtäd Stäjts åff Amööörka! (this makes fun of her pronunciation of the only English words in the song "United States of America")

awesome sweden's mae west

Wonderful old lady!!!

Not badly sung for an 82-year-old.

Came up with the idea to listne to this one after reading John Ajvide Lindkvist`s "Lilla Stjärna" where it's mentioned..very good song actually.
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I am. Didn't mean to scare you. :-) I'm glad I'm young enough to have had better options than to watch her movies.
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@Andy Daglas: Your review's discussion on Laeta's agency was interesting, but it doesn't take into account the fact that historically, Roman women had almost no agency or legal standing without their husbands or fathers. So from a historical point of view, as a widow Laeta had very little agency to exercise anyway...(remember Gaia, and how she was killed because she had no male relatives?)

Also, it would have been a much less believable plot development for Laeta to go to Spartacus' camp on her own choosing because:
1. She would never be accepted by the rebels (and she knows it)...after the Caesar's infiltration of the rebel camp, I'm sure they are weary and suspicious of just about every Roman
2. She has been a Roman citizen longer than she has been a prisoner of war, just because she understands where Spartacus is coming from doesn't mean she wants to run off and join him! It just means she has the empathy to see the world from a different perspective.

Spartacus killed Laeta's husband and her people remember!! For her to simply absolve Spartacus and his rebels of all their massacring and destruction because she understands his intentions would have been downright unbelievable...don't you think?
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I agree totally. It would have been lazy writing to have Crassus just give her to Heracelo to "honour his word" and so forth, but what many seem to have missed is that Crassus himself wanted her out of the picture so there would be no competing claims to the late aedile's property in the city. Crafty, ruthless bugger. My hat's off.
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"WE SHOULD JUST TOTALLY STAB CAESER!" - Gretchen Weiners
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Another great episode, my intense dislike for Tiberius just keeps growing. I'd be really dissapointed if he doesn't meet his end by the time the series concludes, bonus points should Kore do it!
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Kore should totally be the one to do it, though I definitely don't think she's there yet, even if she had the opportunity. Clearly, part of what made her rape all the worse was the maternal feeling she had for him, which is an empathy that still seems to be there (to an extent). What I was surprised at was that Tiberius seems to have totally forgotten, as she said, "all those years (she) cared for him." I assumed he'd at least show some sign of regret or being troubled by his actions but there was nothing. He seems to be perfectly willing to take it even farther, and if he does that's when he's going to warrant Kore finally taking a stand and realizing what her position in the family really is...and then hopefully killing the snot. This being Spartacus though, there's a big chance it'll end with Crassus killing her horribly instead.
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I hope Crasus doesn't kill her he'll loose major points on my POV if he does. All this talk of the "all those years she cared for him" made me thing are they mother and son....
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I've long suspected that they're biologically mother and son. She's been serving the household since he was born and her & Crassus' relationship seems to have been going on for a long time. There's also the fact that his wife is very fair and Tiberius has the dark looks of Kore. Ugh. That would be the worst.
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for some reason I can't put this on your latest comment:" Possible, It is clear from what little we saw that Crasus' wife doesn't like Kore now it could be that Crasus loves Kore and her marriage to him was just a political alliance but if the child was sire by Crasus is also a possibility maybe if Tiberius finds out he offs himself.
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But of course, it's a very odd thing for a slave-born child to be taken in as full heir, even if sired by the "master" of the house. It might be though that Crassus' wife is infertile, however, and that she agreed to taking in the child so that they'd have the all-important male offspring and not be embarrassed and have their household/line come to an end. Lucretia was willing to do the same when she was trying to get pregnant by Crixus. That would have been a slave-sired child turned full Roman heir.

Admittedly, it would still be an odd revelation given that everyone would know - Crassus, Kore, the wife - and not have mentioned it once. Maybe they all swore themselves to silence on the topic.
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Well there is no Tiberius Crasus in the history books. Besides Ceasar isn't going to let that stand. If I know this show it will be unexpected and by someone who we didn't expect.
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Crassus had two sons, one of which did serve under Ceasar during his campaigns in Gaul. His name was Publius (a name apparently the writers didn't like.. so they changed it?), and he died fairly young. Marcus was the older son but there was no connection between him and serving with Ceasar.
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Just so we are clear the only people who must survive is Ceasar and Crasus. So Tiberius can and will probably die. as we saw in episode 1 Crasus has at least one other son. I didn't get the name though
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Brilliant episode, just brilliant! You can tell that Laeta is being driven towards Spartacus, and to be honest, I don't mind... (Thought it would be ironic for Spartacus to have a Roman girl by his side). You can see it in Spartacus' eyes when he carries her off her horse when she's wounded. Since Mira died in Mt. Vesuvius I've been waiting for him to get a new girl! I think we can all agree - guys, help me here - that Laeta has a rocking body!

As for Caesar, well... I'm glad he's back with the Romans, but his rivalry with Tiberius is not gonna go down well for the boy... And Crassus is such an evil genius, finally Spartacus has an actual opponent! (Glaber was such an idiot underestimating him).

Highlight of the episode was how Gannicus managed to screw the Romans multiple times while dragging two defenceless women out of the city. My only regret is that we don't see enough of Crixus and Spartacus. Oh and one more thing, whatever happened to Agron and Nasir?
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I beg to differ on the "defenseless women" bit. Laeta saved Sybil (and possibly Gannicus) by stabbing Herocleo through the friggin' throat. Then she guided him out of the city with her unique knowledge.
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CAESAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

The dude can't fight worth a shit, but he's still epic and awesome. Everybody's like "aw, no intrigue since we know he ain't going to die", but on the flipside, we always knew the Romans were going to win, we always knew Glaber was going to die, or at least lose at Vesuvius.

And come on, it's Julius fucking Caesar with a sword fighting against Gods of the Arena risking his life - remember - he doesn't know he's going on to become Almighty Emperor. Excellent characterization! This is fun! At least, This is fun for me! This is the best season of Spartacus for me! Love it.
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Ceasar can't fight look at all his fights. Ceasar vs Gannicus lost Ceasar vs a severely wounded Donar (would have lost) Ceasar vs Agron/Donar (would be dead if the Roman army didn't come crashing through the door. Ceasar vs Gannicus he would have gone down if not for reinforcements. All of Ceasars cool factor was set-up by Crasus.

All I'm saying is that if Ceasar wants to be more entertaining he needs to get his game up
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Caesar is, by far, the most entertaining character on this show. Despite knowing that he lives, everything he does is utterly unpredictable. He's the best "wildcard" on the show, how can you say he's not entertaining? As soon as he encounters someone you immediately think they're going to die. That's fun! He's the only reason people are scared for Gannicus. Dude can fight, he's just not the best at it, and all things considered, he doesn't have to be - He's Julius fucking Caesar as he said himself - actual sword-fighting is kinda sorta beneath him. He's as good as he needs be, i.e. good enough to save his life. Forgive the dude if he doesn't hire a gladiator to tutor him in how to catch swords barehanded.
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He's not a gladiator so I don't think he can fight as well as a gladiator--or at least not as well as the top notch gladiators. I think he can fight well for a non-gladiator and he has the cunning/wits to outsmart many opponents. No, he is not the best fighter but that is in comparison to gladiators who live just to fight and that's basically all gladiators did 24/7 (except sleep and eat).

I'm not pro-Caesar but I don't think he is a pansy at fighting. I think any of the top notch gladiators could kick his ass in a fair fight but I do think he has courage and skills.
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SO you guys like him cuz he's a wild card that whenever he's fighting someone we are at the edge of our seats cuz we know he's probably gonna win but the same can be said about Crasus and aside from having that he's also a master strategist and has everyone guessing on what he's doing.

I just want him to take his game up not just on the battlefield but in the backrooms of power. His rivalry with Tiberius may be their door into that who knows lets just wait and see.
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true!

his political intrigues and power plays make him interesting.

One can't help but be fascinated by a wild card.

I wouldn't mind him killing Tiberius but he needs someone more...as you put it his is Julius fucking Caesar!!

I'd love for Spartacus to kill him but that won't happen so out of the Romans, Caesar is complex and interesting-->I'd love a prequel and sequel highlighting Caesar--as long as it is of the same quality as the show Spartacus.

so true---> "he's also a master strategist and has everyone guessing on what he's doing. "
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agree but I think he can fight but not like a gladiator can fight.

excellent point about our knowledge of the outcome of many and how it is still fun!
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Ya just gotta love Gannicus. He is really awesome. I don't see him going down the path of "man wooed by doting innocent vs. being with 'the wrong woman' scenario." It is contrary to everything about his character and every choice he's already made, especially regarding women, going all the way back to "Gods of the Arena."

If they try to turn that on it's head now, after 3 seasons, they would be tearing down everything for the sake of a cliche - something which I just don't see the writers doing with Gannicus since they have one with Laeta - I'd say there it has been more than obvious they have been building to place her at Spartacus' side all along, so I wasn't too surprised she made it to camp, just disappointed with it.

Regarding the "fashion" of Ceasar? Has something changed? I was frankly too busy drooling over (the actor's) freakin' AMAZING body shots this episode to notice any changes elsewhere :P Oh right, he's all cleaned up now, hehe. More "romanish" for sure
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Gannicus is the man, and the most compelling character on the show right now. I was surprised at how little we saw of Spartacus and his camp, but it was necessary for this episode. I think it's good that we're starting to see more of Crassus' antagonistic side, and to see how motivated he is by greed and power. Despite this, he still remains smarter and more careful than the other antagonists on this show. I'm interested to see how the roles Laeta and Sybil will play out in the camp. The only thing I don't care about on the show at the moment is Tiberius. I just find him to be a waste, so I hope he meets his end soon.
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I really enjoy it to hate characters like Illythia, Ashur, Glaber, Solonius, Tiberius, (Lucretia) & most romans in previous seasons.. You just know the writers will kill them off eventually in a very satisfying way. So far only 1 survivor that I really hate. But Tiberius will soon get what he deserves..
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Tiberious name does not deserve to be mentioned in same breath as such worthy plotters mentioned above. These other guys really knew how to pull off a plot and were smart enough to swallow resentment long enough to get close enough to strike down enemy. I hope the little runt dies shamefully! :-)
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This show is killing me. I do not want our heroes to die, even though I've read the history.

I wish they hadn't decided to include Caesar. I couldn't be less interested in the rivalry between Tiberius and Caesar so that all seems like a waste, and every time Caesar faces a battle I know he's not going to die. The Roman intrigue isn't as interesting as it has been in past seasons. I miss Lucretia and Ilithyia! Those bitches knew how to plot.

I'm glad Gannicus finally got the spotlight. I was scared he would die the whole time.
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I think Gannicus might be the only hero who will survive this season.
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YESSSS Please!
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Last season everybody hoped Crixus and Navea will live now its Gannicus and Saxa. The way this show has always surprised us I'm thinking Agron will survive with Laeta. NO not as a couple something Like: "by Spartacus' final word, I am to see you safely away from the shadow of Rome"
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"Crassus may speak as if history is a neutral force, but any discussion of events like the Third Servile War calls to mind the old adage that history is written by the victors."

I actually thought Crassus was referring to that old adage, implying that whichever man beat the other would go down in the books as the hero...
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That makes sense also. I read it as him suggesting that future generations would look at both sides impartially and judge who was morally correct (with his underlying implication that it would be himself), rather than historians coloring the facts and presenting events that conform with the values society has chosen (i.e., branding Spartacus the very monster Laeta insists he's not).
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Be still my heart...Gannicus still draws breath:D I am prepared to see fall of our heroes,but I was like"don't kill Gannicus in this episode!!! don't kill him at all :D"
Another awsome episode and it's great,when you invest time into some show,that this is the payoff you get towards the end. Hopefully also in the end.

Caesar,huh? :D Like 2 different men. I was speechless,when I saw him. These last episodes are not gonna be for the faint of hearts:D I loooved first slow-motion,when Spartacus,Crixus and Gannicus jumped on Romans:D Writers are doing great job of presenting both sides so well...makes you wonder,for who are you really rooting to win :D :P
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We didn't have a problem with the way that Laeta came to Spartacus' camp because she's been sympathetic to him (in disguise?) throughout this entire last season.

In our review (http://wp.me/p2MfmI-2j9), we think she's easily won the award for "Most Abused Character"...though Kore is catching up quickly. Overall solid ep.
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And twice in this episode I once again regretted knowing (from history) that Casear would not die. So he neither fell to Donar, nor to Gannicus. Freaking annoying.
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I still enjoyed seeing him getting the crap beaten out of him by those two though!
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You know right! Lol.
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This is just for Laeta I was doing some mindless work and thought of something...

I had a thought maybe Laeta's "Forced disappearance" was a political move. I mean Ceasar and Crasus are going for political office and glory for killing the scourge of Rome Spartacus. You can't really have a woman of note saying that Spartacus showed mercy to women and children while the slayers of Spartacus were the one who instigated the slaughter of helpless Romans.

Now that Laeta stands slave I wonder what Naveia and Crixus will have to say about it a part of me wants Laeta to learn some moves from Saxa and kick Navea's ass.

Maybe Laeta will take the name Sura as a new name.
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You're spot on, and greedy Crassus the RIchest Man in Rome also saw an opportunity to get rid of a competing claim from the aedile's wife for the prime real estate in the recaptured city.
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I think Sybil is doomed - a way to motivate Gannicus, who's probably torn between thinking of her as a daughter-figure or a doting young wife.
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OMG this was awesome. Has there ever been a TV show that nails it every time like Spartacus? Just simply amazing. This was definitely Gannicus episode. I love him. Well at least Laeta can finally see things from the Rebels point of view. Spartacus didn't give her to Herakleo, but her Roman people did.
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"Has there ever been a TV show that nails it every time like Spartacus?"
Yes, Banshee.
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I'll check it out.
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Subject: Middle finger
To: Caesar
From: Gannicus
HAHA!!
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Crasus lost a few points in my book but only because selling Laeta to Herakleo. Owning the city was just the way things were done in those days and despite all of their glory of Rome mantra Crasus' army is a private army he needs to pay those guys. Blood contests very disgusting no excuse on that.

Respect on the strategy and that MASSIVE FREAKING WALL.

Donar could've killed Ceasar if not for the armor. moment of silence for bad-assery on Donar... Ceasar looks more respectable now. at least. I wonder if Crasus is setting himself up to for a fall with Ceasar. I was expecting Ceasar to be the new word and law of Crasus; he is that in all but name.

Tiberius better watch his back from everybody. Ceasar knows what Tiberius did. I think Crasus suspects. Crasus will probably berate him for it but not kill him unless he finds out what Tiberius did to Kore and Kore well I expect Tiberius will be parted from that between his legs pretty soon.

Gannicus would have been MORE AWESOME if he jumped into smith from the roof to behead a pirate but giving Laeta the opportunity to kill Herakleo was ok.

I wonder if the writers will dwell on the underlying competition between Sybil and Saxa.they probably won't have the time.

"Then he and I are the same. Each believes himself the hero, the other villain. It is for history to decide who is mistaken.” Crassus may speak as if history is a neutral force, but any discussion of events like the Third Servile War calls to mind the old adage that history is written by the victors."

This may be true but as proven now the victors fade away and different interpretations can be made about History depends on who is listening.
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Aaaaaaaaaand the old Spartacus is back. This episode did a lot to reshuffle the deck of who's bad and who's good on this show, by basically painting all the Romans (and I mean all the Romans, since Laeta was branded a slave and is "no longer Roman") as bad guys. Even Crassus, who until now has had all kinds of work done on this character to make him look good from all angles, dropped down a few notches in my morality book. He sold a Roman woman into slavery, to a blood thirsty and vicious pirate, while he had the entire city under his control and no longer needed Heracleo. And while he was arguably "upholding his word" by handing her over after the fact, when he could have had Heracleo and his men killed right there and then since they were enemies of Roman anyway, it's pretty clear that getting rid of Laeta was in his best interest because now he can claim the city as his own.

Caesar, a character who I still hold pretty high up there morality-wise (at least when you compare his to other Romans on this show), was complicit in this deal as well, since he was entirely aware of Laeta being sold to the pirate when he stopped Gannicus in the street, even though there was that one moment where it looked like he kinda fell for her a bit. And while the senator wasn't actually aware that she was sold to a pirate, he was completely fine with hearing the ambiguous statement "she has left this city never to return" and not ask any questions, after being bribed with a swanky villa. And of course all three of these men, as well as a huge number of Roman soldiers, all enjoyed Spartacus's men being ripped to pieces. While that man who was drawn and quarters was presumably a soldier in Spartacus's army, and not a civilian, that is still a very cruel and terrible thing to do to anyone.

To be fair to the Romans, quite a few of Spartacus's men would probably enjoy such a spectacle if it were a Roman being ripped to pieces, since they already rip Roman's to pieces for fun whenever they can. However, even in their darkest moments as oppressors of Sinuessa they didn't do anything so cruel. Well...except rape and torture, but both sides have done that, and at this point it's just something that large armies do when they take over cities. We didn't explicitly see any Roman soldiers raping women when they took Sinuessa this episode, but we did see them kill a number of unarmed men and women, and it can pretty much be implied at this point that there was some rape going on as well.

This means that all of the notable Roman characters on this show, who are active in the war against Spartacus, are pretty dark. This includes Tiberius, who I haven't mentioned thus far, but who also enjoyed that man being drawn and quartered, and who not only raped a woman who cares for him and sees herself as kind of his mother, but also showed no remorse for what he did and continued to torment and threaten her in this episode. And while Spartacus's men are still very grey where their morality is concerned, their side has now become unquestionably the lightest in this fight. With Caesar killing off Nemetes last episode, who was arguably the worst of Spartacus's bunch since he was behind most of the stealing from, torturing, raping, and killing of Roman prisoners, the only tainted members of Spartacus's army of note are Crixus and Naevia. These two were responsible for, and oversaw, the rest of the despicable acts committed while in command of Sinuessa. But the worst that these people did was have two people fight to the death, Naevia killed someone she thought was a traitor but wasn't, and they both killed unnamed innocent civilians. And while that last one is pretty bad, at least neither of them tortured, raped, and sold someone into slavery so that they would most certainly be raped. Every single notable Roman character has done at least one or both of these things, so for the first time this season things have become a lot more black and white.

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this very swift shift in morality. I'm pretty surprised that the show actually did this, considering all the work the entire first half of this season that went into making both sides similarly grey. While they obviously didn't just erase everything they did, since all of the characters are still as complex as ever, and their actions are still shaped by their pasts and experiences, I would've expected this move to happen, if it were to happen, towards the end of the season. But instead we still have four episodes to go, which is just under half of the entire season. Obviously in these next four episodes we'll see each character get to strike out on their own in various ways, to burn brightly before the likely in some horrific yet beautiful way. And this individual recognition will almost certainly be in the form of difficult and important choices that these characters will have to make, and decisions that history (or at least this show's version of history) will use to shape these characters for all time, or at least as long as people who've seen this show are still alive. So it would appear that these swathes of black and white, that the writers painted the canvas of this episode with, are just a momentarily realignment. A brief yet clear image to remind us which side we should really be rooting for, before our beloved characters have a break from continuous fighting, and are therefore free to make immoral decisions that will push them once again in that pool of ambiguously grey morality that so many of this show's characters prefer.

Normally I would rather see both sides do both good and bad things, or at least not have one side be so horribly cruel that anyone else is a saint in comparison, since this is ultimately more realistic, and does a better job of reflecting the world that we currently live in. But it is nice to take a breather every once in a while, and not have to think at all about which army of people killing other people I should be rooting for. It's nice when I can cheer on every Roman soldier killed at the hands of Spartacus's army, without having to remember that the dead man in question was a person who probably had a family, and that the man who killed him happens to be a rapist and murderer of young children. It is very tempting to write a show so that no matter what one side does it is the "right" thing to do because they are the "good guys", while whatever the other side does is the "wrong" thing because they are the "bad guys." So I wasn't surprised when, from the beginning, Spartacus the show used this model more often than not. And even though it just about spit on this model, tore it to pieces, and burned those pieces in a fire before soaking the ashes in acid, at the beginning of this final season (something for which I gave them a lot of admiration and respect), I guess I'm not all that surprised that they used this model once more for old times sake. At least, I hope it's once more, and that they won't use it again. As long as the rest of this series (or the next four episodes, whichever way of saying it makes you feel better) maintains the moral realism and compelling characters, on both sides of the conflict, that we have seen in the first half of this season, I'm fine that the writers took a little break and kept the black and white paints separate this episode.
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well said as usual;-)

I still think most of the characters are various shades of grey. I'm still team spartacus:-) Even the characters who seem mainly black (Tiberius) have a backstory that let's you see why they are that way. Tiberius, whom I can't stand, tried to get his father's respect and did what he thought was right (beach battle) and ended up being punished by his father and having his best friend killed. I am not defending Tiberius but I'm glad the show has illuminated the reasons why he is the way he is... i.e., shown the reasons for him to be more black then grey/white. No excuse for the rape but understand his motivation to "get back" at his father. I just wish he didn't have to involve an innocent 3rd party.

Of course the Romans liked the drawing and quartering of Spartacus' soldier. These are the same people who go to watch gladiators kill each other. I like how you say that most of Spartacus' soldiers would do the same with a roman.

Crassus--brilliant at strategy and brilliant tactician. He is not black or white but grey. I think he is shown as a flawed but brilliant human who is not perfect yet not "evil" (for lack of a better word). He is a fascinating character. I like Daglas' speculations on Crassus' use of Laeta

I think the first comment by Imhere sums it up well.
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Err.. thanks. Thumbs up though I got tired halfway through your review.
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Most part of this episode "Spoils of War" drew my admirable attention even if on one particular nasty part when the Romans chained a rebel and pulled until his arm was severed from this body. Wow, it was tough to watch those few seconds. The best part of this episode is of course belonging to a heroic Gannicus. Gannicus is not only a hero but a true warrior with "cool, calm and collective". I love one part in this episode the most when Gannicus showed up in front of the pirates, stared at them and then slaughtered them, and of course the best part was when Laeta speared an ugly pirate leader with his own hot-iron spear. Awesome!. I also love another part when a writer carefully drafted this episode in such a way that Laeta has again reunited with Spartacus in an admirable fashion. Laeta may not be a warrior with sword and fight skills but I think she has the type of character that most of us love to watch her. I really don't know in real life what type of person Spartacus actually was, but at least in this "Spartacus" movie series, Spartacus's characters are truly admirable and noble. Besides Mira, no one else other than Laeta deserves to have romantic love with Spartacus even if it probably won't last long as the "War of the Damned" is approaching toward an epic ending soon. As I have predicted after watching last episode "Decimation", I think Laeta will die at the end during the war when the Romans attack the rebels but she will voluntarily die for Spartacus and will die in his arms, and then Spartacus will fight back with vengeance before he takes his own life just like Donar.
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"Hello. My name is Gannicus. You pissed me off. Prepare to die."
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Great episode, but a little Spartacus light. I definitely appreciate Donar going out in his own way rather than give the glory to Rome.
I have a feeling sooner or later Caesar is going to kill Tiberius or Tiberius is going to get himself killed (by Kore or Crassus if he keeps up his current attitude). Looks like next week has yet more tension between Crixus and Spartacus, so it'll be interesting to see how it develops in this last ditch sprint towards the finale.
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Nerves have been set at edge indeed.
A sense of doom has permeated each and every episode this season...
While the previous seasons are to be admired because of master storytelling and Machiavellian twists, WotD challenges your morality, making you rethink who you cheer and boo at whenever they come on screen.
Although Spartacus cause is just and the one we would all rally behind in modern times, I believe there are no heroes and villains in this story.
We are simply witnesses to History.
It is tragic, and messy and there's nothing noble about it, but perhaps that has always been the way of the world.
Maybe all wars are damned.
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