Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Season 1 Episode 7

Great and Unfortunate Things

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 05, 2010 on Starz

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
413 votes
  • A great episode, following a perfect one.

    this one a transition episode. The last one, was like a season finale, with all the suffer and traition. Great performances, and a good acceptance of the gay community, this episode show us the other side of Mr. Spartacus, a dude who I always like it, but now I like it even more.
    Varro story turned out to be interesting to say the least. Anyway, he cannot allege infidelity, because he has to perform in front of his masters some sexual intercouse too.
    His son looks like him! And the final fight... well that was great. Sixa gainst one and Spartacus victorious... great episode.
  • 107

    As I said last week the death of "Spartacus'" one true love has changed him and will create a big void in his life and lead to an evolution in his character, something that I look forward to seeing play out in the coming weeks and the rest of the season.

    This show is well worth watching, but at this point it looks like it may have peaked already. Are the battle scenes going to get any gorier? Is seeing somebody lose their head going to be any different than it was for the first two months? I really doubt that.

    While this is the first ever "hit" for Starz, what is the show's long-term plan? That is what I need to know.
  • Dare I say.. a slightly dull episode of Spartacus?

    I'm not sure how it's even possible, but I actually found this episode a bit dull compared to the last four or five. The last few episodes have built up the plot and character development remarkably well and I found myself actually intrigued by everything going on, even the more minor things. However, this episode felt like a stand-still, and if anything, the fight scenes didn't do anything whatsoever. Usually, fight scenes make for an adrenaline boost, but this felt like a placeholder until the next big event happens on the show.

    Not to say that there was no drama at all. The most interesting part of the episode was watching Spartacus lose his identity once and for all and allow himself to become Roman. It doesn't happen until the end, but it leads to some great scenes between Batiatus and Spartacus. Batiatus is clearly an awful person, but his charm makes it difficult to see this sometimes.

    There's also the plot with Doctore attempting to figure out what truly happened to Barca. He's a smart guy (he already knows that Spartacus was responsible for drugging him and trying to escape, but he does nothing for this). However, the tensions between Ashur and Doctore increases.

    For the most part, nothing really exciting happens until the very end, when Spartacus sheds his identity as a Thracian and embraces his new one as a Roman. That being said, the show has improved much since it's pilot, and it seems to be on the brink of getting even better.
  • The specter of grief and shattered dreams hangs over the slaves of the ludus.

    "Great and Unfortunate Things" felt like a necessary transition from the previous episode to the next one because not much happened other than Spartacus dealing with the aftermath of his loss and finally coming to terms with his lot as a gladiator. As for the other characters, the cover up of Barca's death has created an air of mourning and tension for those left behind. Crixus finally wakes only to find things worse than when he left them. Despite this, his story seems to be the most hopeful among the bunch since his ongoing recovery gives him and Naevia some much needed alone time. Other subplots were briefly set up in this chapter to be developed further down the line - hopefully, not too much further, since these threads, particularly, Varro's marriage problems and Doctore's suspicions over Barca's departure, look promising. The overall theme of the episode seemed to be accepting one's circumstances in the face of terrible loss.
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Refreshing writing, heavy character development, convincing acting, intriguing story whipped by detective Doctore, creative editing, inspiring Sura & the Thracian surreal but shallow love and smart controversial cliffhanger

    With Barca and Sura dead the story could only be sad but tears quickly evaporate when they reach the burning ground so as expected our characters didn't have much time to mourn their loved ones. However Brent Fletcher and Steven S. DeKnight's writing was refreshing because they decided not to rush things and slowly develop the recurrent arcs. Action !

    In fact this episode was quite heavy on character development even if it obviously focused on the Thracian Spartacus. For example even if I appreciated Varro's support in the past episodes I considered him as a one-dimensional character until now. Indeed someone visited him and it was the occasion to better understand why he ended up in the ludus. As expected Doctore was angry and his will could only collide with the protagonist. Peter Mensah already impressed me in Sacramentum Gladiatorum and this time I really enjoyed his numerous and investigative scenes. Moreover his peaceful and disciplined warrior spirit marvelously contrast with the bloody and unwise gladiators. As for Barca I could feel his soul all along so even if his body left the ludus forever he won't be forgotten. In fact his death was a major arc and I can't wait it to further unravel. But how can you separate the threads of a ball of wool when it's tainted with blood ?

    As for the other elements the usual recipe was used but it doesn't matter because how could you get tired of it ? I don't know yet who is in charge of the creative editing but it was as good as in Legends, from the surreal transitions to the slow motions. Also for once the daydreams were replaced by flashbacks and they revealed some pivotal moments of the Thracian life. It should allow you to better understand his relationship with his wife and how they fell in love. Considering their complementary personalities their few scenes were delightful and quite inspiring in fact because the attention to the dialogs was excellent. They even reminded me of Dexter Morgan's father ghost appearances. He's dead and acts as his mentor in the show Dexter. Not to mix up with Ghost Whisperer even if I have nothing against gorgeous Jennifer Love Hewitt. It leads to Erin Cummings, his haunting muse, and the sex scenes. As much as I find her attractive and think her character Sura is interesting I'm a bit disappointed by the light representation of love. What Is love ? It may sound like a broken record but I'm surprised the female members of the show team haven't brought the matter to the attention of its creators. It's like if Spartacus and Sura only way to express their love was to have sex. I wish we saw them in their daily activities, like when Sura was picking fruits in a forbidden garden for instance. It would definitely bring some depth to their profiles and nourish the audience's empathy.

    Last but not least the last part was crucial for the destiny of our hero. Indeed he had to make a hard choice and his decision should have a major influence on the upcoming story. Of course some fights occurred and even if I noted a few mistakes, like blocking a heavy bashing hammer with a sword and two sleepy hands, but overall it was good entertainment. However the strawberry on the shortcake was definitely the controversial relationship between the opponents. And the metaphora used to represent its complexity was just smart and should disturb most viewers. So as often behind the blood and sand curtain you should also perceive evil and lucky emotions like killing pain, miserable pity, hopeful joy or endless sorrow. It all depends of the way you feel about the show. And when you consider John Hannah probably seized the opportunity of a life time by playing the greedy and dual Batiatus you have to admit that the show is hard to resist.