Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Season 1 Episode 10

Party Favors

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 26, 2010 on Starz

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
515 votes
  • asadd


  • Varro

    I know he had to go be John McClane's son but it was sad
  • Dramatic and intense!

    Wow I was really moved when he had to kill his friend.
    Damn what a good show! Some favor to ask for just a friendly match! The drama was intense with this one, even more than when his wife died.The nice thing about this show is that it's like Rome but with a 300-twist to it.Wow I was really moved when he had to kill his friend.
    Damn what a good show! Some favor to ask for just a friendly match! The drama was intense with this one, even more than when his wife died.The nice thing about this show is that it's like Rome but with a 300-twist to it.
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Dream writing team, intense and wicked story, irresistible characters and top notch acting, appealing recurring elements and extreme emotions

    Pairing writers seems to be one of the successful strategies behind the show. Indeed Tracy Bellomo and Andrew Chambliss did an overwhelming job on Delicate Things but we could also mention episodes like Great and Unfortunate Things. And when you have Steven S. DeKnight as head writer it can only lead to masterful episodes like Party Favors. This time Brent Fletcher teamed up with Miranda Kwok. My opinion about her work on Shadow Games was mixed even if it was a puzzling and emotional installment. When it comes to the show I consider rating an episode below 7 out of 10 would be inappropriate because its foundation is just too strong. With such a dream team the story could only be twisted, unpredictable and smart. As for the execution it was flawless and the new director did an excellent job. IM not the supervisor on Spartacus but if I was I would be damn proud of my achievements. So instead of nosebleeding like a genius turtle let's enumerate the elements that make Party Favors stands right beside Delicate Things.

    First Katrina Law was back as Mira, the ludus new female slave. She has the beauty of an Amazon and could be what they never allowed Sura to be, the water drop that could even purify a pool of tainted blood. It leads us to Andy Whitfield who plays Spartacus, formerly known as the Thracian. All our thoughts are with him considering his health condition and the only thing I'm sure is that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. They say acting helps becoming who you are and that portraying fictional characters make you unleash the different personalities within you. I believe Mr Whitfield is both a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Such a strange and inspiring man can only beat the Grim Reaper and transform its bones into sand. In my The Red Serpent review I wrote that in Spartacus blood was associated to death so in real life it would be logical if life was Whitfield's companion. In the show it's Varro's role and this episode focused on their growing friendship. Both actors delivered strong performances but the whole cast also did a great job. John Hannah doesn't play Batiatus, he is Batiatus. Viva Bianca was also exquisite as the wicked Ilythia.

    As for the other elements I enjoyed they're quite numerous. First the editing was more creative than in Delicate Things even if it wasn't as inspiring as in the pilot. Second the beginning was nothing like in Mark of the Brotherhood as a brutal and entertaining fight in the arena is featured. Remember Shadow Games bloody ending ? Well in my opinion it was better. Third the boomerang arcs mentionned in my previous reviews kept their sharp-edged dance around the characters and some moments were quite intense. Fourth the Crixus versus Spartacus battle developed further and you'll have to watch the episode to know if they finally collided or if the writers continued to tease us like if these half-naked men were strippers or go go dancers, because I hope women also read me. And when it comes to foreplay there's nothing better than a good old game of checkers. Yes because the fifth element I really appreciated was the use of a Roman board game, that also reminded me of othello and go because of its black and white pieces, to teach us a few things about strategy. One face-off was particularly unexpected and brought even more tension between some characters. How can you fall asleep as a ludus resident when you are surrounded by enemies ? Moreover the game wasn't only featured for a few split seconds like in Lost or Caprica, it was part of the story and I could spend hours to match the characters with chess pieces.

    Last but not least life would be boring without emotions. It also applies to olympic entertainment and the diversity of what I felt was just mind blowing. My eyes popped out from their orbit for an astral home run I could never get tired to experience. My arms wanted to support the wounded or betrayed, and my hands to randomly spank a few guest hands and shake… My point is that I also laughed a lot. You can't resist Varro's jokes and Crixus tiger eyes. As for the ending it was brilliantly set up and I really didn't see it coming. In The Matrix they bended a spoon but here they just melted it. As for the blood it was pouring like wine at a Dionysos orgy.
  • Jupiter's c**k!!

    As the Romans say: Jupiter's c**k!! What the writers did in the latest episode was unbelievable and you know what did happen to Spartacus' wife, don't you?

    Kudos to the writers. I did not see the end of this episode coming. They are bravely sticking to their statement: "No one is save!" Ilithyia is becoming more and more dangerous and crazy. I really like how this character is evolving from a spoiled brat to a great villain. The scene in the baths with Numerius was very tempting and well done. Who could resist Ilithyia? Obviously Numerius couldn't.

    It was heartbreaking when Numerius wanted Varro killed and Batiatus allowed it. So after reuniting with his dead wife, Spartacus now have to kill his best friend in the ludus. They both were so great together. Especially in this episode when they were fighting, making fun of each other and grinning. It was quite entertaining. What can Spartacus lose next? Maybe his love interest who I'm starting to like?

    The beginning of the episode was good and had some nice scenes, like Batiatus and Spartacus playing together. Crixus and Naevia are getting careless. Instead of having quickies they are now having sex next to the stairs, so everyone can spot them instantly. Hopefully we will see an enraged Lucretia!
  • no need.

    i rate this episode a 10 for the acting only, not for the writing cuz i agree wif the earlier member reviewer of this episode that killing Varro is a HUGE mistake, he is a very likable character, someone who brings a sense of warm, calm and comfort to the show that is filled wif sheer grief and violence. i like Varro a lot personally, he is reasonably sound and soothing to Spartacus, be by his side, supporting him unconditionally, keep him in check, advising him gently on matters, voice of reason. how could they do this to Spartacus by taking away his dear friend like that, in that horrific fashion? i rather have him die in an arena wif honor than that, thru the command of a lil' spoiled brat adolescent boy? how wrong and degrading, Varro deserves better. i dont care if the writers wanted to create dramatics but this is just the wrong way to do it, it simply is, u dont let a noble man like Varro die in such a degrading and non-sense way, not Varro, anybody but Varro, stupid ass writers!!! my heart really breaks and sinks to an all-time low with this episode. Poor Varro, it is not his time yet at least! he still has so much to offer to be taken away like that. these producers of this show really did themselves no justice here by cutting away viable resources... i feel empty at the end of this episode. simply heartbreaking... Poor Varro and what's even more heartbreaking is his willingness to sacrifice himself like that for Spartacus on such short notice or without any notice at all, no hesitation and doubt on accepting his fate that has come. truly noble, righteous and heroic man Varro is indeed! sigh... still said...
  • Best episode yet

    For me, this represented the true potential of what the show can be when it attempts to focus equally on all plots without letting one overthrow the other. The ending was heartbreaking and an example of how the build-up to the show is well worth it.

    Varro's death was completely unexpected to me, and all it does is make me hate Ilithyia even more. For all the focus on Crixus and showing how so many people care for him, it's frustrating to watch women pine over him but everybody spit on Spartacus. Crixus is a brute and a fool and the fact that Varro lost his life over him is frustrating.

    That being said, the plotlines have been set up remarkably well. Look at the way Batiatus went from being disrespected around Capua to the way he's famous now. And his diss by the Magistrate should lead to some interesting developments. And look at the way that Graber's wife worms her way into the Ludus and ultimately gets what she wants. I hope she loses her head.

    A very good episode of the show here.
  • Great episode but a disappointing plot twist.

    Besides Spartacus, Varro was the only character I truly liked. Sure enjoy all the characters for their personalities but I thought Varro was a great character to put into play. He was the counter to Spartacus' ill judgment. Whenever he was about to make a mistake Varro was there to play the role of his conscience to keep him from going to far. The voice of reason if you will and a very important character in the storyline. Killing him was a HUGE mistake and the only hope of making up for this blunder is to either: A. Claim the wound was not fatal (which would be impossible considering the circumstances as well we the fact that you see Varro's dead body in the previews) or B. Bring Varro back as an apparition. Let him haunt him just as Spartacus' wife did. Let him be there to steer him straight when he goes astray. This is the most likely choice but I doubt the writers are going to do that. Let's hope.
  • Series keeps getting better.

    By far the best episode yet. When the series begins one thinks that the revolt of Spartacus will begin soon. But the series has taken its time developing the story by showing the training of the man as a gladiator, it has shown that he has military knowledge, and just when you think nothing more could hit the man he has to lose his only friend. I am not sure when the revolt will begin but Spartacus is now ripe with rage and reason to begin. This series is now ready to rock the Roman republic through the revolt of slaves and gladiators. The last two episodes have raised the bar---I sure hope I do not get let down. Push the envelope and fans will beg for more.
  • Definitely one to watch!

    Rarely do I give an episode a 10 out a 10 yet I feel compelled to give this particular one that honor. Numerious, the son of the magistrate is coming of age. Turning 15 and donning the toga and essentially becoming a man is big day for boy as is in many customs and as the son of one the most powerful man in the area, the father would have a big celebration thrown for his boy. Batiatus offers to be the host and as such would have the opportunity to further his position by asking the magistrate's support in gaining a political "job". Numerious is given the chance to chose the ludus' finest for an exhibition match and was widely thought that he would have Spartacus fight Crixus, yet Illythia manages to convince Numerious to have Spartacus fight his friend, Varro instead. What follows is hard to watch, yet I believe this to be a turning point for Spartacus. Batiatus also fails in his bid to get the Magistrates support and leaves him furious, and venegeful.
  • Wow.

    Well, if Illithyia stripping naked and revealing her body is not enough for you (I'm still wiping away the drool) then the shocking ending should have been enough for you. Tonight's episode saw Spartacus literally get pushed to the limit as he was forced to kill his best friend in the most powerful moment the show has had yet.

    This was definitely an enjoyable episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and one that will have a major impact on the future. The show has found that perfect mix of blood, violence, sex and suspense and as we wind down to the final three episodes of the year hopefully more people discover this ever-improving show.
  • Spartacus as a series begins to find its stride, following a pair of strongly paced episodes with a few plot twists that leaves the viewer not only gob-smacked but more importantly drooling for more...

    I have to admit, there have been occasions were I felt it was worth mentioning a few comments on the series as a whole, but the last episode has shown - ultimately - that clever plot twists are still possible without compromising the overall structure of the series. This weeks episode had a lot to live up too, mainly due to the speechless revalation shown in the previous one. That period of time was renown for clever schemes, were power, wealth and support dictated the actions of not only the aristocats and nobles but also the slaves which they command. That these were often the tools of actions marticiously planned was a testament to how evil people could really be, something that in this day and age is unfathomable. Spartacus was used to secure influence for the house of Batiatus over Ilythia, which was both a humiliation and a high price for both Spartacus and Ilythia. Clearly her revenge here was aimed at a victim rather than the perpetrator, and that, in turn, cost Spartacus his only friend. A scene which had the viewer clasping anything nearby it was both emotional and totally unexpected. It serverd to remind us that even though Spartacus at times has the ear of his master, he is still a slave, and as a slave he was forced to kill the only thing that kept him straight, after the loss of his wive. This episode has set the bar pretty high for future installments and one can only hope that they are able to keep this level of entertainment and this level of intrigue throughout the remaining 3 episodes. Since season 2 is already a given, I fear that there is a risk of Spartacus going the way of Rome (2005 Season 1, 2007 Season 2) which had a fantastic and gripping first season, followed by a weak und uninspiring second season. If Spartacus continues to push the boundaries, without having to "jump the shark" than this series has every potential and every right to be very successful.
  • This was such an awesome episode. I never got to see Spartacus show so much emotion or affection for another fellow "gladiator".

    This was a really wonderful episode. That crazy girl who killed the girl in the earlier episode shows her true side. Obviously she wanted Spartacus killed for having the slave she purchased, the one with the big penis being found out to want Spartacus killed. They cut off his penis and I think she's lived with envy the whole time. She went and had sex with the young boy who was "coming of age" and coerced him to turn his thumbs down after Spartacus and his friend "fought", so to speak. Seeing Spartacus' and his friend's interaction with one another was heartbreaking to me. It is true, the guards would have killed the two of them. So much emotion and heartbreak between the two. My heart sank. One of the best episodes of the first season I've seen.