Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Season 1 Episode 2

Sacramentum Gladiatorum

8
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 29, 2010 on Starz
6.8
out of 10
User Rating
428 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Spartacus must prove his worth to become a gladiator in order to save his enslaved wife. He befriends Varro during their harsh trials to become gladiators. Batiatus, the gladiator master, promises to find Sura, while Spartacus must face Crixus to pass his trials.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

Wednesday
No results found.
Thursday
No results found.
Friday
No results found.
SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A nice step up from the premiere

    7.3
    While the premiere was drenched too much in violence and sex, the second episode tones down on everything and allows a story to develop, along with some of the other supporting characters. John Hannah as Lentulus has impressed me throughout two episodes, and in this episode, we see him for who he truly is: a down-on-his-luck Roman who sees an opportunity for renewed respect in Spartacus. He rides that fine line between hero and villain. He's certainly not a good guy, but he's not on the same level of Glaber in terms of villainy.



    That being said, I like how Spartacus' enemies are being built up. Glaber is a toad, and I can't wait to see his death ( if it even happens). And Andy Whitfield is still impressive as Spartacus, proving that his character has some emotional range. And instead of showing violent scene after violent scene, we get a good blend of development and action sequences. And I have to agree with "thefanof" on this one: the action scenes actually had more of a purpose this episode instead of simply existing to appease people's bloodlust.



    Hopefully, the show keeps progressing the way this episode did. I enjoyed this 50 minutes much more than the first 50 minutes of the show.moreless
  • Episode 2

    5.5
    The pilot for Spartacus: Blood and Sand was an unimaginably bad outing. It was an epic fail, as the kids say. The only redeeming quality of it was the insanely awesome special effects as of a result of all the blood and gore in just one hour.



    But tonight's episode, tonight's episode showed a little bit of promise. The fighting sequences actually had some purpose and were not just there to showcase the producers' ability to create realistic beheadings (although there were a few of those out there). This show is still pretty boring for the most part, but this episode showed me that it is at least worth watching.moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Entertaining and harsh training, sandy fascinating ludus, economical elements, John Hannah and Peter Mensah's convincing performances, controversial relationships and intriguing story arcs

    8.0
    This second episode confirmed the great impression the pilot left on me. First even if it was less bloody than The Red Serpent many scenes involved gladiators training in the sand under a heavy sun. One of them was obviously a reference to the film Conan the Barbarian. Their ludus, a Roman teaching school, is well designed and I specially liked that their playfield was separated from the master's area by a balcony. There's almost something Shakespearan about it because it sharpens the lines between the masters and their slaves. Lentulus Batiatus, played by John Hannah, is the ludus owner but his own life depends on them because if they lose in the arena, he can't pay his own bills. Their pool is dry and it reveals how much money matters to them. So Spartacus is not the only one who has issues.



    His story developed further and Gaius Claudius Gaber, played by Craig Parker, even paid him a visit. Of course it was about Sura and his words were very harsh. However I wasn't convinced by Parker's performance but it's probably because Andy Whitfield is just perfect as Spartacus and Hannah brilliant as Batiatus. After his few scenes in the pilot I was expecting him and his wife Lucretia, played by Lucy Lawless, to act as fools but they're far too smart, manipulative and perverse. The charismatic speech he gave to a reluctant Spartacus even reminded me of Gladiator and allowed us to better understand his motives and background. As for Lawless her performance succeeded in making her character grow on me and the eyes she laid on one gladiator intrigued me. And what about the kiss Gaber's arrogant wife gave her ? Does it mean they own them or something ? In fact I was quite surprised by Batiatus and Lucretia's attitude towards them.



    As for the other characters I found Peter Mensah's performance as Doctore just mind blowing. A black man whipping white gladiators ? It could be reminiscent of Starship Troopers ! He has so much charisma and it's logical considering he has been practicing martial arts since he was six years old. So he's the ideal teacher for these new comers and acts as a beacon for Batiatus. Even his men have their own story and of course some are friends and didn't welcome Spartacus as one of their own. All these controversial relationships enriched the show universe.



    Even if the editing wasn't as astonishing as in the pilot some scenes were still surprising. From the hallucination to the ludus digital flyby there was plenty of elements to appeal the creative viewers. Some of them might disapprove the numerous slow motions but I think that visual effect is well used and allows to better follow the action when it gets intense. And I wouldn't mind some bullet time or split effects ! As for the disappointing sex scenes they got better and the first one was actually quite shocking but far too short. I really hope it will come back to haunt our tortured hero. But the most disturbing one involved Batiatus, Lucretia and their beautiful female slaves. It makes the story more realistic and respectful of the Ancient Rome era because we all know Romans were famous for their orgies. Last but not least the metal soundtrack reminded me of the video game Prince of Persia : Warrior Within. It's punchy but I wish it was a bit more classical and Roman.



    Overall all these elements contributed to make this second installment a success. Spartacus first training felt like the calm before the storm. I can't wait to know what happened to Sura, probably through the eyes of Gaber and Batiatus. In fact all the arcs are interesting and their unavoidable collisions should spark in the dark like blades in the arena. There was also something fascinating about the meaning of the sand beneath their feet and the vital importance of water. Is it a metaphora for blood ? Are the ludus residents like thristy vampires ? Is fighting and killing the only solution to make it rain and survive ? All these questions connect the show to masterpieces like Dune by Frank Herbert. Is the ludus an oasis or the desert itself ? Heaven or hell ?moreless
Craig Parker

Craig Parker

Claudius Glaber

Guest Star

Karl Drinkwater

Karl Drinkwater

Kerza

Guest Star

Kyle Pryor

Kyle Pryor

Marcus

Guest Star

Jai Courtney

Jai Courtney

Varro

Recurring Role

Antonio Te Maioha

Antonio Te Maioha

Barca

Recurring Role

Lesley-Ann Brandt

Lesley-Ann Brandt

Naevia

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Sura: I will always be with you. The gods themselves could not keep me from your side.
      Spartacus
      : I would kill them all for trying.

    • Barca: This is the one. The Spartacus everyone's been pissing about.
      Spartacus
      : Spartacus? My name...
      Crixus: No one gives shit to who you were, Thracian.

    • Barca: What do you expect from a Thracian? Smells like fresh shit.
      Crixus: Oh they all do. Except for their women; they smell like piss and shit.
      Spartacus
      : What're you then?
      Crixus: I'm a Gaul, little man. The greatest of my kind! Crixus, the Undefeated!
      Spartacus
      : A Gaul! That explains why you... smell like a woman.

    • Doctore: What is beneath your feet?
      Kerza
      : Sand?
      (Laughter follows)
      Doctore
      : Crixus! What is beneath your feet?
      Crixus
      : Sacred ground, Doctore. Watered with the tears of blood.
      Doctore:
      Your tears. Your blood. Your pathetic lives forged into something of worth. Listen. Learn. And perhaps, live. As gladiators. Now, attend your master!
      Batiatus: You have been blessed, each and every one of you. You find yourselves here in the ludus of Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, purveyor of the finest gladiators in all the republic! Prove yourselves in the hard days to follow, prove yourselves more than a common slave, more than a man! Fail and die, either here where you stand or sold off to the mines. Succeed, and stand proud among my titans!

    • Doctore: A gladiator does not fear death. He embraces it, caresses it, fucks it.

    • Doctore: None of you stray dogs would last a fleeting moment except one (About Spartacus) This sad, battered Thracian stood against four in the arena, condemned to die, given nothing but a sword to wage his life upon. They came at him again and again and again. He defied death, fate, the Gods themselves. Gaze at this man, study him and realize he is nothing but a coward, a deserter from the auxiliary, his victory in the arena as hollow as his courage.

    • Doctore: Allow advantage to your back and you are dead. Become entangled with a more powerful opponent and you are dead. Hurl your sword in the arena and you are dead again!

    • Varro: Shit-fucking slaves and criminals, the lot of them.
      Spartacus: Are we the better?
      Varro
      : You survived your own execution, twice if you mark the Gaul over there not introducing your brains to the sand. You are of a difference, Thracian, above this unfortunate collection.

    • Batiatus: (to Doctore while in a rage) You have no mother! You were belched from the cunt of the underworld: that's why I favour you!

    • Doctore: (to Batiatus) Your will, my hands.

    • Spartacus: (referring to Sura) My life then... in exchange for hers.
      Glaber
      : Your life is no longer yours to bargain.

    • Claudius Glaber: A parting kindness... to bind us (He procures the purple ribbon) I took it from her thigh to preserve the scent before my men stained it with their own.
      Spartacus: No!
      Glaber: She was a savage amusement. And when the fight finally left her eyes I sold her to an unpleasant Syrian for half a coin.

    • Ilithyia: You really shouldn't have gone to the trouble, Lucretia. These common dishes leave my stomach unsettled.

    • Ilithya: The Gods yet ignore us.
      Lucretia: Perhaps we've done something to offend them.
      Ilithyia: I try to do a little something every day.

    • Ilithyia: (About the gladiators) They are wild and savage, aren't they? Like something out of a fever dream.

    • Batiatus: Why are you here, in this place, under my hospitality? Do you know why? Spartacus: Because I trusted in the honor of a Roman.
      Batiatus
      : You are here because of my grandfather. He built this ludus. He believed that no man was without worth. That even the most vile among us could rise to honor and glory. He instilled these beliefs in my father, who in turn passed them on to me. I am a lanista. Like my forefathers, a trainer of gladiators. I see things in men that they themselves have lost, small spark, an ember, I give it breath, tender, until it ignites in the arena.

    • Batiatus: Well then, how do you know she still lives?
      Spartacus
      : How do you know the heart beats beneath your chest?
      Batiatus
      : Most days I don't. I'm just a simple Roman trying to make his way against the whim of the gods, the politicians, the miscreants. So often you can't tell one from the other, but you… you are the most dangerous of animals, beast born of the heart.

    • Batiatus: What would you do to hold your wife again, to feel the warmth of her skin, to taste her lips, would you kill?
      Spartacus
      : Whoever stood between us.
      Batiatus: How many men? A hundred, A thousand?
      Spartacus
      : I would kill them all.
      Batiatus
      : Then do it in the arena. Fight for me, and the honor of my forefathers. Prove yourself, climb to the pinnacle, gain your freedom, and that of the woman you've lost. Spartacus: I did not lose her. She was taken from me.
      Batiatus
      : A man must accept his fate, or be destroyed by it.
      Spartacus: Why would I place my fate in the hands of another Roman?
      Batiatus: Because of what they hold (Procures the purple strap that Spartacus gave to Sura) Your wife's? (Spartacus nods) Pass the final test tonight with honor and servitude, call me Dominus, and I will help to reunite you (Places the strap in his hand) The choice is yours.

    • Batiatus: Not every venture ends in climax.
      Lucretia: A fact known well to every woman.

    • Batiatus: (at the end of the training) Your life now promises meaning. Swear it to me. Recite the sacramentum gladiatorum.
      Spartacus
      : I commit my flesh, my mind, my will to the glory of this ludus and the commands of my master, Batiatus. I swear to be burned, chained, beaten or die by the sword in pursuit of honour in the arena.
      Batiatus
      : Welcome to the brotherhood!

  • NOTES (1)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      United Kingdom: June 1, 2010 on Bravo.
      Czech Republic: June 8, 2010 on HBO.
      Turkey: September 26, 2010 on CNBC-e.
      Slovakia: July 17, 2011 on Markiza.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

More
Less