Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Season 1 Episode 5

Shadow Games

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 19, 2010 on Starz

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
468 votes
  • Spartacus and Crixus face off against the undefeated shadow of death.

    Another solid episode of Spartacus tonight with only a few minor issues. I'm finding myself drawn more and more into the show and the writers have finally begun to do a good job of complicating matters and making the supporting cast a bit more interesting.. of course, "a bit" are the operative words. Besides Batiatus and Doctore, I find the supporting cast under-written and given uninteresting things to do. Not that they don't have the potential for interesting things, but the show still has some work to do in this arena.

    However, the idea of Spartacus and Crixus having to team up to slay the undefeated "Shadow of Death" was intriguing and lead to an incredible fight, once more showing why this show has the best fight scenes. Even the movie "Gladiator" would be put to shame. And while I didn't think that Crixus and Spartacus would actually bond here, they at least shared a common belief: that there is something beyond glory in the arena, something worth fighting for in the form of love or a loved one.

    The show is certainly getting better with each and every episode. The plot between Batiatus and Ovidius was originally background noise, but it's definitely coming to the forefront now. I like John Hannah as Batiatus in this show, but man, the writers certainly make it difficult to like him in this show. For every honorable thing he does, he does something slimy and corrupt the next second. Here, the big shocker was him murdering the entire family of Ovidius, including his family.

    If the show can focus less on Crixus' love for multiple women and more on the drama between the main characters, the show might be even better than it has become.
  • Compelling!

    The series goes from strength to strength. The characters are believable, the storylines compelling.
    This combined with in your face action and drama I think reflects accurately on the era it is set in. While there are some embellishments, such as the language, I think it helps us connect with the actors and as long as you are not too cynical, reels you in as if you were actually there.

    After watching the 9 episodes released so far this is in my opinion the best yet and I find myself glued to the screen. The build up to the final fight is very well done and the final show down did not dissapoint. Character development is also being done well and the plot seems consistantly differant, unlike many other series.

    All in all I think this series and episode is a breath of fresh air. Excellently delivered it is well worth watching and although the nudity and language may be shocking at first, you soon forget and are drawn into the story as it unwinds. Keep it up!
  • waw waw waw

    This tv show is really surprising me each episode I really loved this episode every thing in it is perfect the story starting getting more interested, although i still think that the nudity part still much but that is OK its a show that is talking about Rome :) i like the part where Spartacus jumped of and fight, iam still not sure if the little kid was killed by the gay guy. lool i don't know the names yet, kinda hard to remember all of them. and I like XENA'S ROLE. SHE still great. I will be toned in next week and cant wait.
  • Shadow Games

    I was just watching The Hills Have Eyes the other night and I thought the mutants in that movie were pretty scary; but they had nothing on that monster at the end of tonight's episode. That thing was just scary. It was a little ridiculous how much punishment it survived, but as far as creating a suspenseful, dramatic action scene, it did succeed in that regard.

    The fight scenes are really becoming great on Spartacus, and among the best on television. They alone make this show worth watching, but the writing overall is improving each week. They just have to figure out a way to get us to care about the supporting cast and right now that is not happening. It is the same problem The Tudors and other historical shows often face.
  • Reality from the past.

    What an episode! My heart was in my mouth at the last fight scene. Great acting, great direction, and great choreography for the fight scenes. I cant fault this episode. I've done some history on this time, and I have to say the show stays true to the really history of the time, names are unchanged and all the blood, sex and violence are true to the times. This is how it was. I hope they keep this show going. I cant wait to see the next installment. Nice show guys. Keep it up. I wish more shows were like this, true to how life is and was.
  • Excellent episode..

    This week's presentation delivered one of the best episodes of the show, maybe THE best so far.

    Finally, Spartacus is behaving a bit and not trying to rebel against everything and everyone.

    The final confrontation was the prelude for Spartacus' rise to mainstream entertainment.. lol
    Pretty Crixus is alright and we'll be left healing while Spartacus takes the role as the main gladiator.

    We all know the guy isn't called Spartacus but I'm not sure if we can consider a slave rebellion in the future.
    The main thing is what's he's gonna do later. I've read the summary os the 7th episode and it seems his wife is dead so all the willpower he demonstrated to trying to find her was all in vain..
    And what now? Of course he won't just kill himself.. if he did so, it's the end of the show.
    He'll be the best gladiator ever.. and what happens then, we'll have to see for ourselves..

  • Excellent build up to a climatic end. This episode shows that spartacus as a show is i evolving and getting better with each episode that passes.

    Excellent build up to a climatic end. This episode shows that spartacus as a show is i evolving and getting better with each episode that passes. I wasn't so sure about the show after seeing the pilot episode, but I chose to stick with show hoping it would get better within the next few episodes. I was right and it seems to be paying off. This episode and the previous one feutured some much needed character development across the board, to flesh out the characters, and make them more appealing and complex. The storyline too has improved involving some interresting twitsts. I hope the next episodes contineu to expand and improve upon the show, because right now Iam in for the ride.
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Good entertainment, intriguing teamwork, boomerang story but too many arcs, emotional and surreal ending

    What's in the shadow of the giant ? It could have been a Saiyan if Shadow Games was a Dragon Ball Kai episode. Training, humiliation and redemption. It seems Spartacles was ready for his first Labour. Slay the beast. Win the crowd. Make Batiatus rich. Earn your freedom. Get Sura. But things aren't that simple in a wasteland where anyone would sell its own child for a drop of water. Teaming up with Crixus instantly sounded like madness. However arcs developed in the past episodes came back like boomerangs to nourish the story. Until the very end I didn't know what would happen. Indeed like puppet masters the writers played with our mind. How can you predict anything when you can't even trust a writer ? That's how much this show is corrupted.

    Seriously even if the finale fight wasn't as awesome as I hoped it would be, it was still good entertainment. The events were twisted and the ambiance surreal enough to make me believe in miracles. But like in alchemy, life has its way of balancing itself. Is it the beginning of the end ? As for the usual arcs I think they tried to juggle with far too many. Batiatus revenge. Lucretia and Ilithyia's friendship with benefits. Crixus in love. I think they should have focused on the relationship between Spartacus and Crixus. So the idea had potential but I didn't like how it was executed. It doesn't mean it was disappointing, just different from what I had in mind.

    To sum things up my opinion is mixed. Was it surprising ? Definitely. Is it a must see ? Of course ! But it'll remain in the shadow of past episodes. However I have to admit that the end was ambivalent enough to make me uncomfortable. It's quite smart because I really don't expect naive happy endings from the show.