Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

Season 1 Episode 4

Beneath The Mask

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 2011 on Starz

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

out of 10
165 votes
  • Tensions arise in the Batiatus House.

    There wasn't as much focus on the life of the Gladiator's in this episode; instead, we got quite a lot of tension within the house of Batiatus and Quintus' attempts to gain favor in the games. It's becoming more and more clear how this prequel connects with the rest of the first season. I still think that all of the plots involving Spartacus are way more interesting than anything the prequel has done to date, but that doesn't mean that this isn't entertaining. The prequel seems to be building towards a crazy ending, and somewhere hidden behind all the sex and violence of this episode was some interesting developments.

    I'm not sure how I feel about Gannicus actually being interested in Doctore's wife, but I suppose I shouldn't think about it too much. It gives the character of Gannicus something to do.. I thought he was supposed to be the lead actor of the show, but he's been in the background of everything else so far.

    I do enjoy the way they're showing Quintus' rise, as well as Crixus. I think this is the first time we actually got a semi-explanation from Crixus as to why he's so obsessed with winning. I remember being confused as to why in the world Crixus was so gung-ho about winning when we didn't even know anything about his past. However, things are beginning to make a little more sense.

    With Gaia dead and tensions even higher between Quintus and his father, I look forward to seeing how in the world Quintus deals with his father. One downside to a prequel arriving after the sequel is that we already know who's alive and who's dead in the original series.. now, there's no surprise in the death of certain characters. The only surprise is how it happens, which isn't necessarily as exciting.
  • The body count mounts

    Every time I think this series can't get more devastating for its characters, I'm proven wrong. This mini-series has been building towards a number of showdowns, but few will be more deserved than the fate of Tulius.

    As much as the damage done to the House of Batiatus was largely self-inflicted, what we discover in this episode is that Quintus has been more right than he has been wrong. Sure, his impulsive nature factored into this debacle, but Tulius' actions demonstrate all too well why Titus Batiatus is wrong in seeking diplomacy. It's not about station or respect anymore. If it had been, Titus' capitulation in the previous episode would have settled the matter.

    I've been waiting for the turning point for Lucretia, away from the dutiful wife to the creature she is in "Blood and Sand", and Gaia's death fits the bill. She doesn't look completely broken by the end of this episode, but the process has well and truly begun. I imagine the coming showdown with both Titus and Tulius will complete the process, concurrent with the fall of Gannicus and the rise of Crixus. Quintus may be required to make choices that drive the wedge between husband and wife made familiar in "Blood and Sand".

    This is the brilliance of the writing for this show. Amid the spectacle is this utterly tragic turn of events. The orgy could have been simple "eye candy", but instead, it is all about the dread of what must inevitably take place once Tulius enters the house. I was reminded, over the course of the episode, of the classic "Babylon 5" episode "The Coming of Shadows", when Titus came to the conclusion that Quintus drew him away from Capua to find common ground. While son allows father to assume intent, death hangs over the House of Batiatus.

    With Gannicus' death waiting in the wings, given his hubris and his absence in "Blood and Sand", his relationship with Melitta made his potential demise in this episode a tragic missed opportunity. We know Melitta meets an untimely end, but this is going to be even more of a mess than anticipated.

    I've been waiting for some kind of movement on the eventual rift between Quintus and Polonius, given their feud in "Blood and Sand", and I suppose this fits the bill. Quintus could choose to interpret Polonius' departure as a contributor to Gaia's death and his own bad fortune, but it seems inevitable that it will come down to Polonius' decision to tell Tulius about the orgy in the first place. Quintus, being the man he is, will happily transfer all blame and responsibility onto Polonius' shoulders.

    Ashur has been lurking in the background, having received his mark in the least honorable manner imaginable, and sure enough, we see the seeds of his future fate being sown in this episode. His lack of skill in the arena is hardly surprising, and it seems likely that we will see the moment he is brutally injured before "Gods of the Arena" comes to a close. How many brothers are betrayed along the way is the real question yet to be answered.
  • Beneath The Mask

    Beneath The Mask was a perfect episode of Spartacus: Gods Of The Sand. This episode delivered amzing action, dream like scenes of de'bauchery, and tragedy for a beloved character. Titus continues to exert himself over young Batiatus and Lucretia as they continue to plot the rise of their house. There was a lot of character development in this episode for many of the characters. This episode had every thing that makes the show a pleasure to watch. There was much intrigue and manuevering amongst the elite, and forbidden touches, secrets, and revelations amongst the slaves and gladiators. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!
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