Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

Season 1 Episode 1

Past Transgressions

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 21, 2011 on Starz
out of 10
User Rating
258 votes

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Episode Summary

Once young Batiatus finally gets the control of his father's gladiator school, he immediately begins to plot to make a profitable business out of his ludus. In order to succeed, he puts his most skilled fighter into good use to gain the favour of a rich and cunning nobleman who can help fund the building of a new arena.moreless

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  • The sequel's prequel keeps the show.

    Even though it's more of a fillup in the Spartacus saga there's no reason why it can't be enjoyed just as much. This show begins with the same fast paced action where the previous Spartacus left. Except from some new characters it's good to see the old ones before their prime and glory. I have to admit, when the Celtic gladiator came out all smiles and joking around, I thought Damn, I hope this isn't "the replacement" for Spartacus, but somehow by the end of the episode i grew to like him. If you liked the first season, this prequel will impress you too! It has a lot of potential. In the end I think 'Gods of the Arena' is going to have the same success as it's predecessor. Any great leader has to fall to rise. This episodes portrays Batiatus falling pretty low and losing hope, also focuses on the previous characters relations and introductions. This should be good...Enjoy! Peace!moreless
  • Past Transgressions

    Past Transgressions was a perfect first episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I really enjoyed watching this episode as it recapped what happened at the end of the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, had lots of familiar faces, and ended with a bang. I thought it was awesome how this episode begins to give the background of the characters to the viewers. There was plenty of action, drama, intrigue, and interesting characters. This episode definitely sets the tone of this prequel series, and I certainly look forward to watching the next episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena!!!!!!!moreless
  • The prequel begins

    It truly was a shame that Andy Whitfield had to suffer a relapse, because we're missing out on a second season, along with his fantastic acting. It's nice that we're getting a prequel, but it sure would be nice to avoid all of this somewhat pointless backstory and get some new stuff. But for a prequel episode that pulls us right out of the action, it wasn't too bad.

    First off, unlike the first season of Spartacus, the gladiator plots are the least interesting. Instead, Batiatus and his wife, Lucretia, take the reigns of the season and we get more of John Hannah's frantic and excellent acting. He was good last season, but it'll be nice to see him go from having a small-time Ludus to being the shining beacon of Capua. The end scene sets us up for what should be a great story for Batiatus. And it's definitely strange seeing Celonious and Batiatus as friends. I want to see what caused the rift in their friendship.

    The fight scenes here are amazing as well. The scene where Gannicus (or Gatticus.. can't exactly remember) fights the man in the town blindfolded was awesome.. and the first fight at the beginning was great as well. And I'm REALLY glad Peter Mensah returned as Doctore (although here, he was not yet Doctore of the Ludus.. his real name is Amenius or something similar to that. Unlike the first season of Spartacus, where we had the main focus on Spartacus and his attempt to obtain freedom, there's not necessarily any focus on any specific person. We have Crixus just arriving to Capua, Doctore recovering from his fight with Theocoles and Gannicus, a new Gladiator who is apparently being prepared as the new champion of Capua.

    The prequel should be able to stay interesting as long as they keep everything at a high level of intensity. The second that they make me lose interest in the story, that's the second I'll stop watching.moreless
  • The past is prologue

    "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was rough out of the gate, relying a bit too much on its infamous sex and violence to win over viewers. Thankfully, the bread and circuses gave way to a rather compelling character drama, hewing more closely to the much-beloved "Rome" than the spectacle of "300", the show's visual inspiration.

    The struggles of star Andy Whitfield against cancer have been well-documented, and the decision to continue with someone new in the lead role was a long and difficult one. The producers, however, were given the chance to make this "prequel" series in the interim, focusing on the backstory of the ludus of Batiatus, the gladiatorial enclave that Spartacus eventually enters in "Blood and Sand".

    The mini-series gets off to a rousing start with the usual torrents of blood and eager flesh, but the episode doesn't hit its stride until the focus on character once again takes center stage. Batiatus is the same scheming bastard that he was in "Blood and Sand", but in this case, it's about gaining his reputation, not capitalizing on it. Former champion Oenumaus (the future doctore of the ludus) wants to reclaim his position, but it has been taken by the ridiculously arrogant Gannicus, whose love of wine, women, and song is sure to bring him to a cringe-worthy end.

    Considering the fact that Oenumaus was one of the standout characters in "Blood and Sand", it will be interesting to see his character arc in this mini-series. Similarly, we see the arrival of Crixus to the ludus, and we know that he goes from rookie to champion in due course. Also, the scheming Ashur, now nearly as arrogant as Gannicus, will be rendered lame before much longer. Hopefully all of these aspects will play out in the remaining five episodes.

    The brawl in the market was brutal, but made far more interesting than the opening melee by the stakes for Batiatus. As much as we hate the character, and no matter how deserving his death was in "Blood and Sand", the audience is still well-conditioned to wish for his success. Beyond that, the choreography made it believable that a blindfolded Gannicus could beat an unencumbered opponent.

    This appears to be the turn of fortune for Batiatus, but the story takes one of its nasty turns when his current foe manages to outwit him. The beating delivered to Batiatus is just plain disgusting, especially when Tullius, the triumphant schemer, punctuates his point. I'll leave that particular plot element unspoiled!

    Lucy Lawless once again plays Lucretia perfectly, with a dose of irony given what we know is to come, and some will be gratified to know that she gets topless on a regular basis. Also notable is the arrival of the hedonistic Gaia, played by Jaime Murray (HG Wells on "Warehouse 13"), who could be the catalyst for Lucretia's future indiscretions.

    If there is one downside to this strong start to "Gods of the Arena", it's the reminder that the strength of the first season of "Blood and Sand" was its exploration of the politics and scheming within the House of Batiatus, both masters and slaves. How the second season of "Blood and Sand" will fare, outside of those walls, is a compelling question. But for now, fans can rest assured that this prequel is the equal of its inspiration.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (38)

    • Lucretia: The fights are particularly entertaining today.
      Batiatus: You'd enjoy them more viewed from the pulvinus. Fucking shit eater. Let Vettius preen like a woman.
      Lucretia: You'll school him in the ways of men when Gannicus takes to the sands.

    • Lucretia: Vettius begins the match without proper instruction?
      Batiatus: Proper? Vettius and the word are of distant relations.
      Solonius: I for one am grateful to be spared his oratory. The man's voice causes skull to ache.

    • Solonius: Is your man ever of a serious note?
      Batiatus: He'd strip naked and fight with his cock as long as he wins.

    • Lucretia: Can we not stay for the rest of the games?
      Batiatus: Vettius' men command the prominent matches. He has more than enough eyes to watch him stroke his cock. I would not add ours to the sight.

    • Otho: Perhaps one day the pretty little bitch will fight later in the afternoon with the rest of the men.
      Gannicus: You and your tiny cock best pray that day never come.

    • Batiatus: Did you catch the manner of his eye as he gazed down from the pulvinus? Fucking Vettius. Barely free of his mother's tit, yet carries himself above lanistas of more deserving years.
      Solonius: Youth often imagines itself swollen beyond its worth.
      Batiatus: Time will cure him of the condition, as it does all foolish young men.

    • Lucretia: How could Tullius and the Magistrate favour a boy from Nola over Capua's own sons?
      Batiatus: How do they do it now?
      Solonius: We must prove ourselves in the more important bouts in the old arena and secure position. To fight later in the day we must first distinguish ourselves against Vettius' men.
      Batiatus: Yet Vettius' men only fight later in the day.
      Solonius: A vexing conundrum.

    • Batiatus: What man dares stand between women and gossip?

    • Solonius: Gaia returns unencumbered. And in enticing form.
      Batiatus: Huh, that woman is a force of fucking nature. One that has blown many an unsuspecting man to his ruin.

    • Batiatus: Have eyes ever beheld such a marvel?
      Solonius: A sight to put the Circus Maximus in Rome to bitter shame.
      Batiatus: We will be the ones shamed, if grand ceremony passes absent our gladiators. We must force advantage before opportunity slips from grasp.
      Solonius: No, we must be patient. Your father would venture forth with respect and caution.
      Batiatus: Then a blessing he is not present.
      Solonius: Perhaps we should send word to him in Sicilia, petition advice...?
      Batiatus: I can already divine content of his reply. Which is why he never rose above his humble station. Fuck patience!

    • Batiatus: Through the ambitions of Tullius, Capua is elevated. A lesson to be studied and reproduced in kind.

    • Batiatus: Even the lowest man can rise beyond the heavens if tempted with the proper reward.

    • Oenomaus: More than a year has passed since I faced Theokoles. Perhaps Dominus does not intend...
      Melitta: You were the only one to ever stand against the Shadow of Death and live. Batiatus would be a fool to keep you from the arena.
      Oenomaus: Or I am the fool, for ever dreaming of such a thing.

    • Lucretia: Oh, you don't seem overly distraught at his passing.
      Gaia: How would you present after years enduring withered flesh groping at you.
      Lucretia: But when you left Capua I thought you madly in love.
      Gaia: I was...with his purse. Sadly his fortunes went dry towards the end.
      Lucretia: And did you aid in their evaporation?
      Gaia: What can I say? I am the glorious sun.

    • Gaia: Your company is all I ever desire.
      Lucretia: And...?
      Gaia: And, I would not refuse the comforts of a well appointed villa, until I manage other arrangements...?
      Lucretia: Involving a ripe purse?
      (Gaia laughs)
      Gaia: So many years have passed, yet nothing has changed.

    • Gaia: Gannicus? That Celt with the ridiculously charming smile?
      Lucretia: He has risen to prominence within the ludus ever since Oenomaus was injured against Theokoles in an amazing display of bravery.

    • Gaia: Gannicus. Oenomaus. All the hard, rippling men right beneath our feet. One moistens at the thought.
      Lucretia: Gaia! They are but slaves!
      Gaia: Please. In all the years you've called this ludus home, you've never once considered fucking one of them?
      Lucretia: The very thought of that turns stomach. I would never lay with any man besides my husband. Let alone a filthy gladiator.

    • Indus: Do you know where you are, friend?
      Crixus: The House of Batiatus. Trainer of gladiators.
      Ashur: Yes. You stand among his latest recruits. Bound by pain and blood, together we toil beneath the cruel sting of Doctore's whip.

    • Ashur: Do you not see it in his eyes? This is a man with dreams of blood and glory.
      Indus: I doubt he'll live to see the test.
      Crixus: Test?
      Ashur: Our last trial. We must all face one of the seasoned men and demonstrate to the Dominus what we have learned. Live, and receive the Mark of the Brotherhood, proving yourself worthy of the arena.
      Crixus: I will stand upon its sands.

    • Batiatus: Solonius was right. I should temper patience as my father would.
      Lucretia: You're not your father. Nor would I have it so.

    • Ashur: Gannicus is a fucking fool yet one of deadly skill. He is often rewarded for his victories with wine and cunt. Gain Dominus' favour and such delights could be yours.
      Crixus: Drink and women are not my concern.
      Ashur: Ah, more for me then.

    • Batiatus: Any one of my men could best yours fucking blindfolded, you pissy little shit.
      Vettius: Listen how the rooster crows.
      Solonius: Let us calm ourselves...
      Batiatus: You doubt my words? Test them.

    • Gaia: It's been ages since I've seen a decent match. Or Tullius. In the blush of youth, he was forever attempting to slip beneath my robes.
      Batiatus: Ha. You should have fucking let him. Tullius has grown to be a man of worth.

    • Batiatus: (About Doctore) His counsel is always valued, yet he is my father's man. His judgment clouded through a haze of outdated traditions. I seek a more visceral assessment. You and I practically grew up together in this ludus. You have witnessed the rise and fall of a dozen champions. What now does your gut tell you of Gannicus? Is he worthy of the mantle?
      Oenomaus: I believe it so.
      Batiatus: He must truly be, for you to offer support despite your own desires.

    • Oenomaus: He has chosen him as champion, he is to face Vettius' man in the marketplace tomorrow.
      Melitta: And this is why you sulk? The streets are no place for the mighty Oenomaus to make his return. The arena will be home to your triumphs hen the time comes. And I will be there to witness it.

    • Oenomaus: Tomorrow you fight for the honor of this ludus. Now is not the time for drink.
      Gannicus: Every night is time for drink. For the morning sun may greet you with your last fucking day.

    • Doctore: A brawl in the streets. Where is the honour in such a thing?
      Batiatus: Fuck honor. This is business.

    • Vettius: There appears to be something missing. Where is your man's blindfold?
      Batiatus: Blindfold? What the fuck...?!
      Vettius: That was your boast, was it not? That your gladiator could best any of my men absent sight...?
      Tullius: You did voice such challenge.
      Batiatus: A simple figure of speech, not meant to be...
      Vettius: Good Tullius... if Batiatus does not wish to honour terms, he should remove himself with tail between legs.
      Gannicus: Doctore (Hands him over his sword to put the blindfold on) Come... the task should not be that difficult. I need only direct my blades towards the smell of shit.
      Doctore: Gannicus. Ever the fool.

    • (About Gannicus fighting blindfolded)
      Gaia: How thrilling. I have never seen such a thing.
      Solonius: For good reason.

    • (Gannicus is fighting blindfolded and losing)
      Solonius: A noble attempt.
      Batiatus: To be remembered only in its failing.

    • Auctus: Only mad Gannicus could win contest fucking blindfolded!
      Barca: Barca could do the same!
      Auctus: And I would kill you for being a fool (He kisses Barca).

    • Gannicus: Dominus he rewards me with all the wine that I can drink and I would share it with my brothers! Those that bear the mark.

    • Batiatus: Gannicus' victory forges path to greater glory. With Tullius' support, we can finally gain proper position in games! Maybe a place in the opening ceremony of the new arena.
      Gaia: After such a magnificent showing, I have no doubt Gannicus will be offered a place in the primus.

    • Gaia: It staggers mind, the change in him.
      Lucretia: Change?
      Gaia: You know my meaning. He always seemed so... demure and cowed. Now he positively burns.
      Lucretia: He has always done so. His light was merely muted by the shadow of his father.
      Gaia: The man could turn day to night with disapproving frown. He never cared much for me. Or, I suspect, anything that smacked of enjoyment...

    • Tullius: Good Batiatus. Word of Gannicus' victory has spread throughout the city. His name, and yours, fall from every mouth.
      Batiatus: May they always find the taste pleasing.

    • Tullius: You surprise me, Batiatus. Your disposition towards business is much more... aggressive than your father's.
      Batiatus: We are of diverging temperament. And desires.

    • Batiatus: How did the Magistrate take to Gannicus' display?
      Tullius: Ignited by it, as was the crowd. He even broached subject of retaining the man for the opening games of the new arena.
      Batiatus: Gannicus in the opening games? If you could aid in such a thing, I would forever be in your debt.
      Tullius: It merely requires a word in the proper ear. All that remains is to agree upon a price.

    • Tullius: I allowed you to purchase one of my slaves. Yet now you deny me the same opportunity?
      Batiatus: Gannicus is not for sale.
      Tullius: Everything is for sale, Batiatus. The question is but price. I make fair offer and you produce cock to piss on me. Do you know what that feels like, Batiatus? Reconsider your answer. Or be excluded from the games forever.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Release Dates:
      USA: January 21, 2011 on Starz.
      Canada: January 23, 2011 on Movie Central.
      United Kingdom: March 21, 2011 on Sky1/Sky1 HD.
      Czech Republic: March 22, 2011 on HBO.

    • Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena began production in New Zealand in August 2010.

    • Broadcast:
      Friday, January 21st at 10:00pm on Starz.
      Saturday, January 22nd at 12:00am on Starz In Black.
      Saturday, January 22nd at 1:00am on Starz In Black.
      Saturday, January 22nd at 10:55pm on Starz.
      Sunday, January 23rd at 12:00am on Starz Edge.
      Sunday, January 23rd at 10:00pm on Starz.
      Sunday, January 23rd at 11:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Monday, January 24th at 12:50am on Starz.
      Monday, January 24th at 10:00pm on Starz Edge.
      Tuesday, January 25th at 01:20am on Starz Edge.
      Tuesday, January 25th at 10:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Wednesday, January 26th at 12:30am on Starz In Black.
      Wednesday, January 26th at 10:00pm on Starz.
      Thursday, January 27th at 12:40am on Starz.
      Thursday, January 27th at 10:00pm on Starz Edge.
      Friday, January 28th at 12:15am on Starz.
      Friday, January 28th at 12:50am on Starz Edge.
      Saturday, January 29th at 11:00pm on Starz Edge.
      Tuesday, February 1st at 10:00pm on Starz In Black.
      Saturday, February 12th at 10:00pm on Starz Edge.