Reckoning was a perfect episode of Spartacus: Gods of The Arena because it had a lot of action, drama, intrigue, and a shocking ending. Just when I was gauging the pace of the season this episode threw me a curve ball. I really enjoyed Titus's competition to see who is worthy to be a Gladiator under his House, though the mines for the losers is a bit harsh. I thought the choice Titus gave Batiatus was stupid and he was just asking for trouble. The story was well written and I enjoyed seeing all the plot and character development. There were a lot of awesome, touching, and sad scenes. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!
It was just a matter of time before everything came to a head. Titus was going to have to be dealt with, Lucretia and Quintus were going to have to have their falling out, and Crixus was going to have to rise to prominence (in all respects). This is one seriously dense episode, and it serves as a fitting penultimate chapter for the mini-series.
There were hints along the way that Titus was being poisoned from the moment he returned, but my suspicions had been centered on Gaia. In retrospect, it makes sense for it to be Lucretia, given the threat to her marriage and standing (however limited it may be). This is in keeping with the harder, more devious Lucretia of "Blood and Sand", and also explains some of the division between husband and wife. Quintus' inability to stand up and defend his wife directly and without pause is also a clear factor. To say that Lucy Lawless pulls off this character arc with remarkable skill is an understatement.
I was expecting Melitta to die before the end of the mini-series, because we've heard about her death already in "Blood and Sand". This is a particularly nasty way to go, however, and it resolves the problem of having Oenumaus know about her tryst with Gannicus. It would have been too damaging to the character of Oenumaus to have him implicated in her death, and wouldn't align with his words on the matter when describing his loss to Spartacus.
It's hard to believe that Quintus Batiatus could ever be seen in a sympathetic light, but the writers manage to make it happen in this mini-series. Without holding back on his negative personality flaws, they display the lingering sense of decency that eventually erodes away. He is willing, in the end, to give up his life in the House of Batiatus to remain with Lucretia. Instead, we know that this marriage is about to be mortally wounded.
This episode marks the beginning of the relationship between Lucretia and Crixus, and it is remarkably cold and calculated when compared to the heat and passion seen in "Blood and Sand". I would expect that element to be added in some respect in the finale. Of course, the calculation here is reflective of her equally calculated actions with Titus, but somewhere along the line, reason gives way.
I've been waiting for the moment when Ashur gets his just reward, but they haven't quite finished with the process of displaying just how pathetic and scheming he really is. Despite all the back-stabbing seen in "Blood and Sand", I wasn't expecting them to make him even less sympathetic here. I suspect Ashur will get his infamous wounds in the finale, and it will be well-deserved.
Gannicus' trade to Tulius would appear to explain his absence from "Blood and Sand", though I still maintain that his character arc feels more designed for a death in the arena (possibly opposite Crixus) than survival for future use. However, if this mini-series was originally designed as a single flashback episode for the second season, it might have been intended to introduce Gannicus at that stage. So it's possible he'll return for the second season of "Blood and Sand", in keeping with the history of the Third Servile War. (And thanks to readers who reminded me of that detail!)
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