Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

Season 1 Episode 6

The Bitter End

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 25, 2011 on Starz

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • The prologue comes to a close

    Everything comes to a head in what has become standard spectacular "Spartacus" fashion in this resolution to the prequel mini-series. Vengeance and glory are the order of the day, as well as a glimpse into the future as the writers (and the fans) turn their eyes to the follow-up to "Blood and Sand".

    The revenge against Tulius and Vettius had been a long time coming, and Lucretia set them up beautifully as the scapegoats for the deaths of Titus and Mellita. At that point, the story was relatively straightforward: Batiatus wants blood, and his allies provide. What was surprising was Solonius' role in the vengeance. After all, the audience knew that Batiatus and Solonius would have a major falling out sooner rather than later, and this seemed to be the right time and place.

    But the writers had something far more insidious in mind, playing on the penchant for characters to take maximum offense to thoughtless insult. We've already seen it happen with Batiatus and Lucretia, and now it comes to a head with Solonius. Suddenly all those biting comments come back to haunt Batiatus, and the genesis of the bitter feud between former friends is revealed.

    The nice thing is that it makes sense. Vettius' ludus was the main competitor for Batiatus' enterprise in Capua, and it seemed odd that Soloniuis would simply generate a contending ludus in a matter of months. His wholesale takeover of Vettius' assets, however, explains the seeming discontinuity. And it also serves to bring immediacy of context to the contest on the sands during the opening games of the new arena.

    Other little things were addressed in this episode. Lucretia's affair with Crixus takes a big step forward, and Naevia takes her place as Lucretia's body slave. Diona meets a cruel end in the arena after being captured. It's made abundantly clear that slaves in the Roman world are nothing more than pawns in the Great Game. But as it should be, the majority of the big moments come in the arena, as we get to see the final twists for Gannicus, Crixus, and Ashur.

    While one could definitely point out that the bloodshed and violence of that final act plays into the subversive societal commentary at the heart of the series, the entire sequence was underscored by the character dynamics. The editing was careful to focus on each character whose fate was important to the story. The interpersonal conflicts informed what would have otherwise been empty spectacle.

    Ashur has never been a sympathetic character, but "Gods of the Arena" has really demonstrated how loathsome he is. The writers made the audience cheer for Dagan to get his revenge, even as it was clear that Ashur was going to survive. Yet at the same time, Ashur does survive to the near-end of the final match, which is better than he should have done. The irony, then, is that he finally demonstrates some skill in the arena, just to have all that potential ripped away when Crixus hobbles him.

    Once it became clear that the writers were not going to have the Gannicus/Crixus throwdown that they both wanted, it was hard to determine how they would get themselves out of the hole. Crixus' toss out of the ring was a bit too easy, but the rest worked brilliantly. Gannicus' freedom allows for his return in the follow-up to "Blood and Sand" while explaining why he was never mentioned previously.

    The upshot is that Gannicus can return, and this backstory with implications for Crixus and Oenomaus would necessarily factor into the plot at that point. With the change in actors for the roles of Spartacus and Naevia, it would help the production gain a sense of continuity to have yet another familiar face.
  • Perfect payback episode...

    This was one of the best Spartacus episodes... The first part represents the payback to Ludus for this actions...The character of Batiatus is an interesting one, a villain not afraid to take great risks for great rewards...The quote that was most inspiring to me was from Salonius: "when passion for vengeance overtakes caution even the keenest of minds is easily deceived"...
    The second part representing the fight in the arena finished surprisingly well, considering it was supposed to be a last man standing match...And then Gannicus's decision made for even more surprise...
    Even though for some people this show seems like a mindless fight, sex, TV show it does have its magic.
  • Great Ending to a Great Prequel!

    ** Some Spoiler Alert ** Wow, this is one of those episodes that you just have to say 'wow' to. Batiatus is back to his 'old' tricks of punishing everyone that dared stand in his way. His punishment for Tullius was both cruel and appropriate. Everything about this episode ties up loose end perfectly. While there aren't many surprises in the plot (it IS a PREQUEL afterall) there are a few things that still touches the heart. Diona's reappearance for one. And oh God, I hate that friend of Quintilius (that annoying looking egg head). That aside, the final fight of the episode was simply spectacular and the result of the fight was even more gorgeous. This episode also sees Crixius becoming more presentable (like how we see him in Spartacus Blood and Sand). I am not going to give more details about the ending because I will just give it all away. I did really enjoy the show, chapter 6 wrapped things up very nicely.
  • The Bitter End

    The Bitter End was a perfect episode and finale of Spartacus: Gods of The Arena. I enjoyed watching this episode because it picked up where the last episode left off. There was a lot of drama, intrigue, action, and character and plot development. It was interesting to get the back story of the characters and to see how every thing came about. This episode wraps every thing up leading to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, ending with a scene from Blood and Sand's first season. The opening of the new arena and the fights held there were awesome. I really look forward to watching the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand!!!!!!!
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