My #4 show of 2012 has returned for its final season with a great episode for those of you who have yet to sign up for the revolution.
Let’s bitch it out…I was concerned going into the premiere ‘Enemies Of Rome’ that the series would be too far into its run for new viewers to join in on the fun. Thankfully this first episode manages to deftly mix exposition with action, so new viewers can easily catch-up.
After last season ended with a blood bath that eliminated more than half the cast (RIP Lucretia, Ilythia, Glaber, Oenomaus, Ashur and Mira), the premiere finds our remaining players on the cusp of a major offensive with an army of freed slaves. We’re also introduced to Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells), the new antagonist – a man solely interested in title and honour. Although we don’t get to see him interact with Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), it’s clear by the end of the hour that these two are very much equals: Crassus is able to manipulate Spartacus into killing his Roman rivals because he can anticipate how the freed gladiator thinks (“it’s what I would do” he tells his son after Spartacus has taken out the Roman nobles who stood in Crassus’ way).
What’s interesting about Crassus is that he’s not a hissable villain like Glaber (Craig Parker) was last season. He’s much more akin to Batiatus (John Hannah) from S1. Crassus is a man who believes he’s owed more respect than he receives and he plots to get ahead at the expense of his competitors. What’s unclear from this first episode is where Crassus goes from here. By the end of ‘Enemies Of Rome’ he’s been handed a new title (Imperator) and put in charge of taking down Spartacus, but how he handles 10, 000 men against the most powerful enemy Rome has ever seen is unknown.
With the battle lines drawn, and character relationships and themes reestablished, we’re now on embarking on a confrontational meeting between these two adversaries…and the introduction of Julius Ceasar (an unseen Todd Lasance), who will change everything.
- Not much new to report on Crixus (Manu Bennett), Agron (Daniel Feuerriegel) or Nasir (Pana Hema-Taylor) except to say that they’re all still alive and sexually active
- The change that began in Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) last season continues as she is more adept at fighting and blood shedding than ever
- As expected, Gannicus (Dustin Clare) remains the odd man out. He refuses to take on a role of leadership in the group, but does agree to continue fighting for Spartacus’ cause. Oh, and he and Saxa (Ellen Hollman), the crazy German sexpot, now appear to be a thing
- Just in case you forgot it was Spartacus and premium cable: here’s some boobs, butts and a foursome
- Also, the bloodletting is back at dizzying heights. My personal favourite: the final scene in which Spartacus seeks bloody vengeance on the two high profile Romans he’s sought throughout the episode. One swipe of his double swords severs their necks; the second chops off their heads. Delicious
- It’s clear that Gannicus is not Spartacus’ only concern. Now that the freed slave encampment has grown so big, there’s not only dissent about the way decisions (such as food, clothing and shelter) are being handled, but with winter coming on, they need a place to stay until Spring. Guess some poor Roman city is about to get sacked!
- Finally, a few observations on Crassus’ family: Are we in agreement that his son, Tiberius (Christian Antidormi) is a big ol’ gay with a hard-on for his bestie? And what is the nature of Tiberius’ relationship with house slave Kore (Jenna Lind)? All interesting elements to keep an eye out for as the series progresses
What did you think of the premiere? Are you intrigued by this new antagonist? Do you think that Gannicus is the weak link on Spartacus’ team? Finally, were you as stunned as me at how similar Crassus’ wife looks like Ilythia (dearly departed Viva Blanca, my favourite Spartacus character)? Hit the comments below with your thoughts
Spartacus: War Of The Damned airs Fridays at 9pm EST on STARZ