Crixus and Spartacus versus the Shadow of Death!
by Chris Carabott for IGN
US, February 22, 2010 - For a series that pretty much boils down to a bloody fight at the end of each episode there are a lot of intriguing story arcs going on behind the scenes. Crixus' love triangle is starting to heat up and affect him in battle, Batiatus continues to struggle as he desperately fights to pay off debts and rival groups oh and lets not forget Spartacus' quest for freedom and to be with his wife once again. "Shadow Games" weaves all of these story lines into a great build up for a fight pitting Crixus and Spartacus against the so-called Shadow of Death who has never been defeated.
With Spartacus' story being fairly cut and dry for now it appears that the writers have taken a lot of interest in developing the character of Crixus. When we first met the Hero of Capula he seemed like the typical Ludus brute who sought glory and battle above all else. As his story has progressed however we've discovered quite an interesting character who is now torn between two (and potentially three) lovers. Crixus has been fighting so long that he's forgotten what it means to be free and Spartacus is finally showing him that there is more to fight for than just glory in victory.
While Crixus yearns to be with Naevia, his sexual relationship with Lucretia is starting to have its problems. The fact that he essentially couldn't "get it up" this week in her presence speaks volumes about the emotional turmoil he's going through and may have been in part the cause of his failure in battle. In another scene, Ilithyia requests an audience with Crixus and has him stripped nude while she admires his body. Both Naevia and Lucretia were forced to look on as the man they so desire is touched by another. It's a messed up situation to say the least and it is clearly starting to wear Crixus thin. Manu Bennett has been doing a great job in the role. Especially in conveying Crixus' emotional struggles with both Lucretia and Naevia.