AfterElton has such a beautifully written article at the death of Barca and Pietros. Tim has written a great article. Check it out.
What Worked – and Didn't Work – About "Spartacus"' Shocking Gay Twist
When the Starz network began its advertisement campaign for Spartacus: Blood and Sand, it seemed obvious that this would be a show unlike any other on television. Clearly taking its visual cue from the film 300 and its basic storyline from Gladiator, it was to be a series that would push the boundaries of sex and violence on television.
And then, another big reveal: there would be equal parts male and female nudity – almost unheard of when it comes to American entertainment. And if that wasn’t enough to lure in gay and bisexual male viewers, we got the scoop that there would also be – get this – a gay gladiator. And not just any gladiator, but one of the biggest and toughest on the show!
By now we were hooked, and Starz not only kept their word, but exceeded it. Yes, there was ample eye candy that gay male viewers could enjoy, and yes, there was certainly a bad-ass gay gladiator, but the writers went above and beyond by showcasing the fact that the gay gladiator, Barca, was in a committed and loving relationship with another slave named Pietros. Even better, none of the other characters thought any less of him or anything negative about their relationship at all.
It seemed too good to be true. It even caused some to wonder who exactly the target demographic for this show was. Surely, heterosexual men aged 18-35 would be uncomfortable with the level of intimacy shown between Barca and Pietros.