Spartacus Blood and Sand Episode 13 Recap / Review by MaryD
Credits for this episode:
Directed by Steven S. DeKnight and Jesse Warn
Writing credits (in alphabetical order) Steven S. DeKnight (written by) Brent Fletcher (story editor), Aaron Helbing (staff writer), Todd Helbing
(staff writer). Miranda Kwok (staff writer)
Spartacus' fury culminates in the stunning season finale
"What would you do to hold your wife again, to feel the warmth of her skin, the taste of her lips. How many men would you kill? A hundred? A thousand? - Spartacus to Batiatus
Flashback to 22 November 2009 and my preview/review of Episode 2
I'm going to make another prediction - this will be a MEGA MONSTER HIT show. Guaranteed monster hit show. It has ALL the elements of a great show: great writing, excellent direction, wonderful characters, superb actors and a seriously good plot. Forget the media hype about the sex, nudity and violence; yes you have those but they are secondary to the actual story. I am NOT surprised that Starz is thrilled with this series. Not surprised at all.
and now to Episode 13 Season Finale "Kill Them All"
What an absolute MEGA MONSTER HIT this show has become! What incredible writing by Steven DeKnight. BRILLIANT doesn't cover it. From a writing standpoint it's just incredible. From an acting standpoint, I have NEVER seen a show with so many talented actors in one place. Usually you will get 2-3 standouts but to have an ensemble cast such as Spartacus and to have them ALL be incredible is just mind blowing.
So what happens in Episode 13? The body count in this episode exceeds all the other 12 episodes combined. So instead of giving my usual running commentary on the episode, I've decided to showcase each character and what became of them in this episode.
SPARTACUS (Andy Whitfield)
What I wrote: Andy as Spartacus is a revelation. I will admit to have doubts about the actor chosen as the fierce warrior Spartacus but after having watched the first episode, those fears evaporated in seconds. Andy Whitfield is PERFECT for the role. I was very impressed with the way he brought Spartacus to life. Spartacus' love for his wife is very evident and every decision he makes is to defend his village and get back to Sura.
Andy Whitfield is a mega star. He truly is. He has presence and is one hell of a great actor. He brought Spartacus to life and whilst I grieve with the man for the loss of his wife, I can't help by being unsettled by his one track mentality. There is no deviation for him. He has a goal and that is to avenge his wife's death. Indeed how many are to die because of this? Whilst Crixus was obsessed about being a gladiator and the champion of Capua, Spartacus is obsessed with revenge and hate. That can only lead to destruction. A complex character.
Outcome: He avenges his wife's death by killing Batiatus and starts the slave rebellion
Season 2: Absolutely (get well Andy!)
QUINTUS LENTULUS BATIATUS (John Hannah)
What an INCREDIBLE actor. My initial thoughts on the man were: The pairing of John as Batiatus and Lucy as Lucretia is an interesting one. He comes across as a weak man which is rather fascinating but he isn't a weak man...
Batiatus was not a weak man but seriously underestimated one. I LOVED John's portrayal of the Dominus. Batiatus could be extremely clueless then in an instant be extremely ruthless as evidenced by his murder of the Magistrate. What proved to be his undoing was the murder of Sura. That was the turning point in his life and one which proved to be extremely deadly for Quintus Lentulus Batiatus. He crosses the wrong man and the outcome for him is the complete destruction of The House of Batiatus.
The end of Batiatus was poetic justice, in my opinion. Spartacus confronts his Dominus, surrounded by other gladiators. I'll give the man some brownie points for being spunky against the odds. The sight of Batiatus holding off well trained gladiators was cool; he wasn't a coward. He knew his fate when Spartacus arrived and yet he continued to fight for his life. His will was diminished when Lucretia entered the picture and fell before him.
Harking back to episode 2 Sacramentum Gladiatorum and the exchange between Dominos and Spartacus was repeated:
Batiatus: What would you do to hold your wife again, to feel the warmth of her skin, to taste her lips, would you kill?
Spartacus: Whoever stood between us.
Batiatus: How many men? A hundred? A thousand?
Spartacus: I would kill them all.
This time it was Spartacus to Batiatus as Lucretia lay dying a few meters from Batiatus
Spartacus: What would you do to hold your wife again, to feel the warmth of her skin, the taste of her lips. How many men would you kill? A hundred? A thousand?
Outcome: Spartacus avenges his wife's murder by killing her murderer. He slices Batiatus' throat. What I found extraordinary about this scene is that Batiatus stumbled and fell right next to his dying wife. I actually felt sorry for him for a nanosecond. At least he died with some sort of courage.
Season 2: Sadly Batiatus' sliced throat was terminal and won't be back.
LUCRETIA (Lucy Lawless)
Lucy is so right for this role. For Xena fans...there is a nod to Xena fans (well I perceived it as a nod but I could be wrong and reading it all wrong but what the heck it was fun). I do not want to give too much away but I do love watching Lucy's very expressive face. She can convey so much without uttering a word. Fascinating.
Lucy Lawless the incredible, amazing, absofrigginlutely perfect Lucretia. To say I'm biased would be an understatement. Lucy is the reason I was interested in the show from the moment it was announced. She was the reason I sat down to watch naked people romp around on screen and blood being poured out by the truckloads. She was the reason I created AUSXIP Spartacus. NO other actor would have got me interested in a show about sex, nudity and bloodshed. NO ONE. This show tested my resolve on many occasions and it crossed lines I never thought I would cross when it came to my viewing habits.
I'll admit to being apprehensive about Lucy showing more than she had previously in any other role; it was something I didn't feel the need to see but when you are a fan, you will step across with them and see where it leads trusting that the person you admire knows what they are doing and why they are doing it. It's the reason you are a fan.
Where it led to was watching this amazing actress take a role and transform into a character with so may layers from a woman aching to have a child, who loved her husband dearly but was willing to have an affair with a slave, who was conniving, manipulative and ruthless. I LOVED watching Lucy in this role; she does bad girl so beautifully.
Lucretia also had softness about her (if you can call it that). She did indeed care for Naevia because she didn't kill her for loving Crixus even though she knew how much her Domina loved the gladiator.
Lucretia also showed in this episode that she had courage. Instead of fleeing with the rest of the guests, she makes sure young Numerious is hidden along with Aurelia. She then heads back to be with her husband. For all her scheming and nasty ways...I do have a soft spot for Lucretia. I do love bad girls especially if they are played by one Lucy Lawless.
Outcome: Crixus runs his sword through her belly. It was surprising that he walked away and had not finished Lucretia there and there. Does Crixus have a tiny sliver of something for Lucretia? I'm betting he doesn't but it was unusual.
Season 2: Lucretia lay dying but there was movement in the pool of blood...She's coming back (Lucy revealed she had signed on for Season 2). I'm going to guess that Lucretia is going to be out of some Roman blood herself and her hatred for Spartacus will reach new levels. Illythia will be in the same Hate List for sure after what she did to her BFF.
ILITHYA (Viva Bianca)
What I wrote: Her character bio reads: The spoiled, selfish daughter of Senator Albinius, she is also the wife of Claudius Glaber. Young and impressionable, she finds herself alone and bored in Capua. Now this character is an absolute revelation. The one character I initially thought after reading the character info would be boring but she is anything but boring. VERY interesting. Watch this character...and the bio is a way off.
I had popcorn at the ready, I had a comfy seat and I was waiting for the slice and dice to occur. Unfortunately the monstersandcritics site totally destroyed the enjoyment and revealed Ilithyia was not going to die. April MacIntyre from monstersandcritics... HAVE YOU NOT HEARD OF USING SPOILER WARNINGS?! Good grief. Boo Hiss. Spoilt it. Okay now that I've gotten that off my chest...we come to one of the acting finds...VIVA BIANCA.
She's an Aussie and yet I had never heard of her. She took the role of someone I had initially thought would be completely boring and turned her into such a deliciously psychotic. I LOVE Ilithyia. She has one speed...psychotic mode. I suspect she loves her husband but is willing to share herself with others as evidenced by what she revealed to Lucretia in the final episode to get what she wants.
She is also evil. She organised for the Roman guards to be "absent" and then shut herself away from the bloodshed. Did she know about the upcoming rebellion? It looks like she must have had some inkling of it which is rather odd or at the very least was hoping for some trouble. Xena fans will remember the absolutely wonderful Callisto (played by Hudson Leick). Beautiful, psychotic Callisto. Ilithyia is Callisto on steroids. She takes it to a whole new level. Deliciously evil and psychotic! What a great combination.
Love characters like that and actors who can make you want to scream at the screen in delight because they take their character and make you feel, they are just priceless.
Outcome: Lives to see the destruction of the House of Batiatus
Season 2: Oh yeah she's coming back!
DOCTORE (Peter Mensah)
What I wrote: WARNING: Fan girl Moment #1 *sigh* <g> That's all I'm going to say about Doctore. *deep deep heavy sigh* Hehehe. I'm having a fan girl moment..just give me time..........okay I'm back...Memo to Rob: can I have a show with just Doctore Please? Pretty Please? <g>
Peter Mensah is just one of the most gifted actors I've ever seen. He is a delight to watch. Oh goodness. Doctore. I wasn't sure what to make of Doctore from episode 2; he was a quiet character but he certainly came into his own. Doctore is a man of honour. Whilst everyone else was scheming and doing naughty things, Doctore was the only one to have shown honour at all times. He lived the code.
One of my favourite characters and continues to be so. He showed in this episode that what he waned to be fair. He even let that snake, Ashur, have a half a chance. I simply loved the "battle" between him and Ashur. Doctore could have taken Ashur's head off quite easily and was playing with him. The fact that the weasel got away is not important. What's important is that Doctore is one of the most honourable of all the characters on this show.
When it came to making his decision about who to back in the fight; Doctore chose honour and fought on the side of Spartacus. Whilst Spartacus was motivated by hate and revenge, Doctore was motivated by honour. He was deceived by Batiatus. Given the choice of being a free man and fighting with Batiatus, he chose to rebel. He was the voice of reason asking Spartacus when all this bloodshed would be enough.
Outcome: Lives to see the start of the rebellion
Season 2: Oh yes please! MORE Doctore!
CRIXUS (Manu Bennett)
What I wrote: I have forgotten how much I enjoyed Manu's acting (last saw him as Antony in the Season 5 Xena episode Antony and Cleopatra). He comes across as such a strong character.
Manu once again proves what a powerhouse actor he is. All the way through this series, Manu made me want to explore Crixus' character. Crixus was a man being used and abused by his Dominos and by his Domina. It wasn't until he fell in love did the man start to feel. He was a killing machine and that's all he was. He lived for the battle and took pride in being The Champion of Capua. It wasn't until his heart was pierced by Naevia did he soften. He still talked about becoming the champion again but his focus shifted. Naevia was his kryptonite. Everything he did revolved around being with her and influenced his decisions.
In the end Crixus chose to side with Spartacus in order to find Naevia. He finally understood why Spartacus was going to go after Batiatus and finally realised how much love Spartacus had for his wife. Took him long enough but Crixus got it.
Did he care about Lucretia? I think he did. On some level I think he cared for his Domina. He ran his sword through her but he didn't slice and dice. I was expecting him to slit her throat but he didn't. I'm looking forward to the story of him going in search for Naevia. I just love a good love story.
Season 2: In search for Naevia
VARRO (Jai Courtney) and AURELIA (Brooke Williams)
What I wrote: Varro is Spartacus' only friend in the Ludus; an interesting and very likable character.
No, Varro is not in the season finale nor is he a flashback. Jai brought so much warmth to this character and Steven said in his recent Q&A: Here's a little tidbit to help balm the wound of Varro's passing: we originally planned to kill him in episode 108. But we loved Jai's performance so much we held off until episode 110.
Varro was such a beautiful character. I was so sad to see him killed. His storyline is taken up by his wife Aurelia played by Brooke Williams. Aurelia is in the Ludus because she is there to pay off Varro's debt. Unwilling to accept Spartacus' money or that of Batiatus, she is working it off. Quiet Aurelia...it's the quiet ones you have worry about. Aurelia felt Spartacus was to blame for her husband's death but she soon found out that it was Numerious who chose for Varro to die (well we know it wasn't just the teenager but Sparty doesn't know). NEVER be left alone with a grieving wife if you happen to be the one that killed her husband. Her grief takes over and transforms into a knife wielding avenger.
Young Numerious sealed his fate by saying that Varro was nothing. Oh wrong thing to say young man. Aurelia saw red and young Numerious was sliced and diced. I felt somewhat sorry for the boy but such is life.
Outcome: Aurelia lives
Season 2: Probably
ASHUR (Nick Tarabay)
What I wrote: We first see Asher in the introduction to the Ludus with the newly arrived Gladiator newbies.
That's not much of an impression, is it? Well I told you the quiet ones are the ones to watch. That sneaky weasel Ashur. Ashur is a survivor and he once again proves that survivors will do and say anything to live. He has been deceitful, conniving, a lying sack of potatoes and I'm seriously glad he didn't die <g> Ashur manages to escape the wrath of Doctore and hide with the dead bodies to avoid getting sliced. What will become of the Syrian snake? I would love to find out.
Season 2: I sure hope so
MIRA (Katrina Law)
Mira, the slave who enabled Spartacus to start the rebellion by killing a guard and letting the gladiators run riot. Mira is an interesting character. Once again she wants Spartacus to love her. I suspect it's a one way thing here. In order to get some time with Mira to hatch his plan, Spartacus asks for some time to get some booty time. Not even the guards stuck around to watch Sparty and Mira get it on. Mira, being the clever girl that she is, demands Spartacus give her something in return for her help. I just had to smile at that. Mira finally got lucky although she knows how much Spartacus loved Sura.
Katrina Law has been a revelation. Having not seen her in any other show, she's proved to be one of the most talented actors I've come across. She has presence and makes the role of Mira stand out. I sure hope we see lots more of her in Season 2.
Season 2: Looks like it
NAEVIA (Lesley-Ann Brandt)
Missing in action for the season finale. Naevia has been banished off somewhere after her Domina got the major irrits with her. She's somewhere in Capua or nearby relieved she has missed the bloodbath.
Naevia was such a revelation. Again a quiet character who blossomed into a major character toward the end of the season. The Crixus and Naevia storyline is beautifully done that I'm looking forward to seeing it blossom in Season 2. Crixus just has to find his girl!
Lesley-Ann Brandt is an absolute pleasure to watch on screen and she has great chemistry with Manu Bennett! They play off each other so beautifully and she brings a spunk to the role of Naevia. I'm eagerly looking forward to watch Season 2 has in store for them both.
Season 2: Looks like it
Daniel Feuerriegel (Agron) and Ande Cunningham (Duro). You just knew one of them was going to die. Younger brother saving big brother; that was beautifully done.
Thus ends Season 1 of Spartacus Blood and Sand. A truly spectacular show and a mega monster hit. Wishing Andy a speedy recovery and the start of Season 2!