Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Recap
Oh my goodness me! Was that the best hour of television I have seen in a long time or what! I'm going to go into super fan girl mode here (as opposed to normal fan girl mode) and say:
WHAT ABSOLUTELY FRAKKING BRILLIANT PIECE OF TELEVISION! The revenge, the betrayal, the glory, the gory bits EVERYTHING is just frakking brilliant.
In my opinion the finds of the series were Dustin Clare and Jessica Grace Smith. We will see Dustin again in Season 2 as Gannicus but alas Jessica's Diona is no longer of this world. Watch for Jessica Grace Smith; she's got a bright future ahead of her.
Alrightly let's go down and do the character assessments again as others will review the episode...
Quintas Batiatus / John Hannah
What a twisted, revenge filled, man. LOVE him! He loves his wife, was willing to give up the Ludus and walk away for her was the only redeeming quality Batiatus possessed! Other than that...he was twisted!
They really need to find Quintas' long lost twin brother and bring John Hannah back. I LOVE John Hannah. What an incredible talent!
Lucretia Batiatus / Lucy Lawless
Oh my goodness! In my opinion this has been Lucy's BEST performance EVER. Lucy is on fire with her portrayal as Lucretia. I've seen Lucy's entire body of work and without a shadow of a doubt this has been Lucy's best work EVER. Lucy's portrayal of the somewhat schoolgirl like Lucretia was such a joy to watch. Lucretia started off somewhat innocent and girlish but by the end of The Bitter End she was The Domina. No doubt about this, she was The Domina of the Ludus and a warning to anyone who crossed her path; she will do whatever it takes for her husband and herself to get what she wanted.
I'll go into my Xena fan girl mode for a moment and compare the scene of the transformation from Somewhat Naughty Xena to Pure Evil Xena when M'Lila was killed and compare it to Lucretia when Gaia was murdered. Lucretia changed. She was somewhat a naughty girl with her poisoning of her father-in-law but she wasn't evil. Gaia's death turned her. Like M'Lila did for Xena, Gaia created the Lucretia we now have. BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT!
Lucy's acting was sublime. Just superb...I'm running out of superlatives..need to find my thesaurus. If I wasn't a Lucy fan before this show, I would be a card carrying member of Lucy's fan club right now. If you are a new Lucy fan because of this show...welcome to the club and go buy yourself the 6 seasons of Xena and revel in this woman's talent THEN go watch Spartacus Season 1 again. Watch the absolute beautiful progression of this amazing actress (yes I am baised and yes I am gushing...it is what it is) <g>
Titus Batiatus / Jeffrey Thomas
What a superb performance by Jeffrey Thomas as papa Batiatus. Papa got in the way of Lucretia and met a very horrible end! I was very impressed with Jeffrey (huge fan). His character was a rather nasty man who couldn't stand his son, hated his son's wife and paid the ultimate price. She wasn't a serpent, Titus...she was much worse :) Heh. Poor Papa Batty.
Oenomaus / Peter Mensah
What a beautiful portrayal of a character. Peter gave Oenomaus such warmth, raw power and a gentleness. I simple adore the character. The most honourable of them all. I have no doubts that Oenomaus knew about Melitta and Gannicus but chose to look away to honour his wife and his friend even though they betrayed him. What a beautiful soul. Love him.
Even when he was being part the of the group kill of Tullius, you knew it was because it was, in his mind, revenge for Melitta's death. His honoured his wife. Wow. Love him.
I simple adore Peter; I didn't know the actor before Spartacus but I'm going to be watching this man for a long time to come. Gorgeous.
Crixus / Manu Bennett
Crixus has one thing on his mind and that is to be Champion of Capua and he achieved (by default) since Gannicus was freed. Poor Crixus...I did feel sorry for him that he achieved this without fighting Gannicus for real but he is now the lead gladiator of the Ludus. I also love his new look; very clean and looks fantastic. We also found out how he got that necklace. I liked that bit.
I've liked Manu since his days as Antony on Xena; he played the younger Crixus to perfection. Beautiful work.
Ashur / Nick Tarabay
I liked Ashur here; he was funny, quick on his feet and just made me laugh at his antics. A crafty little Syrian snake-to-be.
Now we know how Ashur got his injured leg and burnt arm. Looking forward to seeing the Ashur of Season 2. What will he do in the rebellion?
Naevia / Lesley-Ann Brandt
Naevia, the quiet slave had pretty much nothing to do in the series other than be a big sister to Diona. There were flashes of the Naevia to come but overall pretty quiet. I'm disappointed in that but that's how it is. It's also disappointing that we won't see Lesley-Ann again in Spartacus. She will be missed in Season 2.
Barca / Antonio Te Maioha
Barca didn't have much to do other than being a very reliable gladiator. Was disappointed his relationship with Auctus wasn't explored more but with only 6 episodes you can't do much.
It's sad we won't be seeing Antonio back. Farewell Barca and Antonio
Solonius / Craig Walsh-Wrightson
I actually feel sorry for Sol. He was a faithful friend who got shafted by Batiatus; was treated like poo. I'm going to watch Season 1 again and enjoy his character. Good one Sol.
Too bad we won't see Solonius again in Season 2.
Gannicus / Dustin Clare
What a find. I simply adored Gannicus. The arrogant gladiator who simply stole my heart. I truly fell in love with him. He is simply one hell of a great character. A cheat but a lovable cheat. He did love Melitta but he also valued Oenomaus friendship.
He was the only happy ending of the entire series with him being set free..or was it? He will be back in season 2 and I'm looking forward to it!
Dustin Clare is an actor I'm going to be watching for some time to come. Brilliant stuff.
Diona / Jessica Grace Smith
Jessica Grace Smith is the find of the series. A young actress who, in my opinion, has a very bright future unlike her character. Diona, the slave girl, who came in under the radar and proved to be a very interesting character. Did not have a great life as a slave, being abused, raped and eventually killed.
Jessica reminded me alot of Katrina Law - their styles are different but they had one thing in common - presence. Very difficult to achieve but in both cases, both women made me take note. Jessica took on a role that could have been insignificant and turned it into a role that made you feel for the character. Very impressive for such a young actress and in her first major role. Will be looking out for more of Jessica.
Gaia / Jaime Murray
Oh goodness me, what a naughty character this turned out to be. I LOVED her. She truly loved Lucretia and boy didn't those scenes with her Lucretia set fire to the screen! Beautiful work by Jaime.
Gaia played with fire and in Gods of the Arena she got burnt badly...a sad loss. I wonder what she would make of the new Re-Imagined Lucretia..the one with fire in her eyes. Gaia taught Lucretia well!
Melitta / Marisa Ramirez
What an absolute strong performance by Marissa. You had to feel for this character. She was loved by Oenomaus and Lucretia valued her. She was also loved by Gannicus and that was pretty much evident from episode 1 and her flirting with him. I have a soft spot for Oenomaus. Her death was violent and in true Spartacus fashion; no one has a happy ending. Not even Gannicus who will remember his love and for Oenomaus who will grieve for his lost Melitta.
Doctore / Temuera Morrison
What a waste of a great actor. Too brief and had nothing of screen time. Very disappointed.
Temuera was wasted and one of the few disappointments I've had for the series.
Tullius / Stephen Lovatt,
What an evil SOB :) Loved him!
Excellent end as well...bye bye Tullius!
Vettius / Gareth Williams
Bleh. What a horrible character. Disappointing that he lived and basically got away with being a nasty piece of work.
Great work by Gareth.
What was great about Spartacus: Gods of the Arena?
- Writing - Oh my goodness Steven DeKnight and his merry band; you sick puppies - I LOVE them!
- Acting - SUPERB, Outstanding work by everyone. What an ensemble cast and they are fantastic.
- Direction - with Michael Hurst leading the pack. LOVED it.
Sadly there is but 6 episodes of Gods of the Arena. We now wait for late January 2012 to see how Liam McIntyre handles the role of Spartacus and the return of our favourite gladiators-now-on-the-run-slaves, Lucretia (on the mend from her "flesh" wound), the twisted lovable Ilithyia, Mira and her love for Spartacus (will we see Mira picking up sword and fighting?) and the rest of the merry band!
Thank you Rob Tapert; you are a genius! Another series that has become a cult hit.