PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA! Orgius Maximus! Melitta and Gannicus are inexplicably falling in love! Ashur revealed the depth of his douchebag character! And Tullius the Total Fucking Asshole murdered my girlfriend. *weeps*
Melitta is heading down the villa’s stairs to the pantry/wine cellar, when a shirtless and oiled Gannicus appears out of fucking nowhere. Someone needs to put a bell on his collar. Quite rightly, Melitta wants to know how he got past the great big locked iron gates. “I smashed through them with my mighty gladiator cock,” Gannicus inexplicably does not proclaim. Melitta’s freaked out, because what if they’re discovered? But no, Gannicus would do
~anything for love risk anything for her.
So yeah, obviously this is a dream, right?
They both agree it would be a bad bad thing to immediately bone right there on the floor, and then proceed to immediately bone right there on the floor. Well done indeed! (Melitta, if this is not a dream, I am very disappointed in you, young lady. Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to console your hotass husband all night long.)
Mid-hump, a sword thrusts through the back of Gannicus’ neck. No, this isn’t a euphemism for a glorious threesome, alas. It’s Oenomaus, with a look of anguished rage on his face. Melitta lays there, splattered with Gannicus’ blood, and shrieks wildly as Oenomaus stabs her through the heart.
And, naturally, she wakes up screaming. Oh Show, you are so predictable.
Naevia’s standing there, looking kind of freaked out (ooh, did Melitta maybe scream Gannicus’ name in her sleep? scandalous!), and tells Melitta she’s been summoned by Lucretia.
Poor Lucretia. She’s standing in Gaia’s guest room, holding Gaia’s red wig and staring off into space, tragic and red-eyed, reliving the moment she found Gaia dead on the floor in a pool of blood. SOBBITY.
Melitta arrives, and Luce bitterly tells her to get Gaia’s things together, as Titus wants them out of his house. I guess Melitta doesn’t know the truth about what happened to Gaia, as her condolences suggest an accident and not a murder. Hm. This seems totally illogical to me. How can Lucretia’s closest body slave not know? Wouldn’t she have been one of the first ones to come running? She was prolly off mooning over Gannicus, I guess. SIGH.
Titus has ordered Lucretia to do some cleansing ceremony, to rid the villa of Gaia’s taint (snerk), and Lucretia is too miserable to even contemplate it. Melitta promises that she, Naevia, and Diona will back her up and lie about the ceremony being done. Oh Luce. You had all this goodwill from your slaves, and yet you threw it all away so easily. At least she says thank you this time.
Batiatus stalks grumpily through the market, Solonius by his side, complaining about Titus’ unwillingness to speak against Tullius for Gaia’s murder. Solonius blames himself – as well he should, BETRAYER – saying he should’ve stayed until everyone left. Batty rather logically points out that Solonius might have ended up dead as well, and places the blame firmly upon Tullius.
Batty is in a foul sulk, as per usual. He rants at the sounds of the distant cheers of the crowd at the final games in the old arena, as once again, Tullis has got the better of him. None of Batty’s gladiators are fighting today, part of Titus’ concessions to Tullius. Solonius reluctantly reveals that the magistrate has requested his presence at the games, and downplays his participation deliberately. Batty puts on a brave face and says he’s glad that at least Solonius isn’t suffering for being his friend. Aww.
Solonius points out that since Petronius was so well entertained at the orgy, maybe Bats will still have a chance at the opening games of the new arena. But Baby Batty Babypants doesn’t care! Fuck the new arena! Fuck Tullius! Fuck the Gods themselves! For Titus has decreed that either Batty will divorce Lucretia and cast her out of the house, or both Batty and Luce will be kicked to the curb. Good Solonius innocently posits that maybe it’s time for Lucretia to have a new husband, then. Ooh, I wonder who he has in mind. From the look on Batty’s face, he’s wondering too.
Back at the ludus, the men are sweaty and beloinclothed, hoorays! Crixus is paired with Barca, and knocks him on his ass quite soundly. They’re apparently beffies now, as Barca looks only pleased by Crixus’ skill. Ashur and Dagan, however, are not fighting quite so matily. In fact, Dagan is kicking his ass unrepentantly. Rhaskos and Duratius, sparring beside them, pause to mock Ashur for his douchebaggery at the orgy, tricking Dagan into getting his ass plowed by a Roman. I am delighted to see that everyone now hates Ashur, as he well deserves. Yays! Have I mentioned how much I want him to die next season? Perhaps only once or twice, I’m sure.
Even more delightfully, Dagan reveals that he’s slowly coming to understand everything the other men say, which means soon Ashur will be even more useless. Bad move, Dagan. Haven’t you realized by now that Ashur kills or betrays anyone who gets in his way, you great big dumbass?
Titus and Oenomaus are watching the men train, Dagan specifically. Oenomaus thinks he’s got the strength and skill to be a good gladiator, if he doesn’t turn out to be a moron. Heh.
Titus isn’t happy with the state of his ludus. At least half the men present were chosen when he was away, and therefore they are totally suspect in his eyes. He instructs Oenomaus to arrange a competition between the gladiators, so that Titus can gauge their worth. Anyone found unworthy is to be sent to the mines. ARGH WHAT MINES, SHOW. I require specificity, dammit. Oenomaus is unhappy but prepares to do as ordered.
Upstairs in the villa, a traumatized-looking Diona and clueless-looking Naevia are cleaning the floors. Titus, looking for Lucretia, asks if the salt and spelt cleansing ceremony has taken place, and Naevia lies, as planned by Melitta. After he departs, a miserable Diona tells Naevia that they should’ve let Lucretia, “the bitch,” tell her own lies. Naevia is scandalized!
But Diona’s not done. She is pissed as hell that she’s being passed around as a fucktoy while Naevia remains a virgin. Poor dopey Naevia doesn’t understand why Diona is so mean and cranky these days. Why can’t they still be beffies? Diona doesn’t even think she’s good enough to be Naevia’s friend anymore, and tells Naevia so. Sigh.
Back down in the ludus, the contest has begun: Barca fights Ashur, Gannicus fights Rhaskos, Dagan fights some dude I’ve never seen before, and a bunch more random gladiator extras get some blood-spattered screen time. Pretty soon Crixus is dominating the fights, and all the men cheer him wildly. Melitta stops by the grating to watch the fights momentarily, and smile at her husband. Gannicus senses her with his magical girl-sensing powers (his cock, yes) and turns around to catch the smile, thinking it’s for him – naturally she flees, and Gannicus turns back to see Crixus soundly whup some random dude’s ass into the sand.
Titus is watching thoughtfully from the balcony when Batty arrives, wondering what’s going on. Batty’s sulking as usual, whining that Titus is acting like Batty and Lucretia are already gone, despite no decision having yet been made. That’s because Titus is acting like an adult and not a whiny diaper baby, Batsypie. Father and son argue once again over Lucretia and the absence of children in their marriage, and Titus informs Batty that he’ll expect his answer in two days, when the gladiatorial contests are over.
Later that evening, Batiatus and Lucretia argue in their bedroom. Lucretia is tired of putting up with Titus’ shit, angrily brushing aside Batty’s suggestions that she play the part of a more dutiful daughter-in-law. Luce knows Titus has already made up his mind about her worth or lack thereof. Worse, Batty reveals that Titus has left the final decision in his hands – Lucretia is appalled to discover that Batty did not immediately tell Titus to fuck directly off, as she would have done in his place.
In the heat of the argument, the truth comes out – Batty truly does feel betrayed and disappointed that Lucretia hasn’t borne him any children. (Because it couldn’t possibly be HIS fault, now could it. Ugh.) Batty tries to apologize, but Lucretia knows he’s telling the absolute truth, and storms from the room, totally shattered.
Downstairs in their cell, Melitta sits before a candlelit altar, praying, as Oenomaus waits in bed. (Who keeps a man like that waiting? Idiots, that’s who.) Melitta’s praying for guidance about the many secrets they’re forced to keep. She’s obviously talking about Gannicus, but Oenomaus thinks she means the secrets they tried to keep from Titus. He reminds her that now that all the secrets are out, they can work together to make the House of Batiatus an honorable house once again, but Melitta is too consumed by her guilt to care.
The next day, the competition in the ludus continues, with Gnaeus giving Ashur a well-cheered beating. As Titus and Batty watch from the balcony, Lucretia joins them, apologizing for her late arrival. Titus claims he hadn’t even noticed her absence, because let’s face it, he is not terribly good at subtlety. He just wants some fucking honeyed wine, okay? God.
A newly-confident Crixus steps into the circle against Duratius and his hammer. Batty and Luce loudly and smugly laud his obvious abilities, but Titus doesn’t really give a shit. Before they can start sniping at one another, Naevia interrupts with a startling piece of information: Tullius has arrived, in response to Titus’ invitation. OHOHO.
Despite the fact that they’re both equally incensed at Tullius’s presence in their home, Lucretia and Batty argue once again over Batty’s reluctance to defend her to Titus. She swears to him that she’d do anything to bear him a child, and you’d think Batty would pay more attention to such statements. He should know by now how determined and ruthless Lucretia is. He should also take note of how closely she’s looking at Crixus’ fine, fine ass.
Tullius, bearing gifts of honeyed wine, meets with an unhappy Titus in his office. Titus is much more upset by Gaia’s murder than he’s been letting on to his son, apparently. He actually tells Tullius he’s gone too far, but smarmy dick Tully insists he’s come to make amends. DON’T FALL FOR HIS SHIT, TITUS! But of course he falls for it.
Tullius offers Titus a place in the opening games of the new arena, and Titus is totally baffled, and more than a little suspicious. The suspicion is well-founded, because Tullius asks but one thing in return … he wants to buy Gannicus. DUN DUN DUUUN. Titus points out that Batty thinks Gannicus is the champion of the house, and doesn’t mention his misgivings about the matter. He actually seems pretty pissed at the thought of selling Gannicus, although I think he’s more upset at being manipulated than he is at the thought of the sale.
As Tullius leaves the villa, Naevia finds Diona, sobbing in the corner of one of the guest rooms. Lucretia’s called for food and wine, but Naevia decides to pretend she couldn’t find her friend. Diona apologizes to Naevia for her angry words earlier, and confesses that every morning, she prays for someone to kill her. Ouch. I think Naevia’s finally starting to understand.
Outside in the ludus, Gannicus is up against Barca, and the men are cheering indiscriminately. Ashur approaches Dagan, telling him of “unfortunate news” – they’re to fight one another in the next match. Dagan is clearly looking forward to kicking Ashur’s ass to pieces, and I absolutely agree. Ashur, however, somehow thinking that he might be forgiven, obliquely asks Dagan to take it easy on him. BITCH PLZ.
Gannicus knocks Barca on his ass, and is immediately distracted by Melitta on the balcony above. The fight almost turns in Barca’s favour, but Gannicus soon prevails. Does he care, even a little? No, he just wants to leer at Melitta with the piercing gaze of a demented psychopath. How romantic.
Ashur and Dagan step into the circle, and Ashur feigns humility, asking Dagan to please not make him look like a pathetic asshole. Happily, Dagan proceeds to kick Ashur’s ass all over the sand, to the derisive delight of all the gladiators. Just as Dagan moves to strike a winning blow, Ashur begs to be allowed to finish the match on his feet, like a man. Dagan, THE FOOL, agrees, because apparently getting fucked in the ass by some stumpy fat little Roman jerk due to Ashur’s lies is just not enough proof of his douchebaggery. ARRGH. DIE ASHUR DIE.
In three quick moves, Ashur smacks Dagan in the sack with his wooden sword, smashes him in the jaw with his wooden shield, and then slashes Dagan’s eye open with the sword, with graphic squishy splattery sounds. The watching gladiators are shocked and disgusted, but inexplicably do not rush Ashur and slaughter him as all right-thinking people would otherwise do. Hmph.
As Dagan is carried off, roaring with pain, Titus sends the men off to rest and eat. Batty and Titus make plans to go into town and discuss the state of the ludus. Meanwhile, Lucretia enlists Melitta’s help in her plans for the evening, as soon as the men depart. /drama button.
Down at the ludus’ gate, Melitta stands uncertainly. Gannicus and his total lack of self control and self preservation, strolls over to tell her that he’s noticed how she stares at him, and how she looks away when he looks back at her. Jesus, why not just hand her a note that says
I LIKE YOU, DO YOU LIKE ME?
CHECK ONE: [ ] YES [ ] NO
You crazy kids. Srsly. Also, Gannicus – pro tip: telling girls that even getting drunk and fucking hos doesn’t make you stop thinking of them? Not romantic. Just sayin.
Instead of running away and not being assholes, they decide to hold hands through the bars and stare moonily at each other. But Melitta delivers a crushing blow – she says she’s never felt a greater love than when she’s with Oenomaus. SO THERE. Just who is she trying to convince?
The guards arrive with Crixus, and Melitta takes him upstairs, as ominous music plays. OH COME ON. We all know he’s going to go fuck Lucretia, not be eaten by wolves.
Gannicus is so busy staring moodily after Melitta that he doesn’t even notice Oenomaus coming up behind him. Oenomaus is rightfully wondering what the actual fuck is up with his bro. He’s irritated that Gannicus’s fight against Barca almost went so badly, and Gannicus admits he’d been daydreaming. Oenomaus, clearly thinking he’s a drunken twit, tells him to wake the hell up and stomps away.
Up in the villa, Melitta brings a totally befuddled Crixus to Lucretia. Lucretia sends everyone else away, and stares at Crixus with barely concealed disgust. She interrogates him on the virility of his lineage, and is pleased with the answers, telling him to remove his manthong. You’re not even going to buy him dinner first, Luce? Cold.
Crixus whips out his lil buddy, and Lucretia is still not delighted. WHAT IS EVEN WRONG WITH YOU, LADY. Instead, she tells him to never ever mention this to anyone, and bends over so she won’t have to look at him. How charming. I hope she remembers this moment later on when she’s shrieking for his cock, cause I certainly will. And thus does the rumpety pumpety begin.
Titus and Batiatus are in the deserted old arena, which is already being torn down. Titus reminisces about his childhood with his own lanista father, watching his first gladiatorial games in that very arena. He tells Batty about his hopes and dreams that Batty would one day carry on the business and the family name, lecturing Batty about his disobedience and failures along the way, practically in tears. Batty, meanwhile, has been off in the corner, selecting a large beam of wood with which to presumably bash his father’s head in.
An unsuspecting Titus continues his painful speech, blaming Batty’s ambition and his own expectations for their current animosity. But despite it all, Titus says, he will always love his son and only wants the best for him, no matter what he decides to do with his life. SOBBITY AND WOES.
Batty manages not to beat his father to death, instead wondering why Titus would say all these things now, after all these years. Titus explains the offer made by Tullius – a place in the opening games in exchange for the sale of Gannicus. Titus doesn’t care about the opening games if Batty isn’t there to share the honor with him, but Batty isn’t moved by any of this. He refuses to turn away from Lucretia, and Titus is disappointed but resigned.
Before Titus can leave, Batty turns to him with the beam of wood in his hands, and kfhsdgsg oh god plz no. But no, instead he offers the wood to Titus as a memento of the old arena and of their former lives together. I don’t think he had a change of heart as much as I think he just lost his nerve. Meh.
Back at the villa, Batty joins Lucretia in the bath, miserably informing her that he chickened out of killing Titus. Lucretia apologizes for encouraging the idea in the first place, and seems genuinely remorseful, but who even knows with these maniacs. Batty’s not interested in her remorse, though. He’s more worried about the next day, when they’ll both be kicked out of the house forever, penniless and alone. Lucretia points out that they’ll still have each other, and it’s true – the only loyalty and genuine love either one of them ever shows is towards one another. At least they’re capable of that much.
Next morning, Titus and Oenomaus are in the office, discussing the competition. Crixus and Gannicus both have an equal number of wins, so they must fight each other for the top position. (lol unintentional porns.) Titus, however, says Gannicus is no longer eligible to participate, as he’s already agreed to Tullius’ final terms of sale. Oenomaus and Melitta share a look of total shock, and follow Titus out of the room to question him. Oenomaus argues that Gannicus is truly worthy of the title Champion, but Titus thinks Oenomaus’ judgement is clouded by the men’s longterm beffiedom. Oenomaus eventually convinces Titus that keeping Gannicus is the wise and honorable choice, and Titus agrees conditionally: if Gannicus can beat Crixus, he won’t be sold to Tullius. And it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Oenomaus tells Gannicus of Titus’ decision, and Gannicus is freaked out like whoa. TBH I think he’s more worried about leaving Melitta behind than he is about actually being sold to a dick like Tullius.
As the fight begins, Crixus is excited and confident. Gannicus, on the other hand, is pretty goddamn grim.
Batty and Lucretia join Titus on the balcony, telling him they’re nearly ready to leave. Titus asks them to wait a moment until the contest is finished, and they agree, sending Naevia to finish their preparations. Titus compliments Batty on choosing Crixus and Gannicus as gladiators, admitting finally that they are both great fighters, and that he’d misjudged them. Oh Titus. Don’t waste your remorse on your son and his wife. Trust me.
Inside the villa, Naevia’s dragging Diona off into a dark hallway, urging her to run away while everyone is busy watching the gladiator’s competition. She gives Diona a purse full of coins, stolen from Gaia’s belongings, telling her to get on a ship and get the hell away from Capua, but Diona doesn’t want to leave without her. Naevia, knowing she’ll be missed, refuses, and sends Diona on her way. YAYS! So glad she doesn’t die horribly.
Down in the ludus, Crixus and Gannicus are still at it like madmen. Melitta can’t take her eyes off Gannicus, and he notices and is completely distracted by her and memories of their night together. Gannicus, you idiot. PAY ATTENTION. Oh my GOD he is so frustrating. Crixus takes full advantage of Gannicus’ inattention and layeth the smacketh down. Eventually, lost in dreams of Melitta and awash with existential darkness or something, Gannicus lets his swords fall to the ground, and Crixus knocks him off his feet completely; Gannicus even offers the missio because apparently he has been utterly defeated by his ~love. Srsly? I can’t even.
The men all cheer Crixus as the victor of the fight, but he’s too pissed at Gannicus throwing the fight to even notice their adulation. Gannicus doesn’t deny it, simply stating that Crixus is the champion now, and shuffles off miserably to his cell.
On the balcony, Titus and Batiatus are both surprised by Crixus’ defeat of Gannicus. Before Batty can really start gloating, Titus begins choking, and faints into the arms of his body slave.
The medicus arrives and Titus is put to bed with a high fever. Batty and Oenomaus set out into the night to find the medicus’ remedy, and Lucretia innocently volunteers to sit with Titus until they return.
(Huh, so it’s going to be her after all. Should’ve known.)
Lucretia urges Titus to drink a little something, but he insists that they get Tullius’ bribery wine out of his sight. HA! Screw you, Tully. As Lucretia sends Melitta away with the wine, Melitta asks to be allowed to see Gannicus one last time before he’s sold to Tullius in the morning. Lucretia lets her go, although whether she’s motivated by the past wrongs she’s done to Melitta or by the desire to not have any witnesses to what is doubtless the impending murder of Titus is anyone’s guess.
Outside, Melitta arrives in Gannicus’ cell with Tullius’ rejected wine, to share one last drink with an old friend. Translation: to have sexy sex sex one last time, I assume. SIGH.
Gannicus, grumpy at being called just a “friend”, refuses the wine, so Melitta drinks it herself while Gannicus sulks. Melitta, thinking she’s breaking the harsh news for the first time, tells Gannicus he’s being sold to Tullius in the morning. Gannicus admits that he already knew, having been warned by Oenomaus before his fight with Crixus. Melitta is shocked and a little bit pissed off that Gannicus let Crixus win, knowing it would mean his departure from the ludus, but Gannicus shoots back that he couldn’t stay another day in the ludus knowing that he could never have her for his own. Melitta agrees that his departure is for the best, because in the end, she’s just as bad as he is. And then they make out.
Upstairs, Lucretia urges Titus to drink a bit of wine, as ordered by the medicus. Titus is more interested in interrogating her about her true feelings for Batiatus, admitting that he’s never seen his son as happy as when he’s with his wife. Titus begs her to tell him that he wasn’t wrong about her being “the serpent” he always thought she was, to which Lucretia replies gently that she is not.
She is far worse. (oshit)
Titus finally has the sense to look a bit nervous here, but it’s too little too late. Lucretia smilingly tells Titus that she never really cared what he thought of her lack of breeding or wealth – what she really cared about was how little he valued his son, the man she loved more than anything else. She admits to poisoning his wine for years; not enough to kill him, just enough to make him just sick enough that he was forced to retire to Sicilia for his health, far from Capua and the ludus. She further admits that when Titus returned to Capua recently, she began poisoning him again, to force him back to Sicilia, but it was proving too difficult to encourage him to leave, and she decided upon a more permanent solution. O SNAP.
(I really don’t know how much I suspected her over Batty, tbh. My first thought was that they’d do it together in a fit of rage or something. My next guess was that Batty would arrange a convenient accident. Hm.)
As Titus gasps with rage and fear, Lucretia smiles and tells him that she added a little something extra to Tullius’ gift of wine…. the same wine that Melitta is currently drinking? OH HELL NO. And Lucretia didn’t even warn her. Titus begins seizing and choking, all the while glaring at Lucretia with an epic stinkeye of loathing.
Back in Gannicus’ cell, Melitta and Gannicus are rolling around on the bed, when Melitta begins choking. OH GOD DNW. Flash back up to the villa, and Lucretia is earnestly telling a dying Titus that Batty will not forgive Tullius for this horrible crime of poisoning, and I am reluctantly forced to admire her cunning. Titus and Melitta vomit copious amounts of blood almost simultaneously, and Gannicus is freaking the fuck out.
With his last few breaths, Titus tells Lucretia that she’s cursed the House of Batiatus, but Lucretia gently insists that she’s elevated it instead. Titus is not about to take that shit on his deathbed, and grabs a hold of her throat and gets down to taking her with him. Luce throws him off her and onto the floor, and he crawls bloodily after her, only to die in a heap on the floor. Downstairs, Melitta is dead in Gannicus’ arms.
Lucretia leaves Titus’ chamber with a smile, carefully rearranging her rumpled clothing, only to find a sobbing Naevia and Gannicus bringing Melitta’s blood-covered body upstairs. Lucretia is horrified to discover that Melitta drank the poisoned wine, and I feel a little better about her. (just a little.) She hysterically demands that Gannicus never reveal to Oenomaus that Melitta came to his cell that evening, and Gannicus agrees, stumbling back down to the ludus in a daze.
Batty and Oenomaus burst into the house to find Melitta laid out dead in the atrium, and Titus dead in his bed. Batty regains some of his humanity by being genuinely upset over his father’s death.
Oenomaus staggers through the rain carrying Melitta’s body and sobbing wretchedly, and Gannicus watches from across the ludus, covered in her blood. ARGH SHOW FFS. I can’t decide if that was better or worse than I was expecting.
NEXT WEEK! idefk, you guys. WHO IS LEFT FOR THEM TO KILL? Oh, that’s right. EVERYONE. Because there’s going to be one hell of a fight in the arena – all of Batty’s men vs all of Tullius’ men.