PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA! Miss her, kiss her, love her, that girl was poisoned! Blinded by the light! She’s a little runaway! Gone Daddy gone! I am running out of 80s songs argh.
Situation is seriouuuuss, guys. (Man, that song will be stuck in my head all damn day now.) Titus is laid out, dead and pasty and a little bit moldy, in the centre of the villa, as pretty much all of Capua comes to pay their respects. Magistrate Sextus attempts to comfort Batiatus by reminding him how much Titus was loved by everyone, but Batty’s not particuarly interested. No, as usual, he’d prefer to sulk over the fact that nobody loves him the best. Oh Batty, always the bridesmaid and never the bride!
Lucretia, on the other hand, is all charm and smiles, reminding Batty what an honor it is that Sextus came to pay his respects. Batty has more important things on his mind, however, such as Tullius and his poisoned wine. Oh Lucretia, you tricksy minx. Before they can start a fresh round of plotting, Solonius approaches with startling news: Vettius has arrived at the villa. Lucretia counsels Batty to pray not fly into a wild passion in front of the Magistrate, but I think we all know that is not meant to be.
Vetty is all smarm and faux sympathy, but gets quickly down to business: Tullius wants to hold them to Titus’ agreement to sell Gannicus. Batty barely manages to keep his shit together, and tragically does not smash Vettius’ face open on the marble floor. Damn, where’s Ilythia when you need her?
Vet reminds Batty that if the sale does not go through, then Tullius will withdraw his approval for Batty’s gladiators to appear in the opening games of the new arena, and from all subsequent games, and Batty gnashes his teeth with impotent rage. (This is so vexing for me to watch, because I hate them both, but I can’t decide who I hate more. CONUNDRUM.)
Down in the ludus, Gannicus finds Oenomaus praying in his cell. The look of woobified guilt on his face is so epic, but fortunately Oenomaus assumes it’s just regular mourning, warmly telling Gannicus that Melitta loved him … like a brother. Ouch.
The gladiators assemble outside in the ludus’ courtyard, standing at attention before Titus’ funeral pyre. (I am so goddamn creeped out by those death masks surrounding the pyre, oh my god. ROMANS. YOU ARE WEIRDOS.) While Batty delivers an angry speech about how despite the loss of Titus the House of Batiatus will never be defeated, Dagan the Cyclops joins the men, and Ashur actually trembles a little bit in terror. HA.
The men engage in an exhibition fight to send Titus off to his afterlife, and as Batty lights the pyre, the gladiators begin, with Crixus and Gannicus reprising their last fight in the middle of the melee.
Upstairs in the office, Batty’s going over his father’s business papers; specifically, the contract between Titus and Tullius for the sale of Gannicus. Batty, believing that Titus’ death was caused by Tullius’ poisoning of the wine, would rather burn the contract than allow Gannicus to be sold, but Gannicus has plans for MIGHTY GLADIATOR VENGEANCE. Gannicus tells Batty that if the contract is honored, he will kill Tullius and avenge the House of Batiatus.
Batty’s no fool, and he’s fully aware that Gannicus is more interested in avenging Melitta’s death than Titus’. He points out that the contract grants ownership of Gannicus not to Tullius, but to Vettius, and that Gannicus will have very few chances to kill Tullius while off at Vetty’s distant ludus. Batty is sure he can come up with a better plot, and sends Gannicus off to his cell so he can ponder in peace.
Lucretia and Solonius are drinking and ranting tipsily over how much of a dick Tullius is, which is pretty much the best way to spend the day imho. Lucretia is all for any manner of savage vengeance, but Solonius is too much of a wuss to go for it. Instead, in his most blatant pick-up attempt ever, he tells Luce that if shit gets too heavy, she’s always welcome to come live with him… as a “friend”. Lucretia actually looks momentarily gobsmacked – how the hell did she not know how much Solonius adores her?
Before she can respond, Batty barges in, demanding wine like a spoiled toddler. Um. If toddlers drank wine, I mean. He shares the fledgling plot to kill Tullius, as outlined by Gannicus, and Lucretia is delighted by this turn of events. Solonius the Coward, however, is not, pointing out that the wine may very well have been poisoned not by Tullius, but by Vettius. Oh how Lucretia’s face falls at this statement! And it falls even further when Batty admits that Solonius does, in fact, have a point. The point he’s taken is not the actual point Solonius made, naturally. Batty now thinks BOTH Tullius and Vettius should die, just in case. I hate the man, but oh how I adore his relentlessly bloodthirsty nature.
Solonius makes the mistake of pointing this out, and proceeds to lecture Batty with an argument that sounds an awful lot like one Titus would have made – about arrogance, and ambition, and impatience and overreaching one’s place. Oh no he dint.
Oh yes he did. Batty goes to town on Solonius, railing about his cowardice and ass-kissing, and how these sad qualities are doubtlessly what have led to both his lack of success as a lanista and his inability to find a wife. HAHA. Oh Batty. Don’t you get it? HE WANTS YOURS.
Lucretia tries to defuse the situation by pointing out that the men are practically brothers, and Batty apologizes, but I’m pretty sure that Solonius is having none of it. The look on his face is a backstabbity look if ever I’ve seen one, and I have seen many. Solonius reluctantly agrees to help Batty scheme, and Batty drags him off just as Naevia arrives with more wine.
We next see Naevia being tattooed by an old lady at Lucretia’s behest. Lucretia is having her marked as the new body slave, to take Melitta’s place. Lucretia also mentions that she’s aware that Diona ran away, and that she understands why it happened, promising Naevia that she will never have cause to do the same, as her virginity will be protected. Naevia can’t decide if she should look pleased, grateful, or terrified, and settles for a wary combination of the three.
Batty, as usual, stomps into the room to tell Lucretia that the plans have come to fruition. Solonius has gone home to prepare for his part in the scheme, and Batty gets ready to leave with Gannicus and, oddly, Titus’ ashes.
Over in the tavern/butcher shop of the market place, Solonius has brought Tullius and Vettius the bad news – that Batty does not intend to honor the contract for Gannicus’ sale. Predictably, Tully has a wild temper tantrum, smashing everything in sight. Solonius twists the knife further by telling them that Batty does intend to sell Gannicus, but to someone else entirely – a Syrian trader, soon to depart by ship for places unknown, leaving Gannicus forever out of Tully’s reach. HA HA!
Vetty’s not about to take this shit from a cowardly informer like Solonius, and prepares to shank him once and for all, but Solonius, playing his part in Batty’s revenge scheme, tells Tullius that Batty is, that very evening, taking Gannicus through the city to the docks for the sale. He further betrays that Batty plans to pretend that Gannicus ran away to follow Diona, thus absolving himself of any responsibility towards the contract with Tullius. Solonius even squeals about Batty’s supposed plans to buy off Tullius’ men before their meeting the next day, in order to kill him off with their help.
Naturally, Tully and Vet are outraged that Batty thinks they’re stupid enough to fall for such a ridiculous scheme, and I lol a hearty lol of derision. Tully and Vet buy it hook, line, and sinker, and are delighted by this apparent opportunity to rid themselves of Batty for good. *cackles*
Barca, Batty, Gannicus, and Oenomaus skulk through the town in a shifty becloaked group, ostensibly on their way to the docks. They reach what is the most obvious ambush point in the history of bloody ambushes, when two cloaked men appear at the end of the street, supposedly the Syrians to whom Gannicus is being sold. From a side alley, Tullius and Vettius arrive with a measly handful of thugs, thinking they’ve got the best of the House of Batiatus. Oh how wrong they are.
Before Tully can get his smug on, more cloaked men appear from all sides, and surprise, they’re all Batty’s gladiators. See, the men all truly believe that Tully poisoned the wine that killed Titus and Melitta, and they are pissed. The cloaked Syrians throw back their hoods, unmasking themselves as Ashur and Gnaeus, and Tully realizes they’re completely surrounded. AND IT’S ON, BITCHES.
(I watched this scene a couple of times with various musical accompaniments, and so far my favourite is Prodigy’s Breathe, particularly for the swordy SCHWINNNK sounds, which I timed exactly as Ashur pulls out his sword, for maximum awesomeness. I am aware that this makes me a giant dork, yes.)
The gladiators kick the living shit out of Tully’s men most satisfactorily – when Gannicus throws Vettius face down into a puddle of filth, I find myself making high pitched squeaks of glee. Solonius cowers most convincingly on the sidelines, carefully avoiding the melee. One of Tully’s men momentarily gets the better of Barca, stabbing him in the side, but Batty of all people comes to his rescue and stabs the dude through the back of the head. I assume this is why Barca is so loyal to Batty in the first season.
Soon, all of Tully’s thugs are dead or dying, with no losses to the House of Batiatus. Tully is in a bloodied heap on the ground, and Batty is just barely able to stop Oenomaus before he goes in for the kill. Batty’s got a much more horrible death in mind for good Tullius, you see. Batty then turns to Solonius and ecstatically congratulates him on his magnificent performance in the scheme, as Tully looks on enraged. The men part with their victims in tow – Batty and the gladiators with Tullius, and Solonius with Vettius. I AM EXCITE FOR THEM TO BE HACKED TO BITS, YOU GUYS. SO EXCITE.
Vettius, bound and gagged and beaten, awakens as Solonius’ prisoner, hung by his bound hands from a meat hook in the marketplace. Vet is understandably agitated, but Solonius really does not give a shit about his threats and whining. With very good humor, he informs Vettius that Tullius will soon be dead at Batty’s hand, and that furthermore, if Vetty expects to live another day, he will go along with Batty’s plans. These plans involve Vettius telling everyone that Tullius is in Antioch on business, indefinitely, while Batty and Solonius take over Vettius’ ludus full of gladiators. Vettius, who is at heart a total fucking coward without Tullius to hide behind, makes a pathetic face of agreement, and I cackle a delighted cackle.
Back at the villa, Lucretia is once again making a move on Crixus’ fine, fine ass. Crixus was somehow not expecting this, assuming that Lucretia didn’t enjoy it the first time. (AS IF.) Lucretia is quick to correct him – this isn’t about pleasure (YET), it’s about making babies. She just wants his cock, okay? OKAY. Before they can get down to business, Lucretia decides that Crixus will need to shave and have a haircut, and I am MOST DISTRESSED. His fluffy scruffy haiiiiirs! Oh dammit.
Batty, Gannicus, and Oenomaus drag a struggling Tullius into the depths of the new arena, where Gnaeus and Dagan are carefully dismantling a section of wall. They fling Tullius to the ground, where he begins to pathetically bargain for his life, as though that’s even possible at this point. Every offer Tully makes – not to buy Gannicus, to give the House of Batiatus prominence in all future games, anything Batty wants, dammit! – is shot down by Batty, who wants to see Tully suffer as much as fucking possible. Tully rants that Batty’s real suffering will begin when Tullius is missed, so Batty lets him in on the rest of the plan involving Vettius’ support. Aaaand, Tully knows then and there that he’s been totally defeated.
Tully makes the tactical error of saying that the only reason he didn’t kill Batiatus long before this was out of respect for Titus, and Batty responds by choking Tullius with a fistful of Titus’ ashes, oh my actual fucking god. Tully rails that he would never have harmed Titus, as he thought him an honorable man, but Batty’s having none of it. Batty, Gannicus, and Oenomaus all stab Tully numerous times in the gut and then BRICK HIM UP IN THE ARENA’S WALL, STILL ALIVE. I must now pause to dance a dance of vindictive glee, hoorays!
All of Capua crowds the stands at the opening games of the new arena, finally arrived. Bats and Lucretia, decked out in their finest, join Magistrate Sextus, Varis, Cossutius and various others in the pulvinus, supposedly invited by Tullius, who is inexplicably late! My goodness, whatever might be keeping him? Vettius arrives, full of apologies for his lateness, and for the absence of Tullius, who is unexpectedly
bricked up dead in the wall in Antioch for business. When Sextus offers to reschedule the opening games so that Tullius might attend, Vettius insists that the games go on, and further reveals that he plans to retire as a lanista and join Tullius in Antioch. When Batty smarmily offers to but Vet’s gladiators together with Solonius, he discovers that Solonius has gone against their agreement and taken all the gladiators for himself. AHAHA. Betrayal! Vet compounds Batty’s rage by telling Sextus that he and Tullius agree that Solonius should be given prominence in all future games, and Sextus readily agrees, while Batty stands silently by, feigning pleasure at his friend’s successes.
Solonius walks Vettius out of the arena, reminding him never to return to Capua. As Vetty stomps off in a huff, Batiatus comes after Solonius to rant at him about his betrayal most foul. Solonius throws Batty’s own words about ass-kissing and cowardice back in his face, telling him that he’s had enough of Batty’s fucking shit, and that they’re breaking up forever and ever. Way to finally grow a pair, Solonius.
They return to the pulvinus in time for the pre-game execution of prisoners, who are led onto the sand in chains. And OH FUCK ME. It’s Diona. Cossutius is the first to notice her, and finds it rather amusing, because he is a worthless piece of creeper shit. The prisoners are executed by Solonius’ gladiator Cabrurus one by one, as Naevia sobs quietly. Diona is the last to die, and she and Naevia stare at each other until the final moment. Cossutius the gross creeper giggles the entire time, and I hope he dies a lot.
Inside the arena, the gladiators get ready to fight. Barca, swathed in bandages, insists to Oenomaus that he is ready to fight, but Oenomaus refuses him. Barca pouts and shuffles off with a sad panda face.
Oenomaus approaches Gannicus and tries to cajole him out of his funk, but Gannicus is too busy mooning over Melitta. Oenomaus cunningly tells him to fight for Melitta, as she is surely watching them both from the afterlife, and Gannicus is aflail with purpose, because he is an enormous, predictable derpface.
A newly-shaved-and-shorn Crixus is to fight first, and oh my god noooo, it is totes the annoying jerkface Crixus from season one! I miss his wooby face and his scruffy hairs, you guys. SO MUCH. Barca helps strap him into his armor, and sends him out onto the sand. Sextus tells the crowd that each fight will be to the death, with the all the victors to face one another simultaneously in the primus, and the crowd is fucking delighted.
Crixus flat out fucks shit up, and is quickly followed in bloody success by Ashur, Dagan, Gnaeus, and Gannicus. As the primus arrives, Varis laughingly points out that Batiatus’ 7 men are at a disadvantage to Solonius’ 13, but Batty smugly assures him that his fewer men are far superior. Solonius tries to smile matily but instead makes a face like a bulldog chewing a lemon with a wasp in it.
Night falls, and the men prepare for the primus. Crixus approaches Gannicus and calmly announces his intention to kick Gannicus’ ass once Solonius’ men have been defeated, so he can be the bestest best gladiator forever and ever. ARGH DAMMIT. I can’t even decide who to root for here, because so help me I LOVE BOTH THESE MORONS TO BITS. brb, weeping and rending of garments.
Batty delivers a rousing speech, imploring the men to KICK EPIC ASS, and the gladiators are psyched as all hell. AS ARE WE ALL.
Gannicus, Crixus, Dagan, Ashur, Gnaeus, and two duders I don’t recognize march out onto the sand to meet Solonius’ 13 men, leaving Barca the Sad Panda behind. As soon as they reach the center of the arena, slaves pour a circle of mysterious liquid around the assembled men, which it lit into a trufax RING OF FIRE. loldrama! The men must fight inside the ring only; if they fall out, they are removed from the primus.
IT IS SO ON, Y’ALL.
The battle begins, with first blood going to a fighter from Solonius’ ludus. But Batty’s men soon overwhelm their opponents, with Crixus and Gannicus killing the first men, followed immediately by Gnaeus. As the number of opponents dwindle, Dagan seizes the opportunity to HOORAY FINALLY turn on Ashur with the intention of hacking him to tiny bits. Tragically, we know Ashur survives, but at least we’ll get to see him horribly injured. YAY. Solonius, seeing the attack, mocks Batty for having men too stupid not to fight each other, which, let’s face it, is an excellent point.
Ashur kicks sand into Dagan’s remaining eye, and stabs him in the stomach while he’s blinded. Ashur, you dick. Hurry up and die. Meanwhile, Gnaeus lights his net aflame and catches one of the opposing gladiators in it. Mmm, crispy gladiator surprise, my favourite. Alas, a few short moments later, Gnaeus is thrown from the fire circle and eliminated from the primus. BYE GNAEUS.
Soon, only Crixus, Gannicus, and Ashur are left against the enormous Caburus of Solonius’ ludus. Ashur tries to get Crixus to join him to defeat Caburus, but my beloved Crixus is not even remotely interested. With one vicious swipe from his sword, Crixus lays Ashur’s right shin open to shards of protruding bone.
(brb watching this scene like 25 times with Tamil disco music in the background for maximum enjoyment.)
HAHA ASHUR SUCK IT. Crixus throws him into the fire and out of the primus, and runs to make his move on Caburus. Crixus and Gannicus fight more or less together against Caburus, both taking some messy wounds, until Gannicus, moving to shield Crixus from what would otherwise be a death blow, knocks him out of the ring. OSHIT.
Gannicus’ fight against Caburus gets more and more desperate-looking – he even tries to trap him in Gnaeus’ discarded net after he loses his swords. Gannicus manages to grab a fallen man’s sword and hamstring Caburus, but Caburus is a goddamn gladiating MACHINE and will not be stopped. Shit is looking pretty dismal for our sweet bebeh Gannicus. I swear to god, if he has a sudden vision of Melitta that spurs him on to winning, I am going to be outraged. YES, OUTRAGED.
But no, instead, Gannicus meets Oenomaus’ eyes from across the arena, and presumably remembers the promise he made to honor Melitta’s memory with blood. As dramatic operatic music swells, Gannicus leaps up from the sand and slams a spear into Caburus’ face, tearing off his entire mandible most grotendously, oh my god i can’t even. Aaaand the crowd goes bugfuck titty-shaking wild. Sextus and friends up in the pulvinus are equally delighted, and amused by Batty’s wild self-congratulatory cheering. Varis and Cossutius jump to claim Gannicus for position in their own upcoming games, and Batty preens relentlessly.
Good Solonius interjects with the most splendidly cunning stratagem SO FAR THIS ENTIRE SERIES by innocently mentioning that the crowd would never forget the opening games if Gannicus was immediately granted his freedom. Before Batty can demur, Sextus leaps on the idea like a crazed Chihuahua, insisting that Batty can always train another gladiator, but PR opportunities such as these are few and far between. Batty is forced to agree, pretending to be absolutely delighted to honor the games and the city in such a way. HAHA SEETHE MOAR BATFACE.
Sextus announces to the screaming crowd and a disbelieving Gannicus that he has been awarded his freedom, and Gannicus pretty much just weeps like a girl. Aww.
The next day, back at the ludus, the men are cheering him still. Batty and Lucretia are up on the balcony looking grim as Gannicus, wearing actual clothes for the first time this season, says his goodbyes to the rest of the gladiators. After all their scheming and plotting and murdering and betrayal, Batty and Luce still lose out on his future championings. Batty even offered him a ton of cash and the freedom to come and go as he pleases, if only he would still continue to fight for the House of Batiatus, but no! Gannicus is determined to be a free man.
Lucretia casually just happens to mention that even though Gannicus is leaving, Crixus did very well in the games, and perhaps they should think about grooming him as the new Champion. Since, you know, he is already the Champion of her pants. Batty looks at her kind of suspiciously (HAHA) but agrees that Crixus is indeed their best bet.
Gannicus is hugging his bros goodbye, and Barca tells him he’ll join him one day soon, which, OUCH. OMG. I bet Gannicus shows up in season two to fight with Sparty and Crixus and Oenomaus, but also to avenge Barca’s death! YIPPIES.
He saves Crixus for last, telling him to win his own damn freedom and then come find him so they can be beffies together forever and ever! (shut up, I am a little too excited okay.) Gannicus also hands over to Crixus the necklace he was given when he became Champion, and Crixus looks a little stunned and a little humbled, which, omg adorbs.
Gimpy Ashur staggers outside, all bandaged and legbraced, and Crixus gives him the mother of all stinkeyes. I really fucking hope Crixus ends up being the one to kill him next season, but tbh I will be satisfied if Ashur dies from choking on a piece of toast. I will then create a goddamn shrine to toast, okay.
Oenomaus happily presents his bestest best brobuddy Gannicus with the rudis, the wooden sword that denotes his status as a freed gladiator, telling him how proud Melitta would have been to see this day. AND THEN THEY CUDDLE. shrieek shrieeeeeek.
Gannicus walks out of the gates and into the world, where he presumably goes on to bone a fuckton of hotties and kick ass wherever asses need kicking, and I srsly fucking hope he’s back next season. The gates close, and Oenomaus cracks his sexwhip, sending the gladiators back into their day’s training.
Batty grumpily insists that the names of Gannicus, Tullius, and Vettius never again be spoken within his walls, instead hoping to look towards the future where all will be hugs and puppies and blood and sand. He and Lucretia are sure they will one day be properly rewarded for everything they’ve done….
And the last scene of the series reprises the final scene from last season’s Kill Them All, with Batiatus and Lucretia lying in a pool of blood, surrounded by their dead guests, as Spartacus and the rest of the gladiators run free into the night. (Mmm, Andy Whitfield, you fine ass mofo. I MISS YOU.)
I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT JANUARY FOR MORE OF THIS. LIFE, Y U SO UNFAIR. *weeps*