Spartacus: Blood & Sand – 1.06 – Delicate Things

PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: BLOOD & SAND! Crixus and Spartacus faced the Shadow of Death! Barca placed an unwise wager! Moneygrubbing merchants met a gruesome end! And then Sparty made it rain by the sheer power of his epic hotassery.

*****

A new day dawns in Capua, and the rain is still bucketing down. Batiatus is up on the balcony triumphantly addressing the gladiators, with a rosy-cheeked and richly dressed Lucretia by his side. Spartacus’ victory in the arena has renewed the ludus’ fortunes extensively, and everyone will benefit like whoa. When Batty brings Spartacus out to receive the men’s cheers, even Doctore looks pleased and proud, although both Lucretia and Naevia do a quick double take when Batty calls Sparty “the new Champion of Capua”. Barca looks pleased as well, although I bet he’s thinking about the winnings from his massive wager more than anything else.

Sparty looks pretty conflicted up on the balcony, even as the assembled men cheer his name delightedly. It’s possible that he’s thinking about Crixus, who we see in brief flashes down in the cells, dripping blood everywhere from gory wounds as the medicus tends to him, but it’s more likely that Spartacus is thinking of Sura and her cryptic dream warning about the rains. INTRIGUE! DRAMA! GLORIOUS THIGHS! I am officially distracted.

Poor hideously battered Crixus is half conscious, and keeps reliving his final moments in the arena before he fell to Theokeles. He manages to look pretty pissed off at himself even as he drools spitty blood bubbles. Crixus’ reverie is interrupted by the medicus’ branding iron closing one of his messy wounds. Medicine in the ancient world was revolting, y’all.

*****

Inside the villa, Batiatus is all but prancing ecstatically as he pours some wine for himself and Lucretia, glorying in Spartacus’ general awesomeness, and patting himself firmly on the back to boot. Lucretia has apparently had quite enough of this, and reminds Batty that Spartacus didn’t exactly go into the arena alone – at least some of this glory belongs to Crixus as well. But Batiatus has moved on to a new BFF; he concedes that should Crixus recover from his horrible wounds, he will always have position at the ludus – just not that of the Champion. No, it’s Spartacus the crowd favours now, and Batty plans to exploit the situation to the fullest.

Spartacus is a little bemused by all this attention, wondering what exactly the crowd is expecting next. Surely defeating an undefeatable opponent is enough? “LOLNO,” Batty and Lucretia chortle in amazement. They understand showmanship, and understand that without the love of the crowd, businesses like theirs are worth nothing.

Batty decides that Spartacus will change his fighting style to use two swords together, as Theokeles himself did, and further proclaims that Spartacus shall have new fancy armor to be the prettiest girl at the ball. Sparty continues to look unmoved by these exciting new developments, until Batiatus remembers the main thing on Sparty’s mind – Sura.

Naturally, Batiatus has been saving the best for last. Sura has been found “in the dark corners of Syria” and is on her way to Capua at this very moment. Finally Spartacus shows some genuine emotion, tearfully telling Batsy that Bats is a truly honorable man and that now they shall forever be bestest best frands. As the guards return Spartacus to the insula, Lucretia scowls in the background.

Lucretia has had just about enough of these fucking secrets all the time, thank you very much. Between the murder of Ovidius and the return of Sura, she’s completely fed up with all these intrigues happening without her knowledge. And she’s especially outraged that Batty would kill a man and his entire family over a few small debts, especially a man who is cousin to the magistrate, but Batty sets her to rights with the information that Ovidius, spurred by Solonius, was behind the attempt on Batty’s life down in the pits – an attempt thoroughly foiled by Spartacus. Lucretia seems somewhat relieved, and more than a bit swept away by Batty’s enthusiasm at their renewed fortunes.

I don’t get Batty’s behaviour here, tbh. He knows full well that Lucretia is just as cunning and ruthless as he is, if not MORE so – so why would he exclude her from his serious business intrigues? Lucretia is absofuckinglutely someone to have on your side when the shit hits the fan, and he should know this by now and embrace it fully. SIGH.

*****

Down in the ludus, Doctore takes Spartacus, accompanied by the ever present guards, to his new private cell – Gannicus’ old cell, now that I think about it. (Which is odd, because presumably these are the private quarters for the Champion, right? So why didn’t Crixus ever stay there? Hm, I bet it was so Lucretia could summon him more easily for sexytimes.)

Doctore stops a moment to compliment Spartacus on a battle well fought – since he himself was unable to defeat Theokeles, Doctore feels especially pleased that a fight started by himself was ended by his student. Spartacus insists that he never would have been able to do so without Doctore’s training, and they spend a few moments matily arguing that the other is really the most awesome and badass. Aww. I want them to be beffies so bad, you guys. SO BAD. Doctore hasn’t had a good friend since Gannicus left and Melitta died. I mean, yes, *spoilers for ancient history*, I know that’s how it turns out, but still! I DEMAND SQUEE.

Spartacus is giddily planning for his wife’s return, wondering if he can bedeck his shabby chic love nest with candles, but Doctore gently shoots him down – Sura will not be allowed to share his cell, but will be housed in the villa with the rest of the female slaves. Spartacus is obviously disappointed, but Doctore isn’t finished. He’s sure that Spartacus will continue to gain position, and soon earn freedom, for both himself and Sura. Let’s not be so hasty, Doctore. This show does not lend itself well to optimism.

*****

Ashur limps nervously through the insula, when surely his worst nightmare appears – Barca wants his winnings, and well pissed to have waited so long. Ashur smiles his phoniest smile and starts spouting off friendly excuses and apologies. Barca neatly shuts Ashur up by grabbing him by the balls and slamming him against the wall. Well done indeed! Barca doesn’t give a shit how it happens, he wants his fucking money. Let’s see who Ashur fucks over to get it! Huh, I wonder if poor unconscious Crixus has a stash somewhere to be looted.

Pietros is tending to their caged pigeons when Barca returns to their cell, and the swoony backstory to the huge bet is revealed! Barca plans to use his winnings to buy their freedom so they can run away together and live in harmony harmony oh love! YOU GUYS THIS IS SO ADORABLE. They even plan to free the birds when they leave!

Sigh. So basically they’ll all die horribly. *weeps*

As Pietros excitedly begins organizing their meager belongings to pack for their departure, he discovers still-wet bloodstains all over Barca’s cloak – the same one he was wearing the night he left the villa with Batiatus on his mysterious errand, the same night Ovidius was murdered. And thus is the truth revealed that Barca was indeed the one who killed them all; Ovidius, his slaves, his family. Pietros is horrified to realize that Barca was also the one who must have killed Ovidius’ toddler son, and oh how his little chin trembles. Barca is no match for the Trembly Chin of Pietros, and admits that while he was ordered to kill the child, he instead chose to spare the kid, abandoning him far away from the house. By the time the child is discovered, Barca reasons, they will have long since gained their freedom and left town. Happiness and cuddles ensue!

Aaaaand naturally, Ashur the Sneaky Jerkface is eavesdropping. SHIT.

*****

Lucretia is enjoying a luxurious bath, tended by three slave girls, when Batty bounces in to join her, with the news that Spartacus’ victory in the arena has caused a massive influx of orders to the ludus from well-known families throughout Capua. The pleasure of seeing Lucretia’s rosy bosom is somewhat lessened by the sight of Batty’s pasty bottom and gut.

Batty and Lucretia’s conversation about Sura’s upcoming arrival is only slightly interrupted by Batty’s pause to casually rape a slave girl’s ass, at Lucretia’s request. Ugh, Romans. Lucretia is concerned that the promise of Sura’s return was the only thing they had to hold over Spartacus, and now, with her return, how are they to trust him? Batty’s pretty sure that Spartacus’ gratitude will be good enough, but Lucretia still insists that gratitude won’t be enough, and besides, Sparty’s just not the man that Crixus is. Which, let’s be fair, could possibly be true – we haven’t seen Spartacus’ cock yet, so we just don’t have the necessary and vital information to make these kind of judgments.

*****

Spartacus stands on the edge of the cliff, getting rained on in his tiny gladiator manties. He’s fiddling with Sura’s garter on his arm when Varro strolls out for some idle chitchat about Sparty’s victory, and to congratulate him on the return of Sura. Spartacus has plenty of more serious things on his mind, though – he wants to know about any sparsely traveled roads in the mountains leading away from Capua. Varro’s no fool, and knows immediately what Sparty’s intentions are – escape! Spartacus is too impatient to wait for the chance to buy his freedom – he rightly suspects that Batiatus would much rather have him in the ludus, earning money. Varro facepalms as Spartacus outlines his various plans for escape, each one more messy and unlikely than the last.

First of all, where does Sparty think he’s going to get weapons, eh? Just because they’re in a weapon-filled ludus doesn’t mean that things aren’t kept under lock and key. Jupiter’s cock, Sparty! Varro points out that Sparty and Sura will need a horse to outdistance their pursuers, but Sparty’s also got that one covered – since Sura arrives by cart, he’ll just steal one of the cart horses and ride off dramatically into the sunset! Huzzah! Even I am facepalming now.

Varro has one last piece of wisdom, and one that Spartacus clearly had not considered beforehand – what is Spartacus going to do about the one man in all the ludus who could stop his cunning escape? DOCTORE, of course. Even if Sparty can slaughter his way through the guards, how is he going to defeat Doctore’s rippling, glistening muscles and his mighty sexwhip?

Sparty admits he hadn’t even thought that far, but is totally fucking determined nevertheless, because he’s kind of an idiot. Varro is completely frustrated with Sparty’s tomfoolery and refuses to help him, worried about his own family’s livelihood at stake. He stalks off in a huff, leaving Spartacus standing in the rain.

*****

That afternoon in the marketplace, the entire citizenry of Capua seems to be out and about, frolicking happily in the long-awaited and seemingly neverending rain. Inside the blacksmith’s shop, Batiatus, Doctore, and Ashur are all admiring Spartacus’ shiny new snake-emblazoned armor (serpents glissante langued affronté, I believe) and tiny leather skirt. Spartacus, always planning ahead, asks permission to wear his armor upon Sura’s return. Batty agrees, assuming he wants to impress his wife, but obviously Spartacus is thinking about its usefulness in his escape plan instead. Batiatus reminds him that he can’t keep the swords, and Spartacus innocently agrees, handing them over to Doctore.

Before Batty can really work himself into an idolatrous armor-caressing frenzy, Magistrate Calavius enters with his teenage son Numerius, the dorky gladiator fanboy. Batiatus is, of course, pleased to have a chance to suck up to the rich and powerful magistrate, and his prayers are answered when Numerius is visibly overcome with excitement at the the sight of the famous Spartacus. Numerius apparently insisted on coming to the marketplace specifically to find something Thracian, and has purchased a dagger. Spartacus cleverly confirms the markings on the hilt as those of a Thracian warrior, and further takes it upon himself to invite Numerius to visit the ludus to train with the men.

Calavius agrees to bring Numerius by later in the day, once he’s completed his inquiries into his cousin Ovidius’ recent death, and Batty immediately puts on his best expression of sincere sympathy. As the Magistrate and his son leave, Batiatus turns to Spartacus seemingly in anger, questioning him about the invitation, and Sparty flutters his eyelashes innocently. But no, Batty is fucking thrilled that Spartacus has made such a politically clever maneuver! Well done, Sparty! Of course, Spartacus is far more interested in the Thracian dagger carried by Numerius in his ridiculous wrestling championship belt.

*****

Over at the villa, Lucretia and Naevia are visiting Crixus, who is still barely conscious and filthy like whoa. Lucretia worries that Crixus isn’t even awake yet, but the medicus has been keeping him drugged so he can get some rest from his injuries. I’m more concerned by the fact that no one seems to be washing his wounds or washing their hands before touching him.

(I got momentarily lost down a wikihole here about the history of soap and bathing, and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, just thinking about life before soap makes me want to take a thousand showers posthaste. *weeps*)

Seriously, the medicus’ grimy bloodstained hands are second in horror only to the slimy greenish-gray poultices on Crixus’ oozing wounds. Ten bucks says they’re made from dirt and poop. Lucretia tells the medicus to save Crixus’ life or lose his own, and departs in a froth, but Naevia stays behind a moment or two to stare at Crixus in barely concealed worry.

*****

As Spartacus and Company walk through the rainy market, Batty crows immodestly about the admiring looks they’re receiving, not to mention the cheers and applause. One happily fornicating couple in the corner even stops their thrustery to point and cheer. Batty witters on happily about all the coin they’re sure to earn on Spartacus’ good name, and Sparty interrupts to ask about his own coin – is there anything left from his winnings after the purchase of Sura, he wonders? Batiatus assumes he wants to buy something for his wife in the market, but Spartacus has other, more entertaining plans in mind. He asks to spend his earnings on wine and women for the rest of the gladiators back at the ludus, so that everyone can fully enjoy his victory. Batiatus is, of course, always surprised by selflessness, but dispatches Ashur on his way to make the arrangements after Doctore concurs that the offer would be extremely welcome.

Doctore, Batiatus, and Spartacus return to the villa to get ready for the Magistrate’s visit, and Ashur sets off into the market, presumably to find some ladies of the night. He approaches the leprous-faced Marcellus and asks for his assistance in both acquiring women and wine, AND in settling his debt with Barca. Why do I get the feeling he’s not asking for a loan? Ugh, Ashur.

*****

A clean, dry, and shinily armored Spartacus is gamely play-fighting with Numerius, both wielding wooden practice swords. Lucretia, Batiatus, and Calavius relax in the triclinium and look on approvingly. As well they should, seeing how Sparty is wearing his tiny leather skirt. Numerius complains that he just can’t get the movements right, so Spartacus casually mentions that maybe his giant (knife-concealing) belt is getting in the way; of course Numerius listens to his hero and immediately sheds the belt, leaving it and the knife just a few feet away on the floor.

Lucretia admires Numerius’ alleged skill with his practice sword, and Calavius rues his son’s teenage fascination with all things gladiatorial. As Numerius’ 15th birthday celebration is approaching, he is begging daily to be allowed a demonstration fight for his party. Batiatus’ business sense clearly won’t let this opportunity pass them by, and the men depart for the tablinum to discuss the cost of the event.

Before they can do so, a messenger bursts in with important news for Calavius – Ovidius’ toddler son has survived and been located. Lucretia and Batiatus carefully conceal their horror at this unforseen situation, and casually ask if the boy has said anything about the murders. Calavius rushes out to see to this new development, and Spartacus calls after Numerius with his forgotten giant belt, while concealing the knife in his greaves. Numerius thanks Spartacus excitedly and scampers off after his father.

*****

Batiatus is tearing shit up all over the house in his crazy fucking rage. Lucretia is similarly aflail, demanding to know how the fuck this could have happened – didn’t Batiatus make extra certain that everyone was dead? Alas, no, Batty left the child’s death in Barca’s hands, and didn’t witness anything himself.

Ashur, eavesdropping as usual, swans in casually to tell Batiatus that the wine and women for the evening’s festivities have arrived, just in time for Batty to shout about Barca’s horrible betrayal. Ashur is all helpful concern, pretending to disbelieve such terrible things about loyal Barca, but eventually faux-reluctantly reveals the overheard conversation between Barca and Pietros where Barca discussed purchasing their freedom.

Lucretia and Batiatus immediately decide that this confirms Barca’s guilt, and decide to send Ashur with guards to bring Barca upstairs for an interrogation. Ashur, however, thinks they would have more luck gently interrogating Pietros.

*****

Downstairs, the gladiators are engaged in the drunken gladiator orgy to end all drunken gladiator orgies, with wine flowing and women being spitroasted left and right. Even the guards are joining in on the drinking funtimes. Varro sidles up to Spartacus, noting that tomorrow, all the men and most of the guards will be slow and hungover, although Doctore is not partaking in the wine and will not be affected. Sparty asks after Crixus, which seems odd as he’s never really cared before, so I will assume this is all part of his cunning scheme. And yes, he gets a particularly thoughtful look on his face when Varro explains that Crixus is still unconscious, drugged for recovery by the medicus. Ruh roh.

*****

Meanwhile, Pietros has been summoned to the villa. DUN DUN DUUUUUN.

*****

Crixus, still completely filthy and encrusted with old dirty blood and god knows what else, is asleep on his comfy stone slab while the medicus grinds up some sort of concoction. Spartacus claims to be visting his partner in victory with gifts of wine, but the medicus is having none of it, telling him to be quick about it and keep the wine to himself.

Spartacus does actually kneel down to talk quietly to Crixus, genuinely thanking him for his help in the arena and hoping for his quick recovery, but once he sees the assembled mysterious medicines by his side, he gets back to his scheming business. While the medicus is otherwise occupied, Sparty presses down hard on one of Crixus’ gory half-healed wounds, making it bleed again and making Crixus groan in pain. Sparty notes which jar of medicine is being used to put Crixus back to sleep, and takes a handful of powder to add to a cup of wine. Tricksy hobbitses!

*****

Batiatus offers Pietros a cup of wine up in the villa, but Pietros thinks he’s already had enough downstairs. Batty insists, and they drink together. PIETROS WHY ARE YOU NOT SUSPICIOUS. *flails*

Batiatus asks Pietros to be honest with him, and then sadly tells the tale of how he was forced to retaliate against Ovidius, with Barca’s help. Now Batty’s allegedly worried that Barca may have gone too far and accidentally killed Ovidius’ toddler son, against Batty’s wishes! Ohnoes! Poor innocent Pietros immediately tells Batty that Barca let the boy live, and Batiatus pretends to be completely relieved. He reminds Pietros not to mention their conversation to Barca tonight, as it would surely ruin the celebration, and silly Pietros agrees.

After Pietros returns to the ludus, Ashur and Batty discuss the plans for Barca. They’ll wait a while, until Barca’s good and drunk, and then he’ll be interrogated in the villa. Oh dear. Horrible fucking Ashur can barely conceal his evil glee.

*****

The ludus is literally just one giant orgy, with couples, threesomes, and moresomes going at it like knives in every corner and all down the stairs and hall, but Our Hero Spartacus will not be deterred from his quest! He makes his way through the sweaty, thrusting throng until he finally arrives at Doctore’s door.

Doctore, naturally, is not partaking of the orgiastic delights. Instead, he’s praying quietly at his altar. When Spartacus bursts in like a beer bonging fratboy, all smiles and funtimes, Doctore seems to find him pretty amusing, all things considered. He gently refuses Sparty’s offer of celebratory wine, explaining that he hasn’t drank wine in many years. (I assumed it was because Melitta died from poisoned wine, but apparently Doctore just sees it as a matter of personal discipline.)

Spartacus and Doctore share some stories about their respective wives and their general wifely awesomeness, and I maybe get a little wibbly over poor Melitta. And here’s where Spartacus does something pretty goddamn fucked up – he manipulates Doctore’s emotional connection to his dead wife and sweet-talks him into drinking a cup of wine… the drugged wine, of course. OH SPARTY. You beast.

Seriously though. I have always said that Doctore is the best person on this show – the most decent and the most human. SO I FEEL REALLY BETRAYED HERE YOU GUYS. He really thinks that Spartacus is a good and decent man here, someone who loves his wife as much as Doctore loved his own. And it’s technically true, I guess? It’s just the whole ~dramatic betrayal~ thing.

ugh why am i so invested in this show why why. (disclaimer: i am a little hungover today.)

Sooo. Doctore agrees to drink with Spartacus: not to his victory in the arena, but to their lovely wives instead. Sigh.

****

Back over in Castle Humpenstein, all manner of wine drinking and tit shaking and ass slapping and general rumpety pumpety is afoot. Some of the men – Hamilcar, Rhaskos, Gnaeus – are gambling in between shags. Varro loses his antigambling resolve in the heat of the moment and joins in the fun.

Pietros makes his way through the crowd towards a drunkely carousing Barca, and they leap into each others arms. Ashur, lurking on the sidelines as always, waits for them to be rather distracted indeed before interrupting, with alleged news of Barca’s winnings – Marcellus is going to loan Ashur the money, and will pay the debt when he arrives in the morning to pick up the women.

Ashur then sets the wheels of his eeevil plan in motion, telling Barca that Batty knows of Barca’s desire to purchase his freedom, and that he, Ashur, will ever so helpfully assist in arguing for better terms on Barca’s behalf. Of course, Ashur’s not offering this for free, as that would be suspiciously out of character – whatever sum he’s able to save Barca, he wants 50%. Barca and Pietros are drunk and happy enough to take the deal. Barca departs with Ashur, and Pietros returns to the party. OH POOR UNSUSPECTING BOYS.

*****

Ashur leads Barca up to the villa, where Batiatus waits in the shadows. When questioned about his intent to leave the ludus, poor dumb Barca proudly tells Batty that Ashur will represent his interests in the discussion. Batty’s not about to discuss anything, since as far as he’s concerned, Barca ceased being his slave when he disobeyed in the matter of killing Ovidius’ son. Barca looks completely baffled, and insists that he’s sure he strangled the boy completely to death. When Batty confronts him with Pietros’ confession, Barca assures him that he lied to Pietros because Pietros is just too ~sensitive for such things.

Batiatus seems almost ready to accept this explanation, and Ashur sees all his plans falling to shit. So of course, he opines that maybe Barca is just lying about lying in the first place. The ludus’ guards appear from the shadows and Barca realizes he’s been surrounded. As Batty walks away from the upcoming gruesome scene, Barca shouts after him to explain, but Ashur can’t be having any of that. He stabs Barca in the back, and the guards descend. Ashur gets flung across the room and not hacked to pieces as I was hoping, and soon enough Barca is fighting off a half dozen guardsmen, killing one and badly wounding two others.

*****

Downstairs in his cell, Doctore is suddenly feeling the effects of the drugged wine. He stares at the cup, realization dawning, before he falls unconscious to the floor.

*****

Scenes of Barca taking many ghastly wounds to his back and belly are intercut with scenes of Pietros downstairs at the party, excited and happy for his upcoming day of freedom.

Lucretia and Naevia come running out of the bedroom in time to see Batiatus strike the final blow that leaves Barca dead in the impluvium, his throat cut. Ashur does a tiny triumphant jig like the shitty douchebag that he is; Batty looks grim as fuck; Lucretia is totally appalled; and Naevia is pretty much just weeping with horror.

*****

Apparently all this has happened in the time it took Spartacus to walk from Doctore’s cell back to Orgyville, because Spartacus now reenters the room to an even more ridiculous scene of epic debauchery. He catches Varro’s eye from across the room and they share a significant look of significance – presumably Varro knows that something mysterious has just happened to Doctore. Sparty returns alone to his cell on the far side of the training area, giving the ludus one last shifty look.

*****

The ludus guards are cleaning up the wreck of the atrium and triclinium, and dragging Barca’s body out of the bloody pool. Naevia’s trying to hold herself together, and failing mightily. Lucretia certainly doesn’t help matters by telling Naevia that she’ll be expected to lie about the night’s events – she’s to tell anyone who asks that Barca purchased his freedom and that she herself escorted him to the gates of the villa. Lucretia emphasizes her words with a vicious slap, further scaring the bejeezus out of Naevia, but then!

A KNOCK UPON THE FRONT DOOR! OHOHO.

Both Lucretia and Batiatus now look almost as horrified as Naevia, lols. Whoever could be banging so angrily on their front door at this ridiculous hour of the night? Thieves? Murderers? Demons? Republicans? Snapewives? WHOOOO?

“MAKE WAY FOR THE MAGISTRATE!”

I lol, I die.

The guards and slaves rush to close the curtains around the bloodied pool and clean up the rest of the mess just as Calavius and his own guardsmen burst angrily into the villa. He’s got some questions for Batty that just can’t wait, and he means to have some answers. Calavius is, however, somewhat distracted by the completely trashed house and the bloodstains all over Batty’s pretty dress, but Batty waves it off as a matter of slave discipline. Oh Romans.

Calavius is apparently fine with that crap explanation, as he has more important things on his mind – he’s just returned from the supposed reunion with Ovidius’ son, and wants to talk to a man last seen in Batiatus’ house…. DUN DUN DUUUUUN!

Oh lols, Calavius is talking about the messenger from earlier in the day, not Barca at all! Because apparently, go figure, that messenger was a lying liar who lied lyily. Ovidius’ son was not seen on any road, his body was found in the ruins of the villa, and it looks like Barca was telling the truth after all. Oopsy.

Whoever could have done such a terrible thing? Lucretia and Batiatus are completely fucking aghast at almost having been caught, and at being the victim of a cunning plot, but at whose hands? They vow to find the culprit and feast upon his heart. (I paraphrase slightly, perhaps.)

WHO INDEED. Of fucking COURSE it has got to be Ashur. He’s the only one aside from Batty and Luce who could even pull this off. And behold, as Marcellus stands at the gate, picking up the exhausted and sticky women from the ludus, there’s Ashur, paying him off and thanking him for his help with the tricksy messenger. Marcellus reassures Ashur that the messenger’s body will never be found, and Ashur reminds him that he too will disappear if any part of the plot is revealed. It would be rad if Marcellus betrayed him, but I’m pretty sure he’s too wildly craven. Alas.

*****

All throughout the ludus, the barfy and hungover gladiators lay in little helpless heaps in various corners, looking vexed and dyspeptic. Gnaeus has apparently pooped his pants, lol. Ashur gimps along happily, pleased that his fiendish plots have paid off so completely, but is interrupted in his gloating by Pietros, who is all kinds of concerned – he hasn’t seen Barca since Ashur took him upstairs to negotiate their freedom prices. Ashur casually tells the flaily Pietros that Barca has bought his freedom and left the ludus forever and ever, never to be seen again.

Poor Pietros has the vapors and nearly swoons in shock. Ashur then twists the knife with the comment that Barca left him behind because it was too expensive to pay for both their freedoms, and that he’ll surely soon find a new piece of ass for free. WTF PIETROS why aren’t you punching him in the dick? Instead, Pietros returns to his cell to weep with heartbreak. Meh.

*****

Outside in the training area, more men are recovering from the party. Varro goes off in search of Spartacus, who is once again standing at the edge of the cliff, looking out over the mountains. Varro snarks a bit about the success of Sparty’s plan to incapacitate all the men and guards, and then bitterly asks the question that’s clearly been on his mind since the night before – Doctore’s nowhere to be seen; is he dead or alive? Spartacus assures him that Doctore is drugged, not dead, but Varro’s still pissed about what he sees as the overall foolishness of the entire plan.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Spartacus further reveals the rest of his terrible plan, which is to take Batty hostage to ensure their escape. Varro’s all set to pitch the fit of all fits at this crazytalk, when Batiatus calls down to Sparty from the balcony that Sura’s cart is coming up the road. ZOMG!

Varro begs Sparty to reconsider yet again (because he wuuuuvs his beffie so much omgs) but Spartacus is way too fucking determined to back down now. Varro goes all mushyeyed and wishes him good luck, and then they HUG FOREVER yet inexplicably do not make out, not even a little tiny bit. Come the fuck on, show. THROW ME A BONE.

*****

Upstairs in the villa, Lucretia notes to Batty that the pool is finally clear of blood, as though nothing had ever happened. Yes, except for that pesky dead slave! Stupid dead slaves, messing up the house and getting things all bloody!

Lucretia is also not really thrilled about Sura’s arrival at any moment – she still thinks Sura will be a bad influence on Sparty and make him that much harder to control. Batty reminds Lucretia that he is a man of his word, by the gods, and that Spartacus and his wife will be reunited! Lucretia looks totally befuddled by this suddenly honorable husband of hers – as do we all.

*****

Spartacus is primping himself all pretty in his new armor, excited for Sura’s arrival and determined to free them at any cost. Out on the road, horses are whinnying and cart wheels are rolling, so he’d better get a fucking move on. Sparty slips Numerius’ dagger into his greave and walks out into the courtyard.

Everyone converges on the courtyard at once: Spartacus in his shiny armor; the cart drawn by two horses; a hungover and nervous Varro; and Batiatus and Lucretia, all smarmy smiles, accompanied by a handful of guards and Naevia. The rain finally seems to taper off, and the sun peeks out from behind the clouds! FORESHADOWING! Except without shadows.

Spartacus steels himself for his Glorious Escape Attepmt, noting that the guards at the villa’s gate are half asleep at their posts, and that everyone else isn’t doing much better. As he walks slowly towards the cart, Batiatus climbs up to speak with the driver…. and Doctore stumbles outside into the daylight, looking unwell, displeased, and more than a little angry. Catching sight of Spartacus across the sand, Doctore moves to intercept, whip in hand, but Varro jumps to stop him.

Doctore shoves Varro aside and continues around the front of the horse cart, just as Spartacus prepares to pull out his dagger and go all hostage crisis on Batty’s ass. The two men are stopped dead at the sight of the cart’s driver pulling back his cloak to reveal his bloodstained and battered face, and the messy wound on his chest. Gravely wounded, the driver whispers of an attack on the road, and Spartacus runs to the back of the cart in total panic.

OHNOES IT IS SURA AND SHE IS ALL BLOODY AND FUCKED UP AND DYING. Spartacus gathers her into his arms as the waily woman of soundtrack woe kicks in, and even Lucretia looks horrified at all the gore. Sparty carries Sura out of the cart and lays her carefully down on the sand, but there’s nothing to be done. Sura weakly touches his face, looks up at him, smiles a little, and then dies! DIES! IN HIS AAAARRRRMS! Doctore and Varro have identical expressions of misery and pity, but Ashur, off in the corner, looks thoughtful instead of sneaky as I’d expected. Hm.

Sparty cuddles Sura’s body and sobs manfully into her bloody hair for a while, and doesn’t even notice Batiatus walk by to stand next to Lucretia. And Batty, horrible cunning Batty, tells Lucretia that he’s kept his word and reunited Spartacus and Sura, then and skips off with the tiniest of evil smiles. Lucretia looks completely fucking gobsmacked and maybe even a little impressed, and swans off with a smile of her own.

Doctore pauses for a moment before walking away, clearly deciding that this is perhaps not the best time for his well-earned vengeance. Sparty is left alone with his emo manpain and his dead hot wife. SIGH.

*****

NEXT WEEK! Poor baby Sparty is still all a mess over Sura! Doctore bides his time for revenge! Pietros is all alone and unloved! And Varro receives a surprise visit.

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