Spartacus: War of the Damned – 3.02 – Wolves at the Gate

GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE, EVERYONE DRINKS!

Naevia is giving Diotimos the swordsmanship lesson of his lifetime. Even though they’re just using wooden practice swords, he’s fighting for his life against the sheer force of her goddamn awesomeness. It only takes her about 2-3 fancypants gladiator-style moves to upend him on his butt in the mud, at which point she grins at him in a manner that can only be described as devilish, and snarks that “it’s not as easy as butchering a horse, is it?”

RAWR!

RAWR!

Diotimos agrees that Naevia is way more fierce than any kicking horse. On the sidelines, Saxa and Nemetes cackle wildly, enjoying the show. As Naevia helps Diotimos up from the mud, Agron appears by their side; Spartacus has sent for Diotimos.

In the rebel HQ tent, Sparty and Crixus are looking over their map. Sparty has decided to look for a place along the southern coast to hole up with the rebel army, since the longer march will tire Crassus’ army and force them to use up more supplies. Crixus argues that the rebel army will also be exhausted and poorly-supplied after their journey, but Sparty thinks that the safety of being inside a city’s walls will give the rebels a distinct advantage.

Argon arrives with Diotimos, who looks awfully nervous. Relax, buddy, Spartacus only wants to pick your brain a little. Diotimos is confused, since he has no experience with planning wars and rebellions, but Spartacus has other things in mind. He reminds Diotimos of their first conversation, in which Diotimos talked about the city he used to live in, on the coast and protected by high walls – Sinuessa En Valle.

Sparty asks about the city’s defenses, and Diotimos realizes immediately that the plan is to seize the city and quarter the rebel army there. He explains that there are two gates: the main gate, facing the hills towards the west, which is locked at sundown; and the second, which is set against the cliffs and is impassable during the winter months. So only one usable way in and out, then. Crixus looks unhappy at this unfortunate news.

It gets a little worse, too – Diotimos tells them that the Aedile decreed that all weapons must be secured in a strongroom near the gates, to prevent any slaves within the city from turning them on the guards in rebellion. Anyone entering the city has to hand over their weapons to be locked away.

Crixus is now even more certain that this idea is rubbishy, and Spartacus seems to agree, until Gannicus interrupts to mention a shifty blacksmith of his acquaintance, Attius, who might agree to help them. Diotimos confirms that he knows of the man, as his former dominus, Laurus, talked shit about him fairly frequently.

Agron asks if Attius is trustworthy, and Gannicus laughs a little – it’s not so much about trust as it is about how much money they give him. Spartacus decides to head for the city with Gannicus and do some recon, with Crixus by their side. Agron will take charge of the rebel army and follow, lurking in the hills until it’s time for the kicking of Roman asses. He reminds the rest of the guys to be careful about hiding their gladiator brands, and Diotimos tells them to drop his former dominus’ name at the gate if they have any trouble.

*****

The next day, Sparty, Crixus, and Gannicus arrive at the gates of Sinuessa En Valle, all tarted up in stolen finery. I feel incredibly cheated that we didn’t get a fashion montage scene of them trying everything on for the ladies back at camp. Please oh please, let this be a scene on the gag reel!

WERQ IT GURL

WERQ IT GURL

When the guards get all up in their business, Sparty tells them that they’re visiting the city to purchase some grain, and enjoy themselves in a manly fashion. Sparty also hands over a few coins as a bribe, with a saucy waggle of his eyebrows. The guard claims to be insulted by the paltry amount, so Spartacus gamely opens his purse to hand over a few more. The guard spots Sparty’s fancy vambrace and demands it in payment as well.

Since this is all that’s covering his gladiator brand, Spartacus naturally refuses to hand it over. As Crixus and Gannicus exchange grumpily resigned looks, the guard tells them to get out of town, calling over a couple of his guard buddies to see them away. Crixus gets ready to reach for his sword, but Sparty just smirks at the guard and gives him a sarcastic little bow, turning to leave. He glances back to ask that someone inform the notorious Laurus that his guests will not be coming over to play after all.

It seems like Diotimos’ intel was solid – the guard stops immediately upon hearing Laurus’ name and tells them to hand over their weapons to enter the city. He names himself as Decimus and somewhat nervously asks them to mention to Laurus that he treated them well. Sparty grins at him a little ominously and promises to make sure Decimus is well-rewarded.

WITH DEATH! ha.

*****

Down by the docks, Laeta, wife of the Aedile, is walking with Ulpianus, a Roman merchant. He’s upset about the high price of grain, and begs Laeta to intervene with her husband to get him a better price. Laeta is sympathetic, but explains that with Spartacus’ rebellion by land and the Cilician pirates by sea, the cost of transporting the grain has grown astronomical. Ulpianus plays to her sympathies, telling her that his wife is pregnant, and Laeta agrees to talk with her husband, but warns that it will likely do no good.

*****

In the town square, a rebellious slave is thrown to the ground by Laurus, who almost smugly tells the Aedile, Ennius, that he knew the shackles alone wouldn’t be good enough after Diotimos escaped. Ennius agrees to the punishment that Laurus has demanded, and Laurus drags the slave off to see it done.

Laeta arrives and spots her husband across the square. He’s somewhat displeased to see her, as he was expecting her to be overseeing business at their horreum, or grain warehouse. Laeta tries to bring up Ulpianus’ request, but Ennius brushes her off. As the rebellious slave is dragged to a bloody wall and chained up, Laeta realizes what she’s interrupted.

Laurus hops up onto a podium to address the crowd, telling them that Ennius has given his permission for everyone to join in on the slave’s punishment for plotting rebellion. It seems that Laurus discovered that the slave had been stashing scraps of food in preparation for an escape attempt, presumably to join the rebel army.

Across the square, Laeta remarks to her husband in angry yet hushed tones that it’s no wonder Laurus’ slaves are rebelling, since the man is such an epic douchebag. Oh man. So she’s thoughtful and kind to her friends and customers, and is sympathetic to the hardships faced by the slaves? I assume terrible things will happen to her very soon, then. No one is allowed to be a decent human being in the Republic!

Sigh.

Ennius maintains neutrality, saying that Laurus has a right to punish rebellious slaves. Laeta counters that even animals will give loyalty in return for kindness, and savagery in return for beatings. Meanwhile, Laurus is continuing on with his angry ranting, encouraging the assembled crowd to take part in the punishment. Guardsmen pass through the crowd with baskets full of stones, and everyone seems eager to take one.

Sparty, Crixus, and Gannicus, having just arrived, are forced to take stones of their own to keep up appearances. Spartacus is determined to fix this terrible situation somehow, and Gannicus reminds him that doing anything other than the expected eager participation will blow their covers and screw their plans up completely.

grrr

grrr

Before they can get into a hissy argument, the chained slave starts shouting Sparty’s name, startling him badly. Sparty stares at the slave in confusion, and in the moment it takes him to realize that the slave is just chanting his name angrily and not actually calling to him, both Laurus and Ennius have noticed his interest.

Laurus angrily takes the first throw, and the screaming crowd soon follows. As the stones batter the chained slave, we see another of Laurus’ slaves, chained across the square, watching in horror. She’s all wide eyed and struggling not to cry aloud.

The crowd is whipped up into a bloodthirsty frenzy, as Sparty and the boys look on disgustedly. Spartacus winds back his arm and hurls a stone at the slave’s head, splitting it open and killing him instantly. The crowd is disappointed at the loss of their sport, and Laurus glares over their heads at Sparty. Yeah, way to fly under the radar, dude. Crixus all but kicks him in the shins for his idiocy.

*****

Over in Casa de Crassus, final wartime preparations are being made. Even more importantly, to me at least, a couple of slaves are taking Crassus’ enormous shaggy dogs for their morning walks. GIANT PUPPIES! (I think they’re Scottish deerhounds but I’m not entirely sure. Any ideas?)

Crassus tells Tiberius to make sure that every centuriae has an extra cornicen, or signal officer – he doesn’t want any orders being missed in the heat of battle. Crassus also wants to triple the number of tesserarius, or watch commanders, so that no spies slip through the encampment at night. He’s determined not to be caught out like Cossinius and Furius were.

Sabinus arrives with yet another message from Senator Metellus, who has been the neediest crybaby in the universe ever since Crassus took command of the army. Metellus is getting super anxious that they haven’t left yet, and Tiberius agrees that it’s well past time to get their asses in gear. Crassus still has a couple of important things to take care of, though.

Like armor, for example – Crassus asks Tiberius how things are going with this important task he’d assigned, and Tiberius proudly tells his dad that he and Sabinus have seen the job done, and done right. Crassus isn’t going to be convinced by mere words, and strides off to meet with the armorer.

Sabinus stays back a moment to reassure Tiberius that Daddy Dearest will definitely be proud of him now, but Tiberius remains stiff and nervous.

*****

Crassus examines the armorer’s offerings with great interest. The armorer tells him that the cost of a single but extremely awesome sword will be 90 denarii, and Crassus asks about slightly less awesome offerings. The armorer says that Tiberius bargained him down to 120 denarii per soldier for full armor and weapons, but before Crassus can respond, Kore peeks in to announce that a long-awaited mysterious special guest has arrived.

Crassus tells the armorer that the price negotiated by Tiberius is acceptable, and that Tiberius can handle the rest of their business on his behalf. As his dad departs, Tiberius looks equal parts pleased and relieved, and Sabinus crows to him that Daddycakes is sure to give him an honored place and title in the army. YAYS.

*****

Outside in the hallway, the special guest – Julius Gaius Caesar himself – is growing more and more impatient, demanding to know if he’s going to have to stand around all goddamn day. Tertulla shoots him a glance of icy disdain and basically says “bitch plz, my husband’s house, my husband’s rules,” which doesn’t go over too well.

In a delightful moment of casting giddiness, Our Show has chosen a blond musclebound Caesar dudebro who is so dudely and broish that he almost makes Gannicus look like Lewis Skolnick. And Brosephus Caesar is not about to take any shit today. As he turns to storm out of the villa, the two burly slaves behind him attempt to prevent his departure. This turns out to be a really big mistake.

Brosephus Caesar throws himself into the brawl with an enormous smile on his face, flexing and strutting before Tertulla’s scandalized gaze.

YOU DELIGHT ME, SIR.

omg

omg

Caesar takes a break from brawling when Crassus arrives and sends Tertulla on her way. Caesar remarks that she never liked him much, and Crassus snarks right back that Caesar’s never given her a reason to. Caesar turns to leave and get home to his own wife, but Crassus calls him back, saying that she’s been told that Caesar would be out with the boys tonight.

Caesar’s even more irritated now, and bitches at Crassus for having had him snatched up right outside the city gates for this mysterious meeting, and for leaving him standing around, tired and filthy and hungry after his long journey. Crassus soothes his surly temper by bringing up Caesar’s recent awesomeness in battles against Mithridates, despite not having had official permission to do so. Caesar’s not really swayed by compliments right now, though – he just wants Crassus to get down to business.

Since business is what Crassus does best, this is not a terrible hardship. Crassus breaks it down pretty simply: Caesar has a famous name and legendary ancestors, but is in a huge amount of debt; and while Crassus has no similarly notable descent, he does have a metric fuckton of money. Obviously, the two of them should hook up to rule the world, no?

After a bit more prodding and leading conversation, Caesar realizes he only has one really important question for Crassus: why now? They could’ve formed an alliance at any time, so what is Crassus’ current motivation? It’s Spartacus, naturally. Crassus is convinced that with his money and Caesar’s name, if they are able to end the slave rebellion together, then there is no limit to the power they’ll hold.

Caesar is totally hooked.

*****

Attius the blacksmith is sullenly doing some smithy stuff when Gannicus arrives with Sparty and Crixus. Attius is pleased to see his old friend, but thinks he’s a moron for showing his face in town, since he’s been named publicly as an enemy of Rome. Spartacus says that they heard Attius wasn’t exactly BFFs with the Republic, and Attius knows right away who he’s talking to. He can’t fucking believe that Gannicus would show up with the Republic’s #1 Most Wanted, “the bringer of piss and shit.” Crixus finds this description most lolsome indeed.

Gannicus explains that they’ve got a fantastic opportunity for Attius to betray the Republic and get a whole lot of coin for his troubles. As Gannicus predicted, Attius is amenable to the thought of helping out, at least until he hears that they want swords. Attius tosses aside the purse full of coins and rants about how Ennius decreed that no more swords be made, forcing Attius to spend his days making shackles for the slaves instead.

From his post by the door, Crixus says, ominously, that they’ll take care of the Aedile, and Attius finds this slightly reassuring. Sparty says that they just need two swords, and when Attius says that they’ve paid way more than the cost of two swords, Gannicus rolls his eyes at his idiot friend and reminds him that the rest of the money is to buy his silence, duh. Attius noses around for more info and Sparty loses his patience, demanding to know if he’s in or if he’s out.

Attius agrees to make the swords, and Gannicus stays behind to keep an eye on things. Crixus, as usual, is not happy about trusting anyone, much less a Roman, but Sparty tells him to chillax and go hook up with Agron and the rest of the rebels. Sparty’s got everything under control, y’all. Before he leaves, he asks Attius to direct him towards the granaries.

*****

Sparty is absentmindedly sifting through some grain outside of Ennius’ horreum. Laeta notices him and his fancy clothing and assumes that he’s a wealthy customer. She puts on her salesman face and apologizes that her husband is still busy with another buyer, and she and Sparty flirt a little while they wait. It’s adorable.

Laeta explains that the majority of their holdings have already been purchased by Crassus for his approaching armies, but that there’s still plenty to go around. She asks Spartacus what he’s doing in town, and his story is that he has too many slaves, and is looking for somewhere to house them. Laeta cautions him against keeping slaves in the city, since the rebellion has made things very uncomfortable for everyone. PLEASE DON’T DIE HORRIBLY, NICE LADY.

As Ennius concludes his business, he strolls over and immediately recognizes Spartacus as the man who struck the killing blow during the stoning earlier that afternoon. There’s a tense moment when Ennius says that he ended the spectacle prematurely, but instead of being angry, Ennius is grateful – he didn’t like the savage mood of the crowd any more than Sparty did.

*****

Back in Rome, Brosephus Caesar is in the bath with a bunch of naked ladies, as per usual. He hands a knife to one of them, demanding that she shave him, but she hesitates. He angrily asks why she’s not obeying his command, and Kore arrives just in time to explain that Crassus forbid anyone from shaving him. Uh, weird.

Caesar just lights right up at the sight of Kore sweet smile, and asks what she thinks of him. Kore is confused by the question, so Caesar gets all naked up in her face and invites her to enjoy the gun show. Kore backs up hastily, not wanting to be groped by this brodude, but it’s too late. Caesar grabs her arm and pulls her over to him. To his very slight credit, at least he’s not violent with her. He’s pretty sweet and gentle, actually, but it’s horribly obvious that Kore is not into this in any way at all. She stands before him, frozen with fear, and he kisses her a little before slipping her dress off.

Crassus strolls in a moment later and takes in the scene. He angrily dismisses Kore, and Caesar pouts at him for sending wine and women only to snatch them away at the last moment. Crassus snarls that Kore wasn’t sent to be his fucktoy, and Caesar apologizes immediately, saying that he didn’t know that Crassus and Kore had A Thing Going On. Crassus seems to regret having revealed something so personal about himself, but covers it well. He sends Caesar off to get their seekrit plans off to a timely start.

*****

Just down the hall, Kore is getting a bitchy lecture from Tertulla. As she struggles not to sob, Kore is forced to listen to Tertulla blaming her completely for Caesar’s unwanted attentions. Like, really? For serious, Tertulla? You’re going to blame the slave for what she’s wearing? YOU GAVE HER THE FUCKING DRESS, LADY. RECOGNIZE.

Tertulla grumpily dismisses Kore, who runs off down the hall, sobbing.

Meanwhile, Tiberius and Sabinus are coming from the opposite direction, still discussing various issues of logistics for the cavalry. As Kore runs past, Tiberius stops immediately and asks her what happened. Kore doesn’t want to say anything, but Tiberius gently insists. Kore starts to explain that she was tending to Caesar as commanded, and Sabinus interrupts – both he and Tiberius are really surprised to hear of this illustrious houseguest’s presence. Kore continues, telling them that Caesar gave her some unwanted badtouching and that she only escaped his dudebro clutches because Daddycakes appeared at the last minute.

Tiberius is completely outraged, and demands to know where Caesar is. Kore doesn’t answer, just glances back down the hallway.

*****

Crassus and Caesar are still chatting in the bathroom; Crassus is explaining that he believes the reason Spartacus and his army have proven so formidable in battle is not only because of Sparty’s experiences in the arena, but because he fought in the Roman Auxiliary before Glaber enslaved him. Caesar realizes that Spartacus is thus familiar with Roman army tactics and is using them to great effect, and that this can in turn be turned against Spartacus. Crassus says, ruefully, that he wishes Tiberius caught on to the situation as quickly.

Of course, Tiberius is eavesdropping right outside. This admission from his dad hurts and infuriates him, and it’s even worse when he realizes that Crassus intends to give Caesar a command position above Tiberius’.

*****

Evening falls in Sinuessa En Valle, and the city’s guards are shooing everyone off the streets and into their homes. Sparty heads down a residential street and stops to pick up a child’s ball that rolls in front of him. A little girl follows right behind it, with her mom in pursuit, and Sparty hands over the ball with a smile.

He heads back towards the town square, where he unfortunately runs into Laurus. Laurus has heard that Sparty used his name at the city’s gates, and demands to know why he lied. Sparty coolly tells Laurus that he is mistaken, but Laurus gets all up in his face nevertheless, grabbing his arm and demanding to know his business in town.

Laeta sees this about-to-get-ugly scene from across the square and intervenes impatiently, telling Laurus to take it up with her husband, since Sparty’s been doing business with Ennius all day. Laurus backs off right away, giving Sparty a parting shot about getting off the streets before nightfall, “to avoid further misunderstanding.” Sparty all but laughs in Laurus’ face, completely unintimidated.

Laeta apologizes for Laurus’ shitty attitude, and explains that Ennius is behind the city’s new curfew order. She asks if Spartacus has anywhere to go for the night, presumably intending to offer her husband’s hospitality, but Sparty assures her that he’s already made plans.

*****

The city guard kicks everyone out of the gate area and lowers the enormous gate. Back at Attius’ shop, Spartacus delivers the bad news about the curfew. Gannicus is totally fucking pissed that Attius didn’t think to mention something as inconvenient as a damn curfew, and Attius protests that it’s brand new information to him as well.

To forestall any further arguing, Attius hands over the two swords he made. Spartacus tells him that they have some more business to ask of him, and Attius assumes that they need a place to spend the night, telling them that it will cost them 200 denarii each. Spartacus smiles at him apologetically and says that’s not what they had in mind, asking about how much it would cost them to get Attius to do them one more super important solid.

Attius ponders a moment and decides that for 5,000 denarii, he’ll be able to get the hell away from the city and start a new life outside the Republic. Spartacus agrees to the terms without bargaining, and Attius is delighted, as he assumes it’s just that they need more swords. Oh dear.

Gannicus stops him, explaining that everyone who will be joining them is already very well armed. Attius realizes right away that their plan is to seize the city itself, and that they want him to be their inside man. That 5,000 denarii doesn’t seem like quite enough all of a sudden.

Spartacus outlines their plans to distract the guards and open the city gates, letting the rebel army inside. Attius paces nervously and shakes his head; he can’t get involved in this madness, guys. Gannicus counters that he’s already done enough to see himself executed for treason – if Sparty and Gannicus are discovered with the swords Attius made them, he’s as good as dead.

Well shit. It looks like Attius will be joining the rebellion after all..

*****

Back in Rome, Tertulla is overseeing a couple of slaves as they bring out trunk after trunk of belongings. She sends young Publius to oversee the rest of their things just as Crassus arrives. He assumes that the trunks are for him, and smiles affectionately at his wife’s efforts to see him well-equipped. But no, Tertulla says that the trunks are for herself and Publius, as they plan to accompany Crassus on his campaign. She flat out refuses to even consider the thought of being parted from her husband for months or even years while he fights the rebellion.

Crassus is stunned by her gentle insistence, telling her that she’ll have to stay with the camp followers – basically, the slaves and prostitutes and whatnot. Tertulla is not dissuaded by this one bit, determined to keep her family together at any cost. Crassus tells her that he won’t be able to concentrate on being all warlordy if he’s worried about her safety, and asks her – asks, not commands – to please stay behind. Tertulla thinks that his intentions may be less than honorable, and asks him straight out if there’s another reason he doesn’t want her there.

Crassus doesn’t have a chance to answer, as Tiberius arrives to tell him that everything is finally in order, and the army will be able to depart at first light. Crassus is delighted to hear this, and all wifely concerns are immediately forgotten. Tiberius reminds him that they still need to discuss what Tiberius’ position within the army will be, and Crassus tells him that they’ll discuss it in the morning. As he walks off, Crassus calls back to the attending slaves to unpack Tertulla’s trunks.

Tiberius looks at his mom unhappily and says that he’d thought his title and position were already in order. He wibbles a little when he says that he’s worried that Crassus is favouring someone else above him instead. Tertulla looks equally miserable and tells her son that they’re in basically the same boat.

*****

Kore is in Crassus’ tablinum, lighting lamps and straightening up the desk. She’s absentmindedly fondling his fancy sword when he arrives, and she looks a little embarrassed. Kore asks if he’ll be taking it with him, but Crassus prefers to have his father’s sword in battle, since it’s more meaningful to him.

Kore assumes that Caesar will carry Crassus’ fancy sword instead, as his right-hand man, and Crassus butts in to apologize for letting Caesar get anywhere near her, saying that he’s a jerky douchebag. Kore asks him, a little snippily, why he’s giving Caesar a position and title above his own son, and immediately looks ashamed of herself for overstepping.

Crassus seems far more willing to listen to Kore’s arguments in favour of Tiberius than he is to Tertulla’s, which is surely the source of a lot of household friction. Kore takes him to task for still treating Tiberius like a child, and Crassus sighs, wishing Tertulla could be as plain-spoken about her worries for Tiberius. At this change of subject, Kore hesitantly inquires if Tertulla will be joining him on the campaign; she’s seen all the trunks lined up and assumed it must be the case.

Crassus says that he doesn’t want Tertulla to come with him. He wants someone else to come instead. And that someone is Kore. She looks absolutely overjoyed at the prospect, and tells him “yes, dominus“. But no! This is not what Crassus was asking. He doesn’t want the response of a slave to her master. He wants the response of his GIIIIIRLFRAND.

I just. Is it super gross that I find their relationship adorable? IDEK.

Kore shyly tells him “yes, Marcus,” and they make out like teenagers on top of his desk.

eeeeee

eeeeee

*****

Attius tiptoes through the city, practically humming his own action movie theme song as he sneaks up on a couple of unsuspecting guards. As soon as there’s only a couple around, he storms out and shouts that Spartacus has been seen inside the city, so all the men need to assemble by the armory at once. The guards inexplicably hurry to follow this random man’s orders.

In the hills outside the city, Agron glances up at the rising moon and worries about the lack of raised gate. Crixus is sure that Sparty and Gannicus have things under control, and tells Agron to get the rest of the army ready to attack.

*****

Inside the city, Attius herds the now-excited guardsmen before him towards the armory. Once the storeroom is open, all the guards hurry inside, and as the final guard turns to Attius to thank him for warning them, he tosses his torch in their faces and locks them inside.

The remaining guards outside knock Attius around for a minute until Spartacus and Gannicus arrive to chop them up into tiny bits. Gannicus sends Attius off to hide himself somewhere safe, and then he and Sparty take on the rest of the guards.

They soon realize that it’s not just the guards on the ground that they need to worry about – the guards up on the wall are tossing spears with alarming accuracy. Spartacus deflects their throws by using other guards as his human shields while Gannicus dispenses some nasty groinstabs.

As a new group of guards join the fight, Sparty turns to take them on while instructing Gannicus to open the gate. This isn’t really a one-man job, but it’s the best they can do for now. Gannicus struggles mightily with the gate, and Spartacus runs to help him. Unfortunately, the guards locked inside the armory have realized that they can break the door pretty easily, and they storm out to attack.

Gannicus and Sparty get the gate open high enough for Crixus to roll under and from there on, it’s basically a huge insane mess of blood and gore. Two more turns of the wheel lifts the gate high enough for the rest of the army to pour into the city, and they cut down every guard in their path. Donar actually throws one dude up into the air before whacking him to bits with a giant axe.

DONAR SMASH

DONAR SMASH

The rebels move on from the guards and start dragging Romans out of their houses to slaughter them messily. Diotimos, sword in hand, runs into his former home and sees his fellow slaves chained up in the corner – among them is the same girl who wept quietly at the stoning, Sibyl. Diotimos asks where Laurus is, so he can hack the horrible bastard to pieces, but Laurus sneaks up behind him and stabs him in the neck. Sibyl darts forward to grab the sword from Diotimos’ hand, but Laurus kicks her in the face, screaming that they’re rebellious animals who deserve to die.

Before Laurus can kill anyone, Gannicus jumps in and chops his face clean in half. Sibyl looks up at Gannicus adoringly as he grabs the keys off of Laurus’ belt, throwing them to the slaves so they can free themselves. Naevia and Crixus are just behind him, and Naevia runs to Diotimos to hold his hand as he dies. He asks her if Laurus is dead, and upon confirmation, vows to “follow him to the afterlife and piss upon his shadow.” Diotimos dies laughing vengefully, and although Naevia smiles with him, she looks fierce and furious after he’s gone.

*****

Outside, it’s complete mayhem. Laeta manages to escape the worst of the madness and runs into Ulpianus, who urges her to flee with him. Laeta’s not going anywhere without Ennius, and asks Ulpianus if he’s seen her husband. Girl, Ulpianus doesn’t even know which way is up right now. She sends him off to hide.

As she turns the corner, Laeta finds a battered guardsman, and frantically demands news of her husband. The guard has no chance to answer her, as Spartacus skewers him from behind. Laeta stares at him in horror, screaming angry accusations at him for presumably joining Spartacus’ rebellion. Sparty grimly informs her that he IS Spartacus himself, and Laeta looks terrified.

*****

Back in Rome, Caesar is being attended by a scared-looking slave girl. He’s grinning at her eagerly as she kneels down in front of him. She’s also holding a knife, and you guys, what the fuck. Please can someone explain what the actual fuck is going on here. IN WHAT UNIVERSE DO BLOWIES INVOLVE KNIVES AND BLOOD.

halp i am confuse

It is upon this bizarre freaky scene that Tiberius arrives and says Caesar’s name in a tone of extreme disgust. Caesar laughs, saying that hearing that tone of voice, he was expecting Crassus himself. Tiberius is like “yeah, me and daddycakes are a lot alike in our disdain for you, duder,” which Caesar finds hilarious, since he remembers Tiberius as a little kid.

Caesar sends the half-naked slave and her bloody knife away, and Tiberius watches her leave, confused and repulsed. It’s even worse when Caesar explains that he’s on his way home and didn’t want to “stain it with such business.”

WHAT. WHAT BUSINESS. WHAT IS HAPPEN.

Tiberius snarks that Caesar’s spent too much time abroad and has learned some creepy pleasures. Caesar seems surprised that Crassus hasn’t said anything about it to Tiberius yet, which, what? WHAT.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND AND I REFUSE TO GOOGLE BECAUSE THAT WAY LIES MADNESS OKAY.

This show makes me really emotional in ways that are deeply embarrassing to explain to people who don’t watch it.

Caesar taunts Tiberius amiably, saying that maybe Crassus will tell him what’s up, once he deems his son worthy. As a parting blow, Caesar tells Tiberius to sleep well and dream of glorious victory – under Caesar’s command, of course.

Ouch.

*****

Back out in Sinuessa En Valle, Spartacus leads Laeta through the scene of unholy carnage towards her house. Hardly any of the citizens have been spared, and Sparty kneels down unhappily in front of the dead bodies of the mother and child he spoke to earlier in the day. This definitely isn’t what he wanted.

Saxa, Sanus, and Nemetes drive the rest of the house’s occupants before them and prepare to finish them off. Sparty shouts that any surviving Romans should be chained up instead of killed, since the city is firmly in rebel hands. The rebels are outraged, shouting that the Romans wouldn’t show similar mercy, but they should know by now that these arguments don’t work on Spartacus. He is determined not to sink to the Roman level in any way that can be avoided.

Crixus and Naevia arrive with the troubling news that Ennius has barricaded himself in the granary and is threatening to torch the entire supply. Sparty turns to drag Laeta off to negotiate with her husband, and she refuses to aid him in any way. Spartacus tells her that she’s going to help them or see her remaining friends slaughtered before her eyes. This is, as always, a compelling argument.

Inside the granary, the few remaining guards are pouring pitch over all the bags of grain, preparing to set it all ablaze. Outside the gates, the rebels are assembled, ready to kill everyone. Agron is poised to throw his spear through Ennius’ head when Sparty shows up with Laeta.

Ennius sees her and realizes he’s screwed – he’d thought she was dead when he made this final, desperate stand. Laeta tells him that a small group of their friends and family are still alive back at their house, and begs him to stand aside and let the rebels have whatever they want. Ennius angrily refuses to aid them, and Laeta sobs helplessly.

Ennius seems swayed by her tears, but has no chance to change his mind. Gannicus and Crixus have slipped up behind him and kill off his remaining guards. As Ennius is distracted, Spartacus lunges forward and skewers his head with Agron’s spear.

As he falls, Ennius drops the torch…. and Crixus makes a wild dive to catch it just before it hits the pitch. WOOOO.

Laeta screams at Spartacus that Ennius would have opened the gate for her, and Sparty tells her that he just couldn’t risk it. Instead of punching him a lot more, Laeta stumbles back to the granary’s gate to weep over her husband’s corpse.

Spartacus announces to the rebels that the rest of the surviving Romans are to be left alive, but kept in chains. As they run off to cheer happily, he tells Laeta that he’s sorry for murdering her husband.

*****

Crassus, in his snazzy new armor, stands in his fancy tent in front of his commanders, addressing Caesar and Tiberius. Against all expectations, Crassus gives command of the army over to Tiberius, who is stunned and absolutely delighted. In the background, Sabinus can barely contain his proud glee. He’s practically doing a giddy little dance. They better have celebratory mansex or I will be super disappointed, ngl.

Crassus instructs Tiberius to ride out with Caesar and a company of men to do some Sparty recon, and hook up with whatever is left of Cossinius’ legions. Crassus is very clear that he doesn’t want Tiberius to engage with Spartacus, just observe and report. Tiberius promises to make Daddycakes proud.

Caesar watches this entire exchange with growing irritation. As soon as Tiberius is gone, Caesar confronts Crassus, ranting about false promises and being forced to serve under a child. Crassus snarls right back that his son will be treated with respect or SO HELP HIM.

They both reign in their tempers a little, and Crassus tells Caesar that he’s been handing out bribes left and right in order to get Caesar named military Tribune, a formal title that is way too lofty for Tiberius to hold yet. He gives Caesar a token to get him through the encampment without being bothered, since he’s still a shaggy unshaven beast. Caesar would much rather have the title and position he was promised, thanks.

Crassus patiently tells him to cool his fucking jets, because the things being planned for Caesar are way more interesting and important than leading an army. Caesar doesn’t like it much, but agrees.

Crassus swaggers outside and sends the army on its way.

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6 Responses to Spartacus: War of the Damned – 3.02 – Wolves at the Gate

  1. Sharon Henderson

    I believe the dogs at Crassus’ Villa are Irish Wolfhounds.y

  2. I think the dogs are Irish Wolfhounds, too. BUT. Laeta. How awesomesauce is she? I really hope she joins the rebellion and doesn’t die a horrible death. Plus, she’s very pretty, and I am shallow as a puddle.

    Is it just me, or is Crixus getting more and more sexy with every episode? Hubba.

    I really like Ceasar, I admit I wasn’t sure if this was going to be good casting, but I love how he’s so gung-ho and manly and I *think* the blood thing is a Mithraen ritual, but I’m not 100% on that. I need to look it up. I thought at first the slave was giving him a mini-wound so he’d have an excuse for his invisible wife, but IDK. I also suspect there will be bad things for little Tiberius.

    And I love Crassus and Kore together too, ngl. There’s an auction on ebay atm for the props, etc, from Spartacus, and one of them is Crassus’ wax tablet. I lol’d heartily at one of the close up images — he’d drawn a stick figure man with an eyeball popping out and the word ‘POP.’

    3 more eps until the dreaded titled one. Meep!

    • OH GOD SO CONFLICTED BY LAETA. She’s kind and thoughtful and sweet and if I have learned anything from the past three seasons, it’s that nice people finish bloody.

      CRIXUS IS UNREASONABLY HOT AND IT IS A TERRIBLE INJUSTICE THAT HE IS NOT FLINGING ME ABOUT IN A MANLY FASHION.

      I am so not down to look up BLOOD KNIFE ROMAN ORAL SEX RITUAL tbh. Caesar cracks me up, though. He’s very Thor-like in his excitement for brawling.

  3. I believe what Caesar said to Tiberius was ” I am for my own harm before we march.” Meaning he (or the slave in this case) would draw blood from him before any enemy would. Easier ways to do it but whatever gets his rocks off because his toes were kinda curling while it was happenin’.

    • I was wondering about that too on my first run-through. But on the second, I turned on the english subtitles, and he definitely says “I am for my own home,” so presumably it’s something weird/scandalous/gross/creepy that he doesn’t want his wife Cornelia to find out about?

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