Spartacus: War of the Damned – 3.04 – Decimation

It is going to be very difficult to recap this CRAZY INTENSE EPISODE while sober so I’m just going to start drinking now. You have been warned.

Herocleo, Castus, and the rest of the pirates are unloading their stores onto the port of Sinuessa En Valle as Spartacus and Crixus arrive, arguing over the Roman prisoners once again. Crixus is rapidly losing his patience with Sparty’s determination to see everyone fed, especially the prisoners – he’s pretty sure they have more important things to worry about, like the impending arrival of Crassus and his legions, for example. Sparty ends the argument by simply walking away, and Crixus gives his back an extremely constipated look of grumpiness.

grr

grr

More bad news is to follow when they realize that Herocleo hardly has any grain in his stores; since most of the harvest has already been stored for the upcoming winter, the majority of Herocleo’s raiding and pirating only got them wine. This situation is further mired in terribility when Lugo, in the middle of helping to unload the ship, drops a precious amphora of grain, and the desperate, starving rebels throw themselves on it like wolves brawling for scraps. Sparty breaks up the brawl and orders Lugo to give everyone present a handful of grain before kicking their crazy asses off the docks.

This rebellion is not really going as planned, is it.

Naevia arrives with even more bad news: another huge crowd of escaped slaves has arrived at the city gates, clamoring for entry. Sparty dashes off to deal with this new issue, and Crixus grumps after him, wondering if they’ll all be needing a handful of grain as well.

Dude’s got a point.

*****

Laeta kneels in the dirt, handing over small scraps of bread to a chain gang of Roman prisoners sitting up against the wall. One man stammers out a request that Laeta find him news of his missing sister, but she has no useful response for him.

Sparty storms past with Crixus and Naevia right behind him, and when Crixus sees the prisoners being fed, it’s right back into their same old argument. He’s really deeply offended by the fact that their precious food is being wasted on these Roman jerkwads. Spartacus reiterates that he’s not going to change his mind on this topic, even when Naevia angrily throws her support behind Crixus.

This is so confusing to me, tbh. Why don’t they just kick the prisoners out of the city? Sure, you hold a few of the wealthiest and most influential ones back as hostages, but why not just send the rest of them packing? It’s not like they’re going to join up with the army and fight against the rebels – they’re merchants and housewives and tradesmen. And yeah, feeding them is a waste of food when you have an army to feed, dammit!

*****

The main city gate is a complete madhouse – everyone’s shoving and screaming and flailing. It’s almost like a Comic Con Twilight panel, but with less glitter. Agron shouts out for what is surely the hundredth time that anyone holding a weapon has to hand it over before entering the city. I guess no one has heard of the nightclub patdown, because the guarding gladiators seem to be putting everyone on the honor system instead of actually searching them. This can only end badly.

Nasir gives an entering slave a friendly smile and asks him if he’s holding any weapons. The slave shyly hands over a small knife before making his way through the crush. Nasir laughs a little at his retreating back, commenting to Agron that it seems an entire lifetime has passed them by since Nasir was such a shy little dude. They grin at one another foolishly, BECAUSE THEY ARE SO IN LOVE AND IT IS SO ADORABLE OMG.

The other method of security in town makes much more sense – everyone entering is asked to show their slave brand or tattoo, to prove that they are not a sneaky Roman spy. Saxa, standing nearby with Gannicus, seems to enjoy this duty rather a lot, as she stops an attractive young lady, Belesa, who just so happens to have the mark of her dominus tattooed on her wonderfully bouncy boob. Saxa inspects this mark very carefully indeed, and gives her a long, slow kiss to finish the job. From the look on Belesa’s face, Saxa has made yet another conquest.

Oh Saxa. Be my vampire bride.

saxa plz can we make out plz plz

saxa plz can we make out plz plz

Slightly farther back from the gate, Nemetes is doing some important searching of his own – for money. He’s helpfully liberating the coin purses from entering slaves, telling them that Spartacus doesn’t allow anyone to carry their own money in town.

Agron shoves through the crowd with a woman by his side, looking for Spartacus. This new arrival has seen with her own eyes the advancing army headed by Crassus, and claims it may even be larger than the population of the city. They’re camped about a half a day’s journey away, and haven’t yet made a move, which Crixus and Naevia both find weird and suspicious. Why would they hesitate from the attack if they have so many men?

Before this excellent point can be debated to death, a commotion breaks out by the gates – some of the new arrivals have been caught out as being Roman spies. Nasir and Donar slam the city gates down as the crowd of slaves flees in panic, and Sparty, Agron, Crixus, and Gannicus throw themselves into the brawl.

It’s all over pretty quickly, as the small group of hooded spy dudes aren’t able to put up much of a fight against four pissed-off champion gladiators. The last of the spies is savagely dispatched by a raggedy blonde dude who is stabbing away at his chest merrily.

Oh. Look at that. It’s Caesar.

what a complete surprise!

what a complete surprise!

No wonder Crassus wouldn’t let him shave.

He’s immediately surrounded by Sparty and Company, who find his helpful assistance awfully suspicious, all things considered. Caesar immediately hands over his wild stabby knife and turns to leave, only to be stopped by Saxa as Spartacus asks to see his slave brand. More mysteries are solved as Caesar explains that his alleged former dominus liked to brand his slaves by their sexy parts. Caesar lifts his tunic to show Sparty the gouged-out wound on his upper thigh, where he claims to have cut out his former slave brand.

Oh Crassus, you tricksy bastard.

Sparty seems to take Caesar’s word for it and sends him off to join the rest of the new arrivals. He also instructs Saxa and Nasir to cut off the heads of the fallen spies and spike them up on the city’s walls, which they are more than happy to do immediately. Sparty then departs with Crixus, Gannicus, and Agron for some planning and strategizing back at the villa.

*****

Over in the massive Roman army encampment, Tiberius is being bandaged up by the medicus while Sabinus pours him some wine. Tiberius is healing reasonably well, but he’s still feeling pretty crappy about life in general, since his dad has refused to make time to see him since his ignominious return to the encampment after his defeat by Sparty and the rebel-pirate alliance. Sabinus tries to console his best buddy by explaining that surely Crassus has just been really busy planning his war against Spartacus, but Tiberius knows a snow job when he hears one.

Furthermore, Tiberius is sick of being kept out of all the interesting plans, especially when he hears that a large company of men has been sent north. Sabinus laughs kind of ruefully when Tiberius demands more information – it’s not like the great Crassus is going to explain himself to a mere foot soldier like Sabinus.

Tiberius next asks for news of Caesar, and is shocked to hear Sabinus say that Caesar’s not around anymore. Sabinus quickly explains that it’s not because Caesar has fallen in battle, but any further conversation is immediately derailed by the arrival of Daddy Warbucks himself. Crassus dismisses everyone from the tent to have some father-son bonding time with Tiberius.

This, of course, will surely involve the lecture we all knew was forthcoming. But first, Tiberius has some aggressions he needs to work through. He snarls at his dad for giving Caesar a mysterious mission, although he’s fairly impressed when he finds out that Crassus’ plan involves Caesar infiltrating the rebel encampment to sow dissent and mayhem.

Tiberius is excited to stand by his dad’s side when this cunning plot comes to a head, but Crassus would rather him rest until his wound is properly healed. Tiberius doesn’t like this idea one bit, and hobbles bareassed off his sickbed to protest most vehemently, insisting that as Crassus’ second-in-command, he can’t be laying around on his perky little booty all day. Crassus nods approvingly and tells Tiberius to get dressed so they can discuss the punishment of Tiberius’ men for their foolish attack on Spartacus.

Well. You can’t say the didn’t warn us with the title of this episode, I guess.

*****

Sparty slams Caesar’s bloody knife into the table angrily as the men sit down to their war council. Agron is outraged at the thought that Crassus would imagine a few barely-armed men could sneak into town and assassinate Spartacus without immediately being defeated. Sparty knows that just as he himself is adapting Roman strategies to use against them, so is Crassus adapting rebel strategies to use against them.

Crixus doesn’t really care about strategy right now, he wants to shut the gates of the city and not let anyone else in; not just for security reasons, but because SERIOUSLY SPARTY they do not need more goddamn mouths to feed. Spartacus angrily insists that no slave who risked their life to escape their former master is going to be turned away. Agron has more pressing concerns, pointing out that any one of the people who have already entered the city could easily be another spy plotting to kill Spartacus, and Sparty tells him they’ll just have to smoke them out first.

Gannicus presents another compelling argument – what’s going to happen to the rebellion if one of these potential assassins actually succeeds in killing Spartacus? Sparty has apparently given this some thought, because he doesn’t even hesitate before naming Crixus as his successor. Gannicus doesn’t look very pleased by this information, but says nothing against it. Crixus tells Sparty that naturally, he hopes this will never happen, BUT IF IT DOES, he’s totally going to attack the shit out of Crassus right away. Agron immediately backs him up on this potentially rash idea, and that’s all Crixus needs to go off on an impatient rant about sitting around on their butts when they could be out kicking Roman ass instead.

Oh boys.

Spartacus tells him that they’re sticking to their original plan to sit tight and safe in the city, training their new recruits, while the army suffers through the privations of winter in their encampment. Gannicus interjects casually that it would be great if Attius was still alive, so he could make them more weapons. You know, if Crixus’ girlfriend hadn’t killed him under vaguely mysterious circumstances and all. Crixus snarls back at him that Attius was a traitor who tried to kill Naevia, and they glare at one another crankily.

(The actual title of this episode should be Let’s Pissily Rehash All Our Old Arguments Over And Over Until The End Of Time but I realize that would look really awkward on a title card.)

Sparty snaps them out of their pissiness and tells them to pay attention to their present problems, like training the new recruits. Crixus tantrums a bit, not wanting to play nursemaid to a bunch of noobs, but calms down considerably when Sparty explains that he really wants Crixus to keep an eye out for anyone who seems suspiciously skilled with a weapon. He then asks Gannicus to go with Crixus, and neither one of them looks particularly pleased about the idea, but again, no arguments are raised.

Agron watches them go and laments his newfound restraint for preventing him from making nasty comments about wayward Gauls as he usually would. Spartacus gives him a Very Serious Look, intending to extract Agron’s promise to follow Crixus if leadership should fall to him, but Agron doesn’t want to even consider discussing this. He’s going to keep Spartacus alive if it’s the last goddamn thing he does, and that is that.

*****

Nasir and Gannicus are putting various new recruits through their paces, and are finding them all sadly unskilled. Saxa and Donar stroll around the square, smirking at the very thought that any of these clumsy doofuses could be a potential assassin, but they keep a close watch on the proceedings nevertheless. As always, Sibyl is lurking on the sidelines, watching Gannicus, all flushed and moony-eyed.

Gannicus next calls out Caesar for some testing, saying that he’s seen his skill against unsuspecting opponents and now wants to see how he’ll fare in a real fight. Caesar catches the sword tossed at him and throws himself gamely into the fight.

Crixus is also watching from the sidelines and is soon joined by Naevia, who shares his opinion that time’s being a-wasted on these idiots when they should be worrying about the war instead. She’s especially snarly about the very good point that if there was a Roman spy among them, the spy would certainly pretend not to have skill with a sword.

Crixus, whether or not he agrees with her, still resolutely takes Sparty’s side in this argument, explaining that even if a potential spy did try to feign a lack of skill, they’d eventually show their hand when cornered by a champion gladiator like Gannicus fighting them in earnest. Caesar, spilled onto his ass soundly by Gannicus, would seem to refute this logical argument, though.

Gannicus casually compliments Caesar on his better-than-average skill with a sword, asking both his name and his former employment. Caesar gives his name as Lyciscus, and claims to have been a shepherd, saying that he often had to defend his flocks from thieves. He then attacks again while Gannicus ponders this somewhat ridiculous claim.

Even with a small measure of surprise on his side, Caesar ends up on his ass once again. As he takes his showy fall, he smiles to himself, delighted by his own cunning.

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Caesar hauls himself to his feet, grinning obnoxiously, and tells Gannicus that he’s looking forward to their eventual rematch. Gannicus finds this arrogance hilarious, and his laughter sets off the rest of the observers to giggling as well. Saxa laughs delightedly, but the smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes, and she watches very carefully as Caesar walks away.

As Gannicus calls over another recruit for testing, Caesar hunkers down by a fountain to rinse the blood off his face and spit out a tooth or two. Nemetes approaches to tell him that Naevia and Crixus have taken an interest in him, which Caesar finds very intriguing indeed. He glances over at Crixus and notes to himself that Crixus has Tiberius’ captured sword at his belt. Caesar asks if they’re interested in Nemetes as well, since Caesar witnessed Nemetes relieving the new arrivals of their purses at the front gate.

Nemetes looks startled that someone would dare to challenge him, and gets all up in Caesar’s face, threatening to hack off his peen if he mentions this to anyone else. Caesar rolls his eyes at such dramatics, telling Nemetes that he’s just interested in getting in on the deal. Surely a city like Sinuessa holds enough hidden wealth for both of them to profit, right? Nemetes gives his new ally a surprised smile.

*****

Laeta is about to open the secret hatch to Ulpianus’ hiding spot beneath the stables when she hears Sparty and Agron approaching. Sparty asks Agron to let them talk privately, which Agron is extremely reluctant to do. He compromises by standing at the entrance to the stables, sword in hand. As he departs, with a glare for Laeta, Laeta snipes at Spartacus for needing a bodyguard. She’s heard about the attack that morning, but was unaware that Crassus was behind the plot. Laeta perks up a bit at hearing this famous name, and Sparty asks if she’s happy to hear who Rome has sent to deal with the rebellion. They go back and forth a bit at one another, and Spartacus gets her to admit that she thinks Crassus is smart enough to be a legitimate danger.

Spartacus reminds her that she once told him her husband Ennius, the aedile, did business with Crassus in the past, and asks for further details. Laeta admits that while their business was about grain shipments and nothing else, she did hear a story from Ennius that could give Sparty some insight into Crassus’ character.

It seems that one time during heated negotiations with Crassus, Ennius intercepted an apparently misdelivered message from a hated competitor offering better trade terms to Crassus than Ennius was giving. Confronted with the possibility of losing both his deal and a valued customer, Ennius immediately destroyed the message and agreed to Crassus’ terms without any further bargaining. Months later, Ennius learned that Crassus himself had sent the message with the intention of having it intercepted, so that Ennius would do exactly as he’d done – agree to Crassus’ terms.

Spartacus suddenly realizes that the message he intercepted, the message that led him to attack and kill Cossinius and Furius, was sent deliberately by Crassus to eliminate his competition with no effort or trouble on his own part. Laeta looks at him like he’s a moron – doesn’t Sparty realize that whoever defeats him will be the darling of the entire Empire for decades to come? Of course Crassus is going to scheme like he’s never schemed before!

Sparty makes a longsuffering pruneface and tells Laeta that rations are being diminished by half yet again, and she tells him they’ll just have to deal with it until Crassus liberates the city. Oh no she didn’t.

*****

Crassus is giving commands to one of his soldiers when Tiberius arrives in full uniform, ready for his lecture. And oh, daddy definitely delivers. Crassus berates Tiberius for his ill-conceived attack on Spartacus, saying that the first battle in Crassus’ campaign against Spartacus will forever be remembered in history as a complete and pathetic failure. Tiberius tries to interject with apologies, but Crassus storms right on, as though he’d never spoken. Eventually Tiberius explains that he thought letting Spartacus leave the city walls without an attack would be a greater offense than disobeying his orders, and his forthright and calm demeanor seem to leave Crassus somewhat impressed, although reluctantly.

Crassus says that he’s slightly willing to forgive Tiberius’ disobedience due to his youth and inexperience, but that the men who retreated in the face of the enemy have no such excuses. Crassus is, in fact, wildly outraged that the soldiers apparently fear Spartacus more than they fear him, and plans to make sure that the men realize that Crassus’ wrath is way more terrifying than anything Spartacus could inflict.

*****

Later, Sabinus finds Tiberius alone in the command tent, and is horrified to hear that Crassus has ordered a decimation as punishment for the soldiers who ran away. While he shares his BFF’s shock, Tiberius is nevertheless grimly painting the rocks to be used in the sortition: 45 black, for the survivors, and 5 white, for those who will die.

Sabinus is overcome with guilt, as he completely blames himself for the incident – he insists that it was his fault entirely for forcing Tiberius to leave the field of battle when he was so badly wounded. Tiberius tells him not to be ridiculous, since the majority of the soldiers had fled long before that happened.

For Tiberius, the most upsetting part of the entire situation is that even though Sabinus saved his life by dragging him away from the battle, Sabinus will still have to draw a stone like everyone else in the company. Sabinus makes a brave little toaster face and tells Tiberius “pray I draw well,” giving him the most desperately sweet smile. Tiberius is determined to beg his father not to include Sabinus in the drawing, but Sabinus refuses to even consider it. He knows that even just asking such a thing would make Crassus think less of his son, which Sabinus will never allow.

Tiberius can’t take another second of this horror, and ragequit tableflips hysterically before grabbing Sabinus for a desperate brohug. THIS WOULD BE THE PERFECT TIME TO MAKE OUT, YOU GUYS. I am just saying.

*****

That evening, back in Sinuessa En Valle, Sparty and Agron walk into a tavern full of drunken rebels having the usual wild orgy funtimes. They’re looking for Herocleo, but Castus, who is dicing in the corner with another pirate, hasn’t seen him around for the last hour or so. He’s pretty sure Herocleo will be on board the ship with whatever lady he’s chosen for the night, though, and suggest that they look by the docks.

Throughout this conversation, Agron is forced to fight off the relentless amorous attentions of a naked blonde chick, not only on his own behalf but on Sparty’s as well. The expression on his face is hilarious and delightful. He certainly doesn’t want any girl cooties on him, does he.

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As they turn to leave, Castus calls them back to join him for a drink or two before they all go look for Herocleo together. There’s nothing in his demeanor that seems like this is anything other than a perfectly friendly offer, but Agron basically tells him to fuck off anyway. He’s still incredibly pissed about Castus making sexy advances on Nasir, obviously. Castus laughs it off, and Spartacus thanks him for the offer but declines.

Over by the window, Caesar is drinking with Nemetes and has watched the entire scene play out. He’s put out that the rebels are in collusion with the Cilician pirates, and finds a willing ear in Nemetes, who is still angry that Spartacus took all his stolen money to pay off the pirates in the first place.

SERIOUSLY CAN EVERYONE JUST FUCKING HUG IT OUT ALREADY. Christ on a goddamn cracker. I take grudge-holding to Olympian standards and even I think y’all are being a pack of whiny little brats. YES ALL OF YOU, EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU.

Caesar pokes and prods until he gets Nemetes to admit that he’s not pleased with Sparty’s leadership decisions lately, specifically with the Pirate Situation. As far as he’s concerned, the money he’s been stealing from the new arrivals is “a fraction of what is owed” to him. Caesar ponders this for a moment and then tosses his own purse down, telling Nemetes to take it and consider it a deposit towards their continued friendship and fortunes.

*****

Laeta is making her way through town, tiptoeing carefully past the drunken heaps of rebels on the streets. As she passes by Gannicus and Saxa’s lodgings, she bumps into Sibyl, who’s doing her usual creepy lurking thing. When they collide, Laeta drops her bundles and Sibyl sees that she’s carrying hoarded bread. Both women fall immediately back into their former roles when Laeta angrily commands Sibyl to never speak of this to anyone, and Sibyl bows her head and mumbles “yes, domina“. To her credit, Laeta is really uncomfortable about Sibyl’s reaction, and apologizes right away, telling her to call her by her name instead.

Laeta remembers that Sibyl was owned by the horrible cruel bully Laurus, and Sibyl admits that she often prayed to be freed from the man. Laeta, angry again, says that it’s too bad the entire city had to fall to answer her prayers.

Sibyl watches her go, confused, but very thoughtful.

*****

Back in the town center, Brictius is smacking around one of the chained Roman prisoners – it’s the same man who was asking Laeta about his sister earlier. Gannicus and Saxa hear the commotion, and Gannicus stalks over to stop the beating, reminding Brictius that Spartacus ordered that none of the prisoners be abused. Brictius angrily explains that the Roman grabbed at their legs as they walked past, but the Roman protests that he was again only asking about his sister.

Brictius doesn’t care about this goddamn sister, and lunges forward to continue beating the Roman up, so Gannicus tosses him off the ledge onto his ass. His friends drag him away before he can start a stupid no-win fight with Gannicus and Saxa.

It’s not like Gannicus cares one way or another what happens to you or your sister, Roman dude. He’s just making sure that Sparty’s orders are being followed. The Roman desperately calls after them anyway, saying that his sister Fabia is blonde like Saxa. Before he can continue his tragic wailings, Saxa impatiently pulls out one of her huge knives and tells him that many Romans are dead and that he’ll join the dead if he touches any more of the rebels. Before they walk away, Gannicus quietly tells the man that he has no idea where his sister is.

(Someone on tumblr pointed out that the knives Saxa is carrying appear to be the same huge knives that the Egyptian crony of Ashur’s was carrying last season. Thoughts?)

Saxa goes off on a rapid-fire German rant about coddling prisoners like babies, which of course Gannicus doesn’t understand a single word of. She laughs at his incomprehension and reiterates that she’s still confused by Sparty’s insistence that the prisoners not be killed. Gannicus sighs and says that he doesn’t get it either, but he’s going to do as Spartacus commands anyway.

Sibyl intercepts them, insisting that she needs to talk to Gannicus about something important, and Saxa brushes her off for being an annoying little girl. Sibyl gets all up in their faces anyway, saying that she’s seen something that’s been worrying her.

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*****

Meanwhile, at the Roman encampment, Crassus is spending some quality time over in the follower’s camp with Kore. Naked quality time, that is. There is a slightly hilarious slo-mo makeout scene before they get down to their sexy business, and really, this is maybe the first actually romantic hetero sex we’ve seen since season one with Sparty and Sura. These are two people who are absolutely in love and have been so for many, many years.

SNUGGLES

SNUGGLES

After, as they CUDDLE ADORABLY, Kore muses that they’ve been together an incalculable number of times and never before has it been so goddamn awesome. Crassus tells her that it’s because they’re so far from Rome and all his “tethers” there, aka his wife, Tertulla, presumably. Kore smiles and thanks him for allowing her to stay by his side, and Crassus says that he wants her there forever and ever and then there is kissing! Adorable cuddly kissing!

Crassus is still worried about Tiberius, and doesn’t even hesitate a moment before discussing his fears with Kore. She assures him that Tiberius is up to any challenge that Crassus gives him, and will only grow stronger with his father around to guide him. Crassus can’t stop thinking of Tiberius as a child, and can’t figure out how to get over it already, so Kore advises him to treat Tiberius as he would treat any other soldier under his command. From the suddenly scary look of realization on Crassus’ face, this may not work out as Kore is intending.

*****

Sparty has finally found Herocleo and they’re arguing yet again about the lack of food and supplies for the rebellion. Herocleo, like pretty much everyone else, thinks that resources are being wasted on the Roman prisoners, but Sparty doesn’t want to get into it with him as well. Herocleo finds the entire situation pretty amusing, but promises to do the best that he can. Sparty wants more than just his best efforts though, and Herocleo gets serious real fast, assuming that Spartacus wants to renegotiate their deal in terms that will not be in the best interest of the pirates. But no, Sparty has a new plan, and one that will involve Herocleo’s transportation of more valuable cargo instead.

Hm.

*****

Back in the tavern, Crixus and Naevia barge in looking for Nemetes. Nemetes is still drinking with Caesar and doesn’t feel like chatting with them at the moment, so Crixus hauls him across the room by his ear. He’s very interested to know what, if anything, Nemetes has discovered about Caesar, and Nemetes confirms that Caesar isn’t a fan of Rome. He’s got one final test he’s going to give Caesar before he can tell them anything for sure, though. Crixus tells him to get down to business, and he and Naevia stomp off into the night.

They’re so stompy lately, for reals. When was the last time they had a nice night of sexytimes to themselves? Too long ago, certainly.

Nemetes sits back down with Caesar, who needles him about his mistreatment at Crixus’ hands. Nemetes isn’t in the mood for this crap, so Caesar offers him some more wine instead. But Nemetes has plans of his own to get underway, and tells Caesar that they have more important things to tend to than drinking. Caesar realizes that this is a going to be an important test of his loyalties, and makes no protest.

*****

Nemetes leads Caesar to a small, windowless storage room, inside which a bloody and beaten woman huddles naked in the corner. Nemetes explains that she was once a wealthy citizen with many slaves to serve her, as she is now forced to serve him and his cronies. Caesar barely manages to disguise his horror and disgust when he asks if Spartacus allows this kind of thing; Nemetes is too busy molesting his prisoner to notice Caesar’s revulsion, and explains that while Spartacus would never stand for this, he’s taken it on himself to abuse her as repayment for the money Spartacus “stole” from him. That is some creepily fucking entitled and convoluted logic you got there, jackass. Ugh.

Nemetes tells Caesar that his test will be to rape the Roman woman and then cut her up a little when he’s done, to prove that he’s really part of the rebellion. Caesar takes the knife from Nemetes and tells him to leave them alone.

Once Nemetes is gone, Caesar goes to the woman’s side and removes her gag, telling her that he’s there on Crassus’ orders, who is nearby with his legions to retake the city and punish the rebels. The woman, Fabia – it’s the missing sister, of course – is far too traumatized to care about any arriving legions or liberation. Instead, she reaches for Caesar’s knife slowly and asks him to free her. He’s moved almost to tears when he realizes that she doesn’t want him to cut her loose from her bonds, but to kill her instead. Caesar holds Fabia gently against his chest and kisses her forehead before shoving the knife into her throat.

As she dies, he finally lets go and cries a little bit, and I just. Argh. WHY ARE ALL THE BAD GUYS TURNING OUT TO BE DECENT HUMAN BEINGS.

After, Caesar carries her dead body out into the room where Nemetes and his cronies are waiting. Nemetes sees him holding the body and freaks the hell out, but Caesar’s got it all planned out already – he says that he’s “set her free,” as he wants to do to all the other Roman prisoners. Nemetes laughs with satisfaction at this apparent sign that Caesar truly is a part of the rebellion, and sets out to see Caesar’s plan set in motion.

*****

Crassus is addressing the cowardly company of soldiers under Tiberius’ command, telling them that they’re a bunch of oathbreaking douchebags who need to learn their place. Tiberius, standing just behind his dad, stares across the field at Sabinus, who is rather unjustly being included among the men being punished.

As Crassus speaks, his personal guard distributes heavy wooden clubs amongst the men, with which they’ll be expected to beat to death the men chosen by the marked stones. When Crassus adds that the survivors will be banished to the follower’s camp until further notice, Tiberius decides he just has to speak up. But when he approaches his father, Crassus tells him that in this situation, he and Tiberius are no longer father and son but Imperator and soldier. And as part of this plan to treat Tiberius like he would any other soldier, Tiberius is now expected to join in the deadly lottery.

Yeah, this is definitely not what Kore had in mind, and she is going to LOSE HER SHIT when she finds out what happened. Oh man.

Tiberius stands at his father’s side, frozen in shock. Crassus only needs to remind him once to obey, though. Tiberius puts on an iron-willed face of FUCK ALL THIS SHIT and throws his fancy family-crest armor on the ground like it’s a piece of trash before walking over calmly to join his men.

The soldiers hurry up to grab their stones, but all fall back respectfully when Tiberius joins them. He grabs his stone just after Sabinus, and they face one another with their stones held tightly in clenched fists. Sabinus is literally trembling with fear as Tiberius opens his hand; seeing his black stone, Tiberius looks up at his BFF with a relieved, happy smile.

That’s the last time we’re ever going to see Tiberius smile, I think. Sabinus is holding a white stone in his own shaky hand, and he struggles mightily not to shame himself by fighting his terrible fate. Tiberius watches numbly as Sabinus is dragged away, and on the far side of the camp, Crassus stares, seeming genuinely startled by this turn of events. From the look on his face, he’s likely worried that Tiberius is about to do something stupid.

*****

Laeta opens the hatch in the stable floor to hand over the small bundle of food to Ulpianus and the other escaped prisoners, apologizing for the short rations. Ulpianus refuses to hear it, saying that she’s already done far too much for them. Laeta then gives them the good news that Crassus and his legions are nearby and will probably soon be able to liberate the city, but she’s interrupted by the arrival of Gannicus, Saxa, and Sibyl.

Sibyl apologizes to Laeta for telling Gannicus, and Laeta turns on her viciously, saying that it was her own fault for trusting a rebellious slave. Saxa gives her a good smack for that, and would have been delighted to dispense a more thorough beat down, but Gannicus notices Ulpianus and realizes that these are the very same escaped prisoners that Attius died for supposedly helping. Laeta proudly tells him that Attius knew nothing about her plan to free her friends, and Saxa lunges at her with a knife, yelling at Gannicus that his friend died because of Laeta.

Gannicus doesn’t even want to get into it now, and insists that the prisoners be brought to Spartacus immediately. He storms off leaving Saxa and Sibyl to take care of everything, and when Saxa calls after him in confusion, Gannicus gives the ominous statement that he means to see Attius’ memory “well honored”.

Oh shit.

*****

Crixus is looking over the new recruits impatiently. He finally stomps over to Naevia and another rebel and all but throws his hands in the air with rage – none of these people have given any evidence of being anything other than wholly committed to the rebellion. As the three of them seethe with frustration, the Roman prisoner in the corner once again starts wailing for his sister Fabia. But this time, it’s for good reason.

Nemetes and Caesar have arrived, carrying Fabia’s battered corpse. Crixus takes one look at her and demands an explanation, which Nemetes is delighted to provide. He claims that Fabia is one of the escaped prisoners, and that she lunged at him from the shadows with a knife, already half-dead from her escape attempt. And had it not been for his new BFF Lyciscus, this half-dead naked woman would have totally killed him dead! Yes! It’s all true!

Caesar helps rile up the stunned crowd by shouting about ungrateful Romans being spared death, and this is how they repay their generous captors? The angry rebels are more than happy to go along with his words, Naevia included. Of course, this is when Gannicus shoves his way through the crowd to confront her about Attius’ death and her lies.

The next few minutes are very busy indeed.

Gannicus angrily confronts Naevia about her story, and Naevia tells him again that she’s sure Attius was involved in the freeing of the prisoners. Gannicus shouts that actually, Laeta was responsible for the entire thing, and Saxa is at that very moment bringing Laeta and all the remaining prisoners to Spartacus. Crixus looks shocked by the news, and across the square, Nemetes looks confused as hell.

Naevia then makes the situation a whole lot worse when she tells Gannicus that it doesn’t even fucking matter, because Attius was just a Roman anyway, and therefore deserved to die. Gannicus loses his shit, shouting that Attius was his friend, and everything goes to hell when he makes a move on her. Crixus leaps on him like an enraged tiger and the two of them brawl like madmen. Naevia tries to throw herself into the fight and gets knocked on her ass immediately.

Gannicus soon gets the upper hand and is throttling Crixus most unpleasantly when Nemetes finally finds his balls and decides to break up the fight. As Caesar watches interestedly, Nemetes hauls Gannicus off of Crixus and drags him away. Unfortunately, Gannicus is way too pissed off to be stopped, and he smashes his elbow into Nemetes’ face. Nemetes stumbles backwards against the ledge.

This is exactly the moment that Fabia’s brother has been waiting for. He grabs the chain holding him prisoner and throws it around Nemetes’ throat. The entire crowd, aside from Caesar, is completely distracted by the renewed brawl between Crixus and Gannicus, and Nemetes struggles alone and unaided. Meanwhile, Naevia circles the fight, looking for a way to save Crixus.

Caesar and Naevia make their moves at the same time. As Naevia slips up behind Gannicus with a chunk of stone, Caesar raises his knife to throw it. Naevia smacks Gannicus on the back of the head, knocking him unconscious, just as Caesar’s thrown knife lands buried in the Roman prisoner’s throat.

Crixus hauls himself to his feet and stares at Naevia, shocked. She insists that she had no choice, and Crixus has no time to respond, as Nemetes and Caesar are quick to rile up the crowd, getting them super excited about slaughtering Roman prisoners. Crixus tries one last time to restore order and keep to Spartacus’ commands, but the excitement of the crowd is too much for him. Naevia sees his indecision and tells him quietly that even though she knows they both owe Spartacus their lives, she really believes that he’s miscalculated in his orders about the prisoners.

Crixus looks at her for a long moment, anguish all over his face, before agreeing; as far as he’s concerned, every Roman on earth deserves to be punished on behalf of every man who ever laid an unwanted hand on her. He gets up on a bench to address the crowd, telling them to take their well-earned revenge upon the Roman prisoners.

*****

Back at the army camp, the 5 chosen men are surrounded by the remaining soldiers, each of whom are holding a heavy wooden club. Tiberius is the last to pick up a club, and stands before Sabinus, refusing to take part in the decimation. Sabinus tells him to do as he’s commanded, “as all soldiers must,” and Crassus gives the command to begin.

As Tiberius watches, and weeps furiously, the men begin beating Sabinus to death. Crassus watches grimly as Tiberius holds himself apart from the rest of the men, and you can see that Sabinus was absolutely correct – Crassus does think less of his son for not participating.

Tiberius takes a deep breath and swings his club at Sabinus’ head.

*****

Caesar watches, his face carefully blank, as the rebels mercilessly slaughter the Roman prisoners in the town square. Most of the prisoners are too weak or too terrified to even attempt to defend themselves. A few try to crawl away but are soon caught and killed like the rest.

*****

The decimation is just as bad. The 5 men are beaten savagely, and the one poor schmuck who tries to escape is dragged back, kicking and screaming, for an even more brutal beating.

Sabinus kneels in front of Tiberius and looks up at him desperately, his face almost completely shattered. Realizing there is only one last thing he can do to help his oldest friend, Tiberius delivers the killing blow.

*****

As Nemetes dispatches the remaining prisoners in the town square, Caesar looks out over the carnage with a sort of miserable satisfaction. Crassus’ plan to sow dissent, which, while it likely did not involve the slaughter of Roman prisoners, has certainly been successful.

*****

Still splattered with the blood of his best friend, Tiberius walks up to Crassus and tells him, with icy formality, that “your lesson has been well learned, Imperator“. Daddy Warbucks does not look the least bit pleased. Tiberius turns his back on his father and walks away.

*****

Back in the villa, Herocleo is reacting with astonished disbelief to Spartacus’ new plan, which he thinks is insane. Spartacus is determined to see it done, and asks Herocleo if he thinks it’s even possible. Herocleo hems and haws and finally concedes that he can take care of it, but it’s going to cost them more money than they originally agreed upon. Sparty promises him all the wealth his ship can carry, and Herocleo’s sold.

This friendly accord is disrupted when Nasir comes running in, with Castus of all people. They’re bringing the terrible news that Crixus and the others have lost their fool minds and are killing all the Roman prisoners.

Agron doesn’t even seem to hear Nasir’s news; all he cares about is seeing Nasir standing next to Castus. Jealousy, especially when it’s so COMPLETELY fucking unwarranted, is extremely unattractive, Agron. For serious.

(HOWEVER! I would actually like to know why Nasir is hanging out with Castus in the first place, I guess? I assume it’s because Castus was the one to see the commotion and went to find Nasir, who is the only one thus far who’s been decent to him. I hope we’ll find out next week or in the weeks to come.)

Sparty runs off to take care of business, with Agron right behind him. As they hurry away, Agron stops to tell Nasir to keep an eye on the pirates, since he’s so eager to spend time with them. UGH AGRON JUST STOP IT. Castus and Nasir exchange a look of WTF-ery, and Nasir looks really hurt.

I AM DEEPLY AGAINST ANYTHING THAT MAKES NASIR LOOK REALLY HURT.

*****

In a somewhat quieter area of the city, Saxa peeks out of a doorway and checks to see if anyone is left lurking in the shadows. Satisfied, she turns back to the doorway and calls Laeta and the rest of the prisoners to follow her quickly. Unfortunately, Ulpianus’ wife has gone into labor and can’t contain her cries of pain, and Laeta knows they’re not going to make it back to the villa.

Two huge rebels come upon the scene and agree that no one is making to the villa alive, and Saxa loses her goddamn patience with these idiots. She shouts that she’s taking them to Spartacus, so they’d better get the hell out of her way. One poor fool snarks that since he doesn’t see Gannicus with them, he doesn’t think there’s any reason to listen to Gannicus’ bitch.

Oh man, I’d almost feel sorry for you if you weren’t such a douchebag.

Before they even realize what’s happening, Saxa has killed one and has her knife to the other’s throat.

Unfortunately, this is when Nemetes and Caesar arrive with a group of rebels. Nemetes is excited to slaughter more Romans, and Saxa’s not going to be able to stop them all. Crixus and Naevia arrive from the other side of the street, and in the confusion, Nemetes lunges forward and stabs Ulpianus in the throat. Mrs Ulpianus screams hysterically, and Laeta tries to drag her away. Crixus snatches her up and tosses her to the ground on her knees, announcing that she’s the aedile’s wife. He raises his sword to finish her off, but Sparty stops him with his own sword at the very last moment. And jupiter’s cock, he is ENRAGED.

Sparty gets right up in his face and tells Crixus to pull his shit together or die right there in the street. Crixus refuses to back down, telling Sparty that HE’s the one who has lost his goddamn mind, and who was betrayed by the aedile’s wife on top of it.

Naevia stands at Crixus’ side and shouts that Laeta is responsible for freeing and hiding the prisoner, and then lied right to Sparty’s face the entire time. Gannicus, having finally woken up from his smashy head wound, arrives to confirm Naevia’s words, and gets in another dig at her for Attius’ death.

Faced with all this evidence, Sparty turns to Laeta angrily and says, basically, “WHAT THE FUCK, LADY?” Laeta is just as furious as she is frightened by now, and she rants to Spartacus that he shouldn’t have expected anything less, and (rather unfairly) berates him for the cruelty of the rebels. Naevia is quick to remind her that any cruelty they’ve learned was at the hands of their Roman masters.

Crixus hisses at Spartacus to kill Laeta and be done with it, so the rebels can stand united again. Agron looks at Spartacus nervously but doesn’t move to get involved. Sparty holds Laeta at swordpoint and tells her that while she deserves to die, he’s not going to be as bad as the Romans themselves would be. His decency is basically the only thing he has left anymore, and by the gods he is going to hold on to it. Laeta, however, looks almost disappointed to not be killed.

Crixus tells him that everyone is questioning his bullshit ideals about being decent to the Romans, and Spartacus counters that he’s doing some questioning of his own right now, wondering how he could have thought Crixus was worthy of being a leader. Crixus lunges at Sparty angrily, only to be shut down by Agron. Gannicus gives him a tiny sneer of a smile.

Spartacus orders the surviving prisoners brought to his villa, and tells the assembled rebels that anyone who goes against his express wishes again will die like the prisoners they killed this very night.

Crixus and Naevia stand together, whispering furiously about plans to think about striking out on their own, now that they no longer trust Spartacus and he clearly no longer trusts them.

Sparty flounces away with Agron back to the villa, and everyone else immediately rushes to obey the rest of his orders, including Nemetes. Caesar is left standing alone in the ruins caused by his plotting and scheming, and oh, how he smiles.

1 smirky caesar gifset source here

2 grumpy agron gif source here

3 saxa-gannicus-sibyl gifset source here

various other caps courtesy of dangermousie and kindaskimpy on tumblr

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  • mrmonkeybottoms

    Seriously! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? So much sad happenings help

    • Liz

      I BASICALLY SPENT THE ENTIRE EPISODE MAKING A TERRIBLE D: FACE OF TRAGEDY AND WOE

  • Star

    That was such a hardcore episode. They’re really packing a LOT into this season. I have fear that Crixus and Naevia will die in the next ep. Sob.

    • Liz

      IT’S LIKE THEY WANT ME TO GO INTO LIVER FAILURE OR SOMETHING.

      On the other hand this is good preparation for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.

      NO STOP IT THEY NEVER DIE THEY LIVE FOREVER AND ARE AWESOME