Spartacus: War of the Damned – 3.08 – Separate Paths

Sparty and the rebel army are trudging through the forest on the far side of Melia Ridge. Everyone is tired and hungry and footsore and pretty damn miserable, so naturally this is when a small band of Roman soldiers once again attempts to engage a rearguard attack. What a bunch of bastards.

romans are ruiners they ruin things

romans are ruiners they ruin things

After a whole lot of smashing and slashing and hacking and screamy madness, the small but exhausting attack is settled. (I quite enjoyed this fight scene as it features a larger-than-usual number of women rebels fighting right along side the men.) Crixus is still feeling kind of fighty, so he bellows off taunts into the distance, bloodthirsty crazyface and all.

Everyone finds these small attacks ineffective and irritating, and can’t really see the purpose, but Sparty knows how Crassus thinks – these brief attacks expend only a very small portion of Crassus’ overall army, and keep the rebels occupied while giving the rest of the legions time to catch up. Crassus knows perfectly well that Sparty won’t allow the slowest (and therefore the weakest) parts of the rebel army to be sacrificed.

Crixus spots a Roman commander bleeding out on the ground before them, and decides to send him on his way. Sparty stops him at the last moment, because why not interrogate the man before hacking him to screamy pieces? The Roman soldier is initially unwilling to reveal any useful information, but once Crixus stabs him in the knees and guts a few times, quite enthusiastically, the soldier is perfectly delighted to share that Crassus’ entire army is about four days march behind them.

Sparty fumes momentarily before telling everyone to grab as many extra weapons off the dead as they can carry, and then get the army moving again. As he turns to leave, the Roman soldier grabs weakly at his ankles, begging Sparty to spare his life. Like, what? Dude, you have about 2 dozen oozing wounds, not to mention the nasty gut wounds Crixus just gave you. You should be begging for a quick death.

Sparty glares down at the idiot soldier and tells him that he’s pleading with the wrong man. And wow, Crixus isn’t even the least bit interested in your pathetic little pleas. Roman army bro dies very badly indeed.

hulk smash

hulk smash

*****

Crassus and his men come upon the scene of the battle about three days later. Crassus is pleased that they’ve gained perhaps a full day’s march on Sparty and the rebels, but Caesar is grumpy that their men haven’t had a chance to rest or eat since they started out in pursuit. He accuses Crassus of pushing the men too hard and being unwilling to listen to reason, and both Crassus and Tiberius shoot him down angrily. In fact, Crassus says that any man who refuses to continue the march will be killed immediately. Oh snap.

Before they can really throw down, a soldier arrives to tell Crassus that Senator Metellus has returned and “commands” an audience. Oh really? “Commands” it? Yeah, I’m sure that will work out swimmingly.

*****

Back at the encampment, Metellus is utterly furious and makes no attempt at hiding his wrath from Crassus, Tiberius, or Caesar. He angrily chews out Crassus for sending him back to Rome with laudatory words of glorious praise for our hapless threesome, and is now enraged to find that Spartacus and the rebels have escaped once again, despite Crassus’ assurances that the war would end decisively on Melia Ridge. Now everyone thinks Metellus is a jerkface!

Oh Metellus. Everyone already thought that. Crassus tells him “whatevs, broseph, it’s all good,” intending that he should return to Rome with a message for the Senate. Metellus prissily tells Crassus that he’s a fucking Senator of Rome, not a little messenger boy that Crassus can just send off wherever he pleases. Actually, Metellus, you’ll be whatever Crassus wants you to be, unless you’d rather go back on your agreement?

Actually, that’s exactly what Metellus wants: he doesn’t care anymore about Crassus’ offer of a posh villa in Sinuessa, or about the promised vast amounts of coin taken from the taxes on the city. As far as Metellus is concerned, any further association with the House of Crassus will only taint his own name further in the eyes of the Senate. Tiberius’ OH NO HE DIN’T face at this hissy proclamation is hilarious to behold.

Crassus gets right up in Metellus’ face and tells him to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. Everything’s going to work out exactly as Crassus planned, so quit yer bitching. Metellus snipes right back that this is pretty big talk for a dude who just had his dearly beloved slave jump ship and join the rebel army.

Oh snap.

Crassus’ only response to this inflammatory statement is a vicious right hook to Metellus’ throat. As Metellus whimpers on the floor, Caesar steps forward, but Tiberius holds him back. Metellus can’t believe Crassus is such a great big meanyface, and angrily tells him MY FATHER WILL HEAR OF THIS!

Okay, actually he says that the Senate will kick Crassus out for being a horrid bully. Crassus’ response? He beats the everloving shit out of Metellus while bellowing “YOU WILL DO AS I FUCKING COMMAND!” Not even gonna lie, it’s kind of hot.

Crassus goes in for one last savage punch, and Caesar lunges forward to stop him, genuine concern and worry all over his face. Crassus pulls back his last punch and tells Metellus to get his sorry ass back to Rome. Oh, and if he ever speaks a word of this to anyone, Crassus will spend every last penny to make sure he dies a horrible death in the dark of night.

Yeah, it’s pretty hot. In a sociopathic kind of way. I REGRET NOTHING.

Metellus slumps to the floor, panting and wheezing and prolly peeing his pants a little bit. Crassus tells Caesar to get Metellus on his horse and on his way out of town, and tells Tiberius to send the second legion off in pursuit of Sparty and the rebels. As Crassus storms off, Tiberius and Caesar share a look of epic WTF-ery.

*****

That evening, the rebels set up camp in the forest. Sparty is walking through the crowded line of tents with Agron and Crixus, reminding them to make sure that everyone is ready to flee at a moment’s notice if the Roman army should sneak a march on them. Crixus is unhappy with the constant running away they’ve been doing, as he’s eager to attack and kill as many Romans as possible, all day long. Spartacus, having heard this argument a billion times, reminds Crixus once again that they need to let people rest and replenish their numbers before mounting an attack on Crassus’ men. Agron’s also feeling the sting of running away, and admits that he’d definitely like to do some satisfactory spilling of Roman blood. Sparty gives them both a look of beleaguered patience and sighs.

Crixus finds this sort of hilarious, since Sparty was never much of a cautious man in the past. Sparty huffily tells them both that he’s worried about those among them who aren’t as strong and determined as the former gladiators, and while Agron agrees, he also agrees with Crixus – they need to take decisive action, and soon, because supplies are running low and soon starvation will be as much of an issue as Roman attacks.

Sparty knows this is cold hard fact, and calls over to Gannicus, setting up his tent nearby with That Girl Who Annoys Me. (I am annoyed and a bit squicked that he just walked away from Saxa like she was nothing to go play house with Sibyl but UGH that is a rant for later on I guess.) Sparty tells Gannicus to take Lugo and scout ahead for any chance to snatch some supplies for the army. Crixus sees this as a temporary relief, though. Eventually they’re going to have to stand and fight again.

As Sparty leaves, Agron quietly tells Crixus that Sparty’s right. Crixus says, rather fiercely, that nothing is particularly certain in wartime. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong and there are only two more episodes and oh god my emotions MY EMOTIONS.

halp

*****

Nasir is setting up his and Agron’s tent when Agron comes to find him. They’re as pleased to see one another as always, until Castus comes up with an armload of wood to share. Addressing Agron, Castus says that he’s collected more wood than he can use, and is happy to share with them both. Agron glares at him suspiciously, but there’s no time for their usual hackles-raised confrontations, because across the clearing, Laeta is having a tantrum over her failure to tent properly.

Agron sighs his most put-upon sigh and stomps off to help Laeta, telling Castus that he’ll be watching him the entire time. Once Agron is gone, Castus drops the wood by Nasir (every time i type WOOD i just crack up like a jackass) and comments that Agron still seems to want to kick his ass. Nasir reminds him of his plan to keep killing Romans until everyone trusts him more, and Castus just grins his sauciest grin. Agron has nothing to worry about as far as killing Romans, but when it comes to Castus’ flirty behavior with Nasir, Agron’s definitely got valid concerns.

Nasir gives Castus an impatient look and tells him to quit that shit already. Castus just can’t let it go, though – he’s convinced that Nasir has feelings for him too. He thinks that Nasir’s defensiveness in the face of his relentless flirtation means that Nasir feels something too – if Nasir had just laughed it off, Castus wouldn’t think anything more of it. CASTUS, THIS IS PREEMPTIVE VICTIM BLAMING AND I AM HAVING NONE OF YOUR SHIT.

Nasir does finally laugh at this statement, telling Castus that he’s mistaken Nasir’s pensive attitude for ~feeelings. Castus counters that he’s seen Nasir stealing glances at him when no one else is looking, and he’s noticed that Nasir gets a little twitchy whenever Castus is nearby. Nasir has nothing to say to this.

Across the way, Laeta laughingly thanks Agron for assisting her with the tent – she was worried that she’d have to sleep outside tonight. Agron tells her that it’s really nothing, to which she sassily replies that it’s a pretty big deal to her, since it was only a little while ago that Agron would’ve laughed to see her suffering. Agron says that not much has really changed, and the only reason he’s helping her is because Sparty seems to like her. And Agron is happy to do anything that might, in some way, benefit Sparty’s future happiness.

Laeta stammers and sputters in confusion at the news that Agron thinks Sparty likes her, and tells him she doesn’t know what to say. Agron doesn’t particularly want to hear anything she has to say on the matter, so it works out well for everyone involved.

Look, lady – Agron really believes that Spartacus has had a shitty time of things for the last few years, and if anyone deserves even the smallest bit of uncomplicated happiness, it’s definitely Our Hero. This touching moment can go no further, as Kore runs over in a panic – she needs assistance immediately.

*****

The assistance Kore required was for another female rebel, who has gone noisily and sweatily into labor. Laeta props her up from behind while Kore midwifes down between her legs. There’s lots of screaming and wailing and general unpleasantness, which Agron watches sort of nervously. He looks epically relieved when Spartacus shows up to take charge of the situation. Sparty tells the wailing almost-mom to calm down and listen to Kore, and in the face of this stern command, she immediately gives birth.

Kore pulls the squealing slimy pink creature out and cuts the cord, while Agron laughs at the size of the baby’s ween, comparing it to Jupiter himself. Kore smiles at him and says that hopefully this kid will only use it on the willing. Ouch.

Spartacus compliments Kore on her calm skills and steady hands, and she tells him that she’s done this many times before in the home of her former dominus. Laeta asks, with complete innocence, if she knew Kore’s former owner, and Kore stumbles a bit before giving an answer. Everyone seems willing to believe her until Sparty catches sight of the slave tattoo on her inner forearm – it clearly marks her as one of Crassus’ slaves.

Sparty and Agron drag Kore off for interrogation, and Laeta follows closely behind. The men are sure that Kore’s another spy sent by Crassus to infiltrate the rebel army, but Laeta angrily points out that no spy would stop to help someone in labor, right? Well yeah, that’s kind of the whole point of being a successful spy, Laeta – you try to blend in.

Kore’s completely terrified now, and she tells Spartacus that she’s no spy, but a real and genuine runaway slave. She explains that she ran from his tent up on Melia Ridge, and when Sparty presses her viciously for a reason, Laeta steps in once again to remind him that no matter who her former master was, Kore is a fugitive slave just like the rest of them.

Kore finally admits that Crassus himself treated her well, but she chose to run away because of what Crassus’ beloved son did to her. She doesn’t have to spell it out for Spartacus – the look on her face is enough, coupled with her frightened statement that she’s sure Tiberius would have continued mistreating her if she stayed. Sparty tells her that his own wife, Sura, went through the same thing, and just like that, all his anger is gone. He hands Kore over into Laeta’s care, with a warning that if it turns out Kore’s lied to them all, then he’ll kill her immediately.

After the women have left, Agron says that he has a lot of reservations about the entire situation. Spartacus does too, but he knows that Laeta was right – any slave who wants to be free should have the right to join them, no matter what. Fine, then let Kore starve in the frozen woods with the rest of them! Oh Agron, so practical.

*****

Tiberius certainly isn’t starving or freezing. Instead, he’s sitting down to a sumptuous evening meal with two of his burly henchmen. He tells them to get all their preparations out of the way before bedtime, because they’ll be following the second legion after Spartacus first thing in the morning.

Caesar strolls into the tent to have a little chat, which Tiberius finds irritating and intrusive. It’s not until Caesar says that he’s worried about Crassus that Tiberius is willing to hear him out. He dismisses the henchmen so he and Caesar can talk privately.

Caesar says that Crassus has been unsettling since Melia Ridge, and he’s troubled by Crassus’ attack on Metellus. No matter how much of an idiot Metellus is – and both Tiberius and Caesar agree that Metellus is indeed an immense idiot – he’s still a Senator in reasonably high standing. Tiberius doesn’t find this a compelling argument, since Crassus is also a Senator, but Caesar points out that Senator or not, Crassus totally overreacted to Metellus’ nasty little taunts… especially for a man who is famous for his icy self-control.

Tiberius tells Caesar to get to the goddamn point already, so he does – Caesar wants Tiberius to sit his dad down and have a father-son chat about Crassus being emotionally compromised since Kore’s escape to the rebel army. Instead of seeing this as sound advice, Tiberius blows up in Caesar’s face, accusing him of trying to cover his own ass in the face of Crassus’ impending outrage. He’s convinced that Crassus is going to have it out with Caesar over Caesar’s bringing Kore up to the ridge in the first place.

You can almost see the exact moment when Caesar just gives the fuck up on this idiot child. He’s already put two and two together about Kore’s freak out, and now, in the face of Tiberius’ own overreaction, Caesar throws all his cards down onto the table – he knows that Kore wanted to talk to Crassus about Tiberius himself, and that’s why he brought her up onto the ridge.

Tiberius just sneers and waves this off as a clever ruse for Kore to get herself into position to run away, but Caesar’s already out-thought him. Caesar knows that Tiberius was involved in Kore’s decision to flee, and outright accuses him of having raped Kore. Tiberius flies into a wild rage, screaming at Caesar to shut his filthy mouth. But oh no, Caesar’s not finished with you, sonny.

Caesar tells him that he’s going to get to the bottom of this entire shitty situation, and he’ll be fucking thrilled to reveal all to Crassus with the knowledge that the betrayal of his son will be assuaged by the fact that Kore was innocent all along. As Caesar struts off, Tiberius looks legitimately nervous.

HA HA.

*****

Crixus and Naevia sit outside their tent, sharpening swords together romantically. Across the way, the newborn baby is being fed by his mom, and Crixus comments that he can’t believe someone is bringing a new life into their morass of war and hell. Naevia pokes him with her elbow and reminds him, with a sweet smile, that at least the baby was born into freedom, and that’s all that matters. She reminds him that she too is free, because of Crixus.

OKAY GROSS SOBBING THOUGH FOR REALS

Crixus cuddles her close and says that he wishes he was able to give Naevia more than just the word “freedom”. He wants her to always have plenty of food and comfortable shelter and safety, and even children of their own some day. But instead, he hasn’t been able to do any of that for her.

Naevia smiles at him SO LOVINGLY ARGH and says that Crixus saved her from the mines, and that all that really matters to her is that they’re together. Crixus gave her the most important thing of all – her freedom – which allows her to choose her own path. And the path she’s chosen for herself, of her own free will, is to stay by his side forever, in this world and in the next.

HI GROSS SOBBING

Crixus: I do not deserve a woman such as you.
Naevia: You are the only man who truly does.

MY PRECIOUS DARLINGS

MY PRECIOUS DARLINGS

Agron barges in on their smoochfest with the news that Lugo and Gannicus have returned, and Spartacus wants to talk to them all together. As Crixus leaves, Naevia bites back a few tears while watching the mother and child together across the way.

*****

The exciting news is that there’s a small valley nearby with about 20 villas in it. They can seize the entire valley for the rebel army, and thus have a safe place to spend the night and plenty of food to eat. And then, in the morning, Spartacus wants to head north, to the Alps. Crixus thinks he means to set up camp in the mountains again, and doesn’t much care for the idea. But no, Spartacus has another plan entirely – he wants to cross the mountains and see as many people to freedom as possible.

Crixus cannot believe this shit. Has Sparty finally lost his mind? Sparty’s reasoning is shared by Gannicus – Crassus is chasing after a single army, which is easily tracked. If they cross over the Alps and flee to all corners of Europe, even Crassus with all his wealth and resources can’t track them all down and drag them back in chains.

Crixus is completely unconvinced. He thinks that everything they’ve fought for is worth nothing if they all just run away. I guess Crixus really still doesn’t realize that Spartacus’ ultimate goal was to return home with Sura and be a farmer again? Sparty tells Crixus, with no small measure of exhaustion, that Crassus will just attack them again if the army lingers in the Republic. But this time, Crixus doesn’t even need to defend his point of view, because Agron shares it. He’s also tired of running away, and wants to make a stand.

Spartacus just wants everyone to be freeeee, you guys. ~*FREEEE*~. And far away from the evil awful Republic. Crixus turns this right back around on him with a new and bold strategy – why not attack the very heart of the Republic, then? Why not move on Rome itself? Crassus’ army is still three days away to the south; if the rebels turn west now, they’ll be at the gates of Rome before Crassus can get everyone moving. Crixus reminds Sparty of his words at the start of the rebellion, about wanting to make Rome tremble before them, and Sparty kicks Agron and Gannicus out of the tent to talk to Crixus alone.

Gannicus makes sure to take the wine jug with him before leaving.

Crixus tells Spartacus that he knows he’s got the upper hand in this fight, and that they should strike Rome now while the entire Republic is still terrified at the very thought of Spartacus and his army. Sparty hesitates a moment before quietly admitting that he’s scared of what the Republic will do in response. Crixus just can’t believe his ears – how is Spartacus afraid of anything? Sparty’s not afraid for himself, he’s afraid for these tens of thousands of people he now has to worry about day and night.

Crixus is just tired of running away, dammit. Sparty smiles and tells him to take a rest with Naevia at his side, but Crixus won’t be placated. Naevia doesn’t want to run away anymore either – they both want to crush Rome as soon as possible. Spartacus sees this as their inevitable doom, but Crixus sees it as their only possible path to true freedom. He knows that neither Crassus nor the Republic will let them just quietly slip away if they cross the Alps – how can they possibly? All the remaining slaves will know that they have a real chance at freedom, and the Republic will be in chaos.

Spartacus is helpless before Crixus’ passionate speech. All the points Crixus makes – that the Republic itself was built with the hands and blood and lives of the slaves, and all those things can unmake it just as easily – simply cannot be argued against. Nor does Sparty seem to want to argue against them. Crixus, the man Sparty had to fight long and hard to convince of the need for rebellion is now the rebellion’s most determined leader. How can Sparty tell him to back down now?

Spartacus: It was simpler between us when the bond stood only as hate.
Crixus: Those days are sadly past.

Crixus is determined to march on Rome itself, and take with him anyone else who is willing to come. Even if Spartacus doesn’t want to join them. Spartacus tells him that they fought long and hard for exactly this – for the former slaves to choose their own paths – and he’s not going to stand in Crixus’ way any longer.

WHY AREN’T THEY HUGGING

THIS IS A HUGGING MOMENT

WHERE ARE HUGS

First thing in the morning, then, Crixus is going to take his half of the army and leave, and they’ll never ever see each other again and I just can’t even.

But before he goes, Spartacus needs his help for one last thing.

*****

The next morning, the sun rises beautifully above the quiet, serene valley. Birds are singing, a fresh breeze is blowing, and it’s generally a gorgeous pastoral scene of peaceful, well-to-do country life.

And then an entire army of rebel slaves comes screaming down the hill and slaughters everyone.

 

RAAAAAGH

RAAAAAGH

Sparty and the boys smash through the villas and just kill the hell out of all the unsuspecting guardsmen. It is the messiest slaughter we’ve seen in a while, and what’s more, everyone really seems to be enjoying themselves, as though they might at any moment burst into a cheerful, jaunty piratical tune.

SO STEALTHILY THE REBEL CREEPS WHILE ALL THE ROMANS SOUNDLY SLEEP

In hardly any time at all, the entire valley is subdued and the rebels get down to the super important business of partying like frat boys. Sparty declares that the evening’s celebrations will be in honor of Crixus and his followers, and everyone is perfectly delighted to cheer and drink and fuck in honor of the Undefeated Gaul.

Soon enough, everyone is wildly drunk and singing the only song they appear to know. Lugo, however, giggles tunelessly to himself in German, staggering around with hugs and smiles for everyone. BLESS HIS LITTLE LEATHER SOCKS.

Off in the corner, Gannicus is standing with Sibyl. She’s gamely trying to choke down a cup of wine but finds it entirely unpalatable. Gannicus laughs and offers to get her some water instead, but Sibyl tells him to get her some more wine instead.

As Gannicus stumbles off to fetch more wine (and we see Lugo splashing happily in the pool surrounded by naked, delighted women), Saxa addresses him from the far side of the pool, asking if he’s with the “little thing” now. Gannicus sobers up a bit and apologizes to her, saying that he didn’t want her to see it and be hurt by it.

YEAH WELL THEN WHY’D YOU DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, ASSBUTT.

Saxa matches his seriousness and tells him, with calm practicality, that he’s going to ruin everything he likes about Sibyl with his usual drunken bullshit ways, and once he’s tired of her, he’ll come right back to Saxa’s bed. Saxa then leans over to make out with Belesa, who is lounging in the pool at her side.

Gannicus just smirks at this, but when he turns back to see Sibyl smiling at him, flushed and happy and a little bit drunky, his face falls into a thoughtful frown.

*****

Agron is standing off to the side with a thoughtful frown of his own. He’s not really drinking much or participating in the festivities. In fact, he’s looking a little unhappy. Nasir comes over to join him and notices that he’s not drinking, and asks why – it’s because Agron wants to have a clear head in the morning when Crixus and his army leave for Rome. Nasir glances over to where Crixus is drinking and laughing with some of his closest followers, and says that even though they haven’t always gotten along, he’s going to miss Crixus when he’s gone.

Agron smiles a tiny, tight little smile and says that he won’t miss Crixus at all, which makes Nasir laugh and smile fondly – of course not, since everyone knows how much Agron and Crixus hate one another. But no. Agron says that he’s not going to miss Crixus because he’s leaving to join him in the morning. Nasir looks startled for a moment and asks if Agron really wants to leave Spartacus behind to join Crixus. Apparently Agron is more like Crixus than he’d ever be willing to admit – he doesn’t think there’s much of a life for him as a farmer or shepherd off in the lands past the Alps.

Nasir gives Agron the same fold little smile and agrees that joining Crixus and his army on the road to Rome will be an awfully big adventure. His face is just wide open with happiness and enthusiasm and love for Agron.

yays

yays

Agron smiles a terrible, aching smile, and tells Nasir that it makes him so completely happy to hear him say that he wants to go too, but it’s not what Agron wants. No, Agron wants Nasir to stay with Spartacus instead. Nasir doesn’t look crushed, just confused, like Agron is telling a bad joke in a foreign language, and Nasir is struggling to understand. He tells Agron that his place is to be always at Agron’s side, but Agron’s not having it. Nasir, starting at last to break down, reminds Agron that he promised that the gods themselves could never tear them apart. Nasir can’t figure out why the hell Agron has suddenly decided to dump him so unceremoniously.

noooooo

noooooo

Agron can’t hold back his own tears any longer, and he tells Nasir that he’ll never love anyone else as long as he lives. But he just can’t live with the thought of potentially dragging Nasir off to his death. Nasir angrily tells him that he’s a warrior, and Agron agrees, but it doesn’t change anything – he wants Nasir to stay with Spartacus and help the rest of the rebels get beyond the Alps to true freedom. And most of all, to live and be happy.

PLEASE CAN SOMEONE REMIND ME WHY I AM WATCHING THIS EVIL HEARTBREAKING SHOW FULL OF NOTHING BUT TERRIBLE PAIN

*****

Sparty seeks out Crixus, who is chatting with Brictius and Naevia. When Sparty says he wants to talk for a moment, Naevia laughingly warns him off of trying to change their minds again. Sparty’s just there to share a drink with his oldest living friend, though.

wow i just made myself really fucking sad.

Naevia leaves them to talk alone, and they laugh together about how far they’ve come from hating one another to being trusted friends and allies, and back and forth between the two over and over again. Sparty laughs and says that he wishes they’d been BFFs all along, but Crixus disagrees – he thinks that everything worked out the way it did to their benefit, and that the endless conflicts between them only served to make them stronger allies.

sob

Sparty decides to take a moment and share a bit of wisdom with Crixus, and says that long ago, Batiatus told him something reasonably useful:

Sparty: A man must accept his fate, or –
Crixus: – or be destroyed by it? Yeah, the fucking cunt said that to everyone.

Once they’re done giggling, Sparty tells Crixus that he hopes they can one day meet again and WHY AREN’T THEY HUGGING FOR SERIOUS.

*****

Crassus is washing Metellus’ blood off his bruised hands and sulking grumpily. Tiberius quietly asks him if his torn-up knuckles are causing him any pain, but Crassus shrugs it off. Tiberius says that he’s worried that Metellus’ will want revenge, but Daddycakes isn’t too worried. He thinks Metellus will be scared shitless of him from now on; Crassus believes that those beneath him (so basically everyone, I guess) need to be slapped around a little to remind them of their place. How delightful.

Tiberius slyly turns the conversation to Kore, and how she might have benefited from such lessons, and Crassus doesn’t even want to hear her name. Tiberius apologizes, and Crassus rambles on a bit about how good he was to Kore, and how he can’t understand why she’d leave him. Tiberius pretends to take the blame, saying that it was all his fault for not keeping a closer eye on Caesar, such that Caesar would never have had the opportunity to bring Kore up onto Melia Ridge. Crassus also dismisses this as nonsense, saying that Caesar does dumb shit all the time.

Tiberius continues playing the part of the loving, concerned son, saying that he’s glad his father knows who to trust – himself, obviously.

*****

Down in Orgyville, the rebels are humping and drinking and carousing long into the night. Off in the corner, Agron is breaking the bad news to Sparty. Spartacus only asks him once if he’s sure, and when Agron nods, Sparty thanks him for always being loyal, even when he didn’t entirely believe in what Sparty was saying. Agron tells him it’s because he always believed in Spartacus himself, and YET ANOTHER PERFECT HUGGING MOMENT PASSES US BY, HUGLESS.

Before they part ways, Sparty tells Agron that hopefully he’ll find whatever it is he’s looking for. Agron tells Sparty that hopefully he’ll find some kind of “comfort”, because he truly deserves it. As Agron walks away, we see Ms Comfort standing off to the side behind Spartacus, wearing a rather fetching red dress and a sympathetic smile. Laeta, gurl, you lookin fierce.

Sparty asks if Kore is okay, and Laeta confirms that she’s gone to sleep and is grateful to be alive. They then immediately fall into a spat over slavery and Laeta’s current suffering relative to that of those who have been slaves all their lives, blah blah blah. It’s totally their same old verbal sparring/foreplay, only this time, it takes a turn for the decidedly intimate.

Sparty pokes Laeta gently on the side, telling her that her wounds must have healed well if she’s back to her old argumentative self. For a moment I thought she was going to be all WHY DON’T YOU SEE FOR YOURSELF BABY, but instead, she just says that she can’t really turn away from her truest nature. Sparty seems to take this as a reminder of their formerly wildly disparate social statuses, and tells her to go back to the party and have some fun.

Laeta, however, has other plans. She’s tired of wine and loud drunken gladiators. In fact, she only wants the company of one single gladiator, drunken or not.

GET SOME

GET SOME

They pounce on one another almost simultaneously, and make out like giddy teenagers for all of a minute before Spartacus remembers that he’s not allowed to have anything nice ever. He shoves her away and is all BUT YOU’RE A ROMAN, I CANNOT GIVE YOU MY HEART.

Oh Sparty. Laeta doesn’t want your heart right now. She’s aiming a little lower. If you know what I mean. AND I THINK YOU DO.

[muffled wailing orgy guitars playing in the distance]

*****

The next morning, Gannicus is saying his goodbyes to Crixus. He can’t help but giggle a little bit at his memory of Crixus the wide-eyed wooby from Gods of the Arena, back when Crixus was the most innocent of all precious little wannabe gladiator puppies. And now look at him! He’s the leader of his very own rebel army, on his way to attack Rome! Gannicus is moments away from breaking out the embarrassing photo album of baby Crixus proudly using the grown-up potty for the first time. Next we’ll all be forced to sit through Crixus’ bar mitzvah video.

Crixus doesn’t have time for fond memories, he has important business to attend to: he wants Gannicus to join him for the assault on Rome. Gannicus smiles a little and says that he just can’t, dude. For serious. He glances over Crixus’ shoulder where Sibyl is standing with Laeta and Kore, and Crixus knows exactly what’s motivating Gannicus. They give each other the matey forearm clasp thing that really should be a hug but whatever, fine.

Naevia comes over to tell Crixus that everyone is ready to depart, and Spartacus joins them one last time. He doesn’t particularly believe that they’re going to succeed, nor does he believe in any gods, but if he did, he’d pray his goddamn ass off to make them win. Crixus promises to do his best to prove Spartacus wrong.

Sparty tells Nasir to get the supply train going so that their army can move north towards the Alps. Nasir glances over at Agron, and they give each other tiny, tragic little smiles.

Crixus calls back to Spartacus to remind him of the time, back in the ludus, when he said that they could have been brothers, but not in this life – Crixus admits that he was totally wrong, and that he’ll always consider Sparty his brother. Sparty agrees that they are bros for life and BFFs, and they still don’t hug because this show exists only to hurt me.

WHERE ARE HUGZ

WHERE ARE HUGZ

*****

Crassus’ forward scouts have returned with the news that Sparty’s army has divided its forces, with the larger portion heading north, towards the mountains. Tiberius and Caesar are shocked to learn that the smaller part of the army is headed due west, directly towards Rome. Tiberius immediately asks which part of the army they’re going to follow, and Caesar interrupts to insist that they head for Rome right away.

Tiberius is pretty sure that they’ll meet with resistance on the road to Rome, but Caesar doesn’t think that will be enough to stop the rebels. He all but laughs derisively at the thought of the single legion, commanded by Arrius, being able to defend Rome against an army led by Spartacus.

Crassus interjects, quite mildly, that Sparty isn’t leading the western army – Crixus is. Caesar thinks Crixus is just as dangerous, if not more so, than Spartacus, but Crassus disagrees – he thinks Sparty’s terrifying fame is more important, and therefore pursuing him is more important. Tiberius agrees completely, but Caesar remains adamant that Rome can’t be left undefended.

*****

Caesar and Tiberius leave Crassus alone to ponder his next move, and Tiberius takes this time to lecture Caesar angrily for questioning his orders. Caesar refuses to back down, telling Tiberius that he’s a huge stupid idiotface for not backing him up with Crassus. Caesar is convinced that Tiberius is just telling Crassus what Crassus wants to hear, and not his own opinions. Tiberius snarls right back that he’s doing exactly what he wants to do.

Caesar all but slaps him with a gauntlet when he asks Tiberius if forcing himself on Kore was doing what he wanted to do as well. Tiberius is momentarily speechless, and Caesar tells him it was only a matter of time before he was found out. Tiberius rallies, and smugly accuses Caesar of making shit up to discredit Tiberius and make himself look better, but Caesar’s got it all covered.

Caesar has proof, okay Tiberius? PROOOOF. Canthara, the Egpytian bed slave, witnessed Tiberius leave Kore’s tent that night, and found Kore “roughly used” afterwards. Kore made Canthara promise never to say anything about that night, but Caesar managed to get it out of her. Tiberius looks cornered and eventually tries to laugh it off as the lies of a prostitute, and Caesar smirks at his sad attempts at salvaging the situation.

Tiberius asks what we’re all wondering by now – why hasn’t Caesar told Crassus about this yet? Caesar says it’s because Crassus is already fucked up enough over what he thinks happened – he doesn’t want to make it even worse by telling him the actual, and far worse, truth. That’s awfully thoughtful of you, Caesar, but I think we all know that it’s because you’d like to have something to hold over Tiberius. No one blames you! It’s totally logical!

Tiberius stops to pour himself some wine and pull himself together, and asks what Caesar wants from him. It’s obvious, of course – Caesar wants to blackmail him into supporting Caesar’s plans with Crassus. Caesar foolishly mentions “commanding” Tiberius, and that’s where Tiberius just loses his fool mind.

He smashes the wine jug into Caesar’s face, and they commence with a glorious brawl. Caesar gets Tiberius in a chokehold and starts snarling threats at him, unfortunately forgetting about the presence of Tiberius’ two large henchmen standing outside the tent. They grab Caesar and smack him around a bit before smashing his face down onto the table.

Tiberius rages and rants that Caesar will never be allowed to raise a hand to him again. As Caesar struggles and spits blood, he furiously reminds Tiberius that there’s no way they’re going to be able to kill him and smuggle his body out of the camp without someone noticing.

Caesar, you have a point. You really do. But that’s not what Tiberius has in mind.

Tiberius orders his henchmen to hold Caesar bent over the table. He glances outside and shuts the tent securely against any prying eyes.

And then he drops his pants and rapes Caesar, apparently thus forever trumping any blackmail material that Caesar once held over him.

WHAT EVEN IS THIS SHOW

*****

Crixus’ army is tearing through all the resistence they’re meeting on the road to Rome. Everything they leave behind them is just fire and death and ruin. Along the way, Crixus and Naevia have some well-earned time to themselves to bone happily by the fire and dream beautiful dreams of world domination.

Within a matter of days, they have finished off everything and everyone standing between them and Rome.

Crixus stands on a hill outside Rome, watching as the single legion of soldiers assembles for battle below. The entire army is super psyched to smash through the legion and take Rome for themselves. Crixus reminds his gladiator friends of the most basic part of their training back in Batiatus’ ludus – what lies beneath the army’s feet? Agron steps forward to give their traditional answer – “sacred ground, watered with tears of blood”.

Except this time, the blood is going to be Roman. YAYS.

Arrius’ legion halts at the foot of the hill below, and this is precisely where the rebels want them. They’ve made huge balls of wood and vines, and set them aflame before rolling them down the hill onto the legion. The soldiers are knocked down like screaming, flaming bowling pins, and the entire legion is in terrible disarray.

It is into this firey shrieking mayhem that the rebels charge and attack.

*****

Sparty and the rest of the rebels are making their way north through the forest towards the Alps. Gannicus brings word from the rearguard that no one appears to be following them, but Sparty cautions him to remain alert – with Crixus and the bulk of the fighters of the army now gone, they’d be in a world of shit if Crassus attacked.

*****

Crixus not only literally disarms Arrius in battle, he stands over the man triumphantly before stabbing him right through the face. He rips off Arrius’ seal from around his neck and shouts to the rest of the rebels that Arrius has fallen. The entire army is giddy with murderous delight, and Naevia and Agron and Crixus practically dance a little jig of glee.

Unfortunately, it appears they have celebrated too soon. Crassus has dispatched all his legions in pursuit of Crixus’ army, and they now stand on the plains behind the rebels, ready for battle.

KNOWING HISTORY DOESN’T MAKE THIS ANY BETTER

At the front of the army, Crassus and Tiberius are mounted on their horses, while Caesar stands beside them. Crassus asks why Caesar’s all beat up, and he waves it off as a drunken brawl. Crassus next asks why Caesar’s not sitting up on a horse as befits his rank, and when Caesar has no ready answer, Tiberius says that he commanded Caesar to lead the infantry on foot, since the “common men” think he’s the bestest.

Below, Agron sees right away that the Romans will attempt to overrun them with sheer numbers. Crixus gives the order to appear to flee and then regroup to attack the flanks of the army. Agron rushes off to spread the word, and Crixus and Naevia psych themselves up for battle.

The rebel army throws themselves against the Romans with no end of gruesome enthusiasm, and for a while, the battle seems fairly well matched. Crassus ends up getting yanked off his horse and left to fight on foot, even as Tiberius rides to his aid.

The Roman soldiers are soon too numerous for the rebels to engage usefully, so Crixus shouts for everyone to fall back to higher ground and regroup. Not everyone has the chance to join him. Brictius, having lost all his weapons, is just beating the shit out of every soldier in his path until one of them stabs him through the head from behind.

A few feet away, Agron has just spotted Caesar and can’t let him get away without a fight. Tiberius, overhearing Agron’s shout, rides up behind him and slashes Agron’s side open with his sword. Agron falls.

Tiberius shouts that the rebel army’s eastern flank has broken, and orders the soldiers to advance. Caesar desperately wants to run back and finish Agron off, but obeys Tiberius’ command with a snarl of pure rage.

Crixus and Naevia fight to reach higher ground, but they’re almost completely surrounded. Crixus, having lost his sword, picks up a discarded spear and lashes out at the nearby soldiers. Caesar gets his sword in beneath Crixus’ defenses and slashes at his back, severing his armor and wounding him. Naevia tackles Caesar head on, buying Crixus some much-needed time to get back to his feet, but earns herself a nasty blow to the head. As they meet, Crixus knocks Caesar down with a mighty headbutt, and stands above him, ready to deliver the final blow.

And then Tiberius stabs Crixus in the back with a spear. It goes right through him, and Naevia can only watch and scream.

Crixus falls, as blood pours from his mouth and from his wound. As Caesar hauls himself to his feet, Tiberius tells him that he’s not going to let Caesar die so easily. Naevia, still shrieking, crawls over to grab a discarded sword and attack, but nearby soldiers kick her back down.

Crixus tries desperately to get back up, and as he struggles, Crassus comes upon the commotion and is absolutely delighted to see his formidable enemy bleeding on the ground. Crassus tells Tiberius to take back his sword – which Crixus snatched on the beach during the first attack – and Tiberius yanks it from Crixus’ shaky, bloodstained hand.

Tiberius is all for killing them both immediately, but Crassus decides that he wants to take an opportunity to send a message to Spartacus. As Naevia is held at swordpoint, she’s forced to watch Caesar haul Crixus upright for execution.

Crixus and Naevia stare at one another across the field of battle, across the dead bodies of their friends and of their enemies, and Crixus gives her the tiniest little hint of a smile.

1
He dies by Tiberius’ hand.

 

1 horrible gifset of extreme tragedy and despair source here
all other screencaps courtesy of fishsticktheatre
my continued sanity courtesy of xanax
this recap is brought to you in part by doritos and tequila

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2 responses to “Spartacus: War of the Damned – 3.08 – Separate Paths

  1. HISTORY DOES NOT MAKE THIS EASIER. NGL, I bawled like a baby with Crixus’ death. I’m still not over it. Thankfully, someone on tumblr has found a way to ease the pain just a little and has posted a beautiful photo (which I had to reblog) of naked Manu Bennett on a white horse. And this is how I will think of Crixus in the afterlife.

    I am outraged by Tiberius’s rape of Caeser. He has signed his own death warrant. I was screaming “No, no, no, no” at the screen while he was doing that. I dont want to like Caesar but I doooooo and I really hope Crassus finds out about his son’s rapeyness, bc I don’t think that’s on the House of Crassus coat of arms.

    I’m outraged too by the VERY SAD break up of Nagron. That broke my heart, and my heart is a lump of a coal. On the other hand, I was delighted that there was finally some Sparty/Laeta lovin’. YES.

    But most of all, NO NO NO to most of this episode. And Starz mocks our pain by making us wait until the 5th for the next episode! WAAAAH!

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