Tensions come to a head in this episode of Spartacus, which feels more like a finale than a midseason episode.
Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
War of the Damned is far from over, but this episode truly had me believing that Spartacus might meet his end sooner than expected. Featuring some expertly crafted twists and turns, “Blood Brothers” was a fantastic episode that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Caesar continues to pit Crixus and Spartacus against each other, widening the divide and bringing back a sense of intense hatred between the two not seen since season one. While we unfortunately didn’t get to see an all-out brawl between the two (like with Crixus and Gannicus last week), you could cut the tension with a knife.
Spartacus sets off on his plan from last week’s episode to cut off Crassus’ food supply, attempting to weaken the army before an attack. He sets sail with Gannicus in tow, and once again remarks that Gannicus needs to be ready to take up the mantle of leader should Spartacus fall. The show keeps bringing this up, and I wonder where it’s going. While I originally assumed none of the rebels would make it past the final episode, I wonder if Starz is grooming Dustin Clare’s Gannicus for a spin-off or something. He certainly was able to carry the show on his back with Gods of the Arena.
It was interesting to see Tiberius finally show some balls this week and beat down some of the cowardly soldiers that brought about last week’s decimation, leading to his friend’s grisly death. However, he shortly thereafter reclaimed his spot as my most despised character on the series when he raped Kore, Marcus Crassus’ lover, after she simply tried to offer words of comfort to him. It’ll be very interesting to see how Crassus reacts to this news.
While Spartacus and Gannicus are as great as ever, Crixus and Agron have been a bit annoying as of late. Agron is overly jealous of Nasir hanging around an interested pirate. While you should never trust a pirate (hell, Jack Sparrow himself said so), you also need to trust that your partner is not screwing around on you as soon as you turn your back. Sure, if he proves himself unworthy of trust, then go ahead and be pissed, fight him, whatever. But treating Nasir like dirt when he hasn’t actually done anything wrong will only turn him away from Agron, and it’s one more thing to take their minds away from the much bigger issues at hand.
I really enjoyed the way Spartacus’ plan came together. His lies told to Laeta (about Crixus and Spartacus parting ways and splitting the forces) were plausible, and he knew that this false information would be plied from her lips upon her arrival at the Roman camp. The greatest part was having Crixus sell it by not telling him of the plan until after the Romans are gone. However, even the most carefully laid plans can be undone by a keen enough mind, and that’s exactly what happens in “Blood Brothers”.
Crixus is continuing to act like a mad dog, whose master is Naevia. He flies off the handle at every opportunity, and believes every lie that falls from her mouth. Between Caesar and Naevia’s scheming, Crixus practically tries to overthrow Spartacus’ command, before Sparty shows up and lays down the law. He makes it abundantly clear that he’ll have no qualms about severing ties with Crixus if he falls out of line again. Crixus is furious when Spartacus frees the captive Romans, but the broken bridge is mended when Sparty reveals that it’s all part of a bigger plan to take down Crassus. Unfortunately, being in cahoots with pirates is not a great idea- especially when you have enemy spies like Caesar running around.
I knew it couldn’t be long before Crassus plied the pirates with riches to turn them against the rebels, but the surprise attack was quick and unexpected, with so much happening so fast and ending on a hell of a cliffhanger. We’re only five episodes in and it seems like it could already be the end of the rebellion. I’m already anxiously awaiting the next episode.