I find I have to be in the right mood to enjoy Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Alcohol might help, having murderous thoughts about people maybe? I still find its excesses too much at times, but then there is the fascinating and heart breaking drama that draws me back in.
This 4th episode (of only 6 I believe) featured the usual spurting blood, with a hapless spectator getting too close and losing his fingers in a particularly nasty but oddly funny moment. Plus the episode went the full 9 yards (plus about 100 more!) with a sex orgy that I bet kept the casting agents in New Zealand busy trying to find so many buff and willing-to-bare-all actors!
The orgy was part of Lucretia’s plan to curry favour with the nobility of Capua, while her husband Batiatus took his dad Titus off on a slave buying trip, that was an odd father/son bonding trip. Surely they could have just gone fishing…
The chief baddie Tullius who clearly hates them all turned up and almost killed Gannicus in a mock fight, before being distracted by Gaia. I’ve enjoyed Jaime Murray’s performance as Lucretia’s galpal so far, so her brutal murder by the psychopathic Tullius was genuinely shocking. Lucy Lawless as Lucretia has been outstanding this year. OK, so as a mega-Xena fan I am biased, but her grief over her friends death and her desire for vengeance had me yelling at her to strap on her leathers and chakram and kill ’em all!! Lucy is a mature lady now, but I would dearly love to see her kill that nasty Tullius. She’s killed the actor Stephen Lovatt before – he played the god Hades on Xena and was polished off by the Warrior Princess! Come on Lucretia, VENGEANCE!!!
Also intriguing was the final confrontation between Lucretia, Batiatus and Titus over what to do next. Lucretia is all for killing Tullius over the murder, Titus doesn’t want them to rock the boat in the social minefield of Capua. He tells his son Batiatus he must get rid of his wife who has brought no dowry, no heir and no class to the family. Hmm, wonder why he hates her so much? We know Batiatus doesn’t (another slight problem with the prequel format of this mini series – you know some characters can’t die) but how will things resolve in these last few episodes. Who will die? Who might kill who? What will happen to Gannicus and Doctore’s wife?