Stars: Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Peter Mensah, Dustin Clare, Jaime Murray
Writer: Seamus Kevin Fahey & Misha Green, Created by Steven S. DeKnight
Director: Brendan Maher
Network: STARZ, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: February 11th, 2010

So last episode of SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA, Titus (Jeffrey Thomas) came back to the House of Batiatus to act as the head of the household. This not only ruffled the feathers of Batiatus (John Hannah) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) but it effectively crapped all over what they had been trying to accomplish to elevate their house. Lucretia and Gaia (Jamie Murray) had been as busy as they could be as well trying to make things happen by effectively turning the House of Batiatus into a house of forbidden pleasures and not just a House of gladiators. Of course, those plans also came to a screeching halt.

“Beneath the Mask” stirs the pot even more, and gets the audience behind the forthcoming death of Titus. His ideals and ways of conducting business are outdated and pedantic. He believes that the House of Batiatus should stay where it is, and not attempt to rise above the station it has achieved thus far. Titus has undercut his son is his very clever business dealings, and he has cut them all off at the knees in terms of placement not only in the games, but also in society. He goes even further this episode telling Batiatus to rid himself of Lucretia (a woman he claims was well beneath their station) or to leave the house all together. Word of advice to Titus, never get between people as committed to each other as those two, especially if they are constantly feeding you honeyed wine!

Tilius (Steven Lovatt) has to die and soon. That is the other monumental decision that was reached from the viewing of this week’s episode. Not only is the man a rat bastard, but he’s had Batiatus beaten almost to death, and now he killed off Gaia who was one of my favorite characters on the series. Tilius has no redeeming qualities, and it is clear that he needs to be removed from power, so that the House of Batiatus can ascend to where they were when SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND started. It’s so amusing that as an audience you spent the entire run of the first season waiting for Spartacus to kill everyone in the House of Batiatus in revenge for the wrongs done to him – and then to turn around and root for the same villains as heroes in the prequel series.

Of course, the death of Gaia has given birth to something far more interesting and impressive to watch, the “Dark Phoenix” version of Lucretia. At the end of this episode it was clear form the way she was speaking, and the set of her jaw, that she is a person transformed, and not for the better. This looks to be the starting point of the colder and more manipulative Lucretia that we saw in action in the first series. The red wig makes more sense now as well, and it isn’t just a fashion accessory any more. She wears the wig to remind herself of what was taken from her because she appeared to be a weak woman. That won’t happen again. In fact if Titus gets in her way of justice or revenge, she might off him herself. I can sum this up in one sentence: I LOVE LUCY LAWLESS. She is a great actor, and I love seeing her play different levels all over the map!

Watching SPARTACUS I’ve realized how much I’ve missed the TV series ROME since it went off the air. That was an exceptional show, and the production value of it was incredible. SPARTACUS is the only period series that I have seen really step up to that level of production in the costuming, hair and make-up, sets, and special effects that make you believe you are really watching that bygone era. Of course this episodes’ bacchanal orgy really took me back to ROME days, but let’s wait and see if Lucretia or Batiatus bathes in the fresh blood of a sacrificed steer.

AGREE? DISAGREE? Leave a comment below and let us know what YOU thought about this episode.

CLICK HERE for AX’s exclusive interview with SPARTACUS star PETER MENSAH

CLICK HERE for AX’s exclusive interview with SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA Dustin Clare

CLICK HERE for Part 1 of ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with GODS OF THE ARENA creator Steven S. DeKnight

CLICK HERE for Part 2 of ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with SPARTACUS creator Steven S. DeKnight

CLICK HERE for Part 3 of ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with SPARTACUS creator Steven S. DeKnight as he talks about what Season Two of the series will be

CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with GODS OF THE ARENA star LUCY LAWLESS


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