Stars: Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Peter Mensah, Dustin Clare, Jaime Murray
Writer: Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon, Created by Steven S. DeKnight
Director: Rick Jacobson
Network: STARZ, airs Friday nights
Original Telecast: January 28, 2010

With first episode of SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA viewers were transported back five years before the events of SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND. The beginnings of the House of Batiatus seemed shaky at best with the head of the house lacking some of that snake-like quickness to seize on any opportunity with ruthlessness and viciousness. Likewise his wife Lucretia seems to have milk-teeth compared to the shark-sized mouth of razors she ends up using in the original series.

By the conclusion of the first episode, both characters have started down the road that will ultimately lead to their destruction. Batiatus is beating and urinated on by the very men he was trying to do legitimate business with, and Lucretia is starting to explore her own sexual desires and appetites.

Now in “Missio”, things start to heat up quickly. You would hope that things move quickly in this series, as it only has six episodes to tell its story, which is around half the number the original series had. Batiatus starts employing Barca The Best of Carthage as his bodyguard and also begins the corruption of Ashur into the scheming creature of BLOOD AND SAND. Those waiting for Batiatus to exact revenge for the injustice done to him in the first episode will have partial satisfaction, but only enough to make you want more next week.

If you thought Lucretia’s lesbian love scene was entertaining in the first installment, then you should really be scorched by her opium infused three-way with Gaia and Batiatus. Just be glad this series is on STARZ, because I shudder to think what would be cut form it, if it were to air on a more controlled network.

The initial contact between Gannicus and Oenomaus’s wife seemed tense and playful, in a moderately inappropriate way, and it paid off in a BIG way in the second episode. Based, on the contact the two had, it wouldn’t surprise me if Oenomaus (who is now Doctore) does away with Gannicus himself.

One of the best things about this series is the way everything is written to intertwine, and intercut when it is edited into the final product. Scenes of violence are cut with scenes of sex or beauty, and the completed result makes everything the viewer is experiencing more like art than just ordinary television.

The tensions are building, and while the audience knows which characters live to fight on in BLOOD AND SAND, it will be interesting to see what happens to them before this series ends. This is the testing ground where grudges which were old in the original series were born, and we as the audience get to see every gory detail.


CLICK HERE for more exclusive interviews and reviews of SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA

CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with LUCY LAWLESS

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

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