Category Archives: Graphic Novels
Will the real Deathstroke please stand up? It appears that the villain, the assassin is making his return not only in Arrow but in Young Justice television series and the new video game Injustice: Gods Among Us as well.
In Young Justice, he is now the replacement for Sportsmaster after Sportsmaster and Cheshire Cat betrayed the Light for family’s sake. His skills as a marksman has been demonstrated, and his tenacity as an assassin even more. He makes Sportsmaster look like child’s play and will be an inherent threat to the Justice League. But first they have the deal with the multitude of Beetles — the Blue Beetle, the Black Beetle and the Green Beetle — and the Reach — and the Light.
On the other hand, in the more realistic world of Arrow, Deathstroke’s appearance has been in cameos recently. However, Manu Bannett of Crixus fame in Spartacus has already bore the swords and guns of Deathstroke in the most recent episode of Arrow ”Betrayal” finally. How he will play out will be interesting indeed as he appeared to assist the growth of Arrow — at least in this episode. With both the Dark Archer and Deathstroke in play, Arrow will have his hands full in Starling City. Speedy, his sister, may come to fruition to lend a hand (hopefully) either this season or early next season with Deathstroke and the Dark Archer on their doorsteps literally.
Lastly, Deathstroke will make an appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us, the video game. But enough about Deathstroke’s present and future, let’s rewind to Deathstroke’s past — how he came to be…
Slade Wilson originally enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 16, having lied about his age. In the 1960s, Major Slade Wilson met Captain Adeline Kane where she became enamored. Slade Wilson not only possessed the skills but the prowess to adapt to different styles of warfare — whether conventional or guerrilla Later, the U.S. Army chose him to become a metahuman supersoldier, much like Captain America or Wolverine. Deathstroke became a mercenary soon after as he defied orders and rescued his friend Wintergreen.
Deathstroke is one mercenary not to be trifled with in the DC Universe. His homecoming in the mainstream may do him some justice.
- ‘Spartacus’ Star Manu Bennett Talks Playing Deathstroke On ‘Arrow’ [PHOTOS] (socialitelife.com)
- Deathstroke Makes His Way To ‘Arrow’ (comicvine.com)
- HOLLYWOOD JUSTICE #10: Who Is Deathstroke? (splashpage.mtv.com)
- Weisman & Vietti Drive “Young Justice: Invasion” Towards Finale (comicbookresources.com)
- DC axes Deathstroke, Savage Hawkman and four other titles (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
And a whole list of baddies to slaughter.
Bunraku is Kill Bill meets Afro Samurai with a dash of a western. It is a visually spectacular film, and it has some original elements and martial arts sequences. This film is an underrated and misunderstood diamond in the rough.
Mike Patton is the Narrator of this film. The Drifter is played by Josh Hartnett. Gackt plays Yoshi, the Samurai. Shun Sugata stars as Yoshi’s Uncle. Momoko, Yoshi’s cousin, is played by Emily Kaiho. The Bartender is played by Woody Harrelson. Demi Moore stars as Alexandra, courtesan and Nicola’s lover.
Now to the cast of villains…Nicola the Woodcutter, the crime boss of the East coast, is played by Ron Perlman. With his clothing and hat, he looks almost like Justice from Afro Samurai. Killer No. 2, Nicola’s lieutenant, is played by Kevin McKidd. Killer No. 3, the Mirror Drifter, is played by Shahar Sorek. Fernando Chien plays Killer No. 4, or Mirror Samurai. Killer No. 5 is played Yoshio Likuza. Killer No. 6 is played by Kofi Yiadom. Killer No. 7 is played by Aaron Toney. Razvan Gheorghiu stars as Killer No. 8. Holland Diaz stars as Killer No. 9. Lastly, Killer No. 10 is played by Florian Ciprian.
In a violent world, a Drifter, a Samurai and a Bartender team together to face a common threat, Nicola the Woodcutter, to save a city and the world from his tyranny. Through their use of their swordplay, fists and card skills, they finally overcome the odds.
Bunraku is a 400-year old form of Japanese puppet theater, and this film features essentially human puppets. The style of the film resembles a graphic novel, and the music is very eclectic to say the least. With that in mind, the story, although a bit derivative, alongside the acting of Ron Perlman, Kevin McKidd, Gackt, Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson carry this pulpy film very well. This movie won’t win any awards, but there are some original elements in the film. The telephone conversations where each person is facing each other behind a silk screen is very different. Although it is used on stage plays, it is rarely used in films. Additionally, a few of the fight scenes are unique. For example, the fight on the trampoline and the Mirror Samurai and Drifter fights were enjoyable to watch.
Verdict (Out of 10)
Bunraku gets a 9.3 out of 10 for me. Its originality and style marks this movie as one of the tops for me. This movie caters easily to the Kill Bill crowd, but it won’t satisfy the mainstream. All that being said, this film may reach cult status in the future.
The Potential Evolution of the Zombie Virus, Part 3: The Possibilities of Biological Weaponization Today
Prologue, Philosophy and Politics
Although this topic really falls in the realm of fiction, not simply because of the economics and morality of the issue, military and military-funded private research and development should not progress easily in biological warfare, with United Nations and opposing countries always looking over each other’s shoulders. With nuclear weapons at least kept in check somewhat even between the most conniving of nations, they cannot escape satellite imagery catching them in the act, and escaping with biological warfare is just as difficult. Unlike nuclear weaponry, biological warfare development is manageable as an industry, even in the most depressing economic times. History has shown us that in World War I, the Korean War and other wars in the past. In 1972, however, biological weapons were outlawed throughout the world by the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and have been further ratified by 163 countries, as of 2009. Many countries fortunately can still pursue research into defense and protection from biological warfare, which is not prohibited by the BWC. Recently, as of 2001, Iraq admitted to the United Nations the production of biological weapons, specifically 19,000 liters of concentrated botulinum toxin. On September 18, 2001, a few members of the United States Congress were victims of an anthrax attack. However, the perpetrators of this attack has yet to be identified to this day.
Unfortunately, some private biotech company like Umbrella Corporation in the Resident Evil series would be hard to remain unnoticed in the era of satellites, YouTube and worldwide streaming news. With even a hint of alleged animal testing or creation of biological weapons, animal rights activists and other protesters would be on their front doorstep, protesting and streaming their illegally-obtained digital photographs and videos all over the internet. There would be sufficient uproar for the biowarfare development to cease while government intervention, domestic and international, would put a stop to this immediately.
As for the artificial manufacturing of the said zombie virus, it would still rely on the rabies, avian flu and mad cow disease, as described in the previous part of this discussion. They would be easiest viral samples to mutate or otherwise manipulate their DNA and/or RNA structures. The resources for a large private biotech firm could easily create such a biological weapon, but they would have to be beyond secretive in this age of social media which would be nearly impossible. For most of North America, Australia and Europe, threats in the Middle East such as Iraq and Libya would have the resources available (from the oil production), but whether the have the knowledge to so remains in question.
Purpose and Product
Once something like a zombie virus is manufactured, the consumerism of such a product would be limited to the black market, even if developed legally under sanctioned regulators. That would defeat the purpose of creating it originally under proper regulations in the first place. The product, the zombie virus itself, could also quickly deteriorate unless given to a host immediately (such as a chimpanzee or other mammal). In that case, it could potentially destroy the very nation that was creating it, should the host escape its confines, which would be illogical and financially unsound for that country. However, a private biotech firm could hold countries under its thumb potentially, but domestic and international intervention would make news worldwide.
The Impossible Engine
For now, the manufacturing of said zombie virus remains a virtual impossibility with international and domestic sanctions. However, it’s not to say that terrorist attacks of other, more conventional biological weapons, such as smallpox, anthrax, and botulism, aren’t possible, even in this day and age. Zombie virus as a manufactured biological weapon remains in the realm of science fiction presently. The Walking Dead television series and Resident Evil movie and video game series may instill fear of such corporations, but it’s a mere fantasy in our present reality — an impossible engine.
This is an examination of how the zombie virus could develop naturally, as a result of mutation, and how the transmission can occur from animal to human. This will be based off of current potential viruses that could cause pandemics, and through these pandemics, the development of the zombie virus would naturally occur. Please note that this is discussed in context of science of parasitology.
Evolutionary Mechanisms Needed to Occur
For natural mutation to occur, obviously there will need to be at some point an exchange of genetic material. The viral mechanism of delivery into host cells and replication generates mutations in the virus, particularly if there are more available hosts. Additionally, a catalyst or set of catalysts, either through the environment or internal change in body chemistries for example, must propel the viral strain(s) to jump from one host (animal) to another (human) for its own benefit, propagation and survival. It should be noted that some strains of viruses from animals are already pathogenic to humans: the avian flu, mad cow disease and others, and these viruses could potentially and quite easily become the source of mutation for a zombie virus. Lastly, the strain of virus must not be easily capable of being eradicated or otherwise disabled during its evolution and transmission while in its new host (human). In other words, the mutant zombie virus must find the human host a hospitable environment to live and thrive.
This is a selection of the current viruses which a zombie virus can develop from and an examination of each, as follows. In the following, the definitions of reservoir, vector and host are from parasitology and not any of the other biological or physical sciences. Reservoir is an alternate or passive host that harbors pathogenic organisms without injury to itself and serves as a source for which other organisms can be infected. Vector is a carrier, often an arthropod, that transmits an infective agent from one host to another. Host is an organism that is directly infected with or is fed upon by a pathogenic organism. Unlike the reservoir, the host is harmed by the association with the pathogenic organism.
There could be possible transmission from birds to humans, but the possibility of a host directly from poultry to human would be unlikely. It would be unlikely due to the fact that most poultry is cooked before being eaten. However, the transmission during the partially automated process in slaughterhouses to humans could be potentially possible. Due to some manual labor involving illegals or underpaid minorities, the sanitation of slaughterhouses might not be as well kept as some may think. It may not be Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle anymore, but these slaughterhouses have shown little improvement recently. With even a minor infection from the raw poultry, these slaughterhouses could become potentially ground zero for a disastrous outbreak whereby these illegal workers serve as hosts.
However, fish might be potential reservoirs for humans whereby infected humans and animals serve as hosts. In the meantime, mosquitoes and other bugs might become vectors, transporting the mutant virus worldwide.
The avian flu itself, as well as some of the other viruses listed below, should be noted that the virus itself does not necessarily have to remain with the preferred host. In some cases, these strains are also pathogenic to humans — most notably, the H5N1, H7N3, H7N7 and H9N2. The flu itself when contracted to a human will not spread easily to another as it requires prolonged contact. In order for the perfect zombie virus to develop from the avian flu, the virus would have to develop more efficient infection mechanism, and that could only happen with mutation from either human or bird genes. Recently, the avian flu virus has begun mutating, mostly acquiring its genetic code from birds rather than humans. Although vaccination has worked on the lesser pathogenic strains of avian flu, should a lethally pathogenic virus develop, no amount of current vaccines would prevent a massive pandemic. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, and should it transform into a zombie virus, it will become a worldwide pandemic easily.
Unlike the avian flu, mad cow disease, otherwise known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BCE), is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. In some ways, the infected cows resemble the human zombies in horror movies in their physical and mental instability — and resembles rabies which will be discussed later. BCE is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TCE) which means that healthy tissue can become infected from tainted tissue. This disease then infects the brain, causing holes with symptoms of physical and mental degeneration, ultimately leading to death of the host.
The origin of this fatal disease can be traced to a mutation in scrapie in sheep, a variant of the virus, or quite possibly from earlier times that affected bovine alone. The disease can be traced as far back as 4th and 5th century AD.
When acquired by humans, it is known as new variant Crutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and the outbreak in 2009 when it killed 166 people in the UK and 44 in other nations.
One should note that the virus can withstand high temperatures of cooking. This could be a potential boom for something like the a mutant zombie virus to take advantage of. In other words, by simply burning the individual infected, as shown in some zombie movies, the virus itself can still survive and can still infect others in its wake. This virus would one of two viruses that can easily transform into a mutant zombie virus, and if it does, it could cause a worldwide pandemic easily as it is not easily eradicated and somewhat transmissible from host to host.
The infectious agent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, otherwise known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, could potentially develop into a zombie virus as well or minimally, the precursor to a zombie virus infection.
The symptoms of HIV/AIDS includes the crippling of internal organs due to infections from bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that would otherwise be resisted by a healthy immune system. Although presently treatable via anti-retroviral therapy, presently, there is still no known cure or vaccine.
Although HIV/AIDS is considered a pandemic as it has affected 33.3 million people worldwide in 2009, I believe the potential for a mutant zombie virus to develop from this agent would be difficult as new medications are constantly in development and the method of transmission. Although easily adaptable between humans, it does not directly affect physical or mental capacities directly. Rather, it is the gateway that allows opportunistic infections to occur. Should a zombie virus develop in concurrence with HIV/AIDS, those infected with HIV/AIDS would surely become some of the first to become zombies since their immune systems offer little resistance and give the virus the opportunity to spread worldwide.
This is perhaps one of the natural and easiest development of a virus transforming into a zombie virus. It will most likely develop in the Philippines and the Far Eastern Basin, should such a virus occur similar to the book World War Z. Rabies is a virus that causes acute encephalitis and attacks the central nervous system (CNS) of mammals. If left untreated with vaccines, after it has attacked the nervous system, this disease is often fatal within three to five days. The symptoms of this disease includes malaise, headache, fever, mania, coma and ultimately death.
Although treatable, it kills about 55,000 per year, residing in mostly Africa and Asia. Due to the medicine available and sanitation procedures in these regions of the world, rabies, with its proclivity to spread between mammals, could potentially become the natural source for a zombie virus to develop and mutate as it develops resistance against medicines and treatments. Should a zombie virus develop from rabies, it could spread fast in Asia and Africa and then spread to developed countries.
Human Flu Virus (Influenzavirus B)
The human flu would appear to be the easiest mutation as the transition from a natural human virus to a zombie virus would not require little mutation. Majority of human flu virus pandemics have arisen from mutations in the genetic code of the virus from other animals, including pigs and poultry. The H5N1, a strain of avian flu described above, is one such recent example.
However, for this topic in discussion, I am discussing Influenzavirus B, or those viruses limited to humans. Influenzavirus B mutates at slower rates than Influenzaviruses A, which affect poultry, and Influenzavirus C, which affect humans, dogs and pigs. Also with its restrictions on only humans, it has limited ability to cause a pandemic and mutate into a zombie virus. Additionally, in developed countries, vaccinations are created as new strains of the virus appear. Antiviral drugs are also available to to treat those already infected. Influenzavirus B, although it has appearances of a potential zombie virus candidate, really isn’t much of a threat.
This has been an examination of all current viruses and their potential for mutating into a zombie virus. Rabies, mad cow disease and avian flu are three top potential candidates in my honest opinion. They are susceptible to mutation, pandemics and somewhat resistant to medications and vaccines. All three are capable of being fatal as well.
This may be the stuff of storybooks for now. As these viruses mutate throughout the years, one unfortunate mutation, combined with the gradual resistance to present vaccines, could turn into a zombie virus pandemic. However, this isn’t Judgement Day quite yet…
Tonight’s series finale of Smallville on the CW Network ended on a fantastic note with the ending of the last and final episode reminiscent of Superman, the original movie with Christopher Reeves. The ending of the last episode of the series with the original Superman theme was great as well, capping a wonderful series with its erratic storytelling at times.
Michael Rosenbaum returned as Lex Luthor after a long drought without him. Unlike earlier episodes, he returned this time as only the villain. Additionally, he killed his sister Tess Mercer, removing competition into the future. And recalling Superman/Batman: Public Enemies movie and earlier seasons, Lex Luthor attempts to become President of the United States and should succeed. However, through some deus ex machina, he has forgotten his past history involving himself, his father and most importantly, Clark Kent. He did, however, watched Superman save the world from Darkseid’s incoming meteor.
Although both episodes had inconsistent storytelling with convenient interlaced deus ex machina, the moment that Clark Kent became Superman, with blessing of his Kryptonian father Jor-El and his adopted father, the late Jonathan Kent, was the most incredible moment in the series. The flashbacks from Clark Kent and Lex Luthor in the last episode that showed intermittent scenes throughout the entire series was a great nod to the fans of the series who have been through the krypto-freaks in high school, the Justice League saga, the Braniac saga, the Doomsday saga, the Bizarro saga, the Phantom Zone saga, the Major Zod saga, and the final Slade/Darkseid saga.
Thank you all for a wonderful series!
Where to Next?
The CW Network could continually capitalizing on this series with spinoffs. It can’t be any worse than one of their earlier disaster of a series, Birds of Prey. Continuing this series, it would be easiest to continue Green Arrow’s exploits. However, for the long-term, it would be best to reboot with a Justice League spin-off with Green Arrow, Aquaman, Cyborg, Black Canary and Supergirl. I would love if Michael Rosenbaum return as Lex Luthor in such a spin-off, but he had contention with the producers in the last remaining seasons or so.
Until another superhero television series appears again, Friday primetime television lost a significant addition in its lineup and unfortunately, so did the CW Network. And, by another superhero television series, I don’t mean another The Cape…
This is an original movie based by Zach Snyder that is not based on any graphic novels like Watchmen or 300. Although thetrailers of the movie portrayed the movie as more of an action film, I would not perceive this movie in that manner. In more ways than one, it is more like Inception combined with Japanese anime and 300-style effects.
Now to the movie review:
The movie stars many beautiful women including Emily Browning as Baby Doll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket (Sweet Pea’s sister), Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie, and Jamie Yung as Amber Jones. Carla Gugino, as Dr. Vera Gorski, plays as their mentor, and Scott Glenn plays the Wise Man/Bus Driver. The main antagonist is Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones, and the secondary antagonist is High Roller/The Doctor who is played by Jonn Hamm. Lastly, Malcolm Scott plays the Cook, and Gerard Plunkett is Baby Doll’s stepfather.
Baby Doll’s mother dies, and since her mother, presumably wealthy, distributes the inheritance to her daughters, Baby Doll and her sister. In a fit, Baby Doll’s stepfather attacks both Baby Doll and her sister. Unfortunately, Baby Doll shoots at her stepfather but misses and kills her sister instead. Her stepfather brings Baby Doll to Lennox Manor for the Insane whereby she and four other inmates decide to find a way to escape. In the facility, Baby Doll and her companions find a way to escape through breaking with reality in fantasies choreographed with rock music.
In the first dream sequence, Baby Doll obtains her weapons, a Japanese sword and a pistol. She fights off three giant samurai, but in reality, it is her dancing in real life. This dream sequence is her manner of dealing with reality. She is also told by the Wise Man to obtain five items: a map, fire, a knife, a key and a mystery item. The second action sequence involves landing in steampunk Nazi Germany to obtain the map of the facility. It was an intriguing sequence to say the least. The next dream sequence involves fighting against a dragon to obtain fire, or a lighter in real life from the mayor. The fourth and last sequence involves obtaining the knife from the Cook. Baby Doll dreams that she and her comrades were deactivating and airlifting a bomb. After obtaining the last item, the key from Blue, she and Sweet Pea find their way out of the facility. However, not to spoil it, one of them won’t be able to escape. Much of these action sequences are triggered by rock music which Baby Doll loves dancing to and helps her comrades do what they must in real life.
This is Zach Snyder’s bread and butter. Much of the movie includes effects from 300 with oversaturated film and slow-motion effects from Watchmen. Much of it is not new to who have watched Snyder movies.
This movie is a great date movie since it does have a slight feminist bent to it, and the movie is a solid action movie for those craving it. Although it has received negative reviews from movie critics, they may have misinterpreted the movie. The movie is a fantasy movie, without Harry Potter, flowers and rainbows. Instead, it is replaced by giant samurai, steampunk Nazi soldiers and metallic robots. Remember first of all, this movie is from Baby Doll’s point of view. To survive in her reality and in ours, we already have the weapons available at our disposal. We simply need to use them to ultimately win life’s battles.
The only minor criticism of the film lies in Baby Doll’s origin of Japanese fiction in her dream sequences. It was never explained although quite possibly there was a deleted scene or two in the beginning where her affection for all things Japan. However that should not deter one from watching the film.
Overall, it is a solid 7.5 to 8 out of 10 for me.
Admittedly, I could have added the foreshadowings to the previous blog, but this subject demands a blog of its own. With the new Spartucus, Liam McIntyre, as the replacement for Andy Whitfield, it will be interesting to see how the conniving and the fighting will play out in season 2 since the conclusion of “The Bitter End” for the prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
Here are some the quite possible foreshadowings that might occur in season 2, if not later:
- Starting with the obvious, there might seem some possibility that Spartacus might meet Gannicus on their way to Rome since both are now free. Gannicus was granted freedom by the Roman magistrate honorably, and Spartacus and his fellow gladiators of the first season battled their way out.
- Crixus and Gannicus might finally have their honorable battle one-on-one. Although Crixus earned his status of Champion of the House of Batiatus, he lost his status to Spartacus in the first season. Spartacus may stand in his way of having a good fight with Gannicus, should they meet.
- Ashur now has two axes to grind since his escape from the first season. He might with some degree of certainty confront Oenomaus, now Doctore. And since he was crippled by Crixus and embarrassed by the Brotherhood, he might confront Crixus as well. However, he is no match for either of them skillwise. Perhaps a call from his Syrian brothers, perhaps appealing to someone earlier in the line to Xerxes, like Antiochus…not out of the reach of this series, if it lasts long enough.
- Since the death of Tullius of the Roman magistrate in the prequel supposedly, Spartacus may have to confront Cicero, or more specifically Marcus Tullius Cicero. Or was this man Cicero, a man with sufficient leverage to confront Julius Caesar politically, buried beneath the walls of the arena of Capua who might find means of escape?
- Should he find a way to live in season 2, Batiatus may have to confront Lucretia for the untimely death of his father Titus. Whether he lives or not for this second season remains to be seen.
- Vettius is not without his resources although he was banished by Solonius. He could ultimately return in Rome or elsewhere.
- The rivalries between Oenomaus, Spartacus and Crixus will live on. All three men have different opinions on the term of freedom. All three have honorable intentions, but they may have to deal with the subject on their own terms with each other. Discussion will resolve the issue partly but not entirely.
These are some of the foreshadowings of season 2 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand in my opinion. Whether they will occur, that remains to be seen.
The walls have ears.
Continuing from the previous episode, Beneath the Mask, Titus remained contentious against the marriage of Lucretia with his son. Furthermore, after Tullius‘ murder of Gaia, Titus demanded repayment for sullying his house; instead, Tullius offered him primus in the new arena for the sale of Gannicus. As a result, Titus decided to hold a tournament at his ludus to decide the Champion of the House and entrance into the arena as primus. Two notable fights occurred during this tournament. First, Ashur won his fight against his Syrian brother as a result of deceit. However, he gained no respect, if not notoriety, from the Brotherhood. Similarly, he performed a similar trick of playing possum with Oenomaus, or Doctore, in the final episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Second, Crixus finally defeated Gannicus when his guard was down as a result of distraction from Melitta. The Brotherhood now held him in high regard although his victory over Gannicus was not quite as honorable as he wanted it to be. From his defeat from Crixus, Gannicus now became the gladiator of Tullius, and he was no longer part of this ludus.
Other events of note also occurred. Lucretia begun his affair with the Champion Crixus since she wanted a child for Batiatus. Additionally, Titus finally fell as a result of her slow poisoning of the honeyed wine. Not knowing Lucretia did this, Batiatus was stunned as a result and quickly sought his father. Lastly, Melitta died as a result of the poisoned wine, too. She continued her affair with Gannicus, but it was short-lived — or rather she was.
This was yet another drama-filled episode with the titular event of the death of Titus, a milestone and a tombstone for this prequel series. Gathering from what occurred in Season 1 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Crixus will become Champion of Capua by defeating Gannicus most likely in the opening of the new arena. If Crixus doesn’t get to him, most likely Oenomaus will from Batiatus revealing the affair of Melitta to him or from some other source. And at some point in the last episode, Arthur will suffer a crippling blow which will sideline him as a gladiator. Gathering from previous episodes, it would appear the Brotherhood will perform that deed.
Now to this series bitter end…
This is an episode basically about the political maneuvering of the House of the Batiatus against others — including Tullius and other people of influence. Although there was some fighting in the ring between Ashur, his Syrian brother and others, the focus of this episode was the younger and elder Batiatus in their discussion of political strategy to gain primus in the new arena in Capua. Something of note, the arena in Capua is nearly built. It appears that the builders need to finalize the entrance.
Lucretia and Gaia held another orgy for the Roman consulates, including Tullius. However, tragedy befell the House of Batiatus while Batiatus and Titus were stationed in Neopolis discussing business matters. Titus unfortunately returned to his House shortly after the orgy, and more importantly and sadly, Lucretia no longer has her confidant, Gaia, beside her due to Tullius. Gannicus may not have the favor of Titus anymore, but he still does have the favor of Melitta, the wife of Oenomaus and the Doctore of the ludus. From the way this story has been leaning so far, it appears that Oenomaus may be the one to either kill or banish Gannicus. However, the deceit of Melitta will have to be dealt within the final two episodes.
Some things have been revealed in this episode, or what is beneath the mask. First, Ashur’s treachery has already come to fruition against his Syrian brother, and this treachery revealed itself in the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Next, Titus may be more conniving than his son. His intentions are harder to decipher than Batiatus, and although he says he is here to benefit his son, he may just as easily sell out his son to Tullius and his allies. Lastly, Lucretia has declared that she wants to murder Tullius for his misdeed against the House of Batiatus. This act obviously will have splash effects that may have repercussions in this season and quite possibly the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Overall, a decent episode in my opinion, but it’s similar to the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. All this dramatic buildup is leading to perhaps another gruesome finale.
This episode’s theme to me seemed to be establishing oneself against the odds — Batiatus against his father and Ashur, his Syrian brother and Crixus against the Brotherhood of the ludus. There wasn’t much sword fighting per se, but it did establish some drama in this episode.
As Batiatus’ father, Titus, arrived from Sicilia, Italy, Titus thought to regain his status as Dominus of the House. But things that Batiatus originally maneuvered in the previous espisode, Missio, fell apart as Titus sought counsel with Tullius and Vettius in the market of Capua. Titus returned the primus (the main title card) of Varrus’ arena to Tullius as an apology on behalf of the House of Batiatus for his son’s sly maneuvering. Varrus also returned from Rome to the House of Batiatus with a friend Vesuthius. This friend partook in essentially a rape of a virgin slave alongside one of the lowly gladiators. It was political catering, more or less, on part of Lucretia and Gaia on behalf of their House since Batiatus has already given away their primus for the arena.
On the gladiator’s side of things, Oenomaus, now Doctore, attempted to establish himself under the new title with the gladiators, but Gannicus, Barca or any of the other gladiators of the Brotherhood particularly granted him any sort of respect. Only through Titus’ commands upon the gladiators would any of them follow Oenomaus.
The crucial event happened when Crixus, who was considered a product of Batiatus, was scheduled to fight Octus, the product of Titus. It was essentially a demonstration of which training method was more effective, Titus or Batiatus. Crixus ultimately won against Octus but at a cost. Barca’s homosexual partner in the ludus was Octus, and now he was slain. It could set some bad blood between the two later on. However, Crixus was soon branded into the Brotherhood. Now only Gannicus stands between him and becoming Champion of Capua.