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 has to be one of the most densely packed episodes of the Spartacus series, including season 1 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. There was lots of blood and sex in this episode, as well as many cans of worms being opened, not just upon the corpses.
Batiatus vowed revenge on Vettius upon being beaten, and he does it with the help of Gaia, Ashur and his Syrian brother. Varrus, the liason from Rome, was soon to be arriving in Capua to schedule a primus (the gladiator for the main event) in the arena. However, Varrus wished to see the gladiators of Vettius via his ally Tullius‘ political maneuvering. Tullius attempted to bring favor by buying the vase and wine for Solonius, presently Batiatus’ ally. However, as sly as this maneuver may have been, it only brought retribution to Vettius.
Batiatus, however, set in motion events of his own. He declared Oenomus to become Doctore in the privacy of his own quarters since the current Doctore was a relic of his father and his training of Crixus. The present Doctore was notified afterwards, and it precipitated a division between two friends. Ultimately, the present Doctore, Oenomaus’ friend in the ludus, fell by his own sword, and Oenomaus now claimed that title. I thought this event came a bit early for this prequel, but it did give understanding on how the this event added fuel to the fire in the finale of Spartacus: Blood and Sand against Batiatus. Also, through conniving of Batiatus, Lucretia and Gaia and by Varrus’ own suggestion, Gannicus had sex with Oenomaus’, his friend’s wife while Varrus watched. This event may have set animosity between Gannicus and Oenomaus. It may also involve Oenomaus’ wife, Melitta.
Gannicus did secure the position as primus for the games in the arena, and the House of Batiatus defeated the House of Vettius temporarily. But retribution found a way of catching up to Batiatus and Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I would expect no different in this prequel.
Lastly, this episode foreshadowed the rise of Crixus as the upcoming Champion of Capua. He improved quickly while training with Oenomaus. He behaved like Spartacus, as Spartacus and Crixus are two sides of the same coin. This may foreshadow events once Spartacus: Blood and Sand returns for the second season.