Spartacus: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things": embracing destiny

Quick Take: Spartacus: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things"
"I am Spartacus!" - Spartacus

spartacus blood and sand

Review: Spartacu: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things"
(S0107) We open with a flashback of a still longhaired Spartacus (Andy Whitfield), back in his Thracian days, making love to his future wife Sura (Erin Cummings) for the first time. She tells him that he shall never love another. Then we flash forward to the present, Sura's funeral, and seemingly the reason that Spartacus has been fighting on has died. And scheming Batiatus (John Hannah, who seems to get better in this role each week) plays the role of, "Oh well, now you can be an even better and more effective gladiator to make me rich, so chin up, m'lad!"  

Crixus (Manu Bennett) is awake, and alive! Hilarious that his first words after getting his ass beat in the epic battle with Theokoles are "when do I fight again?" Pretty funny too that Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) tells him to want for nothing, but Crixus can barely tolerate her desire (though he must play along of course as he's her slave essentially). And Doctore (Peter Mensah) is back where we expect him to be, hating on Spartacus hardcore. It's to be expected, of course, as the former knows that the latter tried to drug him up with doctored wine (doctored, Doctore, get it?) during his planned escape.

 I thought at first that the subplot with Barca (now dead, though the gladiators believe that he purchased his freedom), Pietros (Eka Darville), and Ashur (Nick Tarabay) was something of a distraction, but it seems to be taking on larger life. Pietros seemed to be in position to take on a larger role with Barca's leaving/death, only to be cut short in a most cruel way indeed. To be a slave in Ancient Rome… not good times.

This was the most serious episode of the series yet, and perhaps the most satisfying dramatically for it. I asked last week for less blood splashiness and gratuitous "they did that back in the day?" scenes, and this episode delivered (the final arena scene was well done: this is a gladiator show, you know?). Seeing Spartacus walking out into the arena, ready to put his Thracian past behind him, makes me think that there could be great things yet for this oddly captivating little sword and sandals show.

Other thoughts on "Great and Unfortunate Things":

  • Sometimes lost in this intentionally larger-than-life blood-splashed and lusty epic is that the acting all round is pretty great. I'll call out leading man Andy Whitfield here, who often plays the tortured "straight man" of sorts amidst a violence- and death- and sex-mad landscape. A look in his eyes portrays that sensation of wondering if, at any moment, you really might slip over into full-blown insanity.
  • The title of the previous episode is "Delicate Things" whereas this one of course and noted 50 times here is "Great and Unfortunate Things." I like when titles play off each other like that. Joss Whedon shows have done that very sweetly in the past, Buffy the Vampire Slayer coming to mind in particular.
  • Nice to see more screen time for Spartacus' gladiator sidekick Varro (Jai Courtney) this week, though he is in the worst spirits we've seen him in, taunted by his family's brief visit and reminder that he was once a free man, and haunted by the news that his wife was raped and impregnated during his absence.
  •  "You are a slave. To cling to a life beyond these walls is to see your heart parted from your chest." – Varro to Spartacus

    Video: Spartacus: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things"
    If you're not familiar with Spartacus: Blood and Sand, check out this clip called "Doctore's Warning":

     Recap: Spartacus: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things"
    Overcome by the pressure of Batiatus's control, Spartacus must make a choice: leave his past behind and assume the mantle of a champion gladiator, or die.

    From Around the Web:  Spartacus: Blood and Sand, "Great and Unfortunate Things"

  • IGN: It's a little disappointing to see Spartacus' rebellious attitude fade as he is willing to play part in games that involved the slaughtering of slaves posing as Thracians, but I get the impression he's looking at the bigger picture. Spartacus now wants to believe Sura's claims that he has a greater destiny. Sura's beliefs are all he has left to hold on to and this now driving him to succeed as a gladiator. 
  • By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

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