Quick! What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Julius Caesar? If you thought ‘Shakespeare!’ then you got both the man and the Shakespearean aspect in this latest episode. It turns out that Caesar and Crassus have some sort of history between that has yet to be revealed. Caesar is wild and Gannicus-like but Crassus manipulates the man into joining him by revealing how deep into debt Caesar is. Both men agree that each has what the other needs: Caesar has the name but not the coin; Crassus has the coin but lacks a battle respected name. We also see the head slave that resembles Melitta (the wife of Oenemaus), get groped by Caesar but is saved by Crassus. Turns out she is Crassus’ lover. Ilithyia part 2, Crassus’ wife, tries to worm her way into the war but is firmly rejected. She bonds with her son in the knowledge that both are being replaced in Crassus’ heart. But Crassus shows his warm side when he grants Tiberius a leadership over Caesar. Naturally, Gannicus the Second is furious but Crassus puts him firmly in place by showing his fatherly feathers.
Emotions ran high on the rebel front as well. This was the first time we’ve seen Spartacus kill another slave (who was a major fanboy of his by the way) of his own free will. The slave was located inside the city of a potential safe haven for the weary and starved rebels. Spartacus made fair use of the butcher viewers saw in the last episode, who was shaking in his leather clad rags when he found out that he had just dogged the leader of the rebel army… to the leader of the rebel army. Spartacus uses the man to find out the weakness and strengths of the city. After learning the basics, Sparty takes Crixus and Gannicus, who has a Roman friend in the city, with him to scope everything out. The boys dress like Roman merchants with Liam McIntyre looking especially fetching in a purple robe that brought out his oily tan. Gannicus and Spartacus persuaded the former’s friend to help them out by making swords. Gannicus stays with his friend, Crixus goes back to Agron and the army and Spartacus takes a leisurely stroll through the soon to be slaughtered town. He meets a little Roman girl and viewers see a flood of emotions in the gladiator’s eyes for a brief second, presenting a certain moral ambiguity that will no doubt be present in other episodes. He then meets the Roman woman that was present in the preview last week. Turns out she is the head merchant’s wife and has a sympathetic ear toward slaves and their treatment yet holds no love for the rebellion. She saves Spartacus’ hide a few times and reveals that her livelihood comes from grain, which the army desperately needs. In the dead of night, Spartacus and Gannicus single handedly take the city from the inside and we finally get to see both men use their full gladiatorial skills once again. Yet this city brings out long dead emotions from Spartacus as he refers back to all the times the Romans have taken the precious few people he has loved from him. It was a brief but powerful scene and Liam owned the role for the first time since he showed up on screen.
Something that was noticeably absent from the episode: sex. As rare as that is, it was barely noticeable and in fact, there was simply too much happening in the episode to warrant an out of the way sex scene. There was a bunch of googly eyes coming from a slave girl when Gannicus showed up and freed them. But that doesn’t count. Overall, this episode was a masterpiece but viewers should expect nothing less from the Helbing boys who wrote some of the best episodes in the series and Jesse Warn, who directed both ‘Kill Them All’ and ‘Wrath of the Gods.’