Tensions don’t just flare in Spartacus, they erupt like a magnificent and disturbing volcano.
What They Say:
Decimation – The existence of a possible spy causes tension between Spartacus and his men. Crassus uses a long-abandoned form of Roman punishment to teach his soldiers a brutal lesson.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the show having formalized the group in the city now and expanded things with the deal made with the pirates, there are still an immense number of tensions to be had within the city. There’s so many forces at work at smaller levels, both with those that were originally there, the pirates and within Spartacus’ own ranks that the whole situation continues to be a tinder box. Particularly when it comes to someone like Naivia as she’s just gone so far around the bend and is now at a point that she’s starting to be noticed by others that you can tell it’s all going to go to hell sooner rather than later.
What makes things even worse is that more and more escaped slaves are making their way into the city and the food situation is beyond worse than imaginable. Heracleo’s had no real luck while out on the open seas to gain grain as most of it has been stored and wine is about all that they can return with. And to make matters worse, though Spartacus doesn’t know it yet, is that Caesar has managed to worm his way inside pretending to be a former slave himself, with a little creative approach to hiding where his brand would be. Giving the situation in this nature, having him on the inside, throngs of hungry new arrivals and a massive Roman encampment just a bit away sitting idle, Spartacus knows that things are going to turn bad soon, but it’s figuring out the right angle to work with.
Things with the Romans are certainly taking an interesting if disturbing turn of events. With Crassus’ son having screwed up by seeking attack on Spartacus without permission, which caused the first battle of the campaign to give victory to Spartacus, Crassus is now set to deal with both son and men that were involved in the situation. His son is a bit easier to deal with, but the men are to be made a brutal example of in a way that has not been used for an age. Playing out as a subplot to the episode, seeing the fifty men choosing among stones for five that will pay the ultimate price, it’s a frightening event, especially with Tiberius’ loyal friend a part of it. But it falls even further when Tiberius is forced into it as well as Crassus now truly treats him like soldier.
Caesar’s time within the city has him doing his best to hide his true colors, even while going against Gannicus where you can see the flash of real enjoyment in his eyes, a craving to go at it for real. But he’s intent on fomenting dissent and an internal rebellion once he can figure out how to stoke matters properly, something that’s growing easier to do as different factions exist within the city that can be rubbed up against each other. Caesar’s falling in with Nemetes helps to start all of this in a good way, but there are some interesting little twists to it in how Crixus is using him to figure out what’s really going on. While there’s always the belief that things would be simple in some ways when it comes to men that fight and connive, there are some engaging layers to it and to see how Caesar falls for it or not. And to see just how far Caesar will go in order to prove himself.
Not surprisingly, everything comes to a head towards the end of the episode as more and more is revealed, including Naivia’s part in Attius’ death which ends up setting off Gannicus to be a big degree. And coming at the same time that Nemetes and Caesar are setting tensions higher over the way so many Roman’s are being kept alive, which inflames passions since most cannot understand why Spartacus does so. It all takes a very ark turn and can easily set real strife among his most trusted. Having this play out, with Crixus now demanding Roman blood, at the same time that the five of Crassus’ forces face decimation at the hands of the forty-five who did not draw the lot, it’s beyond words to see it unfold.
The divisions within the city are now plainer than ever before as it’s all worn on their sleeves. While Spartacus has grasped the bigger picture of what the fight is all about, most in his company have not and are focusing more directly on just pure and simple vengeance. Even those that have been with him from the start are falling to this, having tired of the lack of moment and a lack of understanding of what Spartacus is trying to do. With Caesar in the middle of it all and causing both sides even more trouble, he’s manipulating it as best as he can but at a significant cost to his own soul. Similar is said of Tiberius and Crassus as each does things that pains them so in different ways and will come back to haunt them before all is said and done, though it will be there for all their lives. There’s a lot going on here in a small space of events and while Spartacus is a smaller player in it, his movements and actions are determining most of it and the events are disturbing and brutal throughout.