WARNING: Full spoilers for the episode below.
The final season of Spartacus, dubbed “War of the Damned,” kicked off with a bang last night. A lot has changed since we last saw Spartacus; he’s worked his way across the land killing Roman after Roman, liberating slaves everywhere he goes. His army has now swelled to thousands. His success has caught the attention of a new villain, Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells).
After only his first episode, I’m already a big fan of Merrells’ Crassus. Crassus is one Roman who comes across as being likable (so far). Despite being the wealthiest man in the land, Crassus doesn’t come across like the rest of the Roman’s we’ve encountered. He doesn’t think himself above common slaves because he has money and titles, in fact he has a respect for them. He comes across as honorable, but of course he is every bit as conniving as Batiatus was. The revelation of his scheming was one of the best moments of the episode, namely because I didn’t even consider it, and also because Spartacus played right into his hands. He’s just the kind of villain this show needs.
I can’t say I care much for his son, Tiberius (Christian Antidormi), though. He might become a better character, but after one episode it seems like he’s going to be every bit as annoying as Seppius was last season. I’m already hoping he meets Spartacus’ blade soon.
This episode also established that Spartacus has more to deal with now than just the Roman’s. His army now has thousands of people, which includes non-fighting women and children. He’s the leader, and he has to plan for the needs of all who follow him, which means food and shelter since winter is coming. While the plan is to ultimately sack Rome, Spartacus realizes that winter will soon be upon them and his plan is to capture a Roman city for his followers. This city will give his followers food and shelter from the cold, as well as something to defend against Crassus’ 10,000 strong army as opposed to being out in the open elements. I’m looking forward to seeing Spartacus and crew take a city over.
“Enemies of Rome” had all the violence and sex that fans of the series have come to expect, and actually I think this is the best season premiere the series has had yet. Crassus seems almost like a mix between Spartacus and Glaber, with the scheming of a Batiatus, and that is an exciting combination. Watching Crassus fight to the death with his prized slave, a former champion in the arena, was very tense even if we did know the outcome. Crassus respects Spartacus and those like him, and that is going to give him an advantage over the other Romans who are full of themselves and think their ways are superior to everyone else.
There was no Julius Caesar in this episode, but I am looking forward to seeing his arrival on the show (especially since the word is that character will be getting his own spin-off series). If you missed the show last night, Starz will be replaying it so just keep an eye on your listings. It’ll also be on On Demand, and is available for free viewing on Starz’ website as well. There’s only nine episodes left, and after this episode I’m confident that we’re in for quite a treat.
Spartacus: War of the Damned – “Enemies of Rome” gets a four out of five: GREAT.