- Written By: Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing
- Air Date: 2/1/2013
- Directed By: Jesse Warn
- Starring: Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett, Daniel Feuerriegel, Dustin Clare, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Pana Hema Taylor
- Guest Stars: Todd Lasance, Simon Merrells, Jenna Lind, Christian Antidormi, Katherine Kennard, Cohen Holloway, Anna Hutchison, Kelson Henderson, Andrew Grainger
Having killed Cossinius and Furius and taken a big chunk out of the Roman army in the process, Spartacus and his rebel armies continue to swell. But this episode, he tends to purpose on the biggest issue besides the Roman army: food and shelter for his hungry followers.
Diotimus (Kelson Henderson) spars with Naevia in the opener, and we see how far she has come under the tutelage of Crixus and the gladiators. She’s not to be trifled with. Agron arrives, beckoning Diotimus to Spartacus’ tent. Spartacus wants help from the man, as he was the one who opened his eyes to the food and shelter problem. Diotimus spoke of a city that he grew up in, with its back to the water, and Spartacus wants to know more about it. The city is called Sinuessa en Valle. The city has two gates and the guards take weapons from travelers before entering the walls. Gannicus has a blacksmith friend within the walls, Attius (Cohen Holloway), whose loyalties can be bought, and will prove key in the plan ahead. Spartacus, along with Crixus and Gannicus, make their way to the city to see if they can make it their new home. They’ll have to take it by force, of course.
Meanwhile, Marcus Crassus (the excellent Simon Merrells, who looks like a hardened, lithe, older, honorable version of Glaber), having secured command in the Roman army to take down Spartacus by brilliant political machinations, finds himself picking between his son Tiberius and someone you might recognize: Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) for second in command. This mercurial version of Caesar is a young man, fun loving, not clean cut, with interesting/odd/painful sexual predilections, and has a lot to learn about honor. It’s also clear that Todd Lasance’s portrayal will be one of the highlights of the third season (it’s no wonder whispers of a spin-off show featuring the character have come out). He knows battle and his name and family is (obviously) well renowned in Rome. Crassus needs this influence to secure further glory and to defeat Spartacus, while Caesar needs coin in his purse and thirsts for further glory. Tiberius, who has secured weapons and armor for his father, fears that he is going to lose the spot by his father’s side. Crassus’ wife, Tertulla (Katherine Kennard), is also worried she’s going to be left behind for months in the war ahead, while Crassus’ favored slave Kore (Jenna Lind) faces the unwanted and unbecoming hands of Caesar. We learn a lot about the family of Crassus in this episode, and it’ll be a fascinating crutch for Crassus to have in the weeks ahead on the STARZ show.
Upon arrival, Spartacus witnesses the stoning of a slave, whose cries of Spartacus must fall on deaf ears lest they lose their cover. Spartacus does, however, spare his suffering, with a massive blow to the head, prematurely ending the awful spectacle. This catches the eye of Laurus, the public speaker of the city, as well as Laeta (Anna Hutchison) and her husband Ennius, the aedile (the man in charge of public order). This only hardens Spartacus’ will and cause. Along the way, Spartacus meets with Laeta when inspecting the city’s grain, and has a less than friendly meeting with Laurus. You just know he’ll regret being mean to our hero.
This episode highlights the growing role that Gannicus has in fueling the rebellion, using his contacts in an effort to take down the city’s defenses. During the course of the episode, we’re further reminded how one gladiator is apparently equivalent to about 25 Romans, but just when you think there would be no casualties, fans are faced with a death, albeit a minor one. The silliness levels are up there in this one, even more so than usual, and the idea that two swords are all Spartacus needs to take down a city is laughable, but at the same time, no less awesome when he inevitably pulls it off. Right now, how Steven S. DeKnight and company have split the screen time between Crassus and Spartacus is brilliant, showcasing the leaders’ similarities and differences, and have successfully a created a villain that is more Spartacus’ equal than any we’ve seen, and one that you can even root for, due to his honor (on the other side, Spartacus actually has a moment where you question his honor in this one). Putting fans within this delicate balance only ratchets up expectations for the massive onslaught to come.