My Review of Spartacus: War of the Damned episode #1

Spartacus-War-of-the-Damned_Key-Art-400x600The Spartacus franchise for the Starz network has always had a tenuous relationship with the historical record. While the show maybe based on the historical figure that helped incite the Third Servile War, showrunner Stephen S. DeKnight has never hesitated with changing some of the more unsuitable aspects of the account.

I’ve been a fan of the show from the very beginning, and the first season, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, still stands as my absolute favorite of the quartet. The stylized presentation of violence, inspired by the film 300, helped make the show popular, and while I thoroughly enjoyed those exaggerated battle scenes and subsequent beheadings (not to mention the steamy sex scenes), it was really DeKnight’s ability to draw the characters that kept me coming back to the show.

While the tragic loss of original Spartacus player Andy Whitfield seemed to doom the franchise. Starz backed the show and recast the role with another unknown actor in Liam McIntyre. He’s done a serviceable job carrying the mantle, but he’ll never outshine the star that was developing in Andy Whitfield. Originally marked for a five to seven season run, the Spartacus franchise opened its final season last night.

You can check out my review of the episode, ‘Enemies of Rome’, here.

2 thoughts on “My Review of Spartacus: War of the Damned episode #1

  1. Hey, thanks for the pingback, and I loved your review. Pretty much agree 100% with every point you made. I counted 17 distinct kills (18 if you count the poor horse) in the first 7 minutes, then I just gave up (I was going to post it as a bit of trivia in another piece). That episode had a really high body count, and that double de-cap towards the end was great. While I miss seeing Lucretia (and even Illythia some), the scenes with the new characters left me hopeful we’ll get to see more machinations from the Romans. I’m pretty confident the writers will do something interesting with them (maybe not as fun as the Ludus, but I’ll keep an open mind). I still wish they’d found a way to keep Oenamaeus around, but I understand that story-wise (especially after watching the premiere) they needed it to give Gannicus a reason to fight like HELL when before, he just preferred drinking all the wine he could get his hands on, and banging as many women as possible. Well, he still does that (I liked the scene where Saxa brought in two women and more wine, and he ordered his drinking buddies out of the tent, after which one of them protested it was his own tent), but his scene with Spartacus was well-written and touching. As an equally loyal, longtime viewer who loves the show with a passion, I admit it still stings a little that DeKnight, who boasted of five solid seasons even in the “Vengeance” commentaries, cut it short so abruptly (I knew it had to end, but suddenly only having ten more episodes when I’d been looking forwards to 20-30 was a real drag), but it looks like he’s going to make the most of these final ten.

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    • I loved the decision into incorporate Gannicus after Gods of the Arena. I thought his character had so much potential, and I think we can end up seeing that potential fulfilled here in the final season. While I don’t think this season will touch Blood and Sand, I’m hopeful that the Crassus/Spartacus feud will be something that will drive the show to a glorious ending. There’s no doubt Starz wanted to move on, with the DaVinci show if nothing else, so hopefully DeKnight was able to map out the season’s story arc so that he’ll leave us all satisfied.

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