The epic Spartacus finale brought the expected bloodshed, but also tears.
"Everybody was a big puddle," Spartacus creator Steven DeKnight tells TVGuide.com. "I still can't watch the finale without tearing up. ... But yeah, it's very emotional, not only because of the story, but also the whole experience."
Spartacus' Manu Bennett on Crixus' downfall
That experience involved two actors playing the titular hero. Original star Andy Whitfield bowed out after the first season to treat his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And although he made an uncredited voice appearance during the six-part prequel series Gods of the Arena, newcomer Liam McIntyre stepped in to portray the Thracian gladiator-turned-freedom fighter for the final two seasons.
Two battered, tragic warriors meet face to face before their climactic skirmish, and there's at least one thing they can agree upon (besides the desire to kill each other): "There is no justice. Not in this world." What, you were expecting a happy ending to Starz' bloody breakout hit Spartacus? (Apologies if that's a spoiler.)
The series finale (Friday, 9/8c) justifies this last season's subtitle, War of the Damned, with a truly epic clash of historic titans. It's up to its bared knees in graphic gore as usual, but the finale is steeped even further in stirring demonstrations and declarations of honor, sacrifice and a willingness to die for the cause of freedom. "Whatever happens ... we decide our fates, not you," proclaims Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), leader of the outnumbered slave army, during his secret meeting with Roman "Imperator" Crassus (Simon Merrells). Unlike past seasons, when the Roman antagonists were mostly craven dupes, neither Crassus nor his second-in-command Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) are fools — but neither is Spartacus, who still has some bold and unexpected maneuvers up his shield during this primal and visceral encounter of fire, blood and literal and metaphorical guts.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Pana Hema-Taylor
With Spartacus' latest episode comes a sense of dread because that means there's only one episode left before the end.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the penultimate episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned. You've been warned!]
Spartacus' Manu Bennett on Crixus' downfall
On Friday's Spartacus, the rebels celebrated quite a few triumphs, which was swell for them since, of course, history dictates a huge defeat on the horizon. Enjoy it while you can!
[Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched Spartacus yet, don't read further or you might end up used as trench filler!]
We hope the cold winter gave Crassus an appetite because on Friday's Spartacus: War of the Damned, he tasted both defeat and betrayal.
Crassus (Simon Merrells) had the upper hand in his war with Spartacus (Liam McIntyre). Not only were the rebels stuck out in the wintry wilds and kept from attacking by a large trench that was guarded by a manned wall, but they fell into one of Crassus' traps and barely escaped alive...
It's nice to see hypocrisy alive and well in Ancient Rome!
[Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched Spartacus yet, don't read further or you might be branded an enemy of Rome!]
On Friday's Spartacus: War of the Damned, Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) once again revealed his rather mutable code of honor when he sold Laeta (Anna Hutchinson) to the Cilician pirate Heracleo ...
Christian Antidormi and Jenna Lind
[Spoiler alert! The following contains information from the most recent Spartacus. If you haven't watched it yet, prepare for decimation!]
If you injure a pup, he may bite back!
The magic word for Friday's episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned was "betrayal." Although Crassus (Simon Merrells) and Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) have proven to be wily leaders, they've made major errors in judgment that have created ill will among their supporters.
Marcus Crassus is far craftier and more ruthless than we previously imagined.
[Spoiler alert! If you haven't watched the "Decimation" episode of Spartacus yet, avert your eyes or continue reading at your own risk.]
On Friday's Spartacus: War of the Damned, the deep plan that Crassus (Simon Merrells) conceived was finally revealed: Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) would infiltrate Spartacus' (Liam McIntyre) group by disguising himself as a fellow (hairy, unwashed) rebel slave. So that's why Crassus didn't want Caesar to cut his hair!
Who needs leaders anyway?
On Friday's Spartacus: War of the Damned, both Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) may as well have been missing for all the heed their underlings paid them. Although that may seem like an oversimplification of the situation, wartime is when obedience to the leadership hierarchy is crucial, lest chaos rule.
All hail Caesar!
On Friday's episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned, Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) introduced his secret weapon: Gaius Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance). And Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) revealed his own plan to supply and shelter his followers in the walled city of Sinuessa en Valle — at the cost of Roman lives, of course.
Don't expect to see the short and severe Caesar haircut on Spartacus' version of Julius Caesar when you first meet him.
When the notorious Roman makes his debut on the Starz drama Friday at 9/8c, he appears much younger and shaggier than we've seen him depicted before. That's because producers decided to check in on him decades before he became the lover of Cleopatra and the elder statesman fated for assassination.