Friday's Spartacus: Gods of the Arena finale left us feeling abused, amused and slightly bemused. Bloodshed we expected, even a few tears, but a happy ending? We didn't see that one coming from across the arena.
In the wake of Titus and Melitta's death, the House of Batiatus was out for blood. Believing Tullius was behind the tainted wine, Batiatus' crew ambushed Tullius and his minions in an alley, where his life was initially spared, but only so Batiatus could kill him later and then wall his body up in the new arena he had built. What is with these ancient Romans and extreme displays of disrespect? On the arena's opening day, Sextus decided to treat the crowds to public executions including one for escaped slave Diona. Also, Solonius proved himself to be a good student at backstabbing after taking all of Vettius' gladiators, shorting his conspirator Batiatus who expected half of the men. But that's okay because Gannicus was the ultimate victor of the bloody Primus, thus winning elevated status for the House of Batiatus. Miffed, Solonius maneuvered Batiatus into making the ultimate sacrifice and show of public generosity: granting Gannicus his freedom.
There was no messing around in the bedroom, which, for once, we're thankful for (especially considering last week's messed up episode). That means this week's highlights is a pure violence and bloodshed ranking.
And with that, we present our final breakdown of Spartacus' most egregious, shudder-inducing moments of "Ew!":
Body count: 4. Okay, that number only reflects the ones we could name, but a whole slew of other miscellaneous slaves, gladiators and minions also fell under the blade (or ax or trident...).
1. When Gannicus clocked the guy in the alley, at least half of his teeth get knocked out. It's not the bloodiest scene, but we're not fans of things that should be inside the body taking flight outside the body.
2. Hell hath no fury like a Batiatus (and Gannicus and Oenomaus) scorned. The three of them stabbing Tullius relentlessly for the death of their loved ones was hard to take. We didn't see a bunch of blood here either, but the brutality — whew! His dazed eyes as he was walled up reflected our feelings as well.
3. The public executions were heartbreaking on two levels: Not only did Naevia have to witness her friend Diona die, but watching all four of the prisoners kneel and wait for the sword to stab into their spine was torture. Oh, and Cossutius, who'd already proven himself as the vilest of the vile Romans, laughing at Diona's death made us wish for a blade of our own.
4. Slicing and impalement are nothing new on this show, but did anyone else feel that those scenes were slowed down even more than usual for the finale to emphasize the icky squish and splash factor? The four worst offenders: Gannicus slicing two throats leaving them gaping... Cabarus slowly stabbing a guy in the face through the gap in his helmet... Crixus beheading a guy during the Primus... Gnaeus setting the guy on fire with his net.
5. Ashur deserved so much worse (especially after killing his countryman Dagan), but we're finally glad to see the moment when Crixus got fed up with the Syrian's swagger and chopped at his leg. Even so, seeing the bone sticking out of his shin was pretty gnarly. Deserved, but gnarly.
6. Grossest. Death. Ever. So remember our complaint about slow impalement? Gannicus took that to ridiculous lengths at the Primus' final matchup when he broke off the end of Caburus' spear and then used it to stab him excruciatingly, almost lazily, in the mouth. Really, it was glacial. The continents had time to shift. Justin Bieber entered his 20s. To cap it, Gannicus then broke Caburus' jaw off, leaving the bottom half of his face open for all the world to see inside his neck. Even the audience in the arena went "Ew!" Really. Rewind and watch Lucretia's face.
1) Ouch, so that's how they did tattoos in the olden days? We can hear Naevia saying, "No thanks, Lucretia" in her mind.
2) Batiatus shoving his dead father Titus' ashes into Tullius' mouth. That's not only disrespectful to his father, but distasteful as well.
What disturbed you the most? Were you surprised at Gannicus' happy ending? How did this finale stack up against Season 1's bloody finale?