I have to give it to the writers of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Not only did they deliver a solid, six-episode prequel story to quench our thirst for more gladiator madness, but they also somehow managed to tie it in nicely with where we left off at the end of Blood and Sand. I doubt I’m alone in thinking 2012 seems like an eternity away.

A Foundation Built On Revenge
Things worked out rather well for Batiatus on the whole. Sure, Gannicus winning his freedom just after he managed to triple his value wasn’t entirely part of the plan, but revenge was exacted on Tullius and that was a big win for Batiatus. The man now rests within the foundation of the new arena, after having been ganged up on by Batiatus’ men, dragged off, told off, fed a mouthful of Batiatus' dad's ashes and then stabbed repeatedly.

Old Friends, New Rivals
Solonius played his part well, aiding Batiatius in trapping Tullius. His “act” in convincing Tullius that he knows his friend thinks himself above everyone else may not have been such an act. After Batiatus had Tullius, Solonius got his due by setting up a side-deal with Vettius wherein Solonius got to take over Vettius’ men and Vettius got to live. Seems fair. Not exactly how Battiatus saw the whole thing play out but he clearly underestimated Solonius’ ambition.

Brothers
Oenomaus never found out about the extent of Gannicus and Melitta’s relationship and that’s for the best. It was hard enough seeing both of them grieve her loss and later say goodbye to each other after Gannicus was freed. The big reveal would’ve been an ugly scene and served no other purpose than for both of them to hurt and feel even worse than they already did. Had the affair been something more intentional or without genuine feelings of affection, I might feel differently but Gannicus and Melitta were forced into it at first and when physical attraction and genuine affection mixed, it just happened. So, as far as I’m concerned, they get a pass and I hope Oenemaus never finds out.

Burning Ring Of Fire
The fight in the arena took things to the next level. With a roaring crowd and a ring of fire, Solonius and Battiatus’ men battled to the death (probably cooking in their armor in the process). Battiatus’ men were outnumbered at first but things evened out toward the end, and that was with the inter-house feuds getting in the way at times. Crixus was determined to go head to head with Gannicus, meanwhile, Dagan had his eye set on taking out Ashur.

Weapon of Choice
I joked about the guy with the net having lost a bet and getting stuck with that for a weapon while other people had awesome swords and spears. Then the net was on fire and shortly after, the guy caught in the net was too. If not for Gannicus’ truly nasty method of tearing a man’s face apart with the head of a spear, I’d give the net first prize for being the surprisingly creative method of causing carnage. In the end, the face-splitting spear wins (by a very narrow margin.)

The Fall of Ashur
I was wondering if we were going to see how Crixus injured Ashur and sure enough, we did. Ashur and Dagan’s fight in the arena took place in the middle of the battle and, as was expected, Ashur managed to take Dagan down, gloating afterward and then attempting to team up with Crixus to go after Gannicus. Crixus’ response to that was to break Ashur’s leg. The last we saw of Ashur, he was strapped into his brace and looking very unhappy as he stared at Crixus.

To Be Continued…
Crixus didn’t get his fight with Gannicus. He was knocked out of the ring before that happened, but since Gannicus survived it’s entirely possible that we’ll get to see these two go head to head in Season 2 of Blood and Sand. Gannicus’ survival was predicted but not guaranteed and now that we know he’s alive, it’ll be interesting to see when he makes his reappearance in the series, assuming he does.

Sisters
As for who won’t be reappearing next season, Diona’s story came to a close tonight. While Naevia was given what looked like a horribly painful tattoo as a prize for being promoted to Melitta’s position, her best friend Diona was presumably enjoying her newfound freedom. Unfortunately, she looked in pretty bad shape when we saw her next. Captured and lined up with three other criminals, Diona’s blood was some of the first to be shed on the arena sand. Her execution happened after she exchanged a long, sad look with Naevia, who watched from the balcony above. Each of them shed a tear and stared at the other with expressions filled with sorrow, love and maybe a little bit of gratitude.

Shave and a Haircut
We saw the continuation of Lucretia's reluctant thrust-sessions with Crixus tonight. Determined to get pregnant but unenthusiastic about the means, she decided that cleaning Crixus up might make laying with him more bearable. As evidenced by their relationship in Blood and Sand, the grooming will apparently do the trick.

Rewards
The episode and the season closed out beautifully, reminding us that Batiatus and Lucretia really would be rewarded properly for all they’ve done, only not in the way that either of them hoped.

And with that, I’m off to re-watch Blood and Sand and start the countdown to 2012 when the story resumes!

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