When last week's season premiere of Spartacus: War of the Damned left off, Spartacus was faced with the task of finding a place big enough to house his growing army as winter approached. And on the Roman side, Crassus was promoted and tasked with taking on the war against the rebels. Both men took steps forward in their missions, enlisting the help of others in the process. Blood was shed. People got angry. And Caesar let some woman do something icky with a knife.
Bigger spoilers ahead if you haven't seen "Wolves at the Gate" yet!
Tonight's episode introduced two new featured characters for the series. On the rebels side, it was Laeta, a noble woman played by Anna Hutchison. And among the Romans, Gaius Julius Caesar, a dreamy blonde with an ego, a swagger, and a penchant for strange pleasures.
Thanks to newcomer Diotimos' knowledge of a walled cliff-side city and Gannicus' inside man who will be whatever you want him to be for the right sized purse, Spartacus and his men were able to infiltrate the city under the guise of being traders. In the process, they mingled with the locals and interfered in a public stoning.
It was almost looking like the plan to take the city was going to collapse from the start when Spartacus spied a slave being tied up and abused because he was caught planning an escape. When the slave cried out his allegiance to Spartacus, the stoning began. Spartacus hesitated, clearly trying to figure out what to do. Would he blow his cover to save a life? I think he was strongly considering it, but he must have deduced that the man's life couldn't be saved because he instead threw his own stone, hitting the man in the top of the head, causing a nasty splatter of brains and skull and effectively killing the man and sparing him what would have otherwise been a slow and painful death.
After that, it was a matter of getting Gannicus' guy on board and fooling the locals, including the city's leader and his wife Laeta, who was welcoming to Spartacus. When the time came, Spartacus and his men attacked, flooding the city and tearing it apart from the inside.
During the mayhem, Diotimos was killed, which was unfortunate. I don't think he ever would've been the kind of fighter that Gannicus, Agron and Crixus are, but he spoke his mind and he proved to be particularly resourceful. He went out like a champ, confirming that his former Dominus was killed and laughing as he vowed to follow him to the afterlife and piss on his shadow. Pretty great final words, especially for a show like this where deaths do occasionally occur moments after the dying person chokes out their last message through a mouthful of blood. RIP Diotimos.
Spartacus came across Laeta during the ruckus. She asked him, "You aid Spartacus?" looking completely surprised. And Spartacus wasted a perfect opportunity to say "I am Spartacus," though "I stand the man himself" does have a nice sound to it.
The seize of the city ended when Spartacus so the bloodbath getting out of control and called a stop to it, determining that the city was sufficiently taken. And it was, mostly. The city leader, whose name I never got, stood behind a gate threatening to torch the city, rather than see it taken by slaves. Laeta pleaded with him to think of his people. Whether or not he would've really backed off, we don't know. Spartacus didn't seem to think so though, because Gannicus and Crixus attacked the man's men and Spartacus fed a spear to his face, point first. Then Crixus scored bonus points for a slow-mo dive to catch the torch before it landed in the tar.