Tonight's Spartacus had a lot of everything, and left little room for air. Between the fighting, the plotting, the pirates, a couple of steamy moments and some seriously gory ones, it's going to be a bit trickier to step back and take a look at where everything landed when all was said and done. Spartacus may have won what barely qualified as a battle, but this war is far from over.
The episode opened with an uplifting moment as we see shackles being melted down and turned into swords. It's a great way to approach the story, as we see slaves continuously turned to soldiers as Spartacus' army grows. But there are problems at Sinuessa en Valle. While Spartacus has his hands full with his own responsibilities, the prisoners are starving and they're not being tended to by the most compassionate people.
Granted, Gannicus, Crixus, Naevia and the rest of the soldiers are pretty anti-Roman, but it was hard to watch Crixus send a baker and some other guy into a make-shift arena to fight to the death for some scraps of bread. The baker, who got into the initial scuffle trying to get some carbs into his pregnant wife, ended up winning the fight, just barely. Crixus turned his back to walk away, generally dismissive toward the whole thing, and that's when the baker lunged. He was either going for the sword or the bread. It wasn't entirely clear, but Naevia determined that it was the sword and she quickly put hers through the man's hand.
Now, Naevia and Crixus haven't ever really been the life of the party. Sure, before Naevia was subjected to torture and abuse, she was a smiling, kind, good-natured woman, but present Naevia is serious to the point of severe. Crixus has always been kind of subdued, at least by comparison to the more garish Gannicus. But these two seem to be pumped with rage these days. Maybe it's all the fighting and blood. Or maybe the down-time they're getting inside the walled city is making them irritable. Either way, I didn't love seeing Crixus forcing two men to hurt each other for food, or Naevia's quick and violent reaction to what might have been a threat.
Naevia's distaste toward the kindly looking baker turned out to have to do with associations she had with nice guys who turn out to be not-so-nice at all. During her imprisonment, she was taken care of by a nice man - a husband and father - who fed her and took care of her, then carried her off in the quiet of night and did horrible things to her with tools. The glimpses of the flashbacks were enough to demonstrate and remind us of the damage that was done to Naevia on both a physical and emotional level. So when she sees a nice baker, she's reminded of a man who looked nice, but was anything but. And maybe that made it a little easier to slice half of his hand off.
But what about Attius? Naevia believed he was betraying them, so she tracked him down, provoked him, fought and killed him. Sure, Attius' betrayal seemed kind of inevitable. He's already proven to be an opportunist, willing to work for the highest bidder. But his death looked like another demonstration of Naevia's short fuse. And that could be a major problem in the future.
What wasn't a major problem? Tiberius. Poor kid. Talk about the worst timing ever. When a Roman brought word back to TIberius that Spartacus' army was in Sinuessa en Valle, Caesar brushed it off and killed the man, but Tiberius decided to pursue the lead, in spite of the fact that his father said not to engage with Spartacus if he found him.
Had Tiberius found Spartacus In the city, his army might have had a better shot at orchestrating an attack or, at the very least, cornering them. But he happened upon Spartacus and his men when they were outside the walls, meeting with a bunch of pirates to do some business. Spartacus' dealing with the pirates were already strained and tentative on both sides, so when the fighting started, there was a moment's hesitation when it seemed like maybe the pirates betrayed them. But as soon as they saw from which direction the weapons were coming, everyone turned around and began fighting Romans.
And then the lead pirate signaled for the canons and demonstrated just how well ships can fight from the shore. The bloodbath turned into a fire and melted skin bath, which is about as gross as it sounds. Romans retreated, Tiberius got his side slashed open but managed to escape, and Spartacus' men returned to the city, minus a few soldiers but appearing relatively unscathed.
It wasn't all bloodshed and screaming, burning Romans. There was time for love. Agron and Nasir got it on after one of the pirates hit on Nasir (and Agron responded by pounding on said pirate). And then there was the sweet, innocent woman who wanted to "thank" Gannicus for saving her life. Saxa saw an opportunity to give her man a gift and brought the woman back to their house to dress her in sheer fabric and present her to a drunk Gannicus when he returned from the pirate orgy that was taking place nearby.
Gannicus refused the virginal looking woman, but only after staring at her intently and seemingly admirably. I'm thinking it was far less about him not wanting her as it was knowing she's young and probably very innocent. I sometimes wonder if I read too much into Gannicus and his choices, but just as I think he refuses leadership because he knows he can't handle the responsibility of having other people's lives on his hands (and conscience), I think he refused this girl because he could see it was too serious a situation. Too big of a deal for her, maybe. I'm not even sure, but I think it was less about him having a physical preference for more experienced women as it is about avoiding anything serious or potentially life-changing for someone else. I'm just waiting for that to catch up with him. It seems like it has to. At some point, he'll end up with a burden heavier than his sword. But right now, that seems like that's the only thing he's willing to carry.
And that about wraps it up for the night. Tiberius is injured. Is it fatal? We don't know yet, but that injury might slow him down from getting word back to his father of Spartacus' confirmed whereabouts - assuming Caesar's not already doing that. And at the very least, Spartacus knows they know where he is. He has other issues to deal with, like the prisoners and the issues inside the city. He let Laeta out of her confines after she helped him and he kept her from becoming a pirate's slave. Laeta's now left to tend to the needs of the prisoners - a role someone needed to fill, given how things began tonight. And I'll be interested to see if anything further develops between Spartacus and Laeta, who seemed to find some common ground tonight.