Looking back at Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I remember feeling vicarious discomfort for all of the slaves and gladiators that had to fight and work in that sweltering heat, especially during the drought. Watching tonight's episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned, I'm thinking many of the rebels probably miss that weather, if nothing else from their days of enslavement. Freedom comes at a cost. Tonight's episode was evidence of that, as what it evidence that bad weather brings out stronger emotions.
The episode began with a pile of rebel bodies, indicating bad things to come as the story pulled back and showed what led to that horrible decimation. As it turns out, it was a snowstorm that took the lives of a thousand rebels. I suppose Crassus and his army can take credit for that, since they're the ones that had the rebels cornered at the ridge. When the storm came in, some died due to lack of proper shelter. Others out of choice, deciding to stay outside and pray to the gods to "reveal path." They revealed path alright, in the form of a thousand frozen rebel bodies, which were used to stack up in the trench and give the rest of them safe passage across and out of reach from the Romans. A dark means of escape sure, but effective. Kind of like that wall of bodies the soldiers used in 300, except in that case, I'm pretty sure the bodies were their enemies.
This war is as much of the minds as it is the numbers. Spartacus and Crassus are constantly trying to anticipate each others' moves and use that to their advantage. Donar - the rebel and former gladiator who was killed (or killed himself, technically) at the end of last week's episode - was crucified and left as a message for Spartacus and his rebels when they stormed a Roman camp. The words "Mors Indecepta" were carved into his chest. "Death is Undeceivable." The ploy was only a partial victory for Crassus, as Spartacus and his men escaped, though Naevia suffered from injuries.
Spartacus and Crixus threw down after the battle with the Romans, and once again, the difference in their approach is made evident. Spartacus leads with his mind, trying to make good strategic choices based on his experience with war and his knowledge of his enemy. That may not involve simply throwing his entire army's weight against the enemy at every turn, which seems to be Crixus' preference for attack. And that applies to Crixus' approach to dealing with Spartacus tonight. When yelling didn't work work in making his frustration clear, he settled for smashing a jug over Spartacus' face. I can't help but wonder if maybe Crixus is a little bit jealous of Spartacus. I want to believe he's above that though, even with the memory of their Blood and Sand rivalry still floating around, so let's say that Crixus' increased aggression tonight is due to Naevia's brush with death after Spartacus made the choice to attack without more people.
Gannicus and Saxa seem to be about five seconds away from over. Has Gannicus fallen in love? It's been pretty clear for a few episodes now that there was something between Sibyl and Gannicus. That grew stronger last week when Gannicus rescued her from the city. Tonight, they sealed the deal during the storm in a love scene that was more romantic than it was steamy as the two found a way to get warm in their flimsy shelter while the worst of the storm passed through. This came after Gannicus shot down Saxa's offer of sex. After the storm, Saxa eyed Gannicus and Sibyl like she knew something might have happened, but with so many lives lost, it wasn't the time to talk about it. That seems inevitable though. And I wonder how Saxa will take it. She and Gannicus seem to share a mutual appreciation for sex and wine, but how deep do her feelings really go? And the same question for Gannicus and Sibyl?
Castus and Laeta seem to be the odd man/woman out among the rebels. Castus is taking heat from people for his connections with the pirates, even though his participation in their betrayal seemed minimal-to-non-existent. But Agron cut Castus free tonight and he and Nasir seemed to exchange a bit of amusement, if not warmth between each other, which I'm taking as a good sign. Laeta, meanwhile, is recovering from her injuries and trying to deal with the reality that she's now officially a former slave… even though she was only a slave for like two seconds. She's still been through a lot, having lost her husband, her home and then her freedom, cast out by the Romans and now stuck with the rest of the rebels. On the bright side, she's alive and she's on a first-name-basis with Spartacus, which puts her in the VIP tent… if there was one.
Kore enlisted the help of Caesar in dealing with Tiberius when she learned she was going to be forced to serve him. Her plan seems unclear. It looked like she was going to tell Crassus just how "deeply" she'd been "pierced" by his son, but instead, she slept with Crassus and then snuck out of his tent in the middle of the night, off to join the rebels.
It seems fitting to end this write-up with a nod to Caesar, considering today is March 15, otherwise known as the Ides of March - the historical day Caesar was known to fall. With that in mind, Caesar's comment about giants falling seemed particularly well timed…
"Many a giant has tumbled to the afterlife believing himself too big to fall."