Spartacus: War Of The Damned Episode 9 “The Dead And The Dying” Review
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Spartacus: War Of The Damned “The Dead And The Dying” Recap – Gladiator Battles Are Back!
Spoiler Alert: This article is a recap and impressions of Season 3, Episode 9, titled “The Dead And The Dying”.
This season’s subtitle “War Of The Damned” is under no disillusionment as to the rebellion’s fate, forever etched in history. One aspect the final season has excelled at is in crafting triumphant moments for Spartacus and company which counter balance the despair in watching characters, many of whom viewers are are deeply invested in, fall in battle.
The death of Crixus last episode was a crushing blow to the rebels and long-time fans alike. In its wake, “The Dead and The Dying” delivered a largely satisfying tribute to the undefeated Gaul (at least in the arena) with chants of “Crixus, Crixus” by the surviving rebels in the final scene. The gladiator games served as a tribute to the fallen, as a rallying cry for the rebels and to a certain extent a callback to the origins of the series.
Some of the best fighting moments in the series were in the arena. It was very rewarding to see former gladiators Spartacus and Gannicus upon the sands for the very last time, utterly destroying their opponents. Or should I say, toying with them? After putting away his swords in the sand, there’s a brutal kill where Spartacus slams a Roman’s neck onto the blades. And the double swords piercing through the eyes from the back of the skull … Nasty! After last episode’s gut punch, these scenes offered fans an empowering moment which is unlikely to be afforded to this extent in the series finale.
For Naevia, the games is her opportunity for the ultimate revenge on Tiberius, the vile little rapist who speared Crixus (and Caesar) from behind. Naevia’s character arc came to fruition this episode by embodying the idea that only by choosing a higher principle can one break the cycle of vengeance. Consumed by rage and revenge through out this season, it shows how far she has come by sparing Tiberius’ life in exchange for five hundred rebels. What also added to the effectiveness of this scene is that it was her decision alone to make, not Spartacus’, and that it didn’t repeat her vengeance-fueled beheading of Ashur in last season’s finale.
Since Naevia didn’t get to kill Tiberius, I’m glad Kore got to be the one who did. Of all the villains over the seasons, Tiberius’ death is the least satisfying. Most characters get a more memorable exit and we’ve even seen some who have survived through similar stabbings such as Lucretia. However, the lead up to his capture was nicely executed thanks to Caesar knowingly sending him into an ambush. Further, there’s some great camera and stunt work when Spartacus pulls Tiberius off the fleeing horse and slams him to the ground.
For a historical figure not recorded as taking part in the Third Servile War, the writers have done a solid job at incorporating Julius Caesar as a pivotal character in this season. Some of the situations Caesar finds himself in, loosely explain why he’s not accounted for such as disguising himself as slave to infiltrate the rebel camp and unable to mount a horse along with other high ranking officials in the final battle against Crixus. Of course, this show takes a creative license with history in the name of entertainment. I would love to see a spin off featuring Caesar but in War of the Damned he’s difficult to root for because he’s in opposition to the rebel’s cause.
So when Caesar nails fan favorite Agron to the cross it does little to endear him, rather it’s upsetting: one moment Agron is seemingly resurrected (yeah!) only to see him crucified moments later (bummer!). One scene I would have liked added is Nasir’s reaction to Naevia about missing Agron. This could have been a great sentimental moment for Nasir and actor Pana Hema Taylor which has been earned over the last two seasons. Plus, it would have added to the emotional payoff when Agron returned. Having said that, I had a huge lump in my throat when the two were reunited. I hope both survive the finale but as we all know from previous seasons there will be death and lots of it.
Despite the inevitable fate of characters we have watched over the years, the challenge with the series finale is to leave fans with a positive feeling that the journey they have invested in is meaningful. In an interview posted January 2013, creator Steven DeKnight stated, “The last episode is called “Victory,” and it’s a bit of an ironic title because it really explores how the rebels gained victory in defeat, and how the Romans suffered defeat in victory. No one comes out of this clean, at the end. In true Spartacus fashion, it’s all very grey. But, there is a powerful, uplifting message. I wrote the finale, watched all of the dailies and saw cuts, but still, at the end of the day, when I watched it, I cried. It was so powerful. So, I can only imagine what the audience is going to feel.”
On a side note, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who reads this blog. Some of you may have wondered what happened to the other Spartacus reviews and some have requested more reviews on the contact form. I promise to do a complete review of the series finale “Victory” and if times permits I might go back and write blogs on the other episodes.
Odds & Ends
• Naevia’s expression as the captured rebels returned reaffirmed she made the right decision to put aside her vendetta. She forever lost the love of her life but knowing that she reunited Nasir and Agron gives her peace of mind.
• How poetic would it have been if Marcus Crassus freed the person (ie Naevia) that ended up killing his son? But it was a great character moment for Naevia to spare Tiberius’ life so I wouldn’t change how it happened.
• I thought Kore joining the rebel camp would factor into a significant tactic to be used against Crassus, not that killing Tiberius is uneventful. With Tiberius dead, she returns to Crassus who warmly greets her then tells her to address him as “Dominus”. A lot of time this season was invested in their relationship and how Crassus didn’t view her as a slave. I hope their relationship gets a satisfying conclusion in the finale.
So what did you think of this episode? Should Gannicus end up with Sibyl or Saxa, assuming any of them live? What are your expectations for the series finale?
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Posted on April 6, 2013, in Spartacus War Of The Damned, Television and tagged Anna Hutchison, Dustin Clare, Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett, Simon Merrells, Spartacus, Spartacus 309 Review, Spartacus 3x09 Review, Spartacus S3E9 Review, Spartacus Season 3 Episode 9 Review, Spartacus The Dead And The Dying Review, Spartacus War of the Damned, Spartacus War Of The Damned Episode 10 Series Finale Spoilers, Spartacus War Of The Damned Episode 9 Review, Starz, Todd Lasance. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.