Spartacus: War Of The Damned Episode 10 Series Finale “Victory” Review
Spartacus: War Of The Damned Series Finale “Victory” Recap – “I Am Spartacus!”
Spoiler Alert: This article is a recap and reaction to Season 3, Episode 10, Series Finale titled “Victory”.
What a glorious ending! The finale is as close to a flawless Victory as I could have hoped for. Every emotional beat and combat sequence is carefully thought out and perfectly executed. There’s never a moment that felt false or was not rightly earned which is in accomplishment in itself considering the level of expectation in terms of the fate of characters and giving fans a gratifying conclusion. (Warning: Continue reading only if you have watched Victory).
Now that I’ve finished crying like a little baby I’ll gather my thoughts and reaction to the finale. The part that affected me the most is Agron’s weeping face as Spartacus spoke his dying words, “Do not shed a tear. There is no greater victory than to fall from this world a free man.” I’m surprised by how touched I am because I’m usually not very sentimental. This show became more than about gladiators hacking and slashing. It’s a testament to the writers and actors for developing characters that I can emotionally invest in.
The flashes to Sura and other lost ones are beautifully done. Though Spartacus’ initial motivation is to avenge the death of Sura, he is ultimately fighting for something more. His conversation with Gannicus this episode is a call back to the season premiere. However this time, Gannicus is not drunk and Spartacus who once proclaimed, “A thousand lives will not equal Sura’s”, now defines victory differently. “Life is what defines it. Not the death of Romans, nor ours, nor those that follow us into battle. But the life of Sibyl, or Laeta. The mother and her child and so many others. They are all Sura and I would see them live.”
For a finale filled with impending doom and death, there’s a silver lining of hope that I’m left with. “Spartacus is not my [real] name. I should finally hear it again given voice by loving wife.” The prospect of reuniting with Sura in the afterlife may add to the feeling of hope, but it’s the notion that Spartacus is not one man, rather an enduring ideology which is an uplifting message. Agron said it best, “One day Rome will fade and crumble, yet you shall always be remembered in the hearts of all that yearn for freedom.”
As the “Bringer of Rain” passed away, the clouds covered up the sun and rain started to fall. On most other television series this would have been corny, but within the context of Spartacus it fit the show’s unique visual style and added to the emotional impact.
The entire death scene is executed better than I could have imagined. In a way, there are two Spartacus death scenes in the finale. I’m glad he was carried off the hill to have a final moment amongst his companions and it explains why historically his body was never found on the battlefield. The final image of the red serpent shield placed over the grave is a reference to Sura’s prophetic dream in the pilot episode which brought things full circle.
It’s a nice touch that the shield Nasir crafted out of genuine affection for Agron serves as Spartacus’ gravestone. Spartacus knew in his heart there would be no happily ever after for him because nothing could ever replace the love of his wife. He went into the final battle to give the other rebels a chance to live a life of freedom. Agron as the only surviving member from the Batiatus ludus represents the legacy will live on. The show began with two lovers (Spartacus & Sura) torn apart and many relationships such as Lucretia & Batiatus and Crixus & Naevia formed the foundation of the series, so it’s fitting that at least one couple survived as a result of Spartacus’ heroic crusade.
One hero that some viewers thought had a good chance to survive as any is Gannicus. In the first of several moments that played with my expectations, when Gannicus said, “I Am Spartacus” I thought it may hint at a possible way out for Spartacus to live on. Instead, it’s a great homage to the Stanley Kubrick film and a ploy to evade Pompeii.
Watching Gannicus on horseback as he attacked the Roman army from behind is in one of the many thrilling moments in an incredible, epic battle. Because fan-favorite Gannicus is a free loving spirit and finally accepted a leadership role in a rebellion he grew to believe in, it is difficult to see him on the cross.
Since historically Gannicus died in an earlier battle and Crassus crucified all the captured rebels, the show understandably didn’t want to cheat his death. What could have been a depressing, dismal scene was allayed with the vision of old friend Oenomaus and the crowd in the arena cheering for our champion. Although Gannicus did not die in battle as some think he deserved, I thought the visions respectfully honored his character.
The finale did a solid job of wrapping up Crassus’ twisted love story with Kore who was crucified along side Gannicus. After half a season of Crassus not knowing Tiberius raped Kore, everything finally comes to a head. As much as I like Crassus as Spartacus’ ultimate adversary, I was not as invested in this season’s Roman story line as much as Lucretia and Ilithyia’s scheming in Vengeance.
Crassus may have won the battle, but he suffered a significant loss in learning of his deceased son’s true nature whom he describes is as a reflection of himself and in watching his lover upon the cross. He forgave Kore but perhaps his love for her is only outmatched by his single-minded pursuit to glorify Rome. Crassus is always thinking of ways to manipulate future events to his advantage which is why he lets Pompeii steal some of the credit. And since the past is set in stone, he never questions why Kore left to join the rebels until Spartacus inadvertently reveals the truth about Tiberius’ death.
As adversaries throughout the season, it is easy to forget that the two never spoke face to face with each other until the finale. The hilltop conversation highlighted the dichotomy between Spartacus and Crassus though they do share the belief that there is no justice in this world. The next time they meet is on the battlefield. When Spartacus jumps up to strike Crassus sitting on his horse, it is reminiscent of the leap up to the balcony in season one finale, Kill Them All. Awesome!
One of my favorite images is an enraged Spartacus running up the hill in slow motion attacking all of Crassus’ body guards. As the final fight unfolded, I did think for a moment that Crassus’ sword reversal move would be the end of Spartacus as it was set up in the season premiere. I’m glad that Spartacus was not defeated in an one on one fight versus Crassus, only the cowardly soldiers that attacked from behind could defeat a titan. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what a fantastic performance by Liam McIntyre in this finale and through-out the season.
If for some reason you normally skip the end credits, go back and watch this one. A montage of all the significant characters from the first to final season are featured. The very last image is Andy Whitfield screaming “I Am Spartacus” taken from Season 1 Episode 7. What better way to end an amazing series and pay tribute to an incredible actor. If you interested in finding out how you can contribute to a documentary on Andy Whitfield’s life be sure to check out Be Here Now website.
I believe appreciation for Starz Spartacus will grow as fans continue to recommend it to a new audience. Word of mouth led to me watch some of my other favorite television series. So let your family and friends who have an open mind know about the greatness of Spartacus and maybe one day they might say “Gratitude” … or “Jupiter’s Cock!” Shall we begin?
There are many more memorable moments and characters’ fate in the finale that I could easily write another thousand words on. Lugo’s flaming war hammer for starters. Please feel free to share your thoughts, add anything else I missed and I’d be glad to discuss them with you.
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Sizzling Hot! The Women of Spartacus
Posted on April 14, 2013, in Spartacus War Of The Damned, Television and tagged Andy Whitfield, Anna Hutchison, Dustin Clare, Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett, Simon Merrells, Spartacus, Spartacus 310 review, Spartacus 3x10 Review, Spartacus S3E10 Review, Spartacus Season 3 Episode 10 Review, Spartacus War of the Damned, Spartacus War Of The Damned Episode 10 Series Finale Spoilers, Spartacus War Of The Damned Series Finale Review, Spartacus War Of The Damned Victory Review, Starz, Todd Lasance. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.
I still can’t accept Gannicus being crucified. A God of the arena should have died in the blaze of glory.
I’m still thinking about the finale days after watching it. I can understand how you feel as do a lot of other fans.
This won’t change how you feel, but in an interview with the show’s creator he made some interesting points: The crucifixion is a very powerful image of Gannicus’ sacrifice. It’s also a call back to Season 2 Vengeance when Gannicus saw the whore who was crucified which motivated him to give up his freedom and join the rebellion.
Also, neither Crixus, Spartacus or Gannicus were defeated in a head to head fight.
What a series. What a moving ending! Even though Spartacus’s death was inevitable, Gannicus’s, too, they were both hard to watch and accept. And yes, the closing credits are indeed a fitting tribute.
A great heavy hearted ending. Even with so many deaths of fan favorite characters, they managed to pull it off. I wish more people would watch this show, it deserves a larger audience.
i’m sad to see that this truly amazing series has come to an end, but what a finale it was, the directors, producers, characters performances everything was played out perfectly with no space for errors. Nevertheless, knowing the story and how it ends prior the to series i was still some what shocked how it all ended. credits are due to all the effort, skill, time and money it took to create this amazing show. Gratitude for this amazing heart hitting series.
Kudos to the directors, producers, actors and everyone involved in making the show. So many great shows missed the mark on the finale so I’m grateful Spartacus ended with its best episode. Gratitude indeed for an amazing series!
Sad sad sad ending. Although I know it would have been historically incorrect I would have loved to see rome kneel at the presence of Spartacus.
Only comfort I get is in seeing Crassus not get any recognition, not killing Spartacus & coming off as a coward. Yes Ceaser too. Cowards.
But great job to the writers in getting me invested; emotionally. At least dead or alive the “rebellious slaves” were free.
Will miss the show.
I will miss the show terribly. I do look forward to rewatching the series, especially Season 1 since I haven’t seen it in a long time.
If Crixus’ army stayed with Spartacus, who knows what would have happened instead? Stories of Spartacus will be retold in future generations, so he’ll live on someway, somehow. Thanks so much for commenting!
Great review. Yeah, I didn’t care for Gannicus’ death…it was hard to watch, but they really wrapped up the series quite well overall. I was curious how they would given the history behind Spartacus and the fact that his body was never truly found. Good point on Crassus not being as memorable (?) of a Roman villain in terms of being related to like Lucretia but he did a good job.
I am sad to see this one ended, but surprised it went on for as many seasons as it did. For a while there, it looked like there were setting up for a “Julius Caesar” show.
Nice wrap up. Agree completely with you.
The series did a great job by balancing the historical account that his body was never found, which could have given the writer’s a way out to keep him alive, and doing their own version that was different from the movie.
One of the highlights of the season is the scene when Gannicus escaped the city on horseback with Kore and Laeta. That’s how I’ll remember this great character and actor.
If there’s one thing this season could have improved on is spending more time on the Roman story line, especially giving Tiberius and his friend more development.
When I learned Spartacus creator would not be behind a spin-off, (he’s working on a new sci-fi show for Starz), it took away some of my desire for a Caesar show. But the Spartacus show got the great ending it deserved, which could have easily ended after the first season or the prequel when Andy Whitfield sadly passed away. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and checking out the review.
A great end to a great show. McIntyre made the role his own in the final season. I’ve recently watched the first three seasons on blu-ray, and will be rewatching War of the Damned soon. Amazing when you read through some of the history, some of the stuff they actually did. Like the bit with the vines down the cliff side from Spartacus: Vengeance. That must’ve took some balls.
Liam McIntyre took it to a new level in the finale. I agree he made Spartacus his own in the last season. I look forward one day to rewatching the entire series on blu-ray. I like putting on the subtitles to enjoy all the great dialogue I have might have missed the first time.
I also love the bits of history I learned watching the show. Climbing down Mt Vesuvius to ambush the Romans is incredible plus using the piles of frozen bodies as a bridge in Mors Indecepta is based on historical accounts.
Looks like a lot of readers enjoyed the smoking hot heat, in Sizzling Hot! Women of Spartacus post haha. Thanks so much for commenting and checking out the blog.
Spartacus was the most amazing series I have ever watched! The storyline, the characters… just everything was out of this world. I did not want to watch Vengeance, and War of the Damned because of Andy Whitfield not being Spartacus anymore, but Liam McIntyre did a great job in those 2 seasons! Gratitude to each and everyone involved in the making of these series. Andy Whitfield, rest in peace, we love you!
I have to commend a series that went out on its own terms and didn’t over stay its welcome. I’m glad you mentioned Andy Whitfield. It’s great to see he was honored as the final image of the show. Thanks for commenting!
question to director, this is a movie meant for entertainment, why then kill off the hero while the villian works free. the ending of this move is a piss off.
This… this was perfection. Spartacus is the best thing that happened to television, I swear. I was enamoured with everything about this show, it was excellent, there are simply no two ways about it. The ending was perfect, and tied in as close as they could to the history of Spartacus. Crassus had to walk free, that is what truly happened. I thought they did the best show they could, and closed off with a bang. I was not disappointed in the very least, and the finale was just so damn emotional.
Spartacus delivered an absolutely, stunning, brilliant finale. Crassus had to walk free although for a brief moment in the climatic showdown I wondered if Sparty would defy history and slay his nemesis. Like you said the ending was emotional and surpassed my highest expectations. Great to hear from you!
This… “It’s a nice touch that the shield Nasir crafted out of genuine affection for Agron serves as Spartacus’ gravestone…” made my heart swell and break all at once. Thanks for highlighting that fact. I did not make that connection. The series finale left its mark on me for sure. Thanks for your wonderfully perceptive review.
There’s a lot of great callbacks and connections in the series finale. Thanks for the kind words and checking out the review. Btw, great podcasting!
A truly amazing piece of television. Hooked from day 1 till Victory. I have never been taken in by a series so much. So sad it ended.
This series hooked me from Season 1 as well. I wish more people would give this show a chance. Hats off to the writers, actors and crew for pulling off an amazing finale and series.
Was rather annoyed @ the death or defeat of Spartacus rather. I was so looking forward for him to slay Crassus & Ceasar!! Felt like no justice was given to the cause! Also, didn’t like Liam at first and preferred Andy’s role as Spartacus. However, he grew on me & I think they both did a brilliant job – rip Andy Whitfield.
Spartacus TV show plays around with history but it also is very much inspired by it. I’ve read some wikis & watched HBO’s Rome and it’s interesting to learn what actually happened to Crassus and Ceasar. A part of me wanted Spartacus to slay Crassus however I think the finale found a way to redefine what victory means. In a way, Spartacus still lives on and will continue to do so.
I’m glad they were able to find a “second” Spartacus actor to carry on with the story – I agree both did a brilliant job. Thanks so much for commenting and checking out the reviews!
Today i got myself to a very sadness about the demise of our hero king spartacus. I dont know why steven s. deknight arrange the story like that,spartacus has play a major roles in all of the episode never suppose to be romans becomes victors in the end of episode of war of the damned.since you have took our hero king spartacus is better to be reincarnate in the coming episodes of season five.
For longtime fans of Spartacus the series finale was very emotional. There’s won’t be any more Spartacus seasons and I haven’t heard of any further news on a spin-off series starring Caesar. Gods of The Arena showed how a season can work without Spartacus, so it’s possible with talented writers and actors a spin-off show could work. Thanks for checking out the blog.
Was Doctoire smiling at the dangling bodies of the impaled rebels?
Just finished this series up today and thought I’d come back and see your thoughts on this finale which I agree was excellent. I had a hard time getting used to Liam at first especially watching the series over such a small time period, but he grew on me and I thought he was particularly great in this finale and really the whole final season. The battle in this final episode really exceeded my expectations too. I have so many thoughts on this show. Hope to put them into blog form soon. So glad I gave this show a shot. I can’t stop thinking about it. Great review.
Awesome! You caught up pretty fast. There was a year and half wait between the airing of Season 1 and 2, which maybe made it less difficult for me to get used to Liam. I think I may have mentioned this before but Arrow’s Stephen Amell was a finalist for the recasting of Spartacus. It worked out for the better plus Amell still gets to work with Manu Bennett after all. 🙂 Liam had a great final season and he took it to another level in the finale, I hope he finds other good roles. I wish other shows could do fights like in Spartacus, yeah the finale battle is epic. Looking forward to your blog and it’s good to spread the word around for those that haven’t given this show a chance. Thanks!
Fact men , women and children were crucified , put on display naked . The word crucify means put on display nude . So Spartacus weapon holding , men and women were crucified , from the gates of Rome to the last human out . Death was from wounds , exposure , hunger and no water . Nails rendered your hands and feet , useless . Old women , young teens and children sold back into slavery . Spartacus TV show is a work of fiction based from historical facts . Sad fact Spartacus lost .
Miss the show too much….moře seasons awaiting please
do the needful
He did not lose! He died a free man, something he longed for if/when the time came. He set a lot of slaves free. Even though not all of them made it, many did flee the Romans to freedom!
hellow I would really appreciate it if you give us another season may be telling us on finale defeat of the Romans,at least it will be easy to live with the fact that Spartacus did not die for nothing and that the slaves finally lived in freedom.
Unfortunately there won’t be any more seasons. If you want to see what happens to Caesar, another show is HBO’s Rome which is really great, but it only has 2 seasons.
Awesome could not stop watching the ending was well done.