[info]aldiara wrote
on October 30th, 2015 at 11:50 am

Spartacus Rewatch Thoughts & Feels: Gods of the Arena

(ahahahaha I am behind on these ALREADY because apparently [info]lilithilien and I have no lives and are spending two days max per season.)

Quick thoughts & feels spew on GotA in no particular order:

Storytelling:
HOLY FUCKING CRAP, this is the best-plotted, best-written prequel ever! I think it really benefits from the shorter format - it's the perfect length to tell its story, and I love how every scene and every line drive it forward and nothing is random. And they'd really come into their own in terms of visuals by then - the whole thing is just so beautiful to watch.

GANNICUS FUCKING ROCKSTAR:
He is divine in every way! I love his introduction (everybody shake their tits!) and then how quickly everything goes dark and tortured. Not to mention the end - unfortunately I was spoilered for him surviving, but I love how it's set up to have you think that of course he's going to die some brutal and glorious death. Nope! FREEDOM! (can't last, of course, since he just HAD to come back and put himself back in the Everybody Dies pool, but for the prequel it was a fantastic ending).

Familiar faces but not:
They did such a great job with taking some of the characters back to an earlier era and making them appear genuinely younger and more innocent/carefree. Batiatus and Lucretia in particular, but also Oenomaus (he was so out of his depth when first promoted to Doctore!), Barca (lol such a fratboy) and Crixus (so starry-eyed! So naive!).

Gaia:
"I always follow the wine." She IS the glorious sun <333333333333333
I love that they didn't just make her one more evil Roman scheming bitch, but someone who genuinely loves Lucretia and whose scheming basically just amounts to saving herself from the very precarious scary position of being a woman on her own who was worth absolutely nothing in that society without the protection of a husband. And the part she plays in Lucretia becoming her later self (the red wig! more colours! fewer scruples! let's shag a gladiator!) is so instrumental.

Oenomaus/Melitta/Gannicus:
UGH this triangle hurts my heart so much. WHY NO HAPPY THREESOME, WHY, WHY? Really though, I adore relationship arcs like this where you can root for all three of them and you know there's no way it can really end happily because someone you love is always going to lose. Or all three, in this case! Argh.

Titus:
Such a great, realistic character, and the mutual disappointment/love between him and Quintus rang so true. (Whose dad hasn't caught them in a drunken orgy with their wife and her BFF and pulled the "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed" card??)

Parallels, juxtaposition, foreshadowing and other nifty things:
So many clever little things tucked in here, from Solonius' line about not being caught leaning over a corpse with a knife in hand (not YET!), to Barca's about how he'll follow Gannicus to freedom one day (OUCH). And everything about Barca and his fucking birds, of course. OH, and Titus' line about how he doesn't want to buy any Thracians because they're too much hassle and aggravate the Gauls. LOL indeed.

Diona and Naevia kill me in particular because I so want both of them to live and become sisters in arms in the rebellion. Their respective fates just highlight so strongly how differently things could have gone for either of them. Diona and Pietros' stories are such shadow arcs to characters like Naevia and Nasir, who start out in very similar places as Diona and Pietros but get the chance to break out from those patterns and become so much more than sheltered and/or abused body slaves. The loss of that potential is just so devastating. (And of course there's the fact that in the end, Naevia is killed by the same method as Diona was. OUCH.)

UGH ROMANS:
I want Cossutius to die more slowly and more often. They should've bricked him in with Tullius.

Auctus and Barca:
THE BIRDS. THE FUCKING BIRDS. He kept them. Brb, crying forever. (although if we consider the comics part of canon, the continuity doesn't quite work out, since little!Barca and Cyprian were playing with birds as well? Maybe he's just exclusively drawn to dudes who like birds, lol).
Also I love so much that Barca and Crixus became BFFs even though Crixus killed Auctus. So often on this show, slaves blame other slaves for what they had to do under orders (hello Aurelia, looking right at you!), so it's nice to see Barca acknowledge that Crixus had no choice and that there's no point blaming him.

Ashur, what are you even like?
You had ONE friend. ONE. Who depended on you, defended your useless ass, and generally hadn't done a thing to hurt you. And you go and fuck him over (literally, by proxy) just because you can? Ngl, I cheered when Crixus fucked his leg up.


Random selection of behind-the-scenes trivia:
1. The gladiator ordered to rape Diona was supposed to be Gnaeus, but Raicho did not want to do a rape scene, for which he has my eternal respect (and gratitude that we didn't need to see any rape of Pietros on-screen in s1 :/)

2. The actor who plays the old Doctore is actually several years younger than Peter Mensah. Stop being so flawless in every way, Peter, you're making everyone else look bad!

3. When doing commentaries, Jaime Murray and Lucy Lawless spent basically every second of their sex scenes just going "oh god, oh god, I can't look," lol.

4. Joseph Brown (who plays Auctus) has a ballet background, hence all those absolutely fucking breathtaking moves.

5. Historically, the Hoplomachus (spear + short sword) style was employed by shorter gladiators, because the spear gave them longer reach. On the show, the Hoplomachi are the tallest guys in the ludus (Barca and Auctus), which doesn't make much sense, but oh well. Pretty!

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