Spartacus Rewatch Thoughts & Feels: War of the Damned (full season)

I missed doing a detailed season 3 feels post on time because I had to go to a Big Gay Wedding over the weekend, which incidentally (apart from gay boys) featured actual goat farms and mines (the weekend, not the wedding, although the latter might have been interesting with goats), so it was all very a propos.

GOATS (there were heaps of them but this one was particularly friendly).

ANYHOODLE! These might be short but I still want to do them, because it's been epic, so...

Enemies of Rome:
Hello everybody! Everybody has upped their hair game in a serious way (hair is all that matters, obvs)! Crixus rocking the facial hair! Naevia with those awesome braids! Gannicus... ok, his hair needed no improvement, lol. Agron's is seriously fabulous, though, IDEC how anachronistic that cut is. PRETTY. Nasir is stunning as ever although actually I preferred the slightly looser/tousled pull-back, but HOLY CRAP is he awesome with that spear! I could watch him use that thing for hours.

Right, stop talking about hair! Let's talk about Sparty in his unfairly sexy new armour, beating people to death with Eagle standards. Bless <3 (lol, so the entire time I was watching The Eagle, I was giggling and couldn't take the Romans and their daft chase for their lost Eagle standard seriously and could not stop thinking of Spartacus using one to smash some dude's jaw to pieces. But rewatching this ep did also remind me of that Spartacus/Eagle crossover I started a while back and need to finish sometime soon. I need Agron and Marcus testosteroning at each other in my life.)

The montage/flashback about what happened between seasons was neat. Blood splashing everywhere! The slaves finally getting freed from the mines of Lucania! YAY.

Awww man, Diotymus. I adore his horse speech so. Another character I really wanted around for longer (even though as usual, I love their reversal of expectation and utter ruthlessness when it comes to killing off characters.)

It's a little disturbing how completely not disturbing I find it how much everyone's turned on by blood, lol. #Saxa #Gannicus #Agron #Nasir #Crixus #Naevia #carryonmybloodthirstydarlings
I seem to recall that until this show I had a Blood Is Not Lube rule going for fic. This show demolished that utterly. Carry on with your Blood As Lube, everybody. Sheesh.

Argh, Crassus and Co.! KORE HI KORE PLS RUN AWAY NOW. Simon Merrels is so awesome in this show, it's chilling. Also I'm not sure how they made me care about Hilarus within the space of one ep and feel really sad when he got killed. I want him in the rebellion pls.

Wolves at the Gate:
CAESAR! HELLO. I know you end up killing most of my favourites and I should not root for you, but it's impossible not to root for you and your sunny surfer dudebro ways <3

In other news, UGH SIBYL FUCK OFF.

Men of Honor:

Yeah, can't blame you, dude.

Agron, noooooooooooo! Don't break his pretty, pretty face! Ok ok, I enjoy the aftermath of this. But! *whines for a threesome as usual*

Also, hello to the Everyone Is Assholes period. *SIGH*

Oh god, this is still so hard to watch :( Full disclosure, I'm actually glad that they went there with the rebels and didn't shy away from the darker side of the rebellion, and at the best of times I am always clamouring for a darker twist, but FUCK THE GODS... between the slaughter in Sinuessa and the decimation, this is just the most devastating ep. AUGH.

Also, the reversal of perspective with this one, especially with Caesar and Fabia. OUCH. It is merciless and awesome.

Blood Brothers:
*sigh* Agron, I understand, but. Your conflict management blows. I do love how layered this conflict is, though, I mean even just between "dude, I'm not your fucking slave" and "you obvsly DGAF about my legit concerns", there are so clearly more issues at work here than just a sexy pirate shaking things up, and it's brilliant. I *will* be forever bitter that the show did not follow this up and that the next time we see them, they are basically okay. But I love the way these scenes open this pairing up for meta and fic. I mean, I can't stand fluff unless it's either humorous or been well-earned or both and serves a purpose, and I think this pairing is about one of the least fluff-compatible ever, at least until post-finale, so I adore the shit out of this conflict. I just wish there had been more time to explore it in canon.

Ughhh, Tiberius. His arc is amazing and appalling - even now I still feel completely horrible for him up until this ep. Yeah, he was a sneering spoiled brat, but what happened to him was completely horrible and undeserved (great job there, Crassus, you are the worst parent ever), and his story could still have gone absolutely anywhere. But then he goes and rapes Kore and there's no way back. It's chilling and brilliant.

Spoils of War:
Can I use this one to rant about Sibyl? Cool. FUCK OFF, SIBYL. IDK why a show that was otherwise so awesome at writing strong, flawed, authentic women decided that what we needed this season was a swooning useless damsel in distress. All she ever does is make cow's eyes, require a lot of rescuing, put everyone else's lives at risk and use up valuable screentime. It's so offensive and ridiculous to have Gannicus actually fall for that helpless wilting flower crap, especially once it becomes blatantly obvious that she does not know him at ALL and seems supremely uninterested in getting to know him because all that matters is that he saved her LIFE and he's her HERO and he's, like, SO PRETTY. A world of ugh. (I'm not even getting into the Saxa angle because then I'd be here till the weekend). Basically, I have always loved Gannicus and I still love him after this, but I have SUCH a problem with this decision to throw him at a character that is the living, cringey embodiment of Saved By A Good Woman's Love, and that within the span of 50 minutes has him transformed into someone who will abandon wine and women and most of what defined him as a character so far, just because she is Pure and Innocent and Good. UGH SO SIMPLISTIC AND OFFENSIVE. This man may seem fun and charismatic and completely fallable-for, but HE IS BROKEN. He may have been broken for most of his life, and it was a believable, real, and pretty much inescapable internal conflict, much like Spartacus'. The only genuine relationships he's ever had, the only two people who were ever genuinely close to him, were Oenomaus and Melitta. To elevate someone like Sybil to the same level - someone who makes frowny doe eyes at him when he reminisces about his time in the arena, someone who solves all his problems by offering him sexytiems and a crappy religious effigy, someone who, I cannot stress this enough, DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE FIRST THING ABOUT WHO THIS MAN IS, is simply bullshit.

Show, I love you, but you have failed so hard on this one.

Laeta rocks, though.

Mors Indecepta:
My favourite trope wasted on the wrong pairing. 'Nuff said.

Also: Oh Kore :( I think the show has done an absolutely amazing job throughout season 3 to sell Crassus/Kore as a believable star-crossed lovers thing. It should be gross! It should be unbalanced! Yet for the most part, it isn't: it's simply two people who are deeply in love, under extremely unfavourable circumstances, trying to make the best of it, and ultimately failing, through no fault of their own. It's utterly heart-breaking. FUCK YOU, SHOW.

Separate Paths:
Oh my GOD. This episode contains so many of my major feels, I'm not sure I'm able to comment adequately. In many ways,it's the most poignant ep of the season. I shall try.

Definitely some of Liam and Manu's best ever work right here. I cannot watch their conversation about choice and revenge and brotherhood without sobbing. They are both completely right and I cannot side with either of them and the divide just rips me apart. YOU GUYS. WHYYYYYYYY.

I hate some of the things both of them do this season, but I never stop loving their relationship and how uncompromisingly devoted they remain to each other. Their conversation this ep about their potential post-war prospects is especially painful. On the one hand, I hurt for them because it feels like after everything they've been through, no matter in how many ways they've taken their agency back, it just seems like their experiences have turned them into The Enemy and that they can't survive any way other than by doing what the Romans have taught them to do. On the other hand, there is the perspective that they themselves have, that maybe, just maybe, after they've killed ALL the Romans and laid low the Republic, MAYBE there is some kind of peace for them, and maybe after this completely unachievable goal has been achieved, they can think about things like children and a normal life. But it's always so far away, even for them, that there isn't any realistic measure of hope. I dream with them, but it's always only a dream.

ARGH AGRON THIS IS A TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD CHOICE. I completely understand his stupid motivation for it, but oh my god, you don't make a decision like this for your lover AND you. In terms of character development, it's brilliant and it makes complete sense. BUT OUCH MY HEART. [lol, I cannot imagine watching this week to week. Simply cannot. I fall for all script misdirection ever and at all times. If I'd had to live for a week thinking Agron was probably dead? I would have lost my shit.]

I am so glad they didn't try to go for Twue Wuv with this pairing. I love how they set up their flirtatious chemistry from the beginning, then completely undermined it with the whole You Killed My Hubby thing, then slowly reanimated it in a strictly I Lust You But This Isn't Going Anywhere way. It's basically the only realistic way they *could* give Spartacus another love interest at this point.

The Dead and the Dying:
Can I just sob endlessly and have that be my feels? No? Well, damn you, I'm just gonna.

Yeah, no. Just sobbing endlessly by this point. I think this is the ultimate episode where I was so proud of these creators/writers for maintaining some basic (and astonishingly close) level of historical accuracy. I mean, how easy would it have been at this point to tweak the historical fact that Spartacus' body was never found on the battlefield and that no one knew what actually happened to him into some sort of half-arsed happy ending? But they didn't. They didn't go the easy way out. They didn't gloss over the fact that historically, this was an utterly doomed cause, that 6000 were crucified along the Appian Way, that barely anyone survived this rebellion. They still managed to make it a victory for the few who did survive, but they did not sugar-coat anything. It was horrific and beautiful. It came full circle fictionally while staying largely historically accurate, and the ending was perfect in every way: leaving you heart-broken, while giving you hope. (And way to subvert the Kill Your Gays trope :p)

Show, I adore you. Let's have dozens of more rewatches, Y/Y?

I'm afraid I'm too exhausted. Like these two:


-the first ep of this season is really good at setting up the main challenges. Not just stuff like hunger and intra-rebel fighting, but also how we meet Crassus and he manages in the span of 1 ep to trick the Romans who think they outclass him and manipulate Sparty into doing his bidding. Also we see that Crassus doesn't underestimate Sparty , which was Glaber's biggest mistake.
- I have such mixed feelings about Caesar. On one hand, he's vicious, cruel, uses underhanded techniques, has all the usual Roman crap about slavery/racism/classism/misogyny, and kills/tries to kill most of my faves. But he's the only major Roman characters who doesn't do everything for purely selfish reasons, and he seems to truly care about his people and truly think the rebels are villains who want to hurt them.
- Fuck off Sibyl!
- Everyone is Assholes period :(
- Sabinus noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
- Caesar and Fabia made me cryyyyyy!
- One of my fav things about this season is that you can actually see the moment Tiberius turns from a spoiled brat into a fucking psychopath #Imperator
- When I first watched the snow ep I was hoping for a Sibylsicle but I'm not that lucky apparently :( Fuck off Sibyl!
- Kore :(
- This season made me hate Naevia and re-hate Crixus. I DID love Naevia after Crixus' death. I also love his death scene, or as I think of it, Crixus/Naevia's last scene. That was a PERFECT scene in every sense.
- It's still weird to me how much I love the finale despite how many horrible things happened in it. Mostly I love that Sparty DID die but it wasn't Crassus who did him in, and it wasn't a single Roman who could take credit for it. Crassus actually failed utterly when he tried to kill Sparty with the same move that he killed Hilarus with in the first ep but Sparty just grabs it and kicks Crassus' ass and the only way he's actually defeated is underhanded because no one could actually beat him in actual fair combat
Caesar's motivations and his feelings towards his people are so interesting. Like, yes, he obviously genuinely cares about the Romans and considers the rebels an unwarranted threat against his people, but then there's his ruthlessly practical side that will do things like sacrifice Sinuessa's survivors if it means a tactical advantage against the rebels - he definitely has no qualms with the "for the greater good" philosophy. And then there are things like how he's obviously opposed to and appalled by the idea of rape (see Fabia and Kore) but then will stand by and watch Laeta (a Roman, no less) handed over to a pirate for heaps of rapey funtimes as long as it gains them an advantageous deal.

I do love how the villains are smart and a real danger to the rebels in this season. And yes to everything you said about that final duel between Crassus and Spartacus - I still go "HA HA!" every time I watch Crassus try to use that move against Sparty. Not fucking likely, dude! That is the BRINGER OF RAIN, not some retired dude who works for you!

"Sibylsicle" is my fav word of the day. Why did that not happen? :CCCCC

Sabinus was so lovely and we didn't get enough time with him. Must remedy *writes fic*

You still need to listen to the commentary for the finale eps at some point, especially the one for Separate Paths - there's one with Manu and Liam and another one with Cynthia and Ellen and they're both just awesome. I love how smart the cast is about their show and how many thinky thoughts they have about their character arcs.

February 2018



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