Gaia's death strengthens Quintus Batiatus' resolve to get revenge against Tullius. The elder Batiatus invites Tullius to his home and is offered prime places in the forthcoming games, in return for Gannicus. In the arena, the elder Batiatus has decided to assess the skills of his gladiators, most of whom he is unfamiliar with, by having them fight one another. As for his father's ultimatum that he choose between his home and his wife, the younger Batiatus' attempts to gain time is not appreciated by Lucretia who believes she would have him leave. He convinces her otherwise and she pushes him to settle on his course while she has her own plan. Lucretia also has her own solution to her husband's desire for a son. Melitta and Gannicus increasingly lust after one another. Gannicus finds a solution to their situation but fate presents a different outcome.
The mantle of champion of the House of Batiatus is up for grabs as Batiatus' father, Titus, announces a tournament to determine the worth of the men that make up his stable of gladiators. Batiatus is at a turning point, forced to make a decision that threatens no good outcome, either path before him guaranteeing that a family bond will be destroyed. Crixus stands dedicated to proving himself in the upcoming tournament but is drawn into the intrigue of the power play within the house. After watched the whole first season of Spartacus that hooked me l'd start to see this next season telling what's happen in the past before Spartacus appear...in this episode Batiatus will lost his father's support if not accept his final solution he must leaves his wife or leave the house...so a blood son has a private chatting and is the opportunity to kill his father, but the soft conversation end up in regret...however Lucretia has own plan to poison Tittus as she says that already did before...so the death is a matter of time....second-to last episode!!!
Well truth be told after Blood and Sand I was not happy with this retroactive (prequel) even though I was fully aware of the reasons for hurriedly rushing it to production.
While the absence of Andy W. does cost the production that "instant connection" he had with viewers (one of the most sympatico actors I have ever seen, period) the producers brought a "fierce determination to purpose" and forged this into a first-class series despite absence of star.
The rules of drama have not changed since the days of Ancient Greece or Rome. If you can build and build and build some more, the audience will naturally follow. And if they follow, you own them.
The multiple climaxes here (in the arena, in the chambers underneath, in the sick room) are mesmerizing. I was hooked.
And, being hooked, I realized I should amend the originally harsh review I gave this sub-series. All things considered, it is quite spectacular.
Special mention to Marisa Ramirez. Though it was clear the camera loved her, I began to count the actual minutes of screen time and realized that she was sometimes getting more exposure than the stars. Her beauty, stunning in its own right, adds just right balance of exhibitionism and innocence to a tale of ancient Rome. It may be a supporting role, but it is one for the ages.
Ex-Buffy alumnus Steven McKnight proves that, like the men in the actual arena, he can hold his own under personal challenge.