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David Hines [userpic]

SPARTACUS: episode 10

March 28th, 2010 (01:27 pm)

"Party Favors," SPARTACUS's tenth episode, is perhaps the most predictable episode yet. It's not terrible -- not any more than the series is in general, anyway -- but as a follow-up to the glorious WTFery of "Whore" it's a little disappointing. I called some of the climactic events of "Whore" relatively early in the episode, but I had this episode called… er, several episodes ago. It's pretty clear at this point that Spartacus is a show that has horrible things happen to likeable characters, so it shouldn't be too surprising when they do happen; the approach the show has taken is to have so many horrible things happen to so many likeable characters that you don't know when you're being paranoid and when the show is actually going to pull the trigger. This episode, Spartacus gives an enthusiastic fifteen-year-old fan of gladiators a tour of the ludus, and there were a couple of people on the #Spartacus hashtag who were expecting something terrible to happen to the kid. It's a pretty clever way to go, when you think about it, and helps make the series more surprising, but as this episode shows, sometimes it just means you can't guess the exact way in which something terrible is going to happen, even if you know that somebody has a huge target on his back.

Quick recap: Spartacus and Varro (who has happily reconciled with his family) are having a dandy time killing guys as a team, and Crixus and Naevia are having a dandy time screwing regularly, now that she's stolen the key to the ludus gate and can let him out for romps. This causes issues for Naevia, because the guard she stole the key from is pissed, and will cause more issues in the future because Ashur has clandestinely observed said romping. Meanwhile, the gladiator-nuts Numerius -- fifteen-year-old son of the Magistrate, whom Batiatus is desperately trying to impress, so he can make a try for political office with the Magistrate's support -- is having a birthday party at the ludus, and he's eager to see the promised exhibition fight, which will see Spartacus face off against Crixus. Crixus is even more eager than Numerius, because he's planning to kill Spartacus during the bout. But when the time comes, Ilythia seduces and deflowers young Numerius, and then uses her new influence to persuade him to have Varro face off with Spartacus instead. And ask for death when Spartacus wins, so that our hero will have to kill his only friend. Which happens. Worst of all, from the point of view of Batiatus: the Magistrate declines to sponsor Batiatus for political office, and makes conversation with Solonius, Batty's big rival, causing Batty to see red and plan to answer in blood.

My live-tweets:

Uh-oh, showrunner's talking smack: RT @stevendeknight Think you're ready for tonight's episode of Spartacus? Oh you really, really aren't! 3:24 PM Mar 26th via Tweetie

@jim_turnage @stevendeknight needs no drugs to write. This show is so nuts that cocaine snorts #SPARTACUS. 3:50 PM Mar 26th via Tweetie in reply to jim_turnage

Getting close to time for #Spartacus! Tonight, I will be testing the #spartacusdrinkinggame. The rules are very simple.

Drink the specified number of times for each person meeting the requirements in a given #SPARTACUS scene. Ready? #spartacusdrinkinggame 9:26 PM Mar 26th via web

One Drink: Slow-motion, Bare Ass, "Jupiter's Cock!" 2 Drinks: Somebody Dies, Boobies, Baby Oil Wrestling #spartacusdrinkinggame #Spartacus 9:27 PM Mar 26th via web

3 Drinks: Somebody's Fuckin', Oh Look a Penis Chug: Gladiator Training Sequence, Actual #Spartacus dialogue, OMGWTF #spartacusdrinkinggame 9:29 PM Mar 26th via web

Want to type the line into Twitter because you can't believe somebody said that? It's Actual #Spartacus Dialogue. #spartacusdrinkinggame 9:32 PM Mar 26th via web

Disclaimer: "We're being real historical, folks! BTW, human blood pressure is over 9000." #Spartacus 10:00 PM Mar 26th via web

#Spartacus Episode 10: "Party Favors." And I begin playing the #spartacusdrinkinggame 10:02 PM Mar 26th via web

#Spartacus and Varro fighting a crowd! The two drinks per death rule is perhaps ill-advised. SORRY TWEEPS. #spartacusdrinkinggame 10:03 PM Mar 26th via web

"He's of the same ilk of Ilythia regarding blood and sport!" Hope your boy ain't, mom. #Spartacus 10:05 PM Mar 26th via web

...okay, I already apologize for the #spartacusdrinkinggame, people. Holy crap, from arena to GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug). #Spartacus 10:07 PM Mar 26th via web

Varro is getting a ton of sympathetic scenes frontloaded. This is not going to be a good episode for him, I can feel it. #Spartacus 10:08 PM Mar 26th via web

The magistrate's son is having a gladiator-themed party. Man. When I was his age, I was obsessed with Star Wars. #Spartacus 10:13 PM Mar 26th via web

LOOK OUT, JOHN HANNAH IS CHEWING SCENERY #Spartacus 10:14 PM Mar 26th via web

Ooh, Naevia gets an angle of her own that isn't with Crixus! Nice. #Spartacus 10:16 PM Mar 26th via web

Plotlines: #Spartacus v. Crixus exhibition, Lucretia using Ilythia to further the rise of Batiatus, follow-up with Naevia stealing key. 10:17 PM Mar 26th via web

BTW: GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug). #spartacusdrinkinggame WTF was I thinking? #Spartacus 10:18 PM Mar 26th via web

Ilythia is eyeing the #Spartacus/Varro friendship. This can only end badly. 'course, Varro's had a target on his head forever. 10:19 PM Mar 26th via web

Man, I should have made #Spartacus getting summoned part of the #spartacusdrinkinggame. *eyes alarmingly empty glass* No, I shouldn't've. 10:21 PM Mar 26th via web

Seriously, Crixus is the romantic hero of this series, isn't he? #Spartacus 10:24 PM Mar 26th via web

I do enjoy the scenes with #Spartacus and Batiatus -- nothing fancy, but Whitfield and Hannah have very good scene chemistry. 10:26 PM Mar 26th via web

RT @coasterchild sdlkfhsdkjfsfskhfjshkjdkdfhs CEILING ASHUR IS WATCHING YOU #Spartacus 10:23 PM Mar 26th via web

GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug) FUCK #spartacusdrinkinggame #Spartacus 10:28 PM Mar 26th via web

I really like how #Spartacus's relationship with Batiatus advances and is immediately checked back to master-slave. 10:29 PM Mar 26th via web

ANOTHER GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug) FUCK #spartacusdrinkinggame #spartacus 10:30 PM Mar 26th via web

Okay, I quit the #spartacusdrinkinggame. Episode's half over and my tweets will be inkreba incon incoherent if I keep this up. #spartacus 10:32 PM Mar 26th via web

(And man, was that Chekov's cliff or what?) Batiatus is so lucky he doesn't have to deal with OSHA #spartacus 10:33 PM Mar 26th via web

THERE'S Peter Mensah! I wondered if he was on vacation or something. #spartacus 10:33 PM Mar 26th via web

"Is EVERY day like this?" Only at Liberace's house, kid. #Spartacus 10:34 PM Mar 26th via web

Holy crap, Numerius. You are having the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. #Spartacus 10:35 PM Mar 26th via web

Dear Ilythia: you are crazy and I love you. Never change. Sincerely, me. Also: a mild OMGWTF. #Spartacus 10:36 PM Mar 26th via web

Hey, we got the Magistrate's name! Finally! (Colabius, I think.) #Spartacus 10:37 PM Mar 26th via web

"The Champion of Capua, always making friends." Tell it like it is, Varro.#Spartacus 10:38 PM Mar 26th via web

Wow, Batiatus is a *dick.* I have to say I like Solonius's style. #Spartacus 10:40 PM Mar 26th via web

Ahahah. Ilythia is a dick, too. Though for some reason I'm thinking about Hamlet right now. #Spartacus 10:43 PM Mar 26th via web

I love the smiles on #Spartacus and Varro in this scene. Yes, something horrible will happen -- oh, wait, there we go. 10:45 PM Mar 26th via web

...well. They've fucked each other in two episodes in a row, now. #Spartacus 10:48 PM Mar 26th via web

Awwwww, Batiatus. Harsh. #Spartacus 10:50 PM Mar 26th via web

Well, we all *knew* something horrible was coming. Poor Varro, but good stuff for Courtney and Whitfield's show reels. #Spartacus 10:52 PM Mar 26th via web

A quick question: would you rather A) see Ilythia make it to next season or B) get her horrible ironic punishment come finale? #Spartacus 10:58 PM Mar 26th via web

I hope that she C) becomes the new Thing in the Pit and lives happily ever after. Well, *she'd* be happy. #spartacus 10:59 PM Mar 26th via web

I was surprised to see how many people were surprised and upset that Varro died. Barca's death was terrible and a shocker, but Varro wasn't really that interesting; he was so transparently created to die so that Spartacus would be Very Sad that I've been expecting Varro to wind up dead for several episodes now. Clearly, Varro's death is going to be a big motivator for Spartacus, but it's been so telegraphed that it really didn't carry much effect for me. That it came at Spartacus's own hand was the only unexpected part for me.

I really don't have much to say about this episode; it was okay, but nothing really noteworthy. Next episode will probably be pretty interesting; we've got three episodes left this season, and the show has taken some of these plotlines about as far as they can go. (I think Lesley-Ann Brandt is terrific as Naevia, and expect that she's probably going to be fridged to motivate Crixus. I like her a lot, but the Crixus/Naevia hasn't done anything but have them fucking a lot, so I expect it's not going to say much about either of them by the end of things.)

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.


Posted by: The Weasel King (theweaselking)
Posted at: March 28th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)

It's not that I was surprised to see Varro die, it's that I was surprised by *why* and *how* he died. It made me sit up and go "Illythia, you DICK!"

Because, I mean, that was evil, impressively so, in a way I simply didn't see coming until the second Batiatus told the kid to decide the loser's fate. Before that I was going "huh?" and thinking she was trying to make Crixus angry, or trying to get out from under Lucretia's thumb because she knew that the "insult" to Crixus would make Lucy go all Axe Crazy on the kid who was key to Batty's ambitions.

Posted by: Sinanju (sinanju)
Posted at: March 28th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)

Illythia's scheme was brilliantly evil. It was a win for her no matter what happened. If Spartacus wins, he's forced to murder his friend. If Varro wins, he's forced to kill Spartacus. (If they balk long enough out of friendship, they both die.)

However it turns out, Spartacus suffers. That really was cunning.

I'd say that Lucretia better watch her back. She thinks she's got Illythia over a barrel, but if she pushes her far enough, Illythia will turn that vicious cleverness in her direction. (Okay, it'll happen eventually anyhow, but it'll happen that much sooner....)

Posted by: The Weasel King (theweaselking)
Posted at: March 28th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)

Oh man. Your profile says you're a SUSE fan and that you think the worst critics of the US are in the USA, but, despite being crazy, anyone who'd sign up with a username of Sinanju, nine years ago, I must love.

So I love you!

(But yes. Her plan was *the perfect storm* of awesome for a manipulative Citizen. No matter the result, the person she hates suffers *and* cannot respond even if he figures out the source of the problem. And, for *real* bonus points, the exact method of her revenge fooled me until the few seconds before it happened, leaving me with reactions that went "What's she up to? Oh, she didn't. Fuck, she did. Crap, they're FUCKED", in about that speed - which makes for infinitely entertaining TV)

Posted by: Coaster (coasterchild)
Posted at: March 28th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
kirk and spock

You know, I completely agreed that Varro was going to get offed, but it wasn't until this episode (what with all the blatant BFFing going on) that I actually became worried about it. I think I'd said it before, that until now, Spartacus has been to preoccupied with his own crap to really have much invested in his friendship with Varro.

I'm pretty sure my tweet when Ilythia saw them being BFFs was simply "Uh oh." Because that sealed it. (That she would seduce a 15-year-old to do it, I did not anticipate.)

I really don't have much of an idea what will happen to Ilythia now. A little part of me is imagining her and Ashur crossing paths. Seeing as she's got a secret, and he's profoundly good at learning things he shouldn't. And she's, well, profoundly good at fucking people up. I think their face-off could be pretty impressive.

All that being said: I AM GOING TO MISS VARRO'S STUPID BLOND CURLS ;_______;

Posted by: Sinanju (sinanju)
Posted at: March 28th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)

Speaking of the seduction of the 15 year-old, I was amused by watching how they cut that scene to show us Illythia undressing in front of and seducing the boy without actually filming it. From the point at which she starts undressing, they start cutting back and forth, but you don't see them in the same shot again.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)

My bet is that Starz lawyers had a lot to say about how that scene was shot. I mean, A LOT. For good reason.

I was really grateful when they cut away, actually.

Posted by: Sinanju (sinanju)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)

Oh, I'm absolutely certain of it. They can't have a 15 year-old boy in a scene with a nude woman. Not legally, I'm sure.

Which is why I was entertained by watching how they cut the scene the way they did. There's no doubt whatsoever about what was going on, but they could (and no doubt did) shoot them separately for most of it.

Posted by: Coaster (coasterchild)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 06:37 am (UTC)
kirk and spock

My thoughts exactly. I remember thinking briefly, after the episode was over, that there was totally an off-camera sex scene, and for this show that is WEIRD. But I am SO GLAD that's how they did it/had to do it. The scene creeped me out enough as it was.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)

A little part of me is imagining her and Ashur crossing paths. Seeing as she's got a secret, and he's profoundly good at learning things he shouldn't. And she's, well, profoundly good at fucking people up. I think their face-off could be pretty impressive.

Ooh, good call. Either they kill each other, or they get along like an evil house on fire.

Posted by: naked and articulate (sihaya09)
Posted at: March 31st, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)

I am thinking the latter, until Illythia disposes of Ashur because he knows too much.

Posted by: corrinalaw (corrinalaw)
Posted at: March 31st, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)

I think I knew that Varro was a goner when he made up with his wife.

That said, I didn't catch on what exactly would happen until the kid picked Varro to oppose Spartacus. Illyria is *evil.*

Posted by: Drooling Fan Girl (droolfangrrl)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)

I'm trying to figure out what's the roman equivalent for a fridge. I mean they've got to have something to stuff all these bodies into...

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 29th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)

Amphora? Or maybe a krater. That's a Greek thing, originally, but the Romans used picked it up. The krater was basically a punchbowl, if you were serving watered wine, but sometimes it was used like a champagne bucket (fill it with ice, put your amphora or whatever in it, and the wine stayed cool). I think "kratered" kind of has a nice ring to it. Or we could just say "jugged."

Posted by: Drooling Fan Girl (droolfangrrl)
Posted at: March 30th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)

Doing a little bit of looking around, I learned that food preserving techniques for those times included smoking, drying, salting, and pickling.



I'm all for stuffing the bodies in pickling vats and calling it a day.

Posted by: naked and articulate (sihaya09)
Posted at: March 31st, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)

I always expected Varro to die, even at Spartacu's own hand. It was just the SUDDENNESS that shocked me. There was no "oh hey, he's totally going to die in this episode" giveaway. And for as much as he's underwhelmed me in the past, Jai Courtney did an excellent job with that scene.

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