It's not a bad bit of duck-herding. "Old Wounds" isn't one of the best episodes to date, but it does what it has to do well, and it has a couple of really strong moments and unsettling images. There's too much padding, but it ends in a really terrific place, even if how it gets there doesn't make a huge amount of sense.
Quick recap: Batiatus, frustrated in his political ambitions, plots to move against the Magistrate and Solonius. Openly, however, he's arranging games against champions from Pompeii, with Spartacus taking on the Pompeiian master of disaster Pericles. But an infection from the cut given Spartacus by Varro, in their death match, and Spartacus's depressive failure to care for it, brings the champion of Capua low, forcing Batiatus to substitute Crixus. The big Gaul is rusty at first, and takes some big hits, agitating Lucretia and prompting Batiatus to order her to go home and rest (meaning that neither Lucretia nor Naevia sees their big lug come back to win).
In the meantime, Batiatus's thugs have shanghaied the Magistrate, and when Ashur, who's been taking bribes from Batiatus's archenemy Solonius, lets Solonius know about it, Solonius makes a beeline for the magistrate's hiding place to free him. But when he gets there, he finds the Magistrate dead -- and Batiatus, with the Magistrate's son and a bunch of guards in tow, all witness to Solonius's apparent murder. Ashur had faked the defection; he'd been loyal to Batiatus all along. Solonius, despite the fact that the Magistrate's son is *right freaking there,* does not protest his innocence for some reason. He'll probably be killed before he can change his mind, leaving Batiatus free of enemies and smelling like a rose.
Spartacus spends most of the episode in a fever dream (including one effective and truly disturbing vision of gold coins spilling from his wound), but when it breaks he finds himself in the sickbay with the driver of the cart that brought Spartacus's wife Sura back just in time to die in Spartacus's arms, the cart having been attacked by bandits. Cued in by his dream's repeated urging to "tend the wound," Spartacus checks the site of the guy's old injury and finds him unscarred from the attack, meaning his injuries had been faked; a little brutal interrogation reveals that the death of Sura was ordered by Batiatus, prompting our hero to prepare for his long-in-coming revenge. TO BE CONTINUED.
So, ducks in a row. Batiatus is happy, Spartacus is planning revenge, and all hell is about to break loose. But the episode doesn't really do much of anything that's interesting, other than Batiatus's plotting; Spartacus's fever dream has one good image and a lot of hour-filler. And "Old Wounds" gives yet more time to the Crixus/Naevia relationship, but doesn't do anything with the pair. It's odd: Crixus is one of my favorite characters on the show, and Naevia is one of the few characters on the show that I actually *like* as a person, so you'd think I'd be interested in seeing them get together. But nothing really interesting comes out of it.
I'll give you a simple question: why does Crixus like Naevia? I know, I know, I'm treating this stupid thing like it's a real show here, but it's worth thinking about for just a second: these two characters are supposed to be in love or at least care for each other, but all they do is make out. They don't learn about each other, so we don't learn about them. Here's the problem: people being romantically or sexually attracted to each other is not interesting. People who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other *doing something interesting* is interesting. I know Crixus and Naevia are an item. You don't need to tell me twenty times, show. They're eating screen time while poor Peter Mensah's hanging around the craft services table and playing Scribblenauts.
It's clear at this point that the only reason for this plotline is that so Naevia can die to motivate Crixus (specifically, my bet is that Lucretia kills Naevia for fucking Crixus, which motivates Crixus to hand over the key to the ludus to Spartacus and join him in rebellion). This sucks because 1) I really like Lesley-Ann Brandt a lot and 2) they don't need to fridge her to motivate Crixus, because *he used to have a good buddy whose name was Barca.* Hey, show, remember Barca? I bet Crixus would be pissed off to learn that Barca was murdered by Batiatus. If, y'know, anybody were going to any effort to find out what *happened* to Barca. Anybody. At all.
Right. On to the live-Tweets:
@CorrinaLawson Come #Spartacus tweet with us! You can even play the #spartacusdrinkinggame. 7:22 PM Apr 2nd via Tweetie in reply to CorrinaLawson
@CorrinaLawson and re: yr question ["I am contemplating tweeting during #spartacus tonight. I wonder how many times I will write 'Spartacus mopes' and 'oh, look! Naked people'"], "often if not constantly." 7:23 PM Apr 2nd via Tweetie in reply to CorrinaLawson
@CorrinaLawson yup! #Spartacus is the main hashtag, and #spartacusdrinkinggame is (so far) just me getting plastered and swearing a lot. 7:42 PM Apr 2nd via Tweetie in reply to CorrinaLawson
Almost time for #Spartacus! I will be playing my #spartacusdrinkinggame. If it goes badly, I may switch to "Jupiter's Cock." 9:59 PM Apr 2nd via web
Disclaimer: "Spartacus is more accurate than your average CSI show. No, really, it is. Also, more penises." 10:01 PM Apr 2nd via web
@Erob8 [re: creating a drinking game whose sole rule is to drink every time somebody says "cock"] Already exists! That's the #Spartacus game "Jupiter's cock." 10:02 PM Apr 2nd via web in reply to Erob8
End #Spartacus moping, cue GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug). Oh, God. #spartacusdrinkinggame 10:04 PM Apr 2nd via web
"He's not going to take this loss well." AHAHAHAH Lucretia speaks truth. #Spartacus 10:05 PM Apr 2nd via web
#Spartacus Dude, Batiatus is *not wasting time* -- oh, crud, GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug) #spartacusdrinkinggame 10:07 PM Apr 2nd via web
...yeah, I should've added #Spartacus getting summoned to the #spartacusdrinkinggame. 10:08 PM Apr 2nd via web
John Hannah, leaving no scenery unchewed! I like the scenes with Batiatus and #Spartacus. 10:11 PM Apr 2nd via web
[Spartacus hallucinates Varro] You guys do remember the last dead person #Spartacus hallucinated was his wife, right? Okay. 10:13 PM Apr 2nd via web
[A character says,"This is madness!"] MADNESS? THIS. IS. #SPARTACUS!!!! 10:15 PM Apr 2nd via web
(I only say what everyone is thinking.) #Spartacus 10:16 PM Apr 2nd via web
Y'know what Batiatus's problem is? Frustrated supervillain. Just sayin'. #Spartacus 10:18 PM Apr 2nd via web
#Spartacus BTW: GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE (chug). Also, slo-mo (1 drink)! (#spartacusdrinkinggame 10:19 PM Apr 2nd via web
"Primus against Pompeii, finally mine, and the gods shove cock in ass!" #Spartacus #actualspartacusdialog 10:21 PM Apr 2nd via web
Wow, I will say that #Spartacus has a really good nightmare sequence. 10:24 PM Apr 2nd via web
@moniquepowell [who felt that the Romans wouldn't say "fuck"] Check out the poetry of Catullus. He was alive around the time of #Spartacus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catullus_16 10:26 PM Apr 2nd via web in reply to moniquepowell
"Do you have the balls to see this through alone?" "Two of them, very large." #actualspartacusdialogue #Spartacus 10:29 PM Apr 2nd via web
Man, the dude representing Pompeii is one smug bastard. #Spartacus 10:32 PM Apr 2nd via web
Interesting: the show has done a lot about Crixus's desire to return to the arena, and his usurpation by #Spartacus. No Pericles buildup. 10:33 PM Apr 2nd via web
Wow, Hannah, way to hyperextend that kid's elbow. #Spartacus 10:33 PM Apr 2nd via web
Man, I *love* that dude from Pompeii. What a colossal twerp! He's magnificent. #Spartacus 10:35 PM Apr 2nd via web
ooooooouuch. Somebody dies! Two drinks. #Spartacus #spartacusdrinkinggame 10:38 PM Apr 2nd via web
[Crixus wins, but Batiatus has ordered Lucretia and Naevia to leave the box, so Crixus looks crestfallen.] (And his love interests aren't there to share it. Awwww, *Crixus.* #spartacus #woobiecrixus 10:39 PM Apr 2nd via web
Ashur tips Solonius to the Magistrate's captivity! There are a bunch of ways this #Spartacus ep could go from this point. None boring. 10:42 PM Apr 2nd via web
[Spartacus hallucinates Varo and Sura] Man, some people get more quality time when dead than they did when alive. When's Barca's flashback? #spartacus 10:44 PM Apr 2nd via web
[Spartacus hallucinates Varro in Roman uniform] Varro's into Roman cosplay? Kinky. Who knew? #Spartacus 10:45 PM Apr 2nd via web
BATIATUS YOU MOTHERFUCKER DID YOU JUST MAKE AN ASIDE TO CAMERA? #Spartacus 10:47 PM Apr 2nd via web
Dear Batiatus: you are beautiful. Nice frame-up. #Spartacus 10:49 PM Apr 2nd via web
And #Spartacus learns the truth. Now the stage is set for the season finale. 10:51 PM Apr 2nd via web
And also: GLADIATOR TRAINING SEQUENCE. #Spartacus 10:51 PM Apr 2nd via web
Not the best #Spartacus ep (too much padding) but good show for dir. Glenn Standring & writer Daniel Knauf (w/ Dan Filie & Patricia Wells). 10:54 PM Apr 2nd via web
#Spartacus is a) completely ridiculous and b) as entertaining as a motherfucker. Looking forward to the blood-soaked finale. 10:57 PM Apr 2nd via web
RT CorrinaLawson And this is why I have to watch this show. Even w/all the gladiator sequences & bad dialogue, it surprises me. #Spartacus 10:51 PM Apr 2nd via Seesmic Web Retweeted by you
I almost typed "not very." Then I moved my head. RT @strixus @hradzka So, how drunk ARE you from that.... #spartacusdrinkinggame 11:00 PM Apr 2nd via web
And there we are. It'll be interesting to see what happens next week, and after. Seriously, I want Ashur to pay for Barca, and right now I don't see the show doing anything to make that happen. (I always saw vengeance for Barca as a Crixus angle, but y'know who I'd mark out for if he just came out of nowhere and stabbed Ashur in the back? Doctore. *That* would be sweet.)
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