Spartacus: War of the Damned: Season 1, Episode 10

Party Favors (26 Mar. 2010)
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" Party Favors (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Action, Adventure, Biography
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Numerious, the Magistrate's son, is about to celebrate his birthday and the celebration will be at the house of Batiatus, so he decides to have Crixus and Spartacus facing each other in a ... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


Numerious, the Magistrate's son, is about to celebrate his birthday and the celebration will be at the house of Batiatus, so he decides to have Crixus and Spartacus facing each other in a demonstration battle. But when Ilithyia approaches Numerious, he changes his decision drastically. Written by MaritoCamacho

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Release Date:

26 March 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Dream writing team, intense and wicked story, irresistible characters and top notch acting, appealing recurring elements and extreme emotions
30 March 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Pairing writers seems to be one of the successful strategies behind the show. Indeed Tracy Bellomo and Andrew Chambliss did an overwhelming job on Delicate Things but we could also mention episodes like Great and Unfortunate Things. And when you have Steven S. DeKnight as head writer it can only lead to masterful episodes like Party Favors. This time Brent Fletcher teamed up with Miranda Kwok. My opinion about her work on Shadow Games was mixed even if it was a puzzling and emotional installment. When it comes to the show I consider rating an episode below 7 out of 10 would be inappropriate because its foundation is just too strong. With such a dream team the story could only be twisted, unpredictable and smart. As for the execution it was flawless and the new director did an excellent job. IM not the supervisor on Spartacus but if I was I would be damn proud of my achievements. So instead of nosebleeding like a genius turtle let's enumerate the elements that make Party Favors stands right beside Delicate Things.

First Katrina Law was back as Mira, the ludus new female slave. She has the beauty of an Amazon and could be what they never allowed Sura to be, the water drop that could even purify a pool of tainted blood. It leads us to Andy Whitfield who plays Spartacus, formerly known as the Thracian. All our thoughts are with him considering his health condition and the only thing I'm sure is that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. They say acting helps becoming who you are and that portraying fictional characters make you unleash the different personalities within you. I believe Mr Whitfield is both a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Such a strange and inspiring man can only beat the Grim Reaper and transform its bones into sand. In my The Red Serpent review I wrote that in Spartacus blood was associated to death so in real life it would be logical if life was Whitfield's companion. In the show it's Varro's role and this episode focused on their growing friendship. Both actors delivered strong performances but the whole cast also did a great job. John Hannah doesn't play Batiatus, he is Batiatus. Viva Bianca was also exquisite as the wicked Ilythia.

As for the other elements I enjoyed they're quite numerous. First the editing was more creative than in Delicate Things even if it wasn't as inspiring as in the pilot. Second the beginning was nothing like in Mark of the Brotherhood as a brutal and entertaining fight in the arena is featured. Remember Shadow Games bloody ending ? Well in my opinion it was better. Third the boomerang arcs mentioned in my previous reviews kept their sharp-edged dance around the characters and some moments were quite intense. Fourth the Crixus versus Spartacus battle developed further and you'll have to watch the episode to know if they finally collided or if the writers continued to tease us like if these half-naked men were strippers or go go dancers, because I hope women also read me. And when it comes to foreplay there's nothing better than a good old game of checkers. Yes because the fifth element I really appreciated was the use of a Roman board game, that also reminded me of othello and go because of its black and white pieces, to teach us a few things about strategy. One face-off was particularly unexpected and brought even more tension between some characters. How can you fall asleep as a ludus resident when you are surrounded by enemies ? Moreover the game wasn't only featured for a few split seconds like in Lost or Caprica, it was part of the story and I could spend hours to match the characters with chess pieces.

Last but not least life would be boring without emotions. It also applies to olympic entertainment and the diversity of what I felt was just mind blowing. My eyes popped out from their orbit for an astral home run I could never get tired to experience. My arms wanted to support the wounded or betrayed, and my hands to randomly spank a few guest hands and shake… My point is that I also laughed a lot. You can't resist Varro's jokes and Crixus tiger eyes. As for the ending it was brilliantly set up and I really didn't see it coming. In The Matrix they bended a spoon but here they just melted it. As for the blood it was pouring like wine at a Dionysos orgy.

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