Spartacus: War of the Damned: Season 1, Episode 4

The Thing in the Pit (12 Feb. 2010)
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" The Thing in the Pit (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Action, Adventure, Biography
8.5
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After being defeated by Crixus in the arena, Spartacus is sent to the underworld to fight for Batiatus, who now is plagued by debts. There, in a place called "The Pits", the men are no ... See full summary »

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After being defeated by Crixus in the arena, Spartacus is sent to the underworld to fight for Batiatus, who now is plagued by debts. There, in a place called "The Pits", the men are no longer men and are forced to kill their opponents in order to survive. After some victories, Spartacus has a dream about his wife, in which he believes he will not survive his next battle. Because of this, he agrees to die in the battle and encourages Batiatus to bet against him, only if he promises to keep searching for Spartacus' wife after his death. But things didn't result as they expected after Batiatus is attacked by two unknown men. Written by MaritoCamacho

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12 February 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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The actor who portrays Ixion is Raicho Vasilev. The voice for Ixion was done by Campbell Cooley. See more »

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Immersive and disturbing story ; brutal, realistic and creative fights ; impressive make-up and intriguing parallel arcs
20 February 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Welcome to the Hellmouth ! It could have been this episode title considering what happened to Spartacus after he failed to honor his master Batiatus in the arena. He lost the crowd, his pride and more important the only chance he had to get Sura back. It sounded like an other bloody installment but even the past episodes hadn't prepared us for the events I have just seen. It was just pure insanity. Did I lose my mind in the process ? Am I writing or still enduring the scenes from the cave ? The show is so immersive that it's really hard to focus on something else once you have seen one of its episodes.

The best part is not that all the great elements we have already enjoyed were back but that it was very different. He trained in Sacramentum Gladiatorum and learned his lesson in Legends. Humiliated by Crixus his only choice was to redeem himself and Batiatus decided to throw him into the pit. But what's The Thing ? Is it a Roman version of Hannibal Lecter ? What about the three-headed guardian Cerberus ? Snakes trapped inside the throat of a dragon ? It should remind you of films like Mad Max : Beyond Thunderdome where a character has to fight opponents one after the other. It was a neverending nightmare and like Spartacus you should just lose track of time.

A daydream came back on his black horse to haunt our hero and this time it was even more disturbing. Will the rain ever stop ? It's not what they wished for. Will it ever end ? Sura asked him in a vision while his friend Varro, well played by Jai Courtney, was talking to him. It was a dramatic and pivotal scene because like at the end of The Red Serpent he had to find a way to survive. But he wasn't fighting, not yet. The warrior within, it's who he really had to beat this time.

The fights were bloody and jaws opened to scream when they weren't already broken. The slow motion visual effects was again heavily used to show flying teeth and other dancing body parts. The close ups were astonishing and even reminded me of boxing matches with heavy fighters. It was so brutal and looked very realistic. Moreover the choreography was surprising because between two vibrant punches they even managed to show some jujitsu moves ! The random weapons were also quite original and used in very creative and twisted ways. An other impressive element was the make-up because we slowly witnessed the playboy turning into a pile of red meat with hundreds of wounds on his body. Half of the female audience should faint in despair and wonder how Brad Pitt would have taken it.

No pity, the only suffering he felt was for himself. The violence was overwhelming the place where dusty stones found a second life. A scream in the dark. Some people doing the dance of the dead while others are trying to escape the dungeon. It just didn't make sense. Hopefully the Crixus arc, Lucretia's little road trip and Batiatus financial issues linked us to the harsh reality. But what worries me the most is that I think the creative minds behind the show haven't brought their A game yet. Most of the scenes were crafted by the sweat of passion and I have finally realized that their imagination is probably endless. I know they won't disappoint us and that the upcoming episodes are going to be as awesome, and probably better. It's what happens when you gather so much talent in one place and decide to unleash your inner and beastly ideas.


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