Spartacus: War of the Damned: Season 1, Episode 7

Great and Unfortunate Things (5 Mar. 2010)
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" Great and Unfortunate Things (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Biography
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,144 users  
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Spartacus is forced to play a roman fighter in the games against a group of thracians, as he recalls his wife and how he met her. Meanwhile, there are some mysteries surrounding Barca's freedom as Pietros tries to deal with it.

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Title: Great and Unfortunate Things (05 Mar 2010)

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Ashur (as Nick E. Tarabay)
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Aulus (as Mark Mitchison)
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Greg Ward ...
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Gnaeus (as Raycho Vasilev)
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Spartacus is forced to play a roman fighter in the games against a group of thracians, as he recalls his wife and how he met her. Meanwhile, there are some mysteries surrounding Barca's freedom as Pietros tries to deal with it.

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5 March 2010 (USA)  »

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Trivia

When Batiatus gives Spartacus the details for the battle reenactment, he says that the prisoners will be dressed as Thracians from the Maedi tribe. Historians believe that Spartacus was from the Maedi tribe, which occupied the area of Thrace that comprises some of modern day Bulgaria. Oddly enough, Raicho Vasilev (who portrays Gnaeus) is Bulgarian. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Refreshing writing, heavy character development, convincing acting, intriguing story, creative editing, inspiring but shallow love and smart controversial cliffhanger
8 March 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

With Barca and Sura dead the story could only be sad but tears quickly evaporate when they reach the burning ground so as expected our characters didn't have much time to mourn their loved ones. However Brent Fletcher and Steven S. DeKnight's writing was refreshing because they decided not to rush things and slowly develop the recurrent arcs. Action !

In fact this episode was quite heavy on character development even if it obviously focused on the Thracian Spartacus. For example even if I appreciated Varro's support in the past episodes I considered him as a one-dimensional character until now. Indeed someone visited him and it was the occasion to better understand why he ended up in the ludus. As expected Doctore was angry and his will could only collide with the protagonist. Peter Mensah already impressed me in Sacramentum Gladiatorum and this time I really enjoyed his numerous and investigative scenes. Moreover his peaceful and disciplined warrior spirit marvelously contrast with the bloody and unwise gladiators. As for Barca I could feel his soul all along so even if his body left the ludus forever he won't be forgotten. In fact his death was a major arc and I can't wait it to further unravel. But how can you separate the threads of a ball of wool when it's tainted with blood ?

As for the other elements the usual recipe was used but it doesn't matter because how could you get tired of it ? I don't know yet who is in charge of the creative editing but it was as good as in Legends, from the surreal transitions to the slow motions. Also for once the daydreams were replaced by flashbacks and they revealed some pivotal moments of the Thracian life. It should allow you to better understand his relationship with his wife and how they fell in love. Considering their complementary personalities their few scenes were delightful and quite inspiring in fact because the attention to the dialogs was excellent. They even reminded me of Dexter Morgan's father ghost appearances. He's dead and acts as his mentor in the show Dexter. Not to mix up with Ghost Whisperer even if I have nothing against gorgeous Jennifer Love Hewitt. It leads to Erin Cummings, his haunting muse, and the sex scenes. As much as I find her attractive and think her character Sura is interesting I'm a bit disappointed by the light representation of love. What Is love ? It may sound like a broken record but I'm surprised the female members of the show team haven't brought the matter to the attention of its creators. It's like if Spartacus and Sura only way to express their love was to have sex. I wish we saw them in their daily activities, like when Sura was picking fruits in a forbidden garden for instance. It would definitely bring some depth to their profiles and nourish the audience's empathy.

Last but not least the last part was crucial for the destiny of our hero. Indeed he had to make a hard choice and his decision should have a major influence on the upcoming story. Of course some fights occurred and even if I noted a few mistakes, like blocking a heavy bashing hammer with a sword and two sleepy hands, but overall it was good entertainment. However the strawberry on the shortcake was definitely the controversial relationship between the opponents. And the metaphora used to represent its complexity was just smart and should disturb most viewers. So as often behind the blood and sand curtain you should also perceive evil and lucky emotions like killing pain, miserable pity, hopeful joy or endless sorrow. It all depends of the way you feel about the show. And when you consider John Hannah probably seized the opportunity of a life time by playing the greedy and dual Batiatus you have to admit that the show is hard to resist.


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