Spartacus: Blood and Sand first season finale – Kill Them All – Episode review

After twelve fantastic episodes, the lives of everyone in the House of Batiatus are drawing to an epic conclusion. The title of the finale – Kill Them All – might have been a bit of a spoiler if you’re delicate like that, but as usual it was the execution of the um…executions that was just so delicious.

When the Spartacus: Blood And Sand finale began, our hero was already in battle with Crixus. But the moment of panic was soon over – surely the slave uprising wouldn’t be over in the blink of an eye – when the prelude to the battle was revealed, taking us back two days. I actually cheered when the story spun back, because we were being teased. Clearly Spartacus hadn’t managed to convince Crixus to side with his rebellion and they were already trading blows in the sand.

The ludus politics are still in full swing – Batiatus is promising to set Doctore free, Doctore is promising to return Naevia to Crixus, Asher is poisoning Crixus’ food to stack the advantage in Spartacus’ favour. Lucretia is bullying Ilithia into inviting the Roman nobility to the Ludus for the event to celebrate Glaber’s patronage.

Spartacus continues to plot the demise of Batiatus, but he needs to get Crixus and his men on side to stand a chance. However, Crixus has a chance of being reunited with Naevia and declines. Though in a moment of touching fraternity, the two agree that whoever wins the battle, that man will carry out the other’s dying wish. Crixus now knows of Batiatus killing Spartacus’ wife, but it’s not enough to convince him to side with the Thracian.

When eventually we catch up to the battle between the two champions, Crixus starts to fade. Spartacus reveals that he’s been poisoned by Batiatus, and that finally tips the balance for Crixus. In one of the greatest moments in the entire series, Crixus taps his shield, indicating to Spartacus that he’s on side. Spartacus takes a run up the shield and Crixus launches him onto the balcony where Spartacus takes out one of the men instantly. He’s about to thrust his blade into Batiatus’ face when his arm is snagged by Doctore’s whip. With no time to explain, Crixus slashes the whip and incites the other men to rebel.

Because the very viability of the uprising was teetering in the balance, the moment when the slaves start fighting is utterly exhilarating. They rage through the ludus, killing everything in sight. In the heat of that battle, scores are settled. Crixus ends Lucretia’s pregnancy with his blade, leaving her alive to suffer the loss as she bleeds out. It’s brutal but settles the karmic balance for that vile woman. Doctore, eventually siding with the slaves, catches up with Asher and gives him a beating, but Asher escapes him and hides among the dead bodies. Varro’s wife takes revenge on the Roman boy who ordered her husband’s death. It’s a savage and emotional murder, but for a minor character, Brooke Williams pours her heart and soul into the tortured widow. The kid deserved it – he traded her husband’s life for a romp with Ilithia. I’m sure it was worth it.

In the end though, we wanted to see Spartacus versus Batiatus. Not that the ludus owner stood a chance, but it was hilarious to see him surrounded by slaves and spitting venom at them. It was so satisfying when Batiatus saw his empire crumbling around him, after spending so much time building up to that point. Lucretia blunders into the room and dies side by side with him as Spartacus opens his throat and silences his glorious swearing forever.

I don’t think there’s ever been a character in television history who has sworn with as much colour and vulgarity as Quintus Lentulus Batiatus. For that, he will be much missed. Well, until the prequel series resurrects John Hannah’s character!

As a final treat – and possible prelude to the next full series of Spartacus, our hero gives a noble speech about why they’ve chosen to revolt. Next stop, Rome! Yes, the slaves want their plight to be noted by Rome. And why not? If it keeps us in treachery, swordplay and the odd passionate romp, why not? I’ll follow you, Spartacus!

Note: From what I’ve read, Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) was diagnosed with a tumor before a second series was planned. He’s fine now, though. But to keep the franchise running, Starz have created a prequel series Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena to fill the gap and when Whitfield is recovered, the full second series will commence.

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