TV REVIEW: Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 9 – “The Dead and the Dying”
Posted by Mirjana on April 6, 2013
Have you recovered from Episode 8 yet?
We’ve got another great one this week! Tiberius finds himself in a hopeless situation thanks to Caesar, while the rebels pay tribute to The Undefeated Gaul.
Naevia arrives back at the rebel camp bearing Crixus’s head, a grim warning from Crassus to Spartacus. To make things worse, the rebels discover that Pompey is returning from his battles overseas. They hatch an elaborate plan to capture Crassus, but it doesn’t go quite to plan – they capture Tiberius and his men instead. Determined to make the most of the situation, Spartacus decides to hold games in honor of Crixus and all that have fallen for their cause. Tiberius and his men face off against the rebels, and they fall one-by-one. As Naevia is about to end Tiberius’s life, they discover that Crassus has offered a trade – 500 prisoners captured during the battle with Crixus will be returned to them if they give Tiberius back.
Spartacus leaves the decision to Naevia, and she chooses to have the 500 rebels return. Before they can complete the deal, Kore snaps and kills Tiberius. When confronted, she says that Crassus will still honor the trade if she is the one Caesar takes back with her. The freed prisoners are brought back to the rebel encampment. Among them is Agron (yay!), who has been tortured for information. Nevertheless, the reunion between him and Nasir is touching. The reunion between Crassus and Kore somewhat less so, as he informs her that she is to call him Dominus going forward. The episode closes with a powerful tribute to Crixus.
After Episode 8, we definitely needed a little pick-me-up, and we got that in the form of Agron’s survival and return to the rebels. When I watched Episode 8, I suspected that he wasn’t dead, and I am so glad that I was right. Agron is one of the characters that has grown exponentially since beings introduced in Blood and Sand. He still has his moments where he is rash and hot-headed, but he is loyal and has become one of Spartacus’s most trusted friends. I absolutely loved the reunion between him and Nasir, and I am glad this pairing survives to see another episode.
Caesar has once again proved himself to be a grand schemer. When Spartacus and his men put their plan to capture Crassus into motion, Caesar figures out who they are, yet he doesn’t report them. Instead, he encourages Crassus to send Tiberius, knowing full well he is sending him into the lion’s den. It doesn’t work out quite as he planned, since Tiberius ends up dead. I can’t imagine, though, that he’s too heartbroken over that.
I am torn over Tiberius’s death – on the one hand, the things he did in the last few episodes were so completely vile that I am glad to see him to the afterlife. On the other hand, he did start off the season as a likable character. He was dealt a terribly difficult hand by his own father and it destroyed any remnants of who he was back in Rome. He absolutely let the need to prove himself get the better of him – while I hated the man he became at the end, I still feel sorry for the boy he was before the decimation. Kudos to Christian Antidormi for pulling that off so well.
You’ll need the tissues for the closing tribute to Crixus. As the makeshift pyre burns, it becomes a tribute to all who have fallen. As the names are called out, we’re reminded of all the characters we’ve loved and lost on this incredible journey, and forced to think about who we may yet lose in the last episode.
It’s difficult to believe, but there’s only one more episode left of this brilliant series. I don’t want to see it end, yet I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week.