TV REVIEW: Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 3 – “Men of Honor”

SpartacusWOtDNow that the rebels have taken over an entire city, thoughts turn to more practical things. In an effort to impress his father (and maybe to be more like Caesar), Tiberius takes a dangerous risk, and the two sides clash in battle. Oh, and there are pirates!

 

With an ever growing army of mouths to feed, Spartacus finds himself more and more concerned about how he’s going to feed everyone. With the Aedile having destroyed a good portion of the grain before dying, Spartacus finds himself bartering with a rowdy group of Cilician pirates. Laeta, meanwhile, continues to be surprised by Spartacus when he sets her free, instructing her to care for the captive Romans. She uses her freedom to stow away some of her friends – something that proves costly for Gannicus’s friend Attius. Never having quite endeared himself to anyone, Attius is accused of harboring the Romans by Naevia, and the two of them clash in a bloody, gruesome fight.

Though he’s leading the command, Tiberius is having trouble getting people to take him seriously. When he receives word that Spartacus and the rebels have captured Sinuessa en Valle, Tiberius sends Caesar back to Crassus with the news. Though his father ordered him not to engage with Spartacus, Tiberius decides to march and the Romans attack Spartacus and the pirates as they try to do business. At first it appears that the strategy will be successful, until the pirates unleash a deadly counter attack. The Romans wind up having to retreat, and Tiberius is gravely wounded in the process.

Tiberius is played by Christian Antidormi, who is just 20 years old. It’s brilliant casting, really. Tiberius is young, arrogant and entitled – he’s also significantly shorter than the rest of the soldiers, which only lends further to him feeling like he has to prove himself all the time. Antidormi does a great job, because this kind of character can easily come off annoying or unlikable. Instead, you wind up feeling kind of bad for him.  He’s also great with Todd Lasance – they play the tension between Tiberius and Caesar brilliantly, and there’s a great scene between them this episode where Tiberius gets to pull rank on Caesar. Unfortunately, he takes a risk that backfires on him, and he’ll probably have a lot to answer for next week.

There are some more shenanigans with the Roman captives this week – Crixus has two of them fight to the death over a hunk of bread. On the one hand, you understand it, because these people were made to kill each other for sport for a long time before they got the shoe on the other foot. One the other hand, though, it’s difficult to watch and you almost feel bad for the Romans, even though they’e the “bad” guys. As we move forward in the season, we start to see some of the nastier bits of the rebellion coming forward, and that makes it just that bit harder to know who to root for.

I really enjoyed the ending of this episode – I mean, any time we get a battle is great, but I liked that the pirates united with the rebels against the Romans. A lot of fuss was made during the episode about their trustworthiness, and then they turned out ok in the end. They could have easily turned and fled – without them, Spartacus would’ve been a goner for sure. It just goes to show that you never really know who you can (and can’t) trust.

Overall, a bit slower than what we got last week, but mighty enjoyable anyway.

 

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Mirjana

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