Spartacus: “Blood Brothers” Recap
Caesar’s schemes finally come to a head in an episode that saw many tables turned, and a many expectations thwarted.
It’s episodes like this one, “Blood Brothers,” when you wish certain characters weren’t protected by history. Normally on a show or in a movie, with a scoundrel like Caesar, you start trying to predict which hero will be the one to take him down. Who will his final battle be with? But since Caesar is freakin’ Caesar, complete with back-stabbing both figurative and literal, it stands to reason that he’ll be spared. Which is probably why, in this chapter full of double and triple crosses, no major good guy character met his (or her) end. Because the show would never be able to avenge them as Caesar has immunity.
There were parts of this episode that were frustrating as we watched Crixus fall deeper and deeper into a rage, all the while Caesar spreading rumors that Spartacus had fled the city with Gannicus, even eventually buying the pirates out from under him. But that was all part of the engine. I think I was most bothered by the fact that Spartacus had a great plan, which took full advantage of his falling out with Crixus, and I kind of wanted to see it play out and lead them to victory. But the pirates put a stop to all of that and the only major players to meet their end here were the treacherous pair of Heracleo and Nemetes.
And despite being left out of the cunning plan (that never happened), for his own good, Crixus was still able to re-bond with Spartacus by the end – although he still fought so much like a mad dog that Naevia, of all people, had to rein him in. And now it’s time for the rebels to run. Not sure what the numbers will be at this point, but I predict not many more than our major cast members and a few stragglers. They’ll be set out in the winter now with nowhere to turn, so the time for divisiveness better be over. And once again, Spartacus spoke to Gannicus about leadership.
Over to the Romans. Crassus now has a pesky Senator, Metellus, breathing down his neck, making me think that he’ll devise a clever way of assuring that Metellus accidentally doesn’t make it back to Rome in one piece. Meanwhile, we got another tender love scene between Crassus and Kore, with a single tear shed by Crassus in the heat of passion. Now the story that really threw me here was that of Tiberius and the way he wound up raping Kore. First, the show tricked me a bit because there always seemed to be a “love” between Kore and Tiberius, as if she loved both father and son in a sexual manner. And so, in fact, I thought she had invited Tiberius to her tent to seduce him. Even perhaps at the behest of Crassus himself. But man, what a little s***. And just when we were beginning to empathize with him. But his humility barely lasted a few days and now he’s back to feeling like an entitled brat again.
I guess it will serve Crassus right, or at least even out the karma scales, when his house becomes even more divided than it already is. Given that he sent Caesar behind enemy lines to do the same thing to Spartacus. There was also mention of the “adolescent butcher” Pompey returning from war soon to deal with Spartacus if Crassus doesn’t get the job done. All in all, a rewarding, head-spinning episode, that required strict attention paid to all the schemes and secrets.
Matt Fowler is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler