I finally got around to watching the season premiere of Spartacus: War of the Damned, which aired last Friday on Starz, and I think it could be one of the series’ best. “Enemies of Rome” opens with one of the goriest slow motion battle scenes I’ve ever witnessed, and the action never slows from there. It made me feel like a man all over again. It’s very clear that the showrunners want to go out with a bang this season, and I think they’re off to a great start.
“Enemies of Rome” features Spartacus and his army at their peek. The former gladiator’s army has swelled in size and reputation, which has finally caused Rome and its self-serving politicians to really take Spartacus’s mission seriously. After the defeat of the two latest Roman generals; the senate is forced to enlist the help of a very wealthy Marcus Crassus, who we heard about in the first season of the show. After his introduction I can tell you that he’s going to be an awesome new character to watch, and probably the one Roman who will ultimately lead to Spartacus’ demise.
I absolutely love how the show’s writers have crafted this new foe. We get to see his cunning political and impressive physical skills in action in the season premiere, which quickly reminds us that he’s no Glaber or Batiatus. This Roman is actually like-able even though we as an audience know that he’s the penultimate bad guy this season, which just goes to show you how well written and performed this character is in War of the Damned.
Crassus will give Spartacus a run for his money
I believe this is due to how he’s portrayed in “Enemies of Rome” as more than just an entitled Roman scumbag. Throughout the episode we are taken on a character arc that perfectly sets up Crassus as a worthy foe to the show’s hero; Spartacus. There’s a great exchange between Crassus and his son, which perfectly illustrates how much different he is when compared to the other villains of seasons past.
Crassus is more evolved in his views on society, which allows him to understand the mind of Spartacus. He respects the man unlike his Roman compatriots, and we get to see how much so as the episode plays out. Let’s just say that Spartacus is finally going to be given a run for his money as we’ve all learned in our history books.
Speaking of the titular character I can confirm that Liam is back and better than before, but he’ll never be Andy Whitfield. He just seems too physically small to fill the role. I was hoping that someone would get him hocked up on steroids and fat burners for this new season, but it just looks like he forgot to eat and work out altogether. Regardless, I took to him much better than I did last season, and for all intents and purposes Liam is doing the role justice. I just wished he looked more like a terrorizing badass than a soccer player.
Outside of that issue though it was great to see the cast of former slaves and gladiators back together again. These warriors know how to ruin people’s days better than a case of genital warts. Not once but twice we get to see Spartacus and his Captains mow Roman soldiers down like they were made out of butter; a whole lot of bloody gut filled butter.
Mini Spartacus and his Captains of Death
Which honestly is why I started watching this show in the first place. I love over-the-top violence, and “Enemies of Rome” had more than its fair share of it. In fact, like I mentioned earlier, this episode has the greatest opening sequences for gore that I’ve ever seen and it needs to be witnessed by all meat eating males! Watch it now or forever be a girly-man!
When it was all said and done the return of Spartacus to the airwaves was a successful one. With the increased violence and the introduction of Marcus Crassus, I truly believe that War of the Damned could be the best season of Spartacus since the original. The writers did a fine job introducing this season’s villain, and I think he’ll make for a great foil to Spartacus. The high octane violence and gory slow-mo shots have been taken up a notch, so if you haven’t check it out yet I highly suggest taking in a viewing of “Enemies of Rome” for free here.
You can also catch a preview of the second episode after the break. Spartacus: War of the Damned airs on Friday nights at 9PM EST on Starz. You’ve been wishing this show would never end…
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