Spartacus: Gods of the Arena: The Bitter End Review

It is the bitter end for the prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Batiatus sought consolation with Lucretia and his fellow gladiators of his ludus for the death of his father Titus.  However, Vettius spoiled the scene for Batiatus demanding payment of Gannicus within a day and lied about Tullius‘, his mentor’s excursion to Antioch for business.  Unfortunately, Vettius’ arrival at his father’s funeral brought on his untimely departure prior to the opening of the new arena in Capua.  Connecting two and two together, or so he thought, Batiatus believed that Titus was assassinated by Tullius and Vettius, with slight deception by Lucretia.  Gannicus, with this knowledge, sought his revenge for the death of Melitta.

With this onset of manipulation, Vettius and Tullius were caught in the crossfire, and Gannicus, Oenomaus, Ashur and Batiatus ambushed Vettius and Tullius.  Sadly, Tullius was buried alive in the walls of the new arena. Additionally, Vettius gave his ludus and his gladiators to Solonius without Batiatus’ consent and departed Capua to join his mentor, Tullius, in Antioch supposedly.  Solonius finally earned his place as a leonista and within the upcoming games in Capua and abroad.  He had learned from his former mentor and friend the art of deception, and they have become rivals as a result.

After the formalities, the gladiator fights began with the gladiators of the House of Batiatus and the House of Solonius.  At night, the real games began, the ultimate fight between the two Houses, a Royal Rumble between the two teams of gladiators set in a ring of fire.  Those who were kicked out of the ring were eliminated from the primus in Rome, and those who died were eliminated altogether.  Solonius gladiators notably outnumbered Batiatus’ gladiators 2 to 1, but numbers don’t count for raw talent.

As the Royal Rumble began, the Roman drum chorus rang through each clash of the swords, shields and spears.  Ashur killed his Syrian brother, Dagan.  Surprisingly, Crixus dismantled Ashur’s leg for his sole desire to confront Gannicus and kicked Ashur out of the ring.  Unfortunately, Crixus soon joined Ashur as he was kicked out of the ring as well.  Gannicus became the victor of the Royal Rumble and was finally granted freedom by the Roman magistrate.  Thus set the events in motion for season 1 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand with Batiatus’ acquisition of Spartacus…

Overall, a great conclusion to a somewhat dramatic prequel series to Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  More on the foreshadowing of season 2 later…