Spartacus: War of the Damned, |
created by Steven S. DeKnight
(Anchor Bay, 2013)
It's been a year, and Liam McIntyre has now stepped solidly into the role of Spartacus left vacant by the death of Andy Whitfield. Spartacus is no longer leading a small, ragtag band of former slaves; he's leading an army and, with it, a multitude of people needing his protection.
It vastly changes the feel of the story, which through three previous seasons has felt confined to a much smaller area, and with far fewer people to contend with. Still, even with a vast population at his heels and a vaster army of Romans before him, Spartacus keeps his usual suspects -- plus a few new additions -- close.
But tempers fray as Spartacus decides the best way to protect and feed his flock is to seize a Roman city. There are, obviously, a lot of Romans already there, and the former slaves have sharp disagreements over how the surviving Romans should be treated. He and close allies Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Agron (Daniel Feuerriegel) end up at odds with Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), the latter of whom grows increasingly driven by tireless rage.
Meanwhile, their efforts are undermined by the undercover efforts of Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) -- yes, that Caesar -- at the behest of Roman imperator Crassus (Simon Merrells), who is eager to test his mettle against that of Spartacus in battle even as he tries to rein in his hot-headed impetuous son, Tiberius (Christian Antidormi).
And there are pirates, too.
The earlier episodes in this final season feel off, oddly paced, and I was worried the series would end on a low note. No fears in that regard, however; the final episodes deliver powerful clashes between mighty armies that are every bit as epic as anything Hollywood has shown on the big screen. History dictates the outcome, but the show gives these beloved characters a dramatic, proper and moving sendoff. I have watched the series through twice now, and I'm sure I will watch it again.
27 May 2017
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