So we reach the end. The end of a three year journey with the reimagined historic Thracian gladiator named Spartacus by his captors. I have to say, that before we get into the nitty gritty of the episode, this is one of the most entertaining and beautiful stories I’ve ever watched. Is there blood and gore? Yes. Gratuitous and unnecessary sex? Yes. But the story is strong, the characters are true, and the message is something that everyone can understand. So bravo to the cast, and a standing ovation to Liam McIntyre and of course the late Andy Whitfield.

Now, finales. How do we judge whether they’re good or bad? I mean, realistically it’s all objective, but I think personally it’s not all about how I feel about it afterwards, it’s also about how well did they finish this story and wrap up the series. From the very beginning this was a story of revenge. Glaber messed with the wrong man when he attacked Spartacus’s camp and sold Sura off to slavery. Despite everything that he goes through, throughout the show, Spartacus is only strengthened by it. He never strays from the path and, in my opinion, is one of the most honorable men in this show. He shows remorse in his killings on the sands, he shows pity for slaves, kindness towards people who could have even been enemies, loyalty to his dead wife, and ultimately loyalty to his people and belief in the cause. He grows, as a leader and as a warrior, but it is still the Spartacus we know. He is an unattainable man, someone who is good to a fault and honorable.

In the finale, he recalls Sura’s words that were heard from a dream oracle, “You will never love another woman”, and I think this is something that should be taken more than just at face value. It’s true, he never truly loves anyone else romantically again. But this strength of love for her, is how he continues to fight as he goes on, despite all the people who might have discouraged him. His love for her is what kept him going and what made him into the savior he is. His motivation with protecting the slaves stems from her, “They are all Sura, and I would see them live.”

As they realize that the Romans are closing in, the group forms a plan. The warriors will go to face Crassus head on, with Caesar, almost certainly going to their deaths. While the rest of the massive camp of slaves move towards the mountain path towards freedom from the Roman Empire. Agron, who was crucified and brought back, can barely hold a sword and so has been asked by Spartacus to lead the people through the mountain pass, this is obviously not what he wants. It’s also a good thing because Spartacus would have never been able to be brought back one last time if Agron had not chosen to go with them. Instead of holding a blade and a shield, Nasir fashions for him a shield that also has an attached blade and a spike, one that will not require him to grip but just strap to his arm.

One of the characters who I think has grown the deepest and farthest, after Naevia’s transformation, is Gannicus. I’m not even saying that because he’s my favorite character. When we first met the God of the Arena, he was pompous, arrogant, and flippant. He loved the sands and as a prized gladiator, he never felt the need to rebel. Winning his own freedom was the first step. Plagued with guilt after indadvertedly causing his best friend’s death, he walks the streets drinking and whoring his way out of responsibility. It’s not until he meets Spartacus and Oenomaus again that he is able to forgive himself and ask for forgiveness from Oenomaus. He joins Spartacus’s cause for his dying friend, but gains responsibility and falls in love. Sybil allows him to fully heal from his loss of Melitta and his time with Spartacus gives him a purpose to fight and lead for himself and not just for others. Gannicus is instrumental in leading the backdoor attack on the Romans and dies as a leader. Despite being crucified on the cross, he does not die in shame, and instead greets the ghost of his friend again and the cheers of his beloved fans.

The saddest sequence of events take place right after the most exciting start of the battle. As characters start to fall, each are given an epic end. None are forgotten. Lugo goes down in flames as he fights to his literal last breath before uttering a curse to the Romans. Castus falls and dies in Nasir’s arms as Agron looks on, telling Agron something that I think he needed to hear, that Nasir had never loved any other, not even Castus himself. Saxa dies in Gannicus’ arms, once again reunited with her lover after he left her bedside and went to Sybil. And Naevia, dying in a noble fight with Caesar, which ends in her death and her return to the arms of her lover Crixus, in death. I hate it when shows forget about side characters, and this show never committed that sin. And in the end, the heartbreak was that more tragic.

In the Roman camps, the truth is finally revealed as Kore tells Crassus that it was she who killed Tiberius, as revenge after he raped her. It seems like all is forgiven, as Crassus once again embraces her in his arms. And although we see in the end that she is crucified alongside Gannicus, I don’t doubt that he loved her and wanted for her to remain at his side. From the very beginning, it was obvious that Crassus loved her, and we can see in the end, it is Roman obligation that he loves more and knows that he must stay true to. It is why he crucifies her and why he chooses to kowtow to Pompey despite him having done nothing. In my opinion, Crassus is the most honorable of the Romans. He is not excessive and cruel to his men, he’s not deviant and does not mistreat his slaves. He’s a strong soldier who does not take cheap shots. Even as he stared down at Spartacus, instead of dealing the last bit of revenge in spite, he tells him “Would that you had been born a Roman.” There is a respect he holds for Spartacus that none of the former Romans had. As far as final battles, I wanted one from Crassus and Spartacus. One that was more than what we got, but I can’t have everything.

The same would go for Caesar. I mean the fact that I base the goodness of a Roman based on how little disgusting things he’s done is a little sad, but it’s true. Caesar is intelligent, he’s cunning, and he’s ambitious, but he is not disgustingly cruel. He is able to step into the shoes of the slaves and he’s able to be a Roman. Although he’s hot headed, he is still a rather respectable man as far as Romans go.

The final end is both bittersweet and heartbreaking. Many of the slaves who were escaping died by Pompey’s hand, but still some live. Despite being impaled by three spears, they manage to bring Spartacus back alive, however briefly. Agron and Nasir come to the realization that they can not take Spartacus with them, and with his support, they stay with him until his end and bury him in a grave before leaving. Spartacus dies as a free man. He did not win the war, but his legacy will go on in history. Agron tells him that he one day Rome will fall, but he will be remembered as Spartacus. To which, he replies that it is not his name, and that he will soon hear it upon the lips of his wife again. I think it says something that in his final moments, he does not yearn for fame or even the strength of his legacy to lead others, but rather the peace that he has gained with the knowledge of his freedom in death and being able to return to his wife’s arms. Plus Spartacus is not just a man, it’s an idea. As we see in the opening scene of his men declaring that they are Spartacus in his name. It is the idea of freedom from Roman slavery.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Well loosely written, cable television history. The epic battle is something else. It’s got surprise attacks, clever strategy, ballistae (which just remind me of Dragon Age), and some overhead shots of awesome battle formations. I will say that this show had some of the most awesome cinematography and the most perfect musical scores. Nothing gets the blood pumping like the music in this show, especially when it’s played to the brilliant slaughter of the gladiators of the sands. So, all in all, excellent ending.

Gratitude, Spartacus, and Starz, and the brilliant actors, and the creators, of course the historic legend we based the tale on, for the awesome end to an awesome series!


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