‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’ Episode 5 Review – Time to Run

Published 2 years ago by

Manu Bennett in Spartacus WOTD Blood Brothers Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 5 Review – Time to Run

The halfway mark has typically been the point at which Steven S. DeKnight and his merry band of writers turn the already high voltage of their series up a notch. Last year, they did so with the spine-tingling fifth episode of Vengeance titled ‘Libertus,’ which centered on the rather thrilling demolition of a crowded Roman arena.

Meanwhile, Blood & Sand was operating on a 13-episode season and was still working to find its footing in terms of storytelling, but it was also around the halfway mark that things really started to come together for the series.

Thankfully, the same can be said for Spartacus: War of the Damned, which continues to compare Spartacus to his progressively more intimidating foe Marcus Crassus by demonstrating the strategic prowess of both men. Of course, unlike the rousing display that was the fiery collapse of the arena, ‘Blood Brothers’ ends on a decidedly more foreboding note. One that sees the burning gate of Sinuessa en Valle collapse under the crushing power of the Roman army’s newly crafted battering ram, while Julius Caesar looks to Agron, Saxa and Lugo with his defiant charm and informs them: “Now would be the time to run.”

Caesar’s words (and the episode itself) are a call to action that flies in the face of the supposed patience Spartacus and Crassus have displayed and been accused of overindulging in. But the game these men are playing at requires not only the brute strength of the armies both have at their disposal, but also the wherewithal to utilize that might in the proper fashion. So far, this season has spent considerable time weighing both men’s strategic ability against the other, and for every clever turn that Spartacus takes, Crassus’ influence seems to be waiting around the corner. It’s an intriguing back-and-forth that the writers have cooked up to infuse this final season of Spartacus with an intense rivalry between two men who know one another by reputation alone.

Todd Lasance in Spartacus WOTD Blood Brothers Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 5 Review – Time to Run

But the window for strategizing is closing on both men, as Crassus is informed of Rome’s growing impatience at what the Senate perceives as dawdling. Meanwhile, Spartacus has to deal with a small revolt headed up by the equally impatient and disturbingly bloodthirsty Crixus and Naevia.

Last week’s ‘Decimation‘ was a turning point of sorts for both camps. Notably, by the end of the episode, the bond that had formed between Crixus and Spartacus appeared to have been severed – or was, at least, hanging by a mere thread. Meanwhile, following his brutal punishment of the men who turned and ran after facing Spartacus for the first time, Crassus appeared to have lost a son, and gained a soulless, dead-eyed soldier instead. ‘Blood Brothers’ does a great deal to explore the ramifications of both events, and while one manages a powerful reunification, the other only winds up sinking deeper into the muck of hatred and despair.

It seems as though the rebels are on the brink of some great internal strife that will undo the solidarity that has gotten them this far. The fear that, when Spartacus is finally knocking on Rome’s door, the petty needs and unrestrained anger of his men – in particular, the one he’d appointed to succeed him – would bring the whole rebellion crashing down was suddenly very real. But as the show has done several times already this season, there was some cunning trickery at play that wanted certain eyes to see the discord between Crixus and Spartacus; namely, Laeta and the few remaining Roman prisoners, who take what was seen and deliver it to Crassus, believing it to be of significant value.

Liam McIntyre in Spartacus WOTD Blood Brothers Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 5 Review – Time to Run

Later, when Spartacus tells Crixus of his plan – to attack Crassus on two fronts after selling him the false information of a fractured rebel army – it serves to mend their rift enough that, when all hell is breaking loose in the form of Julius Caesar running amok inside Sinuessa en Valle, Crixus springs to action (in spectacular fashion) when he is needed the most.

Things don’t go so well over at Camp Crassus, however, as Kore is tasked with mending the broken relationship between Tiberius and his father. The gruesome death of Sabinus that came partially by his hand has put Tiberius in a foul state; one that leads him to a sickening form of retribution that costs Kore dearly. The scene itself is horrific, and made even more so considering the history she has with her attacker.

It’s an appalling betrayal of trust, and, in keeping with the story beats of the episode, just one in a long succession of devastatingly duplicitous acts that demonstrate just how outmaneuvered Spartacus has been, despite all the careful planning and seemingly flawless execution of his master plan. At the center of it all was the purchase of Heracleo’s loyalty, which would afford the rebels the opportunity to attack Crassus on two fronts. But with the pirate’s treachery came the realization that the enemy was clearly several steps ahead, and the only choice may be to heed Caesar’s words and “run.”

Dustin Clare in Spartacus WOTD Blood Brothers Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 5 Review – Time to Run

Various Items:

  • With visual effects companies in the news recently, let’s all take a moment to recognize the wonderful effects work that has been done on Spartacus this season. In particular, the spectacular skyline serving as the backdrop for the raid on Crassus’ grain supplies.
  • This was the standout episode for Caesar, a character that has shown a lot of promise but was essentially kept under wraps for his big reveal in ‘Blood Brothers.’ Between his slaying of Nemetes, taking on multiple opponents at once and setting the city’s gate aflame, Spartacus officially has another badass on its hands.
  • Spartacus continues to suggest that bigger things are in store for Gannicus, and he continues to scoff at such notions by saying things like, “Perhaps I will fall this night, and leave you to weep with the other women.”
  • That may have been the bloodiest handshake television has ever seen.

Spartacus: War of the Damned continues next Friday with ‘Spoils of War’ @9pm on Starz. Check out a preview of the episode below:

TAGS: Spartacus
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  1. AWESOME SHOW !!!!

    Really don’t want it to end after this season !!!

  2. This was such a bloody good ep omg.. My heart was pounding when agron was fighting caeser i honestly thought they were gonna kill agron and saxa at that moment. Holy crap

  3. I was at the edge of my seat when the Romans attacked from the ship!!! When Crixus jumped from the ledge I was yelling HELL YEAH!!! I love this show!!! I don’t want it to end!!! I’m so bummed this is the last season:(

    I can’t think of her name but i can see Ceaser kill that girl that adores Cannicus. That is going to make Gannicus step up even more and become the leader Spartacus wants him to be. I’m hoping they are going to pull a Inglorious Basterds and change history… I want Gannicus to fight Ceaser and take him.

    • ‘War of the Damned’ KINDA a big indicator that is not going to happen

  4. I think the one that plays caesar looks like a pint sized Thor.

    • More like Brad Pitt…..I don’t recall any bust of Ceasar looking anything close to Brad Pitt….Then again…That’s entertainment

      • Definately looks like Brad pitt’ character from the movie Troy where he played Archilles.

    • Agreed, he does look like a tinier version of Thor. lol.

  5. The words I was saying during the episode may not be able to be written in the comment section, but holy crap this episode was awesome. My favorite of the season for sure!

  6. fantastic episode!!!

  7. Another interesting item: Caesar backstabbing Spartacus is a clever nod to what happens to Caesar later in his life.

  8. Truly ranks up there as one of Spartacus finest episode. Crixus leaping from that distance to save Spartacus ( an I owe you from Vengeance episode 5 )was truly a showstopper. Not to mention; creator steven Deknight pays homage to Christopher Nolan’s dark Knight( Prehaps unintentionally) with the awesome repelling Agron made of the wall. That sequence was executed flawlessly, in slow motion, and had the music to back it up…truly the 2 finest sequences in this episode of Spartacus.
    I’m really going to miss this show, as it was my favorite on television.

  9. This is absolutely one of my all time favorite shows. Just one thing keeps nagging at: Spartacus has a buzz cut. ??? Everyone else looks authentically from that era, but Spartacus looks like he has access to electric clippers. Seriously, how does one get that haircut in ancient Rome?

    One other blooper, last night’s episode, in which the favored Roman slave girl gets raped by the son…uhm, hello, you can clearly see her contact lenses in one very important, long close up scene. Directors today need to remember that everything is in HD. Seeing those kinds of things breaks the magic.

    Otherwise, I HATE that this show is ending, it’s so much fun, well acted, amazing effect, just totally underrated. I don’t know why I don’t hear more talk about this show.

  10. I forgot to add, the most awesome line delivery and scene of all television this season…

    “Now would be time to run…!”

    Just epic.

  11. This season appeared quite slow in the beginning and i missed the gladiator fights but boy has the series turned into one awesome show.I definitely see the last 5 episodes to b one of the greatest ever

  12. Great episode! What worries me though is that Caesar is a in the history books and unless they meddle with history, he is going to win.

  13. Agron coming down the wall in slo mo was freaking cool

  14. Best line of that episode was when gannicus tells naevia that if she puts her hands on him again he’s going to treat her like a “true warrior”. Ive HATED naevia this whole season. Good episode because it did one thing that was crucial, it made me hate one of the villians (Ceasar). So far this season I haven’t really hated any of the main characters except for maybe crassus’ son a few times but after last episode i was ready to be done with crixus and start cheering for Ceasar.

    I liked how the season started with a hint that Spartacus may start to become the blood thirsty one in his never ending quest to avenge his wifes death. Kind of like a “you either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain” I wonder if they will ever revisit that dynamic that was made.

    • Yeah…Spartacus have lost perspective. He already got his vengeance on those responsible for his wife’s death, as well as his imprisonment. He just doesn’t know when to quit when he is ahead.

  15. I luv the show only that ceasar would win according to history, I hate his attitue cos he’s too arogant. crassus has always been displaying high level of maturity and intelligence like spatarcus.

  16. Best episode thus far. I can’t wait for Friday’s episode with the Romans entering the city now. OMG, just amazing series. This last season could very well go down as the best series finale ever. Just epic

  17. Can they please make a Julius Caesar and Marcus Crassus spinoff! There’s so much to cover after the fall of Spartacus that I don’t want to turn towards imagination alone (uh his defeat of Pompei would be awesome!). At the beginning of the episode as Tiberius ssits alone, I was like ‘my…god, he better not rape Kore.” They’ve subtly hinted at an oedipus complex since the beginning of the season (particularly when Julius Ceasar makes Kore cry and Tiberius demands to know what’s the matter). Anyways, you can imagine my (lack of) surprise during the rape scene and how I screamed, “what are you doing you little sh5t! Damnit Tiberius!” I should be happy that he didn’t kill her…but it’s almost just as bad. Poor Kore. :/ And heaven help him when his father finds out (unless Kore lies or becomes his sex slave like Lucretia was to Asher). I was terrified that Agron was going to die in this episode ( I mean, when you know the history of Ceasar, you know he’s not going to be killed anytime soon). Thank god he has another day to lovingly glance at Nasir!

    • They did make a series about the further adventures of the Caesar, it’s called “Rome” and it stars the beautiful Ray Stevenson. It’s an awesome HBO series from a couple of years back.

      • But I want another Caesar-inspired show with the actors from Spartacus ( I mean, in the HBO series is Marcus Crassus equally as amazing as he is in Spartacus?)

  18. Thank you Kevin for an excellently written article on one of the best shows currently on TV.

  19. I had a thought about the end of Spartacus. I sort of hope they end it like the end of Glory or Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid: a still shot of a final charge. Or like in 300 with the deaths of Leonidas and others. Something epic like that.