‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’ Episode 9 Review – Balance the Scales

Published 2 years ago by

Liam McIntyre The Dead and the Dying Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 9 Review – Balance the Scales

As far as penultimate episodes go, one can hardly blame Spartacus: War of The Damned for wanting to provide a little fan service in the brief resurrection of Spartacus and Gannicus’ gladiator side, as they choose to honor the “Undefeated Gaul” in what is (likely) the twilight of their time on Earth.

While some may have preferred the final two installments of Spartacus to focus on the climactic battle between the rebels and the massive army of Marcus Crassus (and, now, the arrival of Pompey), there is considerable emotional impact in Spartacus’ bloody and brutal decision to take Roman captives and set them against his warriors in a reversal of the violent games that began this ferocious conflict.

On the surface, the impromptu staging of these matches allows the series to honor Crixus’ (and Manu Bennett’s) exit from the series, and on that level it worked quite well. But ‘The Dead and the Dying’ also has the unenviable task of setting up the climax to an entire series. In that regard, the episode does manage to provide some interesting scenes wherein characters like Spartacus and Gannicus are afforded the opportunity to lay out what initially reads like simple exposition, but turns out to be some of the series’ major themes boiled down into two conversations.

Gannicus’ interplay with Sibyl and, later, Spartacus’ discussion with Laeta over the visceral and emotional weight of these “games” provide a sort of comprehensive insight into the series as a whole that actually plays quite well against the sadistic nature of what the rebels are putting the Romans through.

Cynthia Addai Robinson and Pana Hema Taylor The Dead and the Dying Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 9 Review – Balance the Scales

But it’s also fan service, as ‘The Dead and Dying’ offers Spartacus and his rebels one last chance to balance some of the scales, even though it means giving Crassus the reason to bear down upon them with the full weight of his army. In that sense, of course, the fate of Tiberius is of utmost concern, considering the number of characters who could rightly lay claim to first crack at shuffling the simpering Master of the Cheap Shot into the afterlife. War of the Damned has given the title of ickiest villain over to Tiberius and in what would prove to be his final appearance in the series, Christian Antidormi doesn’t hold back in his attempt to make Crassus’ son a satisfying punching bag.

After Spartacus ever-so-delicately plucks him from the back of his fleeing horse, the question of who will do Tiberius in floats around for the majority of the episode – long enough that Crassus learns of Spartacus’ duplicity and sends Caesar out to recover his boy in exchange for 500 rebel soldiers, including Agron.

At this point, ‘The Dead and Dying’ offers Naevia a chance at revenge and redemption, as she is handed the opportunity to do battle with Tiberius – but just as she’s seconds away from taking his life, Spartacus interrupts and informs her of Crassus’ proposition. The fact that Spartacus offers Naevia the final word in the matter speaks volumes about his ability as a leader, while also providing a continuation to the solid scene between the two, as they mourned the loss of Crixus and Naevia expressed regret over the manner in which she conducted herself at Sinuessa. As such, Naevia puts the lives of 500 rebels over her own (admittedly) insatiable bloodlust and foregoes the chance to terminate the man who literally stabbed Crixus in the back and robbed the Gaul of a glorious death.

Liam McIntyre and Cynthia Addai Robinson The Dead and the Dying Spartacus: War of the Damned Episode 9 Review – Balance the Scales

So, in that sense, it’s fitting that before Tiberius is actually struck down, his last moments are filled with terror over what Caesar plans to do with him on the ride back to Crassus’ camp. But there is still one within the rebels’ numbers who would have claim to taking Tiberius’ life. At this point, the push to kill the young man is practically a massive conspiracy that bridges both sides of the conflict, but it is Kore who manages to deliver the fatal blow, while still presenting the rebels the chance to recover their captured comrades. If this were the last time we see Kore, the unnerving scene in which Crassus tells her she will refer to him as “Dominus” informs all we’d really need to know about what lies ahead for the character.

As the final episode approaches, it’s clear the daunting task DeKnight had in telling this leg of the conflict over a mere 10 episodes. And so we are left to anticipate the kind of send off the characters and this series will get in next week’s finale.


Spartacus: War of the Damned concludes next week with ‘Victory’ @9pm on Starz. Check out a preview below:

TAGS: Spartacus
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Kore did not want to leave Crassus’ side but with Tiberous around, she chose to join the rebellion. So it is fascinating that when she hears Crassus still longs for her, you can see her face light up with hope of returning to the life that was. And when she is greeted, she gets exactly what she wanted but she is reminded again that she is no more than slave. Which is almost the opposite of Laeta who seems to be accepting her new place.

    Spartacus’ ability to lead is amazing. He is able to put some major transgressions behind him for the greater good and move forward; while also allowing Naivea to make her own decision which was a redeeming moment for her character.

    Next week’s episode is going to be heartbreaking.

    • Don’t know that I agree with your analysis of the Kore/Tiberius/Crassus dynamic. If she loved Crassus that much, she surely knew that she would be greatly hurting him by killing his son, no matter what he had done to her. Not to mention putting herself in the position that she was great risk if Ceasar ever disclosed to Crassus that she was indeed Tiberius’ murderer. Another point to consider is that she has lived with the slaves long enough to surely experience freedom and their kinship. My gut feeling is that she wanted her cake and to eat it too. To get revenge on Tiberius, and yet offer herself as Crassus’ trade bait so that the 500 slaves would be released to Spartacus, with the possible intent to escaps again later on (if there was still a slave army to escape to). Just my off the wall analysis; clearly we will never see it as the series will end next week. As to your analysis of Spartacus as his leadership qualities towards the slave army; you are spot on.

  2. Really an awesome episode….and the ending is just powerful

  3. I can’t express in words how sad I am that this show is ending… Best show on TV! If by some small chance anyone on the show reads this… THANK YOU for creating something so many people love!

  4. I am ready to see the series wrap up. There were episodes in this season that seem to stretch out. We all know how it will end, at least historically. I just want to have a bird’s eye view of the blood spilling in the last battle.

  5. I wonder if they’ll actually show Spartacus being killed – his remains weren’t found in the true history.

  6. Just want to say that I will miss this series so very much! Can;t wait to own in on DVD down the road. The acting, writing, staging brought this fascinating period of history to life in a way that fans like me will always remember. A far cry from the Kirk Douglas/Laurence Olivier movie that was stuck in my head when the series began. Liam McIntyre will always be Spartacus to my mind. And Simon Merrills is the kind of heroic villain we’d all like to be LOL. Well done to everyone involved in the series from Day One. Can’t wait to see what the producers come up with next.

  7. Can anyone remember the quote in this episode (09) where Sparticus says some thing to Neavia about the past, present and future ?

    • I came on here looking for the same quote. If you figure it out could you let me know and ill do the same

    • The past is seldom as we would have it. The future yet to be know. Embrace the present, and strike all else from concern.

      • Advice for the ages!

  8. I love this show. Too bad it comes to an end. One thing I wonder though. In historical accounts Ceaser had nothing to do with squashing the rebellion. I wonder if the producers plan on a spin off show with the tale of Ceaser. I for one hope so

  9. I.WILL.CRY.haha. This show is so good. I will miss it so much. Da vincis demons looks really bad. But to see the trailer for the last episode, it is going to be bittersweet.

  10. Thank u god for killing Tiberious although i really wanted Neavia the one to kill him. The gladiator battles with the romans brought back the feel of season 1. Spartacus beating the crap out of romans was so fun to watch. Man ima miss this show but at least their ending it when spartacus is at its best.

  11. I love this show. Too bad it comes to an end. One thing I wonder though. In historical accounts Ceaser had nothing to do with squashing the rebellion. I wonder if the producers plan on a spin off show with the tale of Ceaser. I for one hope so

  12. I really loved the episode. The battle scenes with the captured romans where just amazing and it brought back some memories from S1. I am deeply sad that this series is amazing. I love the fact that they held nothing back and have made every episode soo enjoyable, not to mention important(a rare thing in series now a days). I will miss this series and unfortunately I just don’t see a need for me to keep Starz any longer now that the series is done. I will check out DaVinci Friday though to see if it will peak my interest

  13. Incredible! I have rarely felt shivers (Crixus’ fiery memorial), the urge to cringe (Agron beeing crucified), goosebumps (next week’s trailer), satisfaction (seeint Tiberius getting what he deserved at the hands of Naevia… or so we thought) and sadness (knowing all will end next week) in the same hour. So feew shows does this. Kudos!

    • I agree. I love the GOT TV series and novels but the show feels slow at times which doesn’t put it onto of my series list. I feel Spartacus just doesn’t hold back. You might get 1 or 2 episodes that feel slow but that’s pretty much it. Every other episode feels just amazing and leaves you wanting for more after. That’s a rare thing in TV series now a days

  14. Anybody from the Los Angeles, Southbay, or OC California areas down to have or come to a Spartacus Sendoff viewing party for the Finale????

  15. Will miss the show too. I was sort of hoping the Caesar would finish off Tiberius– and in a way, he did. Glad to see that Kore avenged herself on that slug: talk about characters you love to hate! As for Spartacus, Liam McIntyre proved all the nay-sayers wrong, I say. Fitting tribute to Crixus in the gladiatorial games (Ep. 9), but I wish they stretched out the story a few more hours to give the battles more play. About the dialogue: laced with profanity, it supposedly was meant to portray the gritty way that Romans of that time spoke. For good or ill, English jargon has reduced swearing to mostly the F-word. Of course, ancient Romans spoke Latin, and Latin would have been what the foreign slaves spoke as well. I suspect that Latin was far more colourful in its swear words. Yet in spite of that, there were these signature tell-tale flowery similes and turns of phrase put in the characters’ mouths which set the writing here apart from other historical dramas filmed today in the King’s English.


  17. This show has effected me on a level like no other show as it’s like no other show on TV; now or ever.. This episode, imo, was the best episode of the season, and maybe the entire series, save season 1 finale, but it was so satisfying after the previous episode with Tiberius (fictional coward) raping Caesar (Real historical badass) and then killing Crixus from behind. That irked me greatly for a fictional character to impact the story in such ways, but it was nice to see Kore get the ultimate revenge, even though Caesar maneuvered him to her blade so they both got some revenge on Tiberius, but the ending, with all the “shout outs” to fallen soldiers and brothers was amazing.. When I heard Spartacus say, “For Varrow!” I lost it; then the chants of Crixus over Spartacus’ speech was amazingly done and genius.

  18. spartacus was one of THE BEST tv series oo all time i will miss it.