“Spartacus: War of the Damned” Episode 3 Recap: “Pirates of the Mediterranean”

I don’t know about you, but damn, I need a cigarette. And I don’t smoke.

Yes, faithful readers, after much teasing, after much torment, after endless patient waiting, we finally got what we’ve been waiting for. How fitting that, in a week that began with a Super Bowl, our two favorite gay-diators finally achieved their own version of a touchdown.

Oh yes, we finally got to see it. Agron and Nasir and not, for once, coitus interruptus (or, as the Romans called it, bluis ballius.) And it was sweet. And romantic. And hot hot hawwwwwwwwt!

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to go back to the very beginning which, as St. Julie of Andrews often reminds me, is a very good place to start.

The place: Spartopolis. The year: judging by the sexy shenanigans we saw going on, 69 BC. The scene: a bunch of men beating their swords. Literally, not metaphorically. Attius is busy doing blacksmithy stuff, making swords for the rebellion. Despite his labors, though, some of the rebels, including Agron and Crixus, do not trust him. They fear he is only loyal to his own pocket.

Meanwhile, a bunch of rebels and former gladiators, including Lugoand Nemetes, are meanly taunting some of the Roman prisoners. It appears our gay little group of marauding, murderous rebels has some serious anger issues to work out. Spartacus won’t stand for any incivility, as judged by last week’s spearing of Laeta’s husband. I’d suggest Spartacus may be talking out both sides of his mouth, but judging by his treatment of Laeta’s man, if Spartacus wants someone to have two sides to their mouth, he’ll make the holes for it, so I’ll just keep my judgments to myself. Besides, the citizens of Spartopolis have a bigger problem: they are running out of food.

Oh yes, while Mr. Laeta did not set the granary on fire, it turns out, grain covered with black pitch does not taste all that great. Hmm—pitch-covered spelt wheat. Sounds like an ingredient from next week’s Chopped, right? Wrong! And while Sparty and company would love to just run out to the nearest Kroger and buy all the bread, milk, and low-fat chocolate chip cookie dough frozen yogurt they need, that’s not really an option. There is only food left for about two more weeks. Dagnabit—where’s the Soylent Green when you need it?

Speaking of foodstuffs, Saxa and Gannicus are enjoying their daily round of “find the sausage” while a mysterious and mildly crazy-eyed young woman watches from the shadows. Ooh, Gannicus has a stalker! I bet she’s the one who keeps sending him love notes written on red paper with pink ink with the i’s dotted with little hearts asking for an autograph and a pair of used underwear. Wait—check—that’s me. (I’m still waiting for that package, by the way…) Right now, we’re not sure what Sibyl has in mind, beyond voyeuristic hero worship.

Nemetes taunts the Roman baker and his very pregnant wife, offering them bread in exchange for some knowledge about a secret cache of jewels, coins, or Clairol Number 5 (even a barbarian has to look his best…) The baker finally tells Nemetes what he wants to know, but when he asks for the bread, Nemetes tosses it into the dirt. Another Roman grabs for it and the two end up wrestling around in the dirt for it, a sentence that makes the whole thing sound sexier than it was. The rebels cheer them on, and Crixus decides to organize a real contest. Obstacle course! First, everyone has to climb over man mountain Lugo without the aid of a rope. Then they have to cross the courtyard while balancing an egg on a spoon. Lastly, they have to stuff their mouths full of marshmallows and say “Rubber baby buggy bumpers” seven times. The first one who does all three tasks wins! No, wait, sorry—Crixus just gives them swords and tells them to fight to the death. Seriously, Billy Ray Crixus, my idea is a bit more festive and slightly less messy (though, to be honest, the whole marshmallow thing gets kind of gross around mallow #7.)

The baker protests that he is not gladiator, but the two men engage in mortal combat for the bread. How very Jean Valjean! I expect the baker’s wife to break into “I Dreamed a Dream.”


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