No True Blood No Problem: Gods of the Arena has enough blood

5 Mar

It’s taken me over a week to recover from the finale of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Gods of the Arena is the prequel to my beloved Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Responding to the sudden illness of star Andy Whitfield, the producers of Blood and Sand decided to give their lead actor more time to recover before filming the second season. Knowing that we fans are a fickle lot, they decided to do a prequel in order to wet our appetites. Unfortunately, Mr. Whitfield is still battling his illness and it was with sadness that they had to recast the role of Spartacus. On the heels of this sad news, Gods of the Arena premiered giving us the origins story for my sweet butterball turkey Crixus, as well as an early look at Quintus Batiatus, his wife Lucretia, Solonius, Oenomeus (the future Doctore), Barca and the devious little shit named Ashur while introducing us to another set of gladiators and people who manipulate and use them in order to gain their own ends.

I was quite taken with all the new additions to the Spartacus universe.

Dustin Clare as Gannicus

Gannicus

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself liking Gannicus, the Crixus before Crixus. I should have known that my initial dislike of him would not last. At first introduction, I found him egotistical and immature. Once the character became three dimensional, I found myself enamored. Gannicus always knew that he was nothing more than toy for his master’s amusement and so he had what little fun and enjoyment he could have. The thing he cherished most was his friendship with Oenomeus and his wife, Melitta. Normally, I don’t go for the pretty (Skarsgard, is an exception), but Gannicus is so very pretty. His story arc, while not the most interesting, really touched me, especially when he got the fairy-tale ending. His story helps to explain Crixus’s attitude at the beginning of Blood and Sand, and adds more tragedy to Barca’s fate. They both wanted what they had witnessed with Gannicus. Barca never got his freedom and it seems Crixus will have to fight even more for his. They have left open the possibility for a reunion between Crixus, Gannicus and Oenameus. I really hope it happens.

Tullius

Batiatus’s main rival may not have had a mustache to twirl but he sure was wickedly evil and a very worthy adversary. We knew that eventually Batty would prevail, but Tullius didn’t make it easy. In fact, until the last brick was in the wall, I wasn’t sure Tullius’s story was over. The way he viciously dispatched Gaia let you know that there were no limits to his cruelty. I wonder if he and Solonius go to the same hair salon. They both seem to spend an inordinate amount of Ancient Roman gel or whatever, keeping every strand in place.

Gaia

Let me just make this clear. I have never liked Jaime Murray as an actress. I never understood her appeal. I never understood why any man would find her attractive. Yet, there are legions of them out there, so clearly I am the one who needs clarity. That being said, I absolutely enjoyed her Gaia and was deeply saddened by her character’s fate. You could see how her death transformed Lucretia. It hardened her resolve to take any means to justify her ends. Before Gaia’s influence, Lucretia would never have turned to Crixus for his magic Gaul seed.

Melitta

If the show had a Mary-Sue character it was Melitta. I knew the minute that Melitta decided to commit adultery, that she would die as happens to all Mary-Sue characters when they stray from the goody-goody path. Still, I loved the character and her relationship with both Oenomeus and Gannicus. I also loved her maternal advice for Naevia and Diona. Oh, poor Diona. Let’s not even go there.

I can’t wait for the second season of Blood and Sand, even though Andy Whitfield will not be a part of it. I’m willing to give the new Sparty a chance.

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One Response to “No True Blood No Problem: Gods of the Arena has enough blood”

  1. missberlish March 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    I really love this series, especially the prequel. I enjoyed seeing the transformation of the characters and seeing how the house of Batiatus evolved.

    When I watch this show I get so stressed out. You always know something terrible and unfortunate is going to happen and it puts me on edge, but I love it.

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