Spartacus: Blood and Sand: "Sacramentum Glatorium" Review

First impressions are extremely important. Unfortunately, Spartacus: Blood and Sand didn't put its first foot forward last week with its shoddy amalgamation of 300 with Spartacus' classic historical tale. Thankfully the Roman gods heard our prayers this week and cooler heads prevailed as the stylized 300 blood splatter is gone from most of the episode. There's still blood and plenty of violence but it stands on its own without the aid of any cheap gimmick. Well choreographed fight sequences aren't hampered by overused visual effects. When blood flows from the gladiator's veins it looks real and painful.

Call me a sucker for Roman gladiatorial intrigue but I really enjoyed the far more focused story this week. "Sacramentum Glatorium" benefited from having a lot more of John Hannah's Batiatus and Lucy Lawless' Lucretia. I've found myself quite interested in their struggle to maintain the Ludus while also trying to gain favor with Legatus Glaber and his wife Ilithyia. We're already getting hints that Batiatus is an honest man who respects the tradition of gladiatorial sport but he also finds himself desperate to try and pay off debts. How far will he be willing to go?

Meanwhile Lucretia's attempts to befriend Ilithyia may have sparked a romantic interest. Their scenes together provided the most comedic relief this series has delivered so far with Lucretia's attempts to gain favor with Ilithyia backfiring. Lucretia and Batiatus' desperate attempt to appear more wealthy than they really are.

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