Series Finale of ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’ – A Review

by on April 13, 2013

in Entertainment, tv reviews

Still of Manu Bennett from Spartacus - Series Finale Review

This was the final episode, the series finale, of Starz Spartacus franchise, this season called War of the Damned.  Crixus (Manu Bennett) has already fallen a few episodes back and his presence is sorely missed.  But as the story winds down, loss of characters are inevitable.

To be honest it was inevitable, the actions we saw coming to resolution, the results, not surprising.

And the closure of the series, the final moments seemed satisfying enough for me.  History has no claim on what really happened to the man called Spartacus, but what was surmised to have happened in this take from Starz was as good as any other option and possibly, the best option that did or could have occurred.

Spartacus Series Review & Spoilers Follow:

Liam McIntyre in Spartacus series finale from Starz

We follow the final plans of Spartacus and his people.

By invite, Spartacus and Marcus Crassus had a civil conversation, or meeting of the minds. Just because, despite all the battles, they had never spoken and Crassus wanted to have one conversation between them.

Crassus finally learned about the duplicitous nature of that creepy little son of his.  It was satisfying to see him come to grips with that and disown the memory of the little creep.

And on the eve of the final fight, Spartacus sends Gannicus off on some mission.

It was a surprising battle in the beginning, but Crassus was willing to sacrifice his own men to win this.  Yes, he’s that desperate.

But then Gannicus shows up from behind the Romans to scatter their sense of calm and tactics.

promo still - Crassus+(Simon+Merrells),+Spartacus+(Liam+McIntyre)

Each main character had their own battle to face… Spartacus – Crassus, Gannicus – Caesar.  As in each of these fights, the Romans used their men to wear down the gladiators before facing off with their foes.

But over the long haul of the day, Roman tactics and numbers prevailed.

Many died, many were crucified while a few survived.  Spartacus and Crassus had one mighty show down, but Crassus had help in downing Spartacus but still, our wily ex-slave escaped.

Surrounded by survivors of the battle, our showrunners chose to give Spartacus a glorious moment of peace as he lay in the dirt, dying.

To quote, as best I can recall:

Spartacus is not my name, I shall finally hear it again, in greeting from loving wife.

And he passes away.  The man died, free and happy.

Simon Merrells in Spartacus War of the Damned

During the final fight, Spartacus was goaded, inspired or empowered on by memories of those who had fallen and we saw some faces we had not seen since seasons 1 and 2.  And in the closing credits, we saw images of others who had come before in prior seasons.

It was good homage to pay past characters.  (Oh look, I’m starting to write like they spoke!)  And that last moment, we got one last glimpse of Andy Whitfield, crying out,”I am Spartacus.”  Thank you for that Starz.

Historically speaking, showing Spartacus dying is one fairly decent piece of conjecture.  In this final battle that actually took place in 71 BC, on the right bank of the river Sele, multiple factions claimed that Spartacus had died in battle, but no body had ever been found.

And where we saw Gannicus get strung up & crucified, he was joined by six thousand other survivors along the Appian Way, between Rom and Capua.


Spartacus was a fun and entertaining series from Steven S. DeKnight. (Look for more of his creativity from a potential new Starz project titled Incursion!)  The series started with the late Andy Whitfield, who sadly passed from cancer, and Liam McIntyre taking over the titular role.  It was a tough event to deal with, but done well enough that you lost the differences between men in time.

I was introduced to Manu Bennett, and he has a new, stalwart fan in this scribe. {Upcoming or present projects: The Hobbit films, Arrow}

Other cast, notable and new faces to this viewer, are talent I look forward to seeing in other projects.

Daniel Feuerriegel, Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Nick Tarabay {Star Trek Into Darkness, Death Valley}, Viva Bianca {Scorned}, Pana Hema Taylor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson {King & Maxwell TV pilot}, Dustin Clare {Sunday}, Heath Jones, Katrina Law {Death Valley}, Ellen Hollman, Barry Duffield, John Hannah {Ping Pong Summers, Still Waters, The Christmas Candle}, Craig Parker, Lesley-Ann Brandt {Drift, Killing Winston Jones}, Simon Merrells {Judas Ghost}, and many more memorable performances and hard (and soft) bodies.

Psst:  For those of you who actually got to this part of this TV review, here’s an interesting tidbit:  Joss Whedon’s brother, Jed Whedon, co-produced 9 episodes in 2012 and wrote 2 of the episodes from that same season of Spartacus.

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[images via starz press]

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