|The Bitter End|
|Date Aired||February 25, 2011|
|Writer||Steven S. DeKnight|
Batiatus seeks vengeance for all that has befallen him and recruits his gladiators and Solonius to the cause. The opening of the new arena arrives, promising a spectacle of combat and blood.
The episode begins with Batiatus looking at the corpse of his father, Titus, during a wake. Many high-standing Romans and friends of Titus have attended. Solonius approaches and informs him that they have an unexpected guest: Vettius. In a moment of civility, he reminds Batiatus that Tullius had a contract for the sale of Gannicus. Angry, Batiatus chastises him for mentioning it at such a time and declares that Gannicus will never be sold.
Gannicus visits Oenomaus in his cell to find him praying. The body of Melitta is to be buried as is "custom for her people." Gannicus expresses his regret at not knowing her more and gives his condolences, saying that she had been above everyone around her. In a gesture of comfort, Oenomaus tells him that Melitta loved him like a brother, still unaware of their affair.Outside in the training grounds, Batiatus and the gladiators watch the funeral of Titus, who has been set upon a pyre to be burnt to ash. Batiatus gives a speech to the crowd and Dagan, blinded in one eye, emerges during the man's address. He and Ashur spy one another. As Titus' body burns, the gladiators follow the tradition of the ludus and fight in his honor.
Later, Gannicus is taken to Batiatus and is told that he is to be sold to Tullius. Still under the impression that it was Tullius who poisoned the wine that killed his father, Batiatus eventually breaks his views to Gannicus. The gladiator, eager to take revenge on whoever caused Melitta's death, says that he will go to Tullius and avenge Titus' death. Batiatus, however, knows that if Gannicus is bought by Tullius, the gladiator would only be trained by Vettius and will not see Tullius; Gannicus says that he will kill both of them. Batiatus decides to devise a new plan instead, aiming to trap both Tullius and Vettius.Solonius visits and tells Lucretia that whatever happens, they are always welcome in his house. When he hears of Batiatus' plan and is set to play a part in it, he cautions against it. Meanwhile, Lucretia decides to have Naevia replace Melitta's position in the house as her personal slave.
True to his part, Solonius visits Tullius and Vettius and tells them that Gannicus is on his way out of the city, making it impossible for Tullius to purchase him. Outraged, Tullius goes to stop Batiatus before he leaves. They are lead into a back alley where Batiatus' men appear and ambush them. The slaves are killed and Vettius is knocked unconscious. In the process, Barca is stabbed in the side. Tullius is about to be killed, but Batiatus does not wish for a swift death. Instead, he has Tullius bound, gagged, and carried off.
In the villa, Lucretia attempts to get pregnant once more to bear Batiatus a son. She meets with Crixus, and decides that he is to be shaven and have his hair cut so that he will resemble a real man.
Vettius wakes up in Solonius' cells and discovers that he is to be kept alive in order to relay the message that Tullius has left the city on business. In reality, Batiatus and his gladiators have dragged Tullius to the new arena, where they go to an undercroft with an unfinished part of the foundations. Tullius says that Titus was a great man, but Batiatus pulls out the ashes of his father and forces Tullius to eat them. Before Tullius can reply, he is beaten to the ground and stabbed repeatedly by Batiatus, Gannicus, and Oenomaus. After, they push him into an empty wall space and close him inside, burying him alive.
The new arena opens the next day. Vettius appears in the pulvinus and announces to the magistrates and the others that Tullius had urgent business abroad and was forced to leave. He continues to say that he is giving up the life of a lanista, and grants Solonius the property of the rest of his gladiators. Batiatus, who had assumed they would split Vettius' gladiators, discovers the treachery of his friend, who he had underestimated all along. After some convincing, Quintilius Varus and the magistrate, Sextus, accept Tullius' absence and consent to the games' start without him.Before the games begin, a public execution is held. Four escaped slaves are brought before the crowd, Diona among them. Cossutius recognizes her from the stands, and identifies her as one of Batiatus'. The magistrate asks Batiatus if he would like to take her back, but, bitter from the recent betrayal, Batiatus decides that her death will be an example for those who ever seek treachery against him; he glances pointedly in Solonius' direction. The criminals are executed one by one by Caburus. Before her death, Diona sees Naevia one last time as promised, and smiles at her friend as she is struck down and killed.
Beneath the stands, the gladiators await their turn. Despite his wounds, Barca tells Oenomaus that he is ready to fight, but the latter forbids him. As they ready themselves, Oenomaus tells Gannicus to fight for Melitta's honor if he is not to fight for the House of Batiatus; Gannicus agrees. The battles between the two houses (Batiatus and Solonius) begin. Gradually, their gladiators are whittled down to only the very best.
The primus approaches. The gates open and the last of the gladiators enter the arena; seven from the House of Batiatus, Gannicus, Crixus, Ashur, Dagan, Gnaeus, Narto, and Duratius and thirteen from the House of Solonius (with Caburus). When they reach the center, slaves enter and encircle them all within a ring of oil which is then lit aflame. The rules are set: the gladiators are out of the fight if they die or are cast out of the ring. The last one standing will be declared champion.
The men attack and the arena becomes a scene of bloodshed as the gladiators fall one by one, mainly those of Solonius, but both Narto and Duratius are killed by Caburus. Dagan sees a chance to have vengeance on Ashur, and attacks him in spite. From the stands, Solonius mocks Batiatus that his gladiators are not trained well enough to not attack their own men. Ashur eventually gains the upper hand and slays Dagan, killing him with a sword through the stomach. Gnaeus takes on Caburus and is knocked outside of the ring and is disqualified.Crixus, Ashur, and Gannicus remain to fight against Caburus and the remainder of Solonius' men. While Gannicus fights one-on-one with Caburus, Ashur and Crixus slay the rest of the House of Solonius. Ashur approaches Crixus and conspires against Gannicus, saying that together they can kill him so that they alone can fight for the title of champion. Wanting to fight Gannicus himself, Crixus slashes Ashur's leg to the bone before tossing him out of the ring. Crixus and Gannicus are left to fight Caburus, a giant in comparison to the two of them.
During the battle, the two work together by Gannicus is knocked aside by Caburus' strength leaving Crixus against the man alone. Caburus wounds Crixus and proceeds a killing blow, but Gannicus blocks the attack with a shield and pushes Crixus outside of the ring to save his life. Crixus is knocked out of the ring and loses his chance of becoming champion. Again facing one another alone, Caburus uses his greater strength to his advantage with Gannicus' greater agility matching it. Eventually Gannicus is knocked to the crowd while Caburus cheers in arrogance. Gannicus looks up and sees Oenomaus who nods. Reminded of what he is fighter for, Gannicus rises as Caburus thrusts a spear at him. The Celt breaks the spear and impales the blade in Caburus' mouth, forcing him to the ground and then shattering his jaw, killing him.
Gannicus' victory is taken well by the crowd, who chant for the man's freedom. Solonius, seeing a way to safely remove Batiatus' champion, suggests that Gannicus be freed. Although internally outraged, Batiatus succumbs to the crowd's wishes, and Sextus grants Gannicus his freedom.
The next day, the gladiators cheer for Gannicus at the ludus gates. Crixus is disappointed that they never got to have their match, but Gannicus tells Crixus to win his freedom and then find him. As they part, he gives Crixus the necklace of champions and tells him to wear it with honor. Meanwhile, Ashur hobbles out in a makeshift cast and glares at Crixus, betrayed by his only friend and robbed of his position as a gladiator.
Batiatus appears to be the only one upset by Gannicus' departure, but Lucretia tells him that they can look to Crixus as their new champion.
When Oenomaus bids his friend farewell, he gives the rudis, a small wooden sword that indicates his status as a freed slave. As Gannicus walks off into the distance, training resumes as usual. Batiatus reminds the gladiators that they are going to have to fight for their title, and that they will also be rewarded someday for all they have done.
The series ends with the same scene at the end of Blood and Sand: Kill Them All, with Lucretia and Batiatus lying injured and seemingly dead in a pool of blood. The voice of Spartacus says that he has done this for a reason, and that their deaths were just the beginning.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Naevia mentioned in Blood and Sand that she did not favour the games. This might have been due to her witnessing the death of Diona.
(Gannicus to Oenomaus) "There are many things I would die for, many that I deserve to die for, but this house, is no longer among them."
|Reckoning||Chronologically: The Red Serpent|