The Red Serpent
A straggly haired Thracian guy, whom we'll call "The Warrior" for a bit -- is bound in chains and in his underwear, awaiting his fate. Above him a bloody battle in a coliseum is taking place. The people want blood and some fancy nobility types sit idly by and watch. Also, interestingly, electric guitar music is playing, and everyone has really good hair. Blood is splattered, and still, our straggly-haired Warrior in chains – he waits.
And then we go back a ways, because here's where the story really begins. A soldier for the Thracian army, The Warrior listens to an emissary from Rome named Claudius Glaber. He's come to tell them that barbarian hordes are coming, and maybe they should all join up together to defeat them. The Thracians agree because they want all of the barbarians to die to protect their village. And the Romans basically say, "Yeah. Sure. Whatever. Just help us."
The Warrior goes home to his wife, Sura, who is asking the gods to bless his sword. They're very much in love and they do a good deal of kissing and sex to each other. The next morning, The Warrior marches off to war and Sura tells him before he goes that she had a vision of him bowing before a red serpent. Meaning he is destined for great and terrible things. He ties a purple ribbon around her leg and says, "Keep me close to your thighs."
The Warrior runs through a lot of background graphics as it becomes winter, and he ends up in battle. Epic battles ensue wherein the Thracians murder a bunch of guys who look a little like Orcs. When the Romans finally show up, the Barbarians flee. And that night at the camp, the Thracians are bummed out because they're always the first ones into battle but always the last to eat. This causes tension in the ranks and The Warrior becomes friends with Drenis by fighting him.
The Romans need "volunteers" to scout at the front of the battle, and they choose The Warrior and his new friend Drenis. Back in the tent, Claudius Glaber's super-blonde wife (Ilithyia) shows up; she snuck away from her Senator father to bring Glaber some wine and sex. She also mentions that her father, Senator Albinius, will be super mad if Glaber comes home having not won the war.
When the Romans break their word with The Warrior and the other Thracians, and say that they're going to march east while the barbarians are still able to raid their villages in the west, The Warrior and his buddies knock Glaber off his horse, and slaughter his men with spears. Meanwhile, Sura is attacked while picking apples. She puts up a good fight, but The Warrior returns home just in time. He and his wife fight off the barbarians together, and then they see that their village has burned to the ground and run off into the night.
The pair decides they're going to split town and leave together somewhere else, but when they wake up in the morning, Claudius Glaber is there, and he's furious. His men carry Sura away, The Warrior is captured and, with most of his Thracian buddies, are put on a slave ship back to Capua.
Back in Capua, everyone's pretty excited about the upcoming "games" and they go to a very swinging orgy. The Senator tells us that what's going to happen is that Batiatus and Solonius, who own the two big gladiator houses (but be clear, they call them a "ludus") are going to put up their best men for the big fun gladiator games. Batiatus and Solonius, they don't like each other so much. Claudius Glaber brings in his Thracian captives and basically says, "Listen up, people, I brought these dudes to be murdered by Gladiators." Everyone is now VERY excited.
Now we're back to where we started. The Warrior's buddy Drenis goes into the arena, and is killed while the Warrior waits under the bleachers for his turn. When it finally comes, he's given a sword, and the crowd gets mad when the odds are stacked against him because now he has to fight 4 guys at once.
At one point in the battle, The Warrior falls and while looking up at his would-be killer, he is reminded of Sura's dream when he sees a Red Serpent on the shield. He fights like crazy and kills ALL of the gladiators. The crowd goes insane and demands that he be allowed to live. Claudius Glaber wants him dead, but the Senator (his father in law) lets him live and strikes a deal that The Warrior can go and train to be a gladiator at Batiatus' ludus. Batiatus's wife, Lucretia, seems pretty happy about this transaction, but more on her in the next episode.
The nobility decide that The Warrior reminds them of a fierce king of old, and they give him the same name: Spartacus.