Great and Unfortunate Things
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Years ago, Spartacus and Sura hooked up, and that's where the episode opens: in flashback to their first meeting. Things soon turn deeply sad when we remember that Sura is dead because Batiatus is kind of a monster and had her killed. Her funeral is a pretty solemn affair, and afterward Batiatus hangs out with Spartacus and tells him to keep his chin up. Spartacus, though, is crazy upset.
Back upstairs, Lucretia asks her husband why he didn't just kill Sura, instead of spending all kinds of money to bring her here to have her killed. Batiatus tells her that Spartacus wouldn't have believed that she was dead unless he saw it with his own eyes. Good point, but still…
Pietros wants to keep the birds that he and Barca had raised, and Doctore is cool with that, though suspicious when Pietros mentions that Ashur was involved with Barca's disappearance. Things go from bad to worse for Pietros, when Gnaeus shows up and starts taking out a lot of repression, proving that Pietros might just be in the running for most tragic character in the entire series.
Varro and Spartacus have a heart-to-heart wherein Varro says that suicide would be foolishness, and Spartacus starts to consider his course of action, as Crixus starts to wake up with improved health.
When Spartacus sees that someone has been beating up Pietros, he's pretty angry about it, but no time for that, Spartacus is made to face Doctore in the practice yard, where Doctore tells him that the next time he tries to escape, they'll kill him.
A few days later, Mercato comes to visit Batiatus and ask him if some of the gladiators would basically do a kind of murderous play to celebrate an ancient battle by re-enacting it. Spartacus, in the meantime, sees that Gnaeus is really getting aggressive with Pietros, just as Varro's wife Aurelia shows up with their son. It turns out that Aurelia has been raped and is pregnant by their friend Titus. Here's where Varro goes a little off the rails and sees this as a betrayal.
At the infirmary, Doctore and Crixus have a conversation about how Barca has purchased his freedom, but they both find it a little fishy that he left Pietros behind. Naevia is even more suspicious. In the steam room, Varro is pretty unpleasant and Spartacus notices that Pietros is even more roughed up. When he suggests that they go to Batiatus about it, Pietros says it doesn't matter.
Lucretia and Ilithiya talk about Lucretia's visit with the pregnancy priestess, and Ilithiya is characteristically flinty and amusing and asks about having sex with Gladiators, because that's pretty much all she wants to know about. Ilithiya asks about Crixus, pretty much for the same reason.
Pietros dies by hanging himself in his cell and this makes Spartacus infuriated. He rushes outside, and kills Gnaeus by throwing him over the cliff, even though Doctore tells him not to. Batiatus is furious that another one of his gladiators is dead and that Spartacus had killed him. Doctore, meanwhile, wants to get to the bottom of this whole Barca/Pietros thing, and starts asking both Naevia and Ashur. Naevia is of no help, and Ashur is down right cagey, but pretty much seals his fate and Doctore knows he's guilty.
By the time they get to the games, Spartacus is still pretty mopey and self-absorbed, but ultimately takes Sura's advice and "hands himself over to the gods" – striking a bargain with Batiatus: Spartacus gets to fight alone as long as he pledges to be Batiatus's "Champion."
As the games begin, the call goes up from Mercato to "Let blood be shed!" It's not a phrase we hear a lot these days, but it's his party, he can do what he wants. Spartacus meditates for a second and hears Sura's voice as one of the foolish fake Thracians throws a spear at him. And then it's ON.
Spartacus fights for a bit in his usual awesome-warrior way. But when he really goes to town on the six guys he's fighting, it's a bloodbath. When he finishes off the final blow, he puts his arms out and says the line we've all been waiting for since the beginning of the series. "I am Spartacus!"