Batiatus wakes up in the street, having been all bloodied and beaten by Vettius and Tullius, two of Capua's meanest mob-bosses. And as we know from past experience (which is the future, this is a prequel remember) –Batiatus doesn't handle this kind of thing very well. Lucretia is super upset with what's happened to Batiatus and wants to go see the magistrate but Batiatus reminds her that the magistrate is in their pocket and that he's taking matters into his own hands.
Later, Tullius and his nerdy little toady Vettius wander through the streets and bump into Solonius and they charm him and tell him they have a message for Batiatus. What could it be?
Out in the yard, everyone is fighting and Gaia is watching them from the balcony – turns out she has a thing for Crixus. Quick history lesson about the long grand history of the House of Batiatus, and then Solonius shows up and tells Batiatus that Vettius and Tullius have made an even bigger offer to buy Gannicus. And also, for as long as Batiatus is barred from fighting, so is Solonius. But is there another way to solve it?
Well, turns out that this guy named Varus is coming to town, and he has a lot of influence in Capua. Gaia knows Varus pretty well and everyone thinks that maybe she can influence him to use Batiatus's gladiators in the upcoming games. And then because Batiatus is in a bad mood, he sees one of the gladiators named Indus give Missio (which is when you put up the two fingers to say that you're done fighting and surrender) and Batiatus sends Indus to the mines.
Down in the slavers quarters, Oenomaus and Gannicus are drinking wine when Melitta shows up and they all have a drink and discuss how hard their lives are. And on his way out, Gannicus sees Crixus and says the only way to become the champion is to never lose.
The next morning, Batiatus takes Barca and three recruits (Ashur and Dagan and Indus --who'd been previously sentenced to the mines) into town. Batiatus promises the recruits that they will all get to be branded and enter the brotherhood if they accompany him into town. It gets pretty ugly. Indus tricks that snivelly little Vettius into an alley, where he is beaten unconscious and the slaves are killed. And then Indus himself is killed because Ashur realizes that Indus's face could tie the whole incident back to Batiatus.
Meanwhile, Varus rolls into town, and Lucretia convinces him to drop in on the ludus. Batiatus comes home to find them all sitting around and they swindle him into looking at the gladiators in the yard. A demonstration is called for! And Crixus and Gannicus are made to fight each other. Crixus actually does okay, and it turns a little scary for Gannicus there for a minute. When it comes down to the end, Gaia decides to let Crixus live.
Back inside the house, Varus seems to be super interested in getting drunk and doing opium, and Gaia says she has a plan, and that the party is just getting started. Batiatus goes down and gets Gannicus, and ends up firing Doctore. Batiatus fetches Gannicus and tells him to do whatever it takes to impress him. Even if it means having sex with Varus.
Actually, that might be what Varus wants, but not tonight because he's had too much wine. So instead he asks that Gannicus have sex with Melitta. Let's all remember she's married to Oenomaus. Super awkward, you guys. They don't want to, but they do and the maybe they both enjoy it a little, but it's…awkward afterwards. As you'd expect.
Out in the yard, the Syrians are receiving the mark of the brotherhood, and get branded with a B. Here's where it goes crazy. Oenomaus challenges the Doctore, and because the Doctore is mad that he's being stripped of the title, the two get into a terrible fight. It ends when Oenomaus stabs and kills the Doctore. When he finally tells Batiatus what happened, Oenomaus is made Doctore, responsible for training all the men now.
Finally, back in the house. Varus is super happy with how it all went, decides that Gannicus is going to fight in the ring. Everyone is happy, except for Gannicus and Melitta, who don't tell Oenomaus what happened. Batiatus, Gaia, and Lucretia have a three-way, and from there, it's anyone's game.