Spartacus: War of the Damned: Wolves at the Gate Review (

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Sunday, February 03, 2013

Ok, who else is digging the character of Marcus Crassus besides me?  Of all the Roman characters we’ve seen in the three plus seasons of Spartacus (at least of the male characters) Crassus is the only one unburdened by a fatal streak of arrogance.  It’s this mentality which will make him Spartacus’ greatest foe.  In preparation for his campaign against Spartacus and his army, Crassus has allied himself with a young Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance), a renowned but headstrong Roman general who is supposed to be a descendent of the Goddess Venus.  Crassus surmises that with his wealth and Caesar’s lineage and name, the two will be capable of great things and indeed, historically, they helped transform Rome from a republic into an empire.

Caesar’s arrival does not go over too well with Tiberius, the son of Marcas Crassus whom he views as stealing title and prestige that should have gone to him.  As Crassus makes ready his war plans, having paid a considerable sum out of his own fortune to arm and outfit 10,000 soldiers, Spartacus is making his own war plans.

With his force grown far too large to for villas or to camp out in the open, Spartacus sets his eyes on taking a nearby city on the coast.  He and Gannicus enter the city in the guise of traders in order to raise the gate so his troops can begin their assault.  What follows is an epic and bloody slaughter as the slaves kill nearly every Roman in the city.

If there was one weakness of this episode it was the contrived plot of Spartacus and Gannicus sneaking into the city to raise the gate.  When it came right down to it, there were so few Roman soldiers on guard that raising the gate mattered little other than to add a bit of intrigue into the mix.  Right now through the first two episodes of the new season the most compelling character and plot threads are definitely Crassus and the political machinations in Rome.  Certainly a big part of this is the fact that these characters are all-new and fresh.  But they are also interesting.  While Spartacus has to balance out his generals Gannicus, Crixus, and Agron, Crassus has his own delicate balancing act with Caesar, his son, not to mention all of Rome.

Another strong episode that continues to develop characters and forwards the story towards the inevitable collision between Spartacus and Crassus.

Mania Grade: A-
Episode: Wolves at the Gate (Season 3, Episode 2)
Starring: Liam McIntyre as Spartacus, Manu Bennett as Crixus, Dustin Clare as Gannicus, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Naevia
Written By: Steven S. DeKnight (creator)
Network: STARZ