Spartacus: War of the Damned: Victory -

Spartacus: War of the Damned Review

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Episode: Victory (Season 3, Episode 10)
  • Starring: Liam McIntyre, Dustin Clare, Simon Merrells, Todd Lasance
  • Written By: Steven S. DeKnight
  • Directed By: Rick Jacobson
  • Network: Starz
  • Studio: Starz
  • Series:

Spartacus: War of the Damned: Victory

The Series Finale!

By Tim Janson     April 14, 2013

Well thank the Heavens for Agron because until his timely arrival to save Spartacus I was THIS close to giving “Victory” the series finale for Spartacus, my lowest grade of the season, and perhaps the lowest grade in the series’ entire run.  Ok so maybe expectations were unfairly high but throughout its previous three seasons, one thing that the series has always delivered with flying colors has been season-ending finales.  That was damn near flushed down the toilet by the events in the final minutes but more on that in a moment.

As I’ve noted in past reviews part of the challenge of wrapping the series up is that we know that everyone, or most everyone has to die, so the writers, you’d think, would need to do pull out all the stops.  Sadly they didn’t.  “Victory” lacked that momentous feel of season one’s “Kill Them All” and Season Three’s “Wrath of the Gods”.  The entire episode had a maudlin approach that seemed in direct contrast to everything we’ve seen up to this point.  It was like watching the condemned slowly walk to the hangman’s gallows.  By the time Spartacus fired up his ‘Braveheart’ William Wallace speech to inspire the troops it was anti-climactic.  

And speaking of Braveheart, I mean what the hell?  It seemed like the entire final battle against Crassus’s legions was blatantly lifted from Braveheart.  From Spartacus’s speech about freedom, to imploring his troops to “hold” repeatedly as the Romans rushed towards them it was like a reply with different costumes.  Crassus’s charge towards Spartacus on the battlefield was much the same as the English commander’s charge towards William Wallace.  Heck, even Gannicus leading a force of cavalry in a surprise attack on the Roman’s rear flank was lifted entirely from Mel Gibson’s film.  I have expected Mel to get a producer’s credit at the end.

The best scene in the episode was the fictionalized meeting between Spartacus and Crassus before the final battle.  While undoubtedly this meeting never happened in real life, it’s one you can give them a pass on for dramatic purposes.  Like two titans the foes acknowledge their grudging respect for each other.  The head-to-head battle between the two commanders is also a work of fiction but again, understandable that the writers went in this direction.

Yet as Crassus was poised to end Spartacus’s life the only thought I had was that if Crassus kills him I’m leading a march on the Starz studios with torches and pitchforks.  Hence, Agron’s timely arrival to help the gravely injured Spartacus from the battlefield. This at least can fit with the historical fact that while presumed dead, Spartacus’s body was never found…at least not by the Romans.

The other standout scene, although short, was finally seeing Pompey on screen.  In keeping with history Pompey gets the lion’s share of the credit for defeating Spartacus even though his role was largely mop-up duty.  Still it was fun to see someone of high enough stature to put Crassus in his place and force him to acquiesce.

While “Victory” failed to live up to the high standards of previous season’s finales, it didn’t detract from what has been a fantastic show.  While it didn’t get the hype of “The Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones”, pound for pound it may have very well have been the best of the three shows.  And hopefully you stayed around for the credits to see all of the actors who have been in the series including the late Andy Whitfield.  That was a nice tribute.


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Flyincloud 4/14/2013 12:38:04 AM

 I enjoyed the ride, and yes, seeing Andy Whitfield at the very end reminded me how excellent he was as Spartacus.

Iridan 4/14/2013 5:56:19 AM

I haven't watched Braveheart in a long time, so I didn't see any similarities. For me, it as an A . A great ending to a great show.

fenngibbon 4/14/2013 6:14:47 AM

 i haven't seen Braveheart so I didn't have to worry about similarities, but how could this episode NOT have a maudlin feel to it?  Characters viewers have invested a great deal of time in were going to die.  For what it's worth, I was happy the death count wasn't higher (when Pompey showed up and mentioned wiping out the group making for the Alps, I figured they were all dead) and a number of the characters at least had a good send off.  

And that display of all the characters from the whole series in the closing credits, ending with Andy Whitfield, was beautiful. 

makabriel 4/14/2013 6:23:03 AM

For the whole series, I was waiting for the "I am Spartacus" "No, I am Spartacus" scene, wondering when and how they were going to do it. And I was grinning ear to ear when they did.

I agree, it was not the fireworks ending that was anticipated, but they did good. Real good.

Tommygunner9 4/14/2013 6:42:29 AM

Why did they kill gannicus and why did they rob him of his much deserved glory?History says his body was never found.I understand Spartacus' end.But for me I feel they kinda did gannicus dirty & it was kind of a huge let down for me.And as far as the brave heart similarities I was ok with that because there is only so much you can do with a scenario like that with the rebels outnumbered.In my opinion they could of went outside the box & maybe have not the worst ending possibly imaginable.Maybe a little dramatic but not my favorite series finale

creekwoodkid 4/14/2013 7:57:46 AM

 I too was disappointed with how they handled Gannicus's death. Totally weak and unfitting.

jdiggitty 4/14/2013 8:58:43 AM

 I disagree with this review. This was one of the best tv finales I've seen.

And you're telling me that apparently the Scotish are the only people in the history of warfare to flank an enemy? Gannicus came from the rear not the flank if you're going to be that critical of it.

Is there anyone at Mania the proofreads these article before posting? 

makabriel 4/14/2013 9:17:03 AM

What was depicted in the show was a Flanking Maneuver (look it up). 

TheSilentKiller 4/14/2013 10:00:40 AM

 It really did reek of Braveheart - the hold line, the trap, and the reaching out for the cloth from his bride.  But it was an awesome finale. That scene with Spartacus hoofing it over the crest of the hill to Crass just about made me poop my pants.

Gannicus' ending sucked, but it was the most tragic ending possible for a guy who wanted to die in battle.

Amazing how this series turned from crappy 300 rip off in episodes 1 and 2 to must watch TV every friday.

I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about the series spinning off with Caesar after he was such a dick to Gannicus at the end.

jdiggitty 4/14/2013 10:07:47 AM

 In miltary tactics, the flanking maneuver is an attack on the SIDES of an opposing force.


Historically, didn't Gannicus die in an earlier battle and Sparticus' body was the one never found? 

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