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post #61 of 429 Old 01-25-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by C*Tedesco View Post

But this will be challenging to not only see the new Spartacus character, but the loss of Batiatus will be sorely missed. His one liners were epic and that will be a hole that cannot be filled.

THAT is the biggest drawback for me. John Hannah was the star of the show in my eyes. Tempted to see the episode OnDemand, but Starz video quality is so bad with those selections that I'll just wait till Friday.

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post #62 of 429 Old 01-25-2012, 01:24 PM
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THAT is the biggest drawback for me. John Hannah was the star of the show in my eyes. Tempted to see the episode OnDemand, but Starz video quality is so bad with those selections that I'll just wait till Friday.

Wow, yeah, the Starz video quality on demand is horrid, I never realized it before. It was so bad that I too am going to watch it Friday...and I already saw it!
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post #63 of 429 Old 01-25-2012, 02:30 PM
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2 more days! at last..

RIP Mom, we always love you 8/18/13
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post #64 of 429 Old 01-27-2012, 08:21 AM
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Watched the 1st episode last night. It basically is used to setup what happened since the end of season 1 and how season 2 will go forward. Stylistically all the same as season 1.
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post #65 of 429 Old 01-27-2012, 09:09 AM
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I'm just waiting for all the nekkid girls.
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post #66 of 429 Old 01-27-2012, 09:14 AM
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I'm just waiting for all the nekkid girls.

1st episode there is a lot of nudity in one particular scene (men and women)
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post #67 of 429 Old 01-27-2012, 09:28 AM
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Critic's Notes
Downton Abbey and Spartacus: Why They're Almost The Same Show
By Maureen Ryan, HuffingtonPost.com



"It's wonderful what fear can do to the human spirit."

Given the headline of this article, there's a 50 percent chance that you would assume that the above quote is from "Spartacus," the Starz gladiator drama that is well known for its regular displays of violence.

But the quote comes from Mrs. Patmore, the cook on "Downton Abbey," who makes that observation in an upcoming Season 2 episode of the tony PBS period piece.

And I'm betting you can believe that statement came from a character on the PBS show, because both of these dramas, despite their surface differences, cover very similar terrain.

Both "Downton Abbey" and "Spartacus" are obsessed with power. Who has it? Who wants it? Why do people wield it the way they do? What do people will do to obtain it? And what do people have to sacrifice in order to break free of the rigid rules that hold them in place? Fear and power go hand in hand, which is something the long-suffering Daisy, Mrs. Patmore's sole minion, knows well.

"Downton" and "Spartacus" may be set a couple thousand years apart, but both shows depict constant struggles for control and strenuous attempts to enforce laws and longstanding customs. Whether the characters are wearing loincloths or corsets, the paths they travel aren't all that dissimilar: Most people in "Downton" and "Spartacus" want to escape their situations, or change them in some fundamental way, but they usually have to give up a lot to alter their circumstances just a little.

I'm a fan of both shows because they explore these ideas about power and autonomy via a roster of compelling characters, all of whom are forced to interact in close quarters. In both "Downton's" and "Spartacus'" respective hothouse environments, characters in very different classes are constantly negotiating what kinds of intimacy and intimidation are allowed and what kinds aren't. Sure, "Spartacus" may be the less polite drama, but it's no less moving once you get invested in its characters' quests for love, safety and a few scraps of emotional fulfillment.

Still don't believe the shows have a lot in common? Seriously, they do:

--They both value language and boast their own distinctive syntaxes. The Dowager Countess' elegantly vicious put-downs are every bit as memorable as the Shakespeare-meets-the-street rhythms of "Spartacus."

--They're both period pieces that don't feel musty or completely removed from modern life. We may not live in manor houses or ancient villas, but we can relate to the characters' desires to better themselves and control their own fates.

--They both boast memorably complex characters who can surprise you with their deviousness or their unexpected altruism. Sure, a few of the characters on both shows are one-dimensional, but both shows also have such large ensembles that it's not hard to find protagonists to care about.

--They both embrace the soapier aspects of their stories (Love! Betrayal! Unexpected deaths! Illicit sexytimes!). Neither is re-inventing the wheel when it comes to their genres (i.e., period drama and gladiator epic), but at their best, they are excellent examples of their genres and expertly dispense cliffhangers, declarations of love, confrontations and sly humor.

--They're both strongly serialized, and in that regard, I'd say "Spartacus" is the more finely crafted affair. "Downton," which I remain addicted to despite some its Season 2 wobbles, looks classier, but this season, as I said in my review, it lurches from story to story somewhat ungracefully. "Spartacus," on the other hand, is one of the most meticulously constructed shows I've ever seen. Really.

I could go on comparing the two shows despite their wildly different reputations. "Downton Abbey," after all, is the darling of the "We Love Quality TV" brigade and airs on PBS. It's so proper that it practically serves you crumpets through your TV screen (and if it did, I wouldn't object).

As for "Spartacus," I'm betting all you know about it is that people regularly get naked on it ... when they're not slicing each other up in the gladiator's arena, that is. The show's reputation as pulpy almost-porn isn't really deserved (though sure, it's sexy, exciting and expertly embraces its more melodramatic aspects). But I'd be a fool not to at least acknowledge what those who haven't seen the show think of it.

And there are substantial differences between the shows, aside from the fact that Spartacus is unlikely to take afternoon tea and Carson the butler is unlikely to rip another servant's throat open (as much as he might want to). The "Downton" servants and their employers are far from equals, but at least the servants get paid (a little) for their seemingly endless work. The slaves on the Starz show don't have it quite that easy. "Spartacus: Vengeance," which arrives Jan. 27, depicts what happens to slaves that run off: They're ruthlessly hunted down and killed. Even the Dowager Countess would think that's a bit much.

So they're not exactly the same shows, but the best parts of both dramas depict intelligent characters who are trapped in situations that are not of their own making. Lady Mary Crawley would be a CEO or a world-class something in a society that allowed women of her class to work outside the home, but "Downton" perceptively depicts how her circumscribed life has made her frustrated and somewhat bitter.

As for "Spartacus," since it began in 2010, the show has subtly made a very powerful point about how oppressive regimes eventually cause their own downfalls. When a society has a cancer at the center of it (in this case, slavery), that disease will eventually infect every single aspect of the society and bring it down from the inside; that appears to be the show's stealth thesis. The slave-owning characters on "Spartacus" have many believable flaws, but the chief one is an inability to see how treating other human beings like easily replaced furniture is killing their own souls.

In that respect, I'll take this comparison further and make the case that "Spartacus" is actually the more challenging drama. "Spartacus" doesn't just examine the Roman status quo, it violently assaults it. "Downton," on the other hand, makes the case that, though some social rules were a little unfair, all things considered, things were pretty jolly back in the day, weren't they?

Sure, the PBS drama shows that English society during and after World War 1 was evolving, but, especially in "Downton's" second season, it would appear that creator Julian Fellowes believes the semi-feudal system depicted on the show just needed a little tweaking around the edges. The servants, for the most part, love their employers and make enormous sacrifices for them. And the wealthy Crawley family, for the most part, are depicted as kindly and tolerant employers. Though Lord Grantham makes a couple of mistakes this season, he is, generally speaking, the most positive advertisement the English aristocracy could hope for.

"Downton" flirts -- quite literally -- with more revolutionary ideas, but the show's radical Irish chauffeur exists mainly as an inappropriate boyfriend for Lady Sybil, not as a man whose ideas are worth taking seriously and are representative of the social ferment of the times. That the fusty ruling classes -- which dragged Europe through a ghastly war in which millions died -- should be more or less in place when the war ends is a basic assumption that "Downton" never really challenges.

"Spartacus," of course, depicts a more brutal society in which slavery was a fact of life. So it's not unexpected that it has a less gentle take on power dynamics than "Downton" does, but I wish the Starz show would get some credit for being not just politically aware, but psychologically astute. Just as "Downton" makes you feel for the lowliest housemaid's plight, "Spartacus" creator Steven DeKnight makes the audience understand what it would feel like to be denied true intimacy and autonomy. That's really the whole point of the show, even though "Spartacus" never forgets it's entertainment.

No one is in any danger of misunderstanding what "Downton Abbey" is about: It exudes class from every well-scrubbed, highly polished pore. But a lot gets lost in translation when people judge "Spartacus" by its racy promos and sweaty posters. Yes, "Spartacus" does depict a lot of sex, but most of those sexual situations are transactions, designed to get the characters something they want. True love -- without agendas -- does exist in this universe, and it is highly prized, but it's a rare pleasure these characters (rich or poor) don't get to experience often. And when an entitled character takes what he or she wants sexually, with no regard for the humanity of the slave they're demeaning, the show makes a point to depict the psychological fallout of those acts. In ancient Rome, just as in the tweedy English countryside, thoughtless acts have consequences.

Maybe neither of these shows is your cup of tea, and that's fine. But it would make me sad if fans of one show didn't at least check out the other based on some preconceived notions. Whatever you think these shows are going to be like, once you get involved in the human dramas and complex relationships they depict, your first impressions may fall away. And you'll see that the doughty Dowager Countess of Grantham and the sword-wielding gladiators aren't so different after all.

They all certainly know something about vengeance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mauree...f=maureen-ryan


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post #68 of 429 Old 01-27-2012, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Critic's Notes
Downton Abbey and Spartacus: Why They're Almost The Same Show
By Maureen Ryan, HuffingtonPost.com



"It's wonderful what fear can do to the human spirit."

Given the headline of this article, there's a 50 percent chance that you would assume that the above quote is from "Spartacus," the Starz gladiator drama that is well known for its regular displays of violence.

But the quote comes from Mrs. Patmore, the cook on "Downton Abbey," who makes that observation in an upcoming Season 2 episode of the tony PBS period piece.

And I'm betting you can believe that statement came from a character on the PBS show, because both of these dramas, despite their surface differences, cover very similar terrain.

Both "Downton Abbey" and "Spartacus" are obsessed with power. Who has it? Who wants it? Why do people wield it the way they do? What do people will do to obtain it? And what do people have to sacrifice in order to break free of the rigid rules that hold them in place? Fear and power go hand in hand, which is something the long-suffering Daisy, Mrs. Patmore's sole minion, knows well.

Wow, she must have had trouble finding a subject for this week's column. This one reminded me of a paper I wrote in college as to why Diomedes was the most important character in the Illiad. I got a D+.

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post #69 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 08:17 AM
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Great premiere!

Katrina is hotter than ever. Ilythia looked good too.

Did they recast Varro's [late] wife, Aurelia too? I think they recast a couple of the other gladiators too. One of the surviving brothers for example. (Durro?)

Interesting invasion of the brothel. Nasty Crixus interrogation technique there to end the scene. People used to say Jack Bauer was cruel.

Funny how scared/freaked Crixus looked upon seeing Lucy.

I'm not used to Liam. It may take time.

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post #70 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 08:20 AM
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No surprise Lucy is back since she wasn't dead at the end of Season 1. She seems "out of it" but she is has shown that she can be very cunning and it wouldn't be a big surprise if she is faking it. It is TV so they don't have to go into how she survived and who stitched her wound, etc. Maybe we'll get some more info in later episodes - Oenameaus may have helped. And it's not a big secret whose baby Ilithyia carries.

The new Spartacus seems fine although I do miss Andy.

And, it looks like they started enforcing some sort of dress code in the stands of the arena. However, nudity-of-old appeared later in the brothel.

Can't wait till next week!

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post #71 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 11:19 AM
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The new Spartacus seems fine although I do miss Andy.
larry

The new actor has a presence but physically is smaller than Andy was. He needs to bulk up a bit more to appear more realistic as a former gladiator.
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post #72 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 11:42 AM
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Katrina is hotter than ever.

- I was a little disappointed that they seem to be covering up her freckles. I loved them in Season 1.

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The new actor has a presence but physically is smaller than Andy was. He needs to bulk up a bit more to appear more realistic as a former gladiator.

- He'll probably bulk up more as the season goes. Storyline wise, it makes sense that he would be a little leaner since they're now in hiding and haven't eaten as well as when they were prized gladiators.

I thought the first episode was a decent start to the season. Liam looks like he may do well as Spartacus, but it's tough to compare him to Andy who really seemed to grow into the role as the season progressed.
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post #73 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 02:26 PM
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Haven't seen ep 1 yet, but Liam was chosen because he could act and had a similar face. The fact that he's 10 years younger, tall and lean, vs. medium and juiced up, will take some getting used to. He was skinny when he auditioned and will take quite some time without roids to get the muscle mass of some of the others. Crixus used to be a couple of inches taller than Spartacus, now he's a couple of inches shorter .

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post #74 of 429 Old 01-28-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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I thought the season premiere was pretty good. The opening fight scene was disappointing though. After Spartacus jumps from the horse and fights those men, just look how those guys are fighting. One of the guys isn't even flinging their swords at Spartacus, but throwing their hands up. Not sure what on earth was going on there.

I'm very critical of the show as Blood And Sand was, to me, one of the best shows around. Interesting in the second episode promo stills, we see Spartacus fighting with a sword and shield, but his fighting style is using two swords. Not sure what is going on there either.
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post #75 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 06:30 AM
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Did they recast Varro's [late] wife, Aurelia too? I think they recast a couple of the other gladiators too. One of the surviving brothers for example. (Durro?)

I guess not. IMDB listed Brooke Williams in all appearances as Aurelia.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2010527/f...ries#tt1442449

"Spartacus: Vengeance" (6 episodes )
... aka "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" - USA (original title)
Great and Unfortunate Things (5 March 2010) - Aurelia
Party Favors (26 March 2010) - Aurelia
Old Wounds (2 April 2010) - Aurelia
Revelations (9 April 2010) - Aurelia
Kill Them All (16 April 2010) - Aurelia
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post #76 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeny View Post

Did they recast Varro's [late] wife, Aurelia too? I think they recast a couple of the other gladiators too. One of the surviving brothers for example. (Durro?)

Nope. All the cast members you mention are the same as past seasons.

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The new actor has a presence but physically is smaller than Andy was. He needs to bulk up a bit more to appear more realistic as a former gladiator.

As has been mentioned, Liam is taller than Andy was. Andy was also very slim before taking the role, so Liam will probably "fill out" as time goes by.

Someone else mentioned Crixus (Manu Bennett) as being taller than Andy. That is not the case.
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post #77 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 06:43 AM
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Someone else mentioned Crixus (Manu Bennett) as being taller than Andy. That is not the case.

Again using IMDB as a reference, this appears true as they list

Jonathan Manu Bennett
Height 5' 10¾" (1.80 m)

Andy Whitfield
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)

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post #78 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 09:13 AM
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post #79 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 09:37 AM
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I was a little underwhelmed by this first episode. But then, I was a little underwhelmed by the first episode of Blood and Sand, which I also regard as a fantastic series. (I was very underwhelmed by the entire 'Gods of the Arena' prequel season). But I'll certainly give this series time to develop. If I remember, BaS didn't really get rolling until episode 3.
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post #80 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 11:15 AM
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My impressions...

Looks like they pulled Liam out of glad camp too soon or didn't have enough time to tone him up. Looked a tad pasty in some scenes as well...maybe just fairer complexion. Too soon to tell, but he seems to lack some of Andy's subtlety and charisma. Andy also showed a sly humor when called for...we'll see.

Guys, those IMDB stats are like high school and college measurements. It's what their agents or egos want presented. I believe Bennett's are correct, but to the eye Andy was at least an inch shorter and had a much smaller frame (though it was loaded, for the series, with quite a bit of muscle mass).

Illythia looked haggard. What happened to her...and she was caked on with makeup. I suspect to cover blemishes. Wow, what a difference a couple of years made.

Yes, Batiatus was missed. Lucy's going to have to carry this show by herself, unless they introduce a new dynamic character. Every other Roman is being portrayed as a Snidely Whiplash type. They need to change it up.

The episode was bleh, but I expect it will pick up soon.

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post #81 of 429 Old 01-29-2012, 01:32 PM
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I think there is good potential that things will ramp up especially with a full season of episodes. Jury is still out on Liam for me as well but I think he will be OK. It actually took me several episodes into season one to get hooked.

Speaking of short seasons, I look forward the integration of the Gannicus character. I assume Oenomaus will run into him and will solicit his help. It will be interesting to see if somehow the secret will still get uncovered of Gannicus' fling with Oenomaus' wife. I re-watched "Gods of the Areana" before seing this first episode of Vengence. I think Gannicus did well in his role. I am interested to see how they get all of these guys back in the arena since as it seemed in the first episode, the quality of the matches have dropped since the revolt.
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post #82 of 429 Old 01-30-2012, 03:57 AM
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I nearly forgot about this starting up!
yesterday I set dvr to record repeat of ep 1. I even had the date marked on calendar but I missed it anyway

Looking forward to the new season. I hope the new actor is as good as Andy.

Steve
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post #83 of 429 Old 01-30-2012, 06:39 AM
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Speaking of short seasons, I look forward the integration of the Gannicus character. I assume Oenomaus will run into him and will solicit his help. It will be interesting to see if somehow the secret will still get uncovered of Gannicus' fling with Oenomaus' wife. I re-watched "Gods of the Areana" before seing this first episode of Vengence. I think Gannicus did well in his role. I am interested to see how they get all of these guys back in the arena since as it seemed in the first episode, the quality of the matches have dropped since the revolt.

Gannicus is actually my favorite character of the entire series so I'm looking forward to seeing him in the new season. Wasn't he a General in Spartacus' army?

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post #84 of 429 Old 01-30-2012, 07:46 AM
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I bet my $0.02 that Ilithya is preggers from the Spartacus encounter..

Glad to see Katrina Law, and even more that she's credited as part of the main cast.

Good job!

RIP Mom, we always love you 8/18/13
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post #85 of 429 Old 01-30-2012, 08:31 AM
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- I was a little disappointed that they seem to be covering up her freckles. I loved them in Season 1.

Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed. Thought at first it was my TV, or perhaps just the difference between Starz broadcast and Blu-Ray.

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post #86 of 429 Old 01-31-2012, 05:24 AM
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I think the new Spartacus doesn't look as fit as Andy did, he wasn't as tone and ripped. Not totally buying him yet in the role but it may grow on me.

Overall a descent episode but a far cry from the previous seasons. Oh well, still a good show.

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post #87 of 429 Old 01-31-2012, 05:33 AM
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I, too, was a bit underwhelmed by the premiere. I know they have to create dramatic tension wherever they can now that they're out of the Ludis, but Aurelia doing a 180 on her deathbed just didn't ring true. Spartacus did everything he could for her, short of accompanying her on her road trip. She should have been angry at the Romans, not with the guy who just a few days before she had spoken of so reverently. Ah, pulp fiction can be so fickle.

I think Liam is going to be fine, and he'll continue to bulk up as filming goes on. There were certain scenes where he looked so much like Andy it was freaky. But, I readily admit, he's no Andy.
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post #88 of 429 Old 01-31-2012, 05:48 AM
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Yeah we are going to have to get use to the new Spartacus.

I dont know about Aurelia she had issues. Lost her husband then her life and all due to Spartacus? I can see that reaction.


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post #89 of 429 Old 01-31-2012, 06:36 AM
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No surprise Lucy is back since she wasn't dead at the end of Season 1. She seems "out of it" but she is has shown that she can be very cunning and it wouldn't be a big surprise if she is faking it. It is TV so they don't have to go into how she survived and who stitched her wound, etc. Maybe we'll get some more info in later episodes - Oenameaus may have helped. And it's not a big secret whose baby Ilithyia carries.

Maybe Battiatus isn't dead... I don't recall a head being lopped off.

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post #90 of 429 Old 01-31-2012, 06:42 AM
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Maybe Battiatus isn't dead... I don't recall a head being lopped off.

He's not only merely dead, he's really most sincerely dead.
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He's dead, Jim
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