Spartacus – “Wolves at the Gate” (3.02) Review

Spartacus Wolves at the Gate Review

WARNING: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Last week’s season premiere introduced us to Marcus Crassus and the needs of Spartacus’ massive slave army. This week, Marcus Crassus got an ally in the form of a young Julius Caesar; and Spartacus’ army addressed their needs by sacking a Roman city.

It has been easy to sympathize with and root for Spartacus and his rebels since their uprising at the end of season one. The majority of their victims definitely have deserved their fate, but there’s no denying that a good many of their victims have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time and died for no other reason than having been born a Roman.

This episode painted Spartacus’ army in a more negative light. Yes they are in a war and have need of shelter and food, but their taking the Roman city spilled a lot of blood. Not just the blood of Roman guards and soldiers, but also the blood of poor Roman women and their children. Spartacus himself showed some remorse about the young victims. After all, does a young innocent and helpless girl pose a threat to anyone? No. But of course Spartacus himself didn’t hesitate to shove a spear in a man’s mouth right in front of the man’s wife.

I’d like to see Spartacus address his people to show some constraint and mercy in the future when dealing with people who obviously pose no threat and have committed no crime. Spill the blood of the Roman soldiers and the Romans who have and abuse slaves, but there’s never a reason to indiscriminately kill everyone in sight just because you can.

On the other hand, I continue to be impressed with Crassus. He comes across as a powerful and entertaining figure, and the only pity is that there are now only eight episodes left. Hopefully the proposed spinoff features Crassus, as I’m becoming a big fan of the character and his slave Kore (who we now know Crassus himself has the hots for).

It’s still early, but the Julius Caesar character in this episode was hit and miss. I can see potential with him, and it’s going to be interesting to see him continue to develop and undoubtedly clash with Tiberius Crassus. There is actually no record of Caesar having anything to do with Spartacus and the slave rebellion, so there really was no reason to involve him in the show unless Starz wanted to keep the “Spartacus style” going with a new show based on Caesar. If that’s the case, I really hope they develop Julius a lot during the next eight episodes, because right now he’s kinda lacking.

Spartacus’ army now has their own city, and with it enough shelter to brave the coming winter and enough food to help them survive somewhat easier. Of course now Crassus’ 10,000 man army is on the move, and well that doesn’t bode well for the “Bringer of Rain.”

“Wolves at the Gate” is yet another quality episode of Spartacus. It wasn’t as good as last week’s season premiere, but it definitely had its moments (including a brutal stoning death scene). If you missed, be on the lookout for the replay on Starz or on Starz On Demand if you have that. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Spartacus: War of the Damned – “Wolves at the Gate” gets a three out of five: GOOD.

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