“Do not shed tear. There is no greater victory than to fall from this world a free man.”
(Post contains some visual spoilers for the finale episode (and NSFW). Take a peek if you are trying to decide if this series is for you. The first half is non spoilery - just reasons why I think it's amazing. I've tried to make a good case for it...;D)
And so ends one of the finest TV shows I've watched in a long time.
I started watching Spartacus with trepidation last year. I'd heard some murmurings that it was pretty good, but not exactly great. I started watching and got completely hooked. Over the seasons it has developed into an amazing story of revenge, courage, power, love, friendship, loyalty and hope. It explored the notions of freedom and what it means to be in charge of your own choices. It also examined what it is to be human - in a way that sees us at our most base (the violence and degradation that we are capable of) and at our best (the fight for our rights, humanity and freedom).
At its heart it's a love story. But it's so much more than that.
It's skilfully crafted and brings together a whole heap of elements that make it glorious television.
The scripts are always strong. The dialogue is poetic and the turns of phrase are often genius. It's not just the dialogue but the week to week story structure. There is NEVER a dull moment. It's also so tightly done. The story telling is interspersed with violence and sex that are served to enhance the story and characters rather than (just) be titillation. It's an adult show and it's rewarding to be treated as an adult. Kudus to Steven S DeKnight - creator and writer.
The cinematography is stunning. I can only imagine they had a pretty decent budget because the production values are extremely high. It's stylise and comes across as a graphic novel, but it doesn't lose any of it's emotional power for being like that.
The characters are fantastic! In fact, it's the very thing that kept me going back. The characters are richly drawn and not ever tokenistic. The women are incredibly strong and enduring. Characters are never painted as purely "evil" or the "baddies". It's an ensemble and there isn't one character that I didn't love (I mean, I "hated" Tiberius - but loved his journey). The performances are also incredibly strong and engaging. I particularly loved John Hannah and Lucy Lawless in the first season. And both Andy Whitfield and Liam McIntyre were perfectly cast as Spartacus.
I also loved the feeling that same sex couples are treated no differently to any other couple. Love is love, no matter who it's with. The fact that many variations of love are explored - including that of master and slave, also add the the richness of the series. Of course, Agron and Nasir won my heart completely.
Ok. Enough gushing! Time for some pretty...*guh* every frame is always so beautiful. I can't even.
These first three are from the previous episode:
Isn't it glorious?! The costumes are also fab ( and hey! It doesn't hurt that we get to see lots of flesh...)
At times it feels like you're watching a film.
These next caps are from the final ep. So SPOILERS!
Agron and Nasir. *swoon* They own my heart...
I'm pretty fond of these two also. Gannicus might actually have been my absolute favourite character. Such fierce loyalty, bravery and inner strength. I adored his journey. His end made me bawl (after cowering behind my hands that is...). I thought Sybil and Gannicus might have had a future together. Alas...
I like that don't shy away from the sex (of course I spend most of the time thinking what the actors have to do for their craft sometimes...)
Gannicus. Just 'cause.
*guh* The scene on this hill between Spartacus and Grassus was stunning. I loved how layered Crassus is - his admiration for Spartacus shone through. But he's a man who must do as he must.
Naevia - so fierce and full of vengeance. Another character that had a rich journey throughout the series. It's a shame that Crixus couldn't be there for the final battle.
The battle scenes on the show are always amazing. The choreography and filming must take ages. I'd be curious how much "blood" they used during this show.
Kick ass Saxa (*meep* also...)
Awesome CGI. That moment was such a surprise! It make me wonder when exactly they dug that trench...
I loved the way they filmed Spartacus during the fight with Crassus. So fierce and frightening.
*bawls* The violence is difficult to watch at times (nothing a pair of hands didn't fix), but I loved how it enhanced the reality of their situation. War is bloody and painful. Violence upon a human body is horrific. I can't say it didn't glorify violence because I think it did, but it was all in context so I think it worked in making the series as strong as it was.
As close to a happy ending as we are going to get. Highly satisfying though.
I will truly miss this show. I felt like I was going to the movies each time I watched an episode.