Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spartacus Power Rankings, Vol. 4

Spartacus: War of the Damned, Episode 4 - "Decimation"

Unranked this week: Agron, Nasir, Kore, Laeta, Heracleo, Castus, Sibyl, Ulpianus (R.I.P)

10. Nemetes - I'd been wondering if DeKnight's Spartacus was going to become the first screen version of this story to acknowledge that plenty of Spartacus' followers were in no way heroic, and holy shit, did they ever. Brutally. With this episode's introduction of Nemetes' rape & torture hobby, he rockets clear to the top of the list of this show's most death-worthy living characters. By a mile. Pretty ballsy of DeKnight to introduce a slew of noble "villains" and a "hero" as evil and depraved as Nemetes all at once heading into the endgame. But yeah, Nemetes must die. (All that, and he would have gotten choked to death by a run-of-the-mill non-combatant Roman at episode's end if Caesar weren't forced to save him for the sake of his ruse. What a turd.)

9. Sabinus - Too soon?

8. Crixus - Crixus didn't accomplish a whole hell of a lot in "Decimation" other than getting pushed around by Naevia and then being beat on by Gannicus and stripped of command by Spartacus. Really, I could have ranked him below Sabinus, who at least met his death bravely. But it just seems appropriate that he and Naevia be back-to-back.

7. Naevia - So, just right off the deep end, huh? It seems Naevia's slaying of Ashur last season was in fact never the cathartic climax of her quest for justice, but merely the first step down a dark and bloody road of vengeance – not unlike that of Spartacus himself. But while Spartacus seems to have found an anchor to keep him just on the light side of the justice/vengeance fine line in Laeta, the darkness in Naevia has become malignant and now festers beyond control.

6. Tiberius Crassus - Little Tibby had a tough time of things this week, what with being forced to beat his best friend/possible lover to death with a club and sent to live in the crappy non-officers camp. But he at least drew the black stone, and "Your lesson well learned, Imperator." was a good oh-snap! sign off to his (possibly now in name only) father.

5. Spartacus - The Bringer of Rain comes in at fifth not so much for anything great he achieved as for just not screwing the pooch as badly as these cats below him. He at least saved Laeta and company and eventually regained some semblance of control over his army. But "Decimation" does seem to hint at the beginning of the end for his rebellion.

4. Marcus Crassus - Tough to deny that Crassus doesn't seem quite as honorable and admirable as he did back in the season premiere after this episode. Certainly a stone cold badass, but no hero. You could argue that he sacrificed five to keep tens of thousands in line, and he definitely made it damn clear who's boss. But like Spartacus, this is less a matter of Crassus being this high on the list than him simply outpacing the tough weeks everyone lower than him had.

3. Gannicus - If I've counted right, "Decimation" marks Gannicus and Crixus' third fight. Gannicus handily won the first in Gods of the Arena, intentionally threw the second a few episodes later the same season, and now, years on, it's pretty damn clear he was about to win again until Naevia stepped in. Sans cheating, Gannicus woulda destroyed him. And hey, now that Crixus has been stripped of command, does that make Gannicus Sparty's number two? Hoping for a clear answer on this next week. Either way, Ganny wins, Crixy loses this episode.

2. Saxa - "I give cause... bitch." AWWWW YEAAAA.

1. Julius Caesar - No question, this hour was Caesar's from start to finish. Yeah, he had to let Gannicus beat him up a little to maintain his ruse, but he still managed to very hastily trigger the breakdown of the rebel army with nothing but his wiles, a few well-placed words and one well-placed throwing knife. He played the shit out of everyone, grinning cockily all the while and even achieving just a touch of heroism in helping end the torment of Nemetes' captive. And as a bonus, his scruff and weird down-there cutting was revealed to be part of his disguise for infiltrating the rebels, which, lemme tell you, is a relief, because I thought this dude had some weird-as-shit fetish going on. Hail Caesar!

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