The latest episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, entitled Party Favors, sees some of the best writing for the series in a scheme of subtle and sexual manipulation masterfully pulled off by Ilithyia (Viva Bianca). Absent is the clumsy scheme she attempted in Mark of the Brotherhood. Not only is the viewer once again granted “visual” stimulation by her, drama, sacrifice, and sorrow are levied on the viewer as well. I would have loved to have seen Varro (Jai Courtney) and Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) fight the guards side by side to the death. Seeing Spartacus’ eyes plead with those of Batiatus (John Hannah), receiving denial in return, and the tears well up in his eyes as the inevitable crashed around him was one of the highlights of the Party Favors (Hi-Res Photos). I was surprised Spartacus did not simply drop his sword when given the kill command. I also liked the fact, that like in the book, gladiators are shown to be far better fighters than Roman soldiers, them the beneficiaries of constant training and sparing without armour.
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