“Spartacus: War of the Damned” Episode 3 Recap: “Pirates of the Mediterranean”

I don’t know about you, but damn, I need a cigarette. And I don’t smoke.

Yes, faithful readers, after much teasing, after much torment, after endless patient waiting, we finally got what we’ve been waiting for. How fitting that, in a week that began with a Super Bowl, our two favorite gay-diators finally achieved their own version of a touchdown.

Oh yes, we finally got to see it. Agron and Nasir and not, for once, coitus interruptus (or, as the Romans called it, bluis ballius.) And it was sweet. And romantic. And hot hot hawwwwwwwwt!

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to go back to the very beginning which, as St. Julie of Andrews often reminds me, is a very good place to start.

The place: Spartopolis. The year: judging by the sexy shenanigans we saw going on, 69 BC. The scene: a bunch of men beating their swords. Literally, not metaphorically. Attius is busy doing blacksmithy stuff, making swords for the rebellion. Despite his labors, though, some of the rebels, including Agron and Crixus, do not trust him. They fear he is only loyal to his own pocket.

Meanwhile, a bunch of rebels and former gladiators, including Lugoand Nemetes, are meanly taunting some of the Roman prisoners. It appears our gay little group of marauding, murderous rebels has some serious anger issues to work out. Spartacus won’t stand for any incivility, as judged by last week’s spearing of Laeta’s husband. I’d suggest Spartacus may be talking out both sides of his mouth, but judging by his treatment of Laeta’s man, if Spartacus wants someone to have two sides to their mouth, he’ll make the holes for it, so I’ll just keep my judgments to myself. Besides, the citizens of Spartopolis have a bigger problem: they are running out of food.

Oh yes, while Mr. Laeta did not set the granary on fire, it turns out, grain covered with black pitch does not taste all that great. Hmm—pitch-covered spelt wheat. Sounds like an ingredient from next week’s Chopped, right? Wrong! And while Sparty and company would love to just run out to the nearest Kroger and buy all the bread, milk, and low-fat chocolate chip cookie dough frozen yogurt they need, that’s not really an option. There is only food left for about two more weeks. Dagnabit—where’s the Soylent Green when you need it?

Speaking of foodstuffs, Saxa and Gannicus are enjoying their daily round of “find the sausage” while a mysterious and mildly crazy-eyed young woman watches from the shadows. Ooh, Gannicus has a stalker! I bet she’s the one who keeps sending him love notes written on red paper with pink ink with the i’s dotted with little hearts asking for an autograph and a pair of used underwear. Wait—check—that’s me. (I’m still waiting for that package, by the way…) Right now, we’re not sure what Sibyl has in mind, beyond voyeuristic hero worship.

Nemetes taunts the Roman baker and his very pregnant wife, offering them bread in exchange for some knowledge about a secret cache of jewels, coins, or Clairol Number 5 (even a barbarian has to look his best…) The baker finally tells Nemetes what he wants to know, but when he asks for the bread, Nemetes tosses it into the dirt. Another Roman grabs for it and the two end up wrestling around in the dirt for it, a sentence that makes the whole thing sound sexier than it was. The rebels cheer them on, and Crixus decides to organize a real contest. Obstacle course! First, everyone has to climb over man mountain Lugo without the aid of a rope. Then they have to cross the courtyard while balancing an egg on a spoon. Lastly, they have to stuff their mouths full of marshmallows and say “Rubber baby buggy bumpers” seven times. The first one who does all three tasks wins! No, wait, sorry—Crixus just gives them swords and tells them to fight to the death. Seriously, Billy Ray Crixus, my idea is a bit more festive and slightly less messy (though, to be honest, the whole marshmallow thing gets kind of gross around mallow #7.)

The baker protests that he is not gladiator, but the two men engage in mortal combat for the bread. How very Jean Valjean! I expect the baker’s wife to break into “I Dreamed a Dream.”


The two men clash in combat, though it’s less “clash of the titans” and more “clash of the frightened.” Naevia, however, is truly enjoying the floor show, while Attius finds it cruel. Eventually the baker proves victorious, with a well-timed sweet roll to the neck, and Crixus dismissively throws him the bread. But when Crixus turns his back, the baker makes a sudden motion—for the bread? For a sword? Naevia thinks the latter and goes all whack-a-mole on the guy’s hand. Attius thinks the former and pisses and moans. I sense tension, and Attius best watch out—nobody puts Naevia in a corner.

Suddenly Nasir reports that he saw three ships come sailing in, and it isn’t even Christmas day. Pirates! Pirates have come to Spartopolis, and Johnny Depp is nowhere to be seen. Still, the pirate leader, Heracleo, looks happy to see Spartacus—at least for now. Turns out he used to do a spot of business with Mr. Laeta, and the official city seal was helpful in aiding Heracleo in some of his more risky ventures. Heracleo wants the seal, and tension rises between the two groups. Attius is less than pleased by this turn of events, and quarrels with Gannicus. He is worried about his place amongst the rebels now. Psst, hey dude, guess what? You should be worried.

Elsewhere, Tibby and Caesar meet up with Mummius, the leader of the small band of troops camping out south of Crassus’ main force. The two older, more wizened veterans treat Tibby like the greenhorn he is, and Sabinus cutely gets all mad at the way his boy toy “heterosexual” best buddy is treated (cough, cough). Suddenly a messenger arrives, telling Tibby and the others that Spartacus has taken over Spartopolis. Tibby replies, “That makes sense, since they named the city after him,” and everyone just rolls his eyes except Sabinus, who just reminds himself that Tibby is rich and pretty and that counts for a lot. Caesar, demonstrating that sanity is clearly not the better part of valor, cleaves the messenger’s head in two.

Geez, the things some people will do to avoid paying a tip.

Tibby is furious and sends Caesar to Crassus to report. Tibby wants to move on Spartacus now, before his father arrives, because since he is both young and short (seriously, the guy is travel-sized!) he has something to prove. Napoleon complex on Aisle XII! Sabinus does not think that is a good idea, but Tibby reminds him that he is in charge. Sabinus snorts: “When it’s daylight, maybe,” but he goes along with Tibby for now.


Meanwhile, in Spartopolis, Spartacus has made his main camp in Laeta’s former home. Laeta blabs about what happened to the baker (Opianus) in the square. Hey, lady, no one likes a tattletale! To knock her off her high horse Spartacus tells Laeta about the secret dealings her husband had with pirates, and she is absolutely crestfallen: turns out her slave-owning, adulterous, hierarchical, women-don’t-got-no-vote husband was not an angel, after all. Spartacus says he needs her help in finding the seal, and if she grants it, he will give the prisoners equal shares of what they secure in trade from the pirates. Laeta ups the ante, and says she wants freedom for her and other Romans in exchange for helping him.

She leads him to the seal, and Heracleo is elated. A bargain is struck, food for coin, and Heracleo is all, “Let’s party!” Suddenly the scene becomes my big fat Greek wedding orgy, with both rebels and pirates participating in the debauchery. Saxa warns Sibyl to keep her wandering eye off of Saxa’s man, but Sibyl says she only wants to thank Gannicus for rescuing her. Uhh, be careful there, Sibyl: I’m pretty sure that, in Germaniac, “give thanks to” means “make babies with.” Saxa takes her away smiling.

The only people not having fun are Crixus and Naevia, and “not having fun” seems to have become their permanent state in life. Naevia tells him of one of her owners after she left the House of Batiatus, a man who seemed gentle and kind but who apparently was once the bad guy of the week on a particularly gruesome episode of Criminal Minds. Total Debbie Downer moment there. Suddenly there is a huge crashing sound, but that only turns out to be my jaw hitting the floor as a beefy hot naked Lugo comes stumbling around to give Crixus and Naevia a full frontal hello. Seriously, Spartacus is the best show on television, is it not?

Spartacus unshackles Laeta and tells her that he puts her in charge of the welfare of the other Romans in the city. Oh my gosh, she has suddenly become Julie, our favorite cruise activities director! She tries to organize a shuffleboard tournament but, honestly, shuffleboard is not nearly as much fun as debauchery. Oh, well, better luck next time. Maybe someone hanging out on the Lido Deck would like to play.

Nasir bumps—literally—into a sexy pirate, and the two flirt up a storm until Agron spies them. Agron gets the red ass up quicker than a beagle runs for apiece of dropped Kentucky Fried. Before you can say “cibus praelium,” an all-out brawl ensues. Seriously, my dinner parties always seem to end the same way. Especially when I invite my parents. Anyway, Agron puts a beat down on the sexy pirate, and if it is wrong that I am mildly turned on by the whole thing, then I do not want to be right.

Agron and Nasir depart for their quarters (a lovely brownstone in the north end of town) and Agron throws a bit of a temper tantrum, smashing things and gnashing his teeth.


The two quarrel but it is brief and ends sweetly. Oh, poor Agron, he loves Nasir so much that he hardly knows what to do. I feel the same way about my hubby, except instead of smashing dishes I just pout until the hubby starts tickling my sides. Agron and Nasir kiss and make up and then start to kiss with even more intent. There is a quick cut and—boom!—I imagine, once again, we get foreplay and afterglow and miss all the good stuff in between. But not this time. This time is different. Finally we see the two make sweet, sweet love and it is just that—both sweet and loving. And sexy as hell. I’m not sure what it says about our society when the sweetest, most loving, and most awesome gay couple on television also has one of the highest body counts, but I will happily take Agron and Nasir over Mitchell and Cam any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

Okay, now stop replaying that scene in your heads and let’s get on with the recap.

Just so our heterosexual friends do not feel left out, Saxa surprises Gannicus with a little gift—Sibyl. Seriously, either she is the most understanding woman this side of Silda Spitzer, or she just figured this was the only way she could take a night off, do her nails, and read two more chapters of Valley of the Dolls. Saxa disrobes Sibyl and holy poop, that woman has one fierce bod! So that is what pilates gets you—though, considering the time period this is set in, it might be more apt to say that is what Pontius Pilates gets you! (I have been dying to use that pun for a month now!) Dang, girl! You make me want to put down my Twinkie, or least do arm curls while I eat it (and one, and two, and creamy center three!) Gannicus spends a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry long moment staring her over but then tells her to be a good girl and leave. He tells Saxa that he desires to be with no other women tonight, and Saxa smiles but grumblingly wonders if she will ever find out if Neely O’Hara gets out of that loony bin or not.

Spartacus, meanwhile, is rapidly earning the title of the only man in the world who can have no fun at an orgy or county fair. Seriously, he is the very image of party pooper. Instead of celebrating he goes around “collecting” coin from everyone, including a disgruntled Nemetes, to pay the pirates for their wares. The men gather outside the gate of the city. They plan to meet the pirates before sun up, to make the exchange, but several of the men look more green around the gills than a leprechaun fish. Uh-oh—did the pirates poison the wine?

Outside Spartopolis, Tibby spies the pirates and wonders what is going on. It’s the Pirate Olympics, duh! They have the peg-leg sprints, the forty-yard rum spit, the hook toss, and women’s kayaking. I myself have been busy preparing to compete in the parrot aerobics. Altoona, 2016! The rebels meet the pirates with a big treasure chest full of coins. However, the pirates have only brought a sample of their wares and not all of their wares, and am I the only one who somehow thinks the word “wares” sounds dirty in that context? I am? Okay, just checking. Tension mounts, swords are drawn, and I get an awesome idea for a “Pirates vs. Gladiators” video game.

Meanwhile, in Spartopolis, Saxa reports that some Roman prisoners have gone missing. Nasir is worried, but Naevia takes command and tells everyone to remain at their posts. She will sort it out. I love it when she gets all Ramb-ette on us. You go, girl!


Tibby and his small band descend on the gladiators and pirates, causing the two groups to join forces against the Romans. Fighting ensues, and Tibby’s group looks to be in trouble until Mummius arrives with reinforcements. Now the tide turns against the rebels and the pirates, until Heracleo sends a signal and his ships start barraging the Romans with fireballs. The Romans start to lose cohesion but then Tibby realizes that Spartacus himself is before him. He goes after Sparty but is intercepted with a spear in the side. Oh, no! Not our cute little Tibby! He can’t die! We haven’t seen his butt yet! Sabinus intervenes and forces Tibby to retreat with the rest of the Romans, but not before hunky Lugo takes a sword right in the heart. Ouch.

Naevia finds Attius and demands to know where the Romans are. He says something rude about her hair and, seriously, that is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The two have it out and tussle ferociously until Naevia gets the upper hand. Grabbing one of Attius’ tools she bashes his brains in, and then bashes the floor underneath him, just for good measure. Seriously, Spartacus, you have got some very angry people in this rebellion: you might think about flying Dr. Phil in for a session or two.

The pirates and the rebels celebrate their victory and the alliance that will keep Spartacus’ people fed through winter, though Crixus is pensive. That’s nothing new—I swear, Crixus is more pensive than the big bowl Albus Dumbledore keeps in his closet (and apparently Dumbledore kept a lot in his closet.) Naevia tells the group Attius can’t join them because he has a headache, and everyone wonders where the missing Romans have gone. We then see them that Laeta has them hidden. Oh, treacherous cruise activities director! Just because no one wanted to play shuffleboard with you, you got to go and betray Spartacus like that? Talk about playing with hunky-angry-violent man fire!

But, hey, this episode is all about the lovin’, not the shovin’. Let’s just hope that 1) one or both of our sweet guys do not die before they get to do it again and 2) gay marriage is made legal in ancient Rome before too long. Can you imagine it—a very special Spartacus: Wedding of the Damned! Suck on that, Bachelorette!