Carrie Rickey(via fireworkselectricbright)
So the finale has just been shown here in the UK. I’ve spent many hours reviewing various episodes but eventually retired in the face of the superior articles from the likes of AVClub and TV.com. It’s taken the bloggers to bring this show to the masses as it’s largely been ignored by the mainstream press. It’s a crying shame as the last episode helped to cement this show’s reputation with dramatic visuals, profound writing, and acting of rare conviction and depth.
Box sets were made for Spartacus as the story it told was leather-bound by history. It had a start, a middle, and an end, and it played with themes that were modern despite the classical historical mis en scene. It would never be allowed to spiral out of control or expire long after its central messages had been explored as the end was set in stone even as the first line of the first episode was written. Its characters followed arcs that were not contrived by textbook-following writers but forged by circumstance and humanity. For this the writers and producers deserve all the plaudits that are now being showered on them by the geek community. They’ve pulled off something rather rare.
The paradox is that a show that become synonymous with showers of crimson blood, oiled pecs, and extravagantly staged deaths and dismemberment should feature such emotional depth and tenderness. There were many moments during “Victory” that brought tears to the eyes, and the inevitable deaths of our heroes carried such weight because we had shared these quieter moments with them, learnt what made them tick, what motivated them, and found them to be not just likeable but believable too. Their defeat was inevitable but the writers found ways to make their deaths mean something in the face of overwhelming odds. As for Spartacus himself, as he breathed his last we knew he would be reunited with his beloved, that he was finally finding peace, and so we were happy for him. His victory was to die a free man. Something his Roman victors would never know. Liam McIntye played the moment to perfection. He was Spartacus the leader, just as Andy Whitfield was Spartacus the gladiator.
Steven DeKnight also gave us one final glimpse of Andy Whitfield at the end of a credits roll-call of all the heroes and villains we’ve met over the last four seasons. As he roared “I Am Spartacus” and brought this series to a close we were left with the impression that TV will never be this colourful, emotional, violent, sexual, political, and vital again. I hope I’m wrong.