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'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' nostalgia recap: Accept your fate

Season 1 | Episode 8 | “Mark of the Brotherhood” | Aired Mar 19, 2010

As the beginning of the eighth episode of Spartacus shows, Spartacus has come to accept his destiny and has risen to unimaginable popularity. Through a montage sequence (the gladiator arena battle is done at the beginning), we see that time has passed, and Spartacus is shown relaxing and remembering all the battles he’s won. It’s a fitting way to open the episode and signal the start of the latter phase of the season.

With “Mark of the Brotherhood,” and its passage of time, the show aims to present the contrast between Spartacus’s rise as the MVP of the ludus and Crixus’s recovery. At the beginning of the episode, Crixus is having a really tough time readjusting. When he tries to show Batiatus and Lucretia that he is capable of fighting, he requests to fight with Spartacus. The result is that Spartacus completely destroys him, humiliating him in front of the entire ludus. It shows how much Spartacus has grown as a gladiator—he’s in his prime, confident and utterly ruthless.

Spartacus is dominant during the ludus fights

Throughout the episode we see Crixus struggling—both sexually and physically—to the point that Batiatus has Ashur investigate if any buyers are interested in him. In a scene between Lucretia and Batiatus (after Lucretia has not been satisfied by Crixus) he tells her that if Crixus can’t be seen by the crowd as a god, then he’s done. Crixus needs to be at 100 percent in order to fight in the arena, and that’s one of the episode’s main, most satisfying arcs.

Crixus plans to reclaim his spot as the champion of Capua

One of the subplots of this episode involves Illythia and a new gladiator recruit. When Batiatus purchases all the new recruits in the market (completely humiliating Solonius in the process), Illythia asks if she can get one. This entire subplot with her gladiator, the imposing Segovax (Mike Edward), is fascinating because he admires Spartacus and is obviously a fan of his stories. He looks up to him because of his dreams about freedom. In a way, it’s an innocent fan/hero relationship that develops. Illythia uses Segovax for her own amusement—as a way to show off her new purchase to her friends. There’s an intense scene when Lucretia invites Illythia and all of her Roman friends to visit the villa; what starts as an uncomfortably “friendly” time between the Roman women takes a dark turn once Spartacus gets involved.

Lucretia receives Roman visitors at the villa

This might be one of the episode’s best scenes, as a showcase for Lucretia to defend herself against the insults of the High Roman women and proudly embrace her home and her status. However, things escalate when Illythia tries to show off the fact that she bought a gladiator. Licinia (Brooke Harman), one of Illythia’s friends and cousin to Marcus Crassus, pokes fun at the fact that Illythia’s man is not yet a gladiator and instead demands to see Spartacus (this is when things get really awkward and the verbal confrontation causes Illythia to erupt).

The confrontation causes Illythia to use Segovax for evil: She has her slave try to kill off his hero. The idea is twisted, but even worse is the fact that she promises him what he desires most (freedom) if he wins. This entire Segovax subplot ends tragically, and seeing Illythia’s coldly calculating demeanor toward his extremely brutal fate speaks to the show’s willingness to display the worst of humanity and push characters toward impossible decisions. Because Segovax doesn’t even know who Illythia is, it also touches upon the theme of control and questionable authority. Even Spartacus, as he’s looking at what has been done to Segovax and then at Illythia, has an angry response—possibly because he was almost killed, but likely because of the unfair nature of the entire situation. The fact that she forced someone who admired him to this fate is a perversion of morality.

Speaking of using what you love and twisting it: When Spartacus sees Varro playing dice and using his winnings to spend it on sex (Varro is married after all) he decides to intervene. It’s a ploy by Spartacus to show Varro that he shouldn’t dishonor his wife; he puts it quite clearly—he still has the opportunity to be reunited with her once again. It’s a really poignant sequence between the two. It gets mildly confrontational at the beginning, but you get the sense that Spartacus just wants Varro to be reunited with his wife and be happy, and appreciate that he still has a chance to have that life. He just wants to help his friend make the best decision.

Batiatus and Lucretia see if Crixus can defeat Spartacus

The episode, written by Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing, sets up the remaining arc of the season: Crixus is definitely back (having stopped Segovax from killing Spartacus) and plans to reclaim his spot as Champion.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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