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YMMV / Spartacus: Blood and Sand

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     Tropes A - G 
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Naevia was not a popular character, but it was still sad to see her die in the same way that Diona had.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Literally every character can be interpreted as the "good" or "bad" guy at some point. What's interesting is that three of the main characters in Vengeance—Spartacus, Crixus, and Agron—all have different opinions on almost everything that happens, despite being on the same side, which makes for very different interpretations of their characters. Is Spartacus a brave and compassionate man, or a single-minded idealist? Is Crixus's devotion to Naevia admirable or selfish? Is Agron a pragmatic leader or a selfish brat?
    • Come War of the Damned, Crassus is open to considerable interpretation. Is he a loyal servant of Rome who fights out of a sense of patriotism, or a power-hungry politician who fights for greed and personal advancement? Is he a a Benevolent Boss who genuinely cares about his slaves, or a Control Freak who desires to own people as property, even though he could afford to free them and then employ them if he chose to? Are the disciplinary actions he inflicts on his troops barbaric and overly harsh, or a necessity given their repeated failures against Spartacus? Was his crucifixion of Kore really necessary? Even if he couldn't spare her life, surely he could have given her a more merciful end?
    • In Gods of the Arena, was Lucretia intending to kill Titus before the murder of Gaia, or was she just trying to make him ill enough to force him to seek healthier climes, and his treatment of herself and her loved ones tipped her over the edge?
    • In War of the Damned, a lot of people blame Naevia for goading Crixus into wanting to kill all the Romans and destroy Rome, but is it entirely her fault? Crixus himself is known to be short-tempered and vengeful with an 'attack first, ask questions later' attitude long before Naevia became a Blood Knight. He is the one who starts teaching her to fight in the first place and he praises her for being a strong warrior, either overlooking or outright encouraging her violent behaviour. Therefore, are they just goading each other in regards to their Revenge Before Reason attitude?
    • In Vengeance, just how insane is Lucretia really? It's clear that she's putting it on at least a little to appear harmless and she's very capable of cunning and rationality. However, cutting Ilithyia's baby out of her womb and then throwing herself off a cliff with the child, all so that she can give her dead husband a son, isn't exactly 'sane' behavior. It raises the question of whether this was Lucretia's endgame from the start, or if she was making it up as she went.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: A lot of people watch for the equal-opportunity Fanservice.
  • Catharsis Factor: The Season 1 finale is a pretty epic one, as it features a whole season's worth of Laser-Guided Karma coming down on Quintus and Lucretia. The entire Ludus rebels against them, and Illythia gets her revenge by actually having the gates sealed and locking them inside. Spartacus kills Quintus personally, while Crixus stabs Lucretia and their unborn child - giving them brutal punishments for murdering Sura and torturing Naevia respectively.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Vengeance episodes "Empty Hands" & "Libertus", and Gods of the Arena: Cossutius is the worst example of unchecked Roman excess. A smug aristocrat, he extorts a favor from the House of Batiatus by requesting a “show” from a virgin slave girl. He selects the girl Diona as he knows he can hurt her more and forces her to lose her virginity to a brutish, dirty, filthy gladiator, mocking Diona all the while as an “example“ of how ugliness and beauty co-exist before anally raping her during her ordeal. Cossutius later shows sheer glee at Diona's execution, and at a Roman party is the first to gleefully torture a bound Gladiator for nothing more than entertainment. Furthermore, Cossutius is a serial rapist. He makes it explicitly clear he chooses Diona due to her being a virgin, and makes it quite clear virgins don't exist in his household for that reason. In sexual sadism, Cossutius is well above his fellow Romans.
    • War of the Damned: Nemetes proves that not even the rebels are devoid of evil in their ranks. Initially a callous Jerkass of the German slaves, once the rebels have taken a Roman city, Spartacus does his best to ensure that the prisoners are treated with every respect and courtesy. Nemetes kidnaps a Roman Domina and rapes and tortures her for sport, prostituting her to be tortured or brutalized by soldiers he knows will go for it. When Julius Caesar is disguised amongst the rebels, Nemetes demands he show his loyalty by hurting the brutalized girl even more, which horrifies even the hardened Roman and forces him to deliver a Mercy Kill. When Caesar sheds his façade and puts Nemetes at sword point, Nemetes simply tries to bargain to betray Spartacus and turn over all the armies and civilians with them to the Romans if he can escape; an offer Caesar rejects.
  • Cross Over Ship:
    • A small group of fans ship Gannicus (or, far more rarely, Spartacus) with Daenerys Targaryen. It kind of makes sense…Given Dany’s track record, we know she has a thing for long-haired, hard-drinking bad boys, her propriety and aloofness is a nice contrast to Gannicus’s more laid-back manner, and they both hate slavery with a passion and campaign to end it.
    • There's even a small fanbase that ships Gannicus and Xena. Which is freaking hilarious when you remember that Lucy Lawless plays Lucretia on this series.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Ilithyia may be an amoral Femme Fatale and self-absorbed Alpha Bitch, but not even she deserved to be put through a Traumatic C-Section before watching her newborn child die, knowing she'd soon follow.
    • For a small moment you feel bad for Glaber once he is made aware of the conspiracy to not only have his marriage dissolved but his child aborted by his wife, father-in-law, and rival.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Naevia is viewed as being one by some people in Vengeance, as she spends a lot of the season getting into trouble and needing to be rescued, often to the detriment of the other rebels. At one point, she states the rebels shouldn't even have bothered trying to rescue her in the first place. However, some viewers cut her some slack as she's obviously traumatised from her ordeal; part of the reason she thinks the rebels shouldn't have rescued her is also because she feels guilty so many of them died in the attempt. She also makes an effort to start combat training late in the season and so actually contributes to rebellion, becoming badass enough to take out Ashur singlehandedly and keep up with Crixus on the battlefield. By the next season she is a full-fledged Action Girl...unfortunately, she takes a huge level in Jerkass as well, which only cemented her as a Scrappy for many viewers.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It's perfectly understandable for one to stop caring about the characters by War of the Damned due to Foregone Conclusion and the sheer amount of character deaths. Vengeance killed off eleven main characters, six of whom died in the season finale alone, so it's pretty obvious that by the end of the series, nearly everyone who's still standing will end up dead.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Estrogen Brigade: Spartacus is a pretty 'manly' show for the most part, but has plenty of female fans. Part of the reason may possibly be due to the smorgasbord of hunky, scantily-dressed gladiators that make up a large portion of the cast.
  • Evil Is Cool: Batiatus, Lucretia, Glaber, Ilithyia, Ashur, Theokoles, Caburus and Caesar all breathe this trope.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Where do we start? For the girls, there's Ilithyia, Lucretia and Seppia.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Aside from the Roman elite constantly screwing each other over, the rebels eventually fall into this as well. Crixus, heavily goaded by Naevia, develops such an unrelenting hatred of Romans that he wants them all dead. Not just the wealthy slaveowners, but even the common people. When he finally breaks with Spartacus in War of the Damned, it is because he will accept nothing less than total slaughter and the destruction of Rome itself. Not that this would end slavery as an institution, as other nations also practiced it. Plus the rebels already had more than a little bit of a Might Makes Right social hierarchy forming amongst themselves. So the final battle between Crixus and his forces against Crassus and his legions takes on this tone.
    • Other "nations" (more like tribal societies) may have practised slavery (and the occasional religious human sacrifice when times got really tough), but Roman society was unique in the area/era for the sheer scale of its slave economy and the cruelty in their treatment of the slaves. No other close-by society committed constant mass human sacrifices for public entertainment, not even the other urban civilizations to the south and east. And remember that Rome was eventually toppled by a bunch of "barbarian" Germanic tribes - who immediately closed down the gladiatorial arenas in any Roman town they took over. We don't know if it was because of well-justified disgust with the practise of forcing people to murder each other or having prisoners torn apart by wild animals for the amusement of supposedly "normal" human beings, or if it was that they well remembered that it had often been their ancestors who'd been kidnapped and forced into the meat-grinder, due to being naturally tall and buff.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A fair few fans prefer Melitta with Gannicus than Oenomaus, though others will vehemently disagree. A few viewers Take a Third Option by shipping all three together. It's even messier by War of the Damned (see Ship-to-Ship Combat below).
  • Fans Prefer the New Her:
    • Acknowledged in-universe. Lucretia looks quite good when she goes back to wearing her red wigs in Vengeance. Unfortunately she's wearing them at Ashur's orders - after he's been raping her. Notably there's one scene where Illythia complements Lucretia on how good the red hair looks, only for the latter to shudder.
    • Spartacus looks better with short hair than the messy long hair he had in the first two episodes. The short hair comes about in a Traumatic Haircut that marks his start as a glorified slave put into the arena.
  • First Installment Wins: The first season is agreed to be the best, not just because of Andy Whitfield in the title role. It also had the brilliant villain team of Batiatus and Lucretia, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Naevia, the interesting upstairs/downstairs setting of the Ludus and other beloved characters like Varro, Aurelia, Sura and Illythia as a Wild Card.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With many of the show's alumnae appearing in Arrow, The Flash (2014), Gotham and even Suicide Squad (2016), one won't be surprised if fans of the show are in good vibes with DC fans.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Season 1 DVD special features showed Andy Whitfield, exhausted after a workout, saying he hopes he's still around when the series ends. He stepped out due to cancer and died in 2011.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The very first episode has a subtle quote of Chief Joseph's famous line, "I will fight no more forever." Spartacus's wife asks him a hypothetical, "You will fight no more?" His response begins, "Forever."
    • At first glance, Andy Whitfield, and Liam McIntyre even more so, seems like a case of Race Lifting as a casting choice for Spartacus. Thrace is basically Greece, right? But the Thracians actually were partly Germanic in origin and the Roman stereotype for them was red-haired and blue-eyed.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The first couple episodes of Blood and Sand are generally agreed to be not very good. The show starts hitting its stride around episodes three and four, for various reasons; the actors are obviously getting used to the sentence structure of their lines, the show isn't trying so hard to be 300 (the influence is still obviously there, it just isn't as blatant), Hannah started really hamming it up as Batiatus, and characters in general became more fleshed out.
    • Episode 6 ("Delicate Things") is the definitive turning point. Batiatus shows his true colors as a Manipulative Bastard Bad Boss, Spartacus is shattered by Sura's death (which Batiatus arranged, unbeknownst to Spartacus,) and pretty much every character's main motivation for the first half of the season has been shattered and must be rebuilt. If you weren't hooked before, you will be at this point.
  • Guilty Pleasure: The show is very violent and sexual, but it is also very enjoyable, so many watch it with a little bit of guilt.

     Tropes H - P 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Episode 11 of Blood and Sand involves Spartacus being bedridden due to a severe infection and the medicus doing everything he can to save him. There's even a scene where Spartacus sees his dead body on a morgue. Andy Whitfield, the actor who played Spartacus, had to leave the role due to cancer. Tragically, he lost the battle a year later.
    • In Vengeance, Gannicus comments that Spartacus is going to lead the Rebels to their deaths. Whilst it isn't really Spartacus actually goes down trying to lead the Rebels to freedom, almost everyone who follows him does in fact end up dying (including Gannicus himself).
    • In Blood and Sand Naevia tells Crixus she doesn't like watching the arena games and only attends because she's Lucretia's body slave. This takes on a new layer of meaning in the final episode of the prequel, where we learn Naevia was Forced to Watch her closest friend Diona be executed in the opening games of the arena.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When you consider the great length at which Lucretia extols her hatred of Thracians and then you remember Xena was Thracian, it is hard not to chuckle.
    • Before Agron was revealed to be gay (though it was hinted at as soon as he joined the cast), the show caught a lot of flack for apparently playing up the Bury Your Gays trope. Agron and Nasir are the only two of the main protagonists to survive the war.
    • After this show wrapped, large chunks of the cast moved en masse to Arrow, two of which are Manu Bennett (Crixus) and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Naevia.) Considering they play Deathstroke and Amanda Waller on that show, going back and watching them as a couple on this show looks like a match made in hell.
    • Saxa kissing Mira becomes this after Katrina Law gets cast as a Lipstick Lesbian in Arrow. Her character is even an Archer Archetype.
    • After this show wrapped, three alumni will went on to play DC Comics villain Captain Boomerang in three different adaptations; Nick E. Tarbay (Ashur) in the Arrowverse, Jai Courtney (Varro) in the DC Extended Universe, and Liam McIntyre= (the second Spartacus) in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.
    • Liam McIntyre appears in The Flash (2014) as the (second) Weather Wizard, which is kinda appropriate for an actor who played a character whose Red Baron is "The Bringer of Rain". Additionally, Liam's character will be replacing said character's brother after he died, much like how Liam himself becomes the new Spartacus after Andy Whitfield's death.
    • Seeing Varo getting a hard time in training is amusing if you've seen Jai Courtney in Divergent where he is the Drill Sergeant Nasty.
    • If you're aware of the New Zealand sitcom Diplomatic Immunity, both Craig Parker (Glaber) and Lesley-Ann Brandt (the first Naevia) starred together in that as love interests. Hilariously in that case it was Brandt's character who outranked Parker's (she was the king's niece).
    • Craig Parker (Glaber) previously portrayed the heroic elf, Haldir, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, whilst Manu Bennett (Crixus) portrayed Azog, one of the main villains of The Hobbit trilogy.
    • Liam McIntyre plays Spartacus, one of the most famous Rebel Leaders in history who opposes a corrupt and ruthless republic (that later become an Empire. He later went on to voice Commander Pyre in Star Wars Resistance, who is a top enforcer of a group that want to restore an evil empire and is opposed by a rag-tag group of rebels.
  • Ho Yay: Almost pointless on a show where Hide Your Gays is a strongly averted trope. But it still happens.
    • Hints of this between Glaber and Marcus in Vengeance. Especially given Marcus' obvious devotion and Glaber's tendency to heed his advice over anybody else. It is notable that Marcus is the only fatality that Glaber shows actual sorrow over (or even more than casual interest in). Word of God is that it was intended to be this, but the confirmations wound up being cut before production.
    • War of the Damned introduces Tiberius and Sabinus, who may be more than best friends. Although Christian Antidormi has said they were not a couple, he and Aaron Jakubenko really missed their marks in their performances if that was meant to be the case. note  Also, the fact that Tiberius seeks revenge for Sabinus' death by raping his father's lover adds the subtext that taking his father's lover was somehow recompense for the loss of his own. He also demonstrates when he rapes Caesar that he is not averse to sexual contact with men.
      • Genius Bonus: You can square the Word of Saint Paul and the onscreen behaviour of the characters perfectly well if you know that male Roman citizens weren't allowed to have sexual relations with each other (fucking one's slaves or freedmen prostitutes was fine, though). So the two boys probably were attracted to each other and maybe a little bit in love, but didn't go through with it because they knew that doing so would cost at least one of them their civil rights. (A male citizen who voluntarily bottomed or provided oral sex got saddled with the legal status of "infamy", just like a prostitute, actor or freed gladiator; meaning he couldn't be elected to public officenote , he could be subjected to corporeal punishment under the law note , and he lost the right not to be raped by anyone who wanted to.note 
    • It was around even as early as Blood and Sand, especially between Spartacus and Varro.
      Spartacus: [After a sparring match] Your head is mine. Now, how shall I mount it? [Big goofy grins from both of them]
      • Lampshaded in the commentary for that very episode, by Andy Whitfield himself.
      • On a further note, Spartacus seems just as distressed by Varro's death as his wife's and he really doesn't take it well if people bring it up, as Nemetes finds out the hard way. Also, in the final episode, when fighting Crassus, Spartacus thinks of the deaths of those closest to him to spur him on, including his wife Sura, his lover Mira…and Varro.
    • There's a little bit between Crixus and Spartacus, with some dashings of Foe Yay on account of their rivalry. They're rather hands on with each other at times and seem oddly intimate, especially when they argue, often grabbing onto each other and getting up in each others' faces, to the point where it can almost seems they're just going to start making out. In fact, at one point in Blood and Sand, they tackle each other and start wrestling on the ground stark naked. Combined with them repeatedly saving each other despite their disagreements, Crixus taking it really personally when Spartacus leaves him Locked Out of the Loop and Spartacus really going out of his way to avenge and honour Crixus after he's killed, it can make their bickering seem like Belligerent Sexual Tension or Slap-Slap-Kiss (though minus the kissing).
  • Informed Wrongness: A big fuss is made in War of the Damned of Agron being a Crazy Jealous Guy over Castus and Nasir. However, this wasn't a case of Agron getting irrationally jealous of any man who spoke to "his boy." Castus was openly attracted to Nasir, and Nasir admitted (in an angry outburst when he thought Agron was dead) that he had some level of attraction towards Castus as well. Agron may have been an insensitive ass about his jealousy because, well, he's Agron, but it's certainly not unreasonable to be unhappy that your partner is spending increasing amounts of time with someone who is blatantly interested in them.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Spartacus. His village is destroyed, his wife is taken away from him, he's Made a Slave, his true name is taken from him, he's forced to fight to the death for the profit and entertainment of the Romans, goes through Training from Hell, has his wife die in his arms just when he thought they were going to be reunited, is tricked into sleeping with a woman he despises and is forced to kill his best friend. And this is just in the first season. He uses all his suffering and losses as motivation to start a Gladiator Revolt, making the Romans sorry they ever messed with him.
    • Crixus, overlapping with Jerkass Woobie. As a boy, most of his family were killed when his village was attacked, while he was enslaved. He bases his entire identity and self-worth around being champion, only for this to fall apart when he's badly injured by Theokeles and Spartacus takes his place. He finds love with Naevia, but they're forced to keep their relationship secret, until Ashur rapes Naevia and deliberately flaunts it to goad Crixus into attacking him. Naevia is taken away to a Fate Worse than Death, with Crixus blaming himself for it. In Vengeance, he discovers that she's been passed around as a Sex Slave and spends a brief time believing she died in the mines. Like Spartacus, Crixus tends to channel this into fighting back against the Romans.
    • Mira. She's used as a concubine by the ludus and is used to being treated as a mere plaything for her masters, with no control over what happens to her. She falls in love with Spartacus, one of the first men in a long time to treat her like an actual person, but she soon becomes aware that he cannot love her back as fully as she'd like. She hardly ever complains about this, focusing instead on helping the rebels get organized and learning how to defend herself.
  • It Was His Sled: If you do not know that Spartacus ends up leading a nation-wide slave rebellion and ultimately dies (see: Spartacus), you probably live under a rock. Though there is no proof that Spartacus was killed, however, as his body was never recovered.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Ashur, especially in light of the prequel season, where the entire universe seems to be conspiring to make his life as difficult as possible. Despite trying his hardest to become a gladiator legitimately, he gets continually shat upon and bullied, is forced to do Batiatus's dirty work and just gets no respect from anyone. His understandable resentment over this and his Career-Ending Injury causes him to act out against those who have hurt him, and put himself first in order to gain anything resembling comfort and safety in a harsh world. He becomes a lot less sympathetic by the end of Blood and Sand and particularly in Vengeance, where he proves himself no better than the other villains in terms of cruelty and ruthlessness, but earlier in the series it's hard not to pity him.
    • Ilithyia becomes this in Vengeance. Despite being a royal cunt, it's hard to not feel sorry for her after Glaber fucks her life up. It's mainly due to Viva Bianca's acting though. In addition, while Ilithyia truly was a horrible person with little-to-no-regard for the wellbeing of others, she most definitely did not deserve to have Lucretia perform a C-Section on her and kill herself and Ilithyia's unborn baby while she watched during her final moments
    • Lucretia. Oh, Lucretia. It's easy to forget how she sent Naevia to a fate worse than death after everything that's happened to her since then. She essentially spends the first season being a Jerkass, and the second brings the Woobie part to the forefront.
    • Tiberius. As incredibly vicious as he is, it is very clear that his father's often cruel attempts to harden him are what turns him evil. In particular being forced to kill his Heterosexual Life-Partner (or possible lover) in the decimation it is easy to see why he went sailing right across the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Naevia in War of the Damned can be seen as one (see The Woobie). Though for others, she's Unintentionally Unsympathetic.
  • Les Yay: Between Ilithyia and Lucretia, with some Foe Yay thrown in as well.
    • Saxa has bisexual tendencies and seems to pursue an offscreen relationship with one of the rebel slaves named Belesa, as they have at least three intimate moments together in War of the Damned.
    • Also Between Naevia and Diona in Gods of the Arena; They're close friends, who've both stayed virgins (not so easy in the House of Batiatus) especially since they're seen early on thinking dirty about the gladiators. After Diona is raped by a Roman, Naevia worries to Diona that they aren't as close as they used to be. And in episode 5 as Naevia helps Diona escape, they share a kiss on the lips goodbye, and a promise to see each other again one day.
  • LGBT Fanbase: With the occasional gay storyline, Lucy Lawless, and tons of sweaty, half-naked men (some of whom actually have sex with each other!), it's unsurprising to find this show popular with gay male viewers.
  • Love to Hate: Batiatus, Lucretia, Ilithyia, Glaber, Ashur, Crassus and Caesar.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Marcus Licinius Crassus is a self-made Roman aristocrat who showcases an odd respect for slaves and gladiators. Having his gladiator teacher fight him to the death to truly understand Spartacus, Crassus gives him nothing but respect when Hilarus dies, even having promised to free him and make him rich should he kill Crassus. Directing his rivals to die at Spartacus's hands, Crassus later introduces decimation to the roman ranks to make his men fear him more than Spartacus. With a series of intelligent strategies, Crassus slowly wins the Servile War, ending in single combat with Spartacus, and ending with Crassus's victory.
    • Gaius Julius Caesar himself is a cunning soldier who proves his mettle by infiltrating a city taken by Spartacus's rebels as a freed slave himself. Playing the freed slaves perfectly, Caesar ends up repulsed when he sees one of the rebel leaders Nemetes is keeping a Roman woman captive, and only gives her a Mercy Kill when she begs for it. He then turns them into an opportunity, having gladiators kill Roman prisoners to increase tension between rebel factions. Later embracing his role in the legions, Caesar proves a brilliant and deadly combatant, even defeating the nearly unparalleled warrior Gannicus via tactics by using his legions.
  • Mangst: The male heroes are, for the most part drenched in more of this than they are blood.
  • Memetic Molester: Cossutius, also known as Mr. Rape Face.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Wow, Naevia, the mines sure did change you!" and variations thereof. Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom: Unintentionally Sympathetic he may be, Ashur's retribution methods against his tormentors are still not morally acceptable. He also hurts or screws over a few innocent people who never did anything to him personally along the way.
  • Moe: Pietros is viewed as being very huggable by many fans. He's an enthusiastic, sweet-natured and genuinely kind young man, who always tries to help others, keeps pet pigeons and dreams of buying his freedom and living Happily Ever After with his boyfriend Barca, who despite being generally a Jerk Jock, clearly loves Pietros and is very affectionate and protective of him. This is just one of the reasons his eventual fate is so heartbreaking...and makes it very satisfying for many viewers when Spartacus gets revenge on the gladiator that abused him and eventually the entire House of Batiatus.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Tullius (from Gods of the Arena) at first is just as vile as the other Roman nobles. He crosses this with the murder of Gaia who was somewhat likable. Even worse, he did it just to show that he could do it and get away with it. He now is a complete psychopath with no redeeming qualities.
      • This leads to Titus's Moral Event Horizon when he blames Lucretia and the victim for the aforesaid murder and forces her and Quintus to cover it up.
    • Ilithyia crosses it when she manipulates Numerius into forcing Spartacus to kill Varro. She'd done some bad things before that, but even killing Licinia in a blind rage doesn't quite compare to forcing Spartacus to kill his best friend because she just hates him that much. Making it even worse, she accomplishes this by having sex with a thirteen year old boy. Granted, he was considered a man in Roman society, but he's still looked upon as a boy by most of the cast. And Illithyia is still married.
    • If he hadn't crossed it already, Glaber definitely crosses it when he crucifies an innocent slave, just to show his power over Ilithyia.
    • Naevia, of all people, showed signs of crossing this since War Of the Damned started. She crosses it fully in Decimation when she batters Gannicus with a giant rock after he tried to get Crixus to snap out of his madness. Then she gleefully participates in the slaughter of every Roman citizen within the city.
    • Batiatus having Sura killed on the way to the ludus so she can die in Spartacus' arms.
    • Ashur crosses it in Blood and Sand by forcing Naevia to become his wife, raping her and then flaunting it in front of Crixus to goad him into attacking him, all so he can get revenge of Crixus for bullying him. Crixus was wrong for his treatment of Ashur, but his actions are comparatively much worse, especially as the person who gets the worst of it is the completely innocent Naevia (which Ashur expresses zero remorse about; he in fact mocks her about it in the second season).
      • Ashur manipulating Dagan into being sodomized by a Roman elite in Gods of the Arena could be considered an earlier example for him, though this wasn't revealed until the prequel.
    • Tiberius raping Kore, who had always behaved more warmly towards him than even his own mother, as a way of getting revenge on his father for Sabinus' death in the decimation.
  • Narm: For viewers in the Australia/New Zealand region, the barely-disguised Kiwi accents can be this.
  • Narm Charm: The reason many viewers who don't think it's awesome watch the show anyway. The intentionally over-the-top fight scenes in particular can count as this.
  • One True Pairing: The vast majority of fans ship Nasir and Agron and strongly believe they started up a goat farm together and lived Happily Ever After after War of the Damned, to the point that even the series' creator likes this idea.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: "Nagron" for Nasir/Agron.

     Tropes R - W 
  • Replacement Scrappy: A case where it's the actors for specific characters being replaced rather than the characters themselves.
    • Cynthia Addai-Robinson is this for Lesley-Ann Brandt as Naevia. It didn't help that the casting change also coincided with a massive personality change for Naevia, who had gone through a Trauma Conga Line that eventually leads to her becoming obsessed with getting revenge and becoming a Blood Knight. General consensus seems to be that Brandt would have been able to make Naevia seem sympathetic despite this while Robinson's performance made it seem like it was a completely new character, and a very abrasive one at that.
    • Fans were divided over Liam McIntyre's casting as Spartacus, with the main reasons cited being Andy Whitfield's Tough Act to Follow performance and McIntyre's notably slimmer figurenote . Fortunately, he gave a strong performance in the following season (which will be detailed below).
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Fans were initially divided over Liam McIntyre's casting to replace the beloved Andy Whitfield. However, McIntyre literally Growing the Beard in the final season and his strong performance in it allowed him to make the role his own as it did Whitfield's in the inaugural season.
    • Naevia was late in Vengeance for some viewers, as she Took a Level in Badass and became one half of a Battle Couple with Crixus after spending much of the season as a Distressed Damsel. Unfortunately, her character arc in the following season dumped her right back on the Scrappy heap (if not more so than before) for several viewers.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Naevia came be seen as this in Vengeance and especially in War of the Damned. Some viewers found her irtitating in Vengeance for being a Distressed Damsel and The Millstone, but did still sympathize with her (see Damsel Scrappy). However, by the final season many viewers found Naevia to be insufferable due to her violently unstable behavior, self-righteousness, lack of empathy for even Roman civilians and tendency to exacerbate conflict between the rebels, with her tragic backstory being used to excuse much of her behavior. She does get better towards the end of the season, mellowing out and acknowledging her mistakes, though for some viewers it was too little too late.
    • Barca is seen as one in Blood and Sand and to a lesser extent Gods of the Arena, due to being a sadistic bully who goes out of his way to torment and humiliate new recruits purely because he finds it funny rather than anything they've actually done, although his final episode made him more sympathetic in some viewers' eyes.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The Gannicus/X/Saxa vs. Gannicus/X/Sibyl shippers in War of the Damned. Saxa shippers prefer her and Gannicus' more laidback (and sexual) Battle Couple relationship, and some view Sibyl as being a boring Distressed Damsel with a serious case of Stalking Is Love. Sibyl shippers see her and Gannicus as having a more emotionally deep and romantic relationship, believing that Sibyl's sweet and compassionate nature helped Gannicus face his demons and become a better person, whilst seeing his relationship with Saxa as being based solely around sex. Of course, there are also fans who believe Melitta is his One True Love...
  • Signature Scene: Every Season Finale (detailed below). Though each season has more.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: If there's any Aesop or moral to be taken from Spartacus, it's that slavery is BAD. The series is about as subtle on this as it is on violence and Fanservice.
  • Special Effect Failure: It tends to be very obvious when the sets use green-screens; the copious amounts of CGI blood flying about are also obvious. Then again, the show is supposed to be over-the-top with stylized action, so it matches the overall aesthetic.
  • Stoic Woobie: Oenomaus. He's very much The Stoic, living his life by a code of honor and discipline. Blood and Sand sees him become disillusioned with the House of Batiatus as his master delves into unsavory doings to further his own ambition. It gets worse in Gods of the Arena, where we learn the tragic circumstances behind the death of his wife, Melitta. He's forced to kill Ulpius, his beloved mentor, who falsely believed that Oenomaus deliberately asked Batiatus to make him doctore; Oenomaus doesn't even understand why Ulpius attacked him. It gets worse still for him in Vengeance; Oenomaus feels so ashamed for betraying the House of Batiatus he takes himself off to the Pits so he can die with some honor intact, then gets captured and tortured by Ashur, who cruelly reveals to him that Melitta had slept with his best friend Gannicus and that she was with him the night she died, leaving him feeling betrayed by both of them. Then there's the sheer fact that for all Oenomaus speaks of honor and glory, he was still a slave forced to fight for the entertainment of his masters.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: A minor example, but in War of the Damned, after finding out that Naevia wrongfully killed his friend Attius for helping prisoners to escape, a furious Gannicus finally confronts her over her actions and calls her a "mad bitch", mirroring what many viewers were thinking at this point.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Diona in Gods of the Arena is mainly a side character who gets minimal screen time. She's killed off in the finale to wrap things up, when she could have played a bigger part in Vengeance especially as a character besides Crixus who has a connection to Naevia.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In the first season, it's mentioned a few times that Licinia, Ilythia's friend, is the cousin of Marcus Crassus, whom viewers familiar with history know will be the one who ultimately defeats Spartacus and indeed is the Big Bad of the final season. However, the fact that Licinia is Crassus's  cousin and died a violent death in the House of Batiatus, which Spartacus knew of - he in fact having an unwitting role in her murder never comes up, even though it's set up as potentially having future implications for Spartacus and could've added a personal level to he and Crassus's conflict.
  • Too Cool to Live: Everyone. It's a Foregone Conclusion, though...
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Ashur is a complete dick and his actions are utterly despicable, but still, it's easier to understand where he was coming from, especially by audiences who were/are victims of bullying.
      Oenomaus: [You] bear the mark of treachery!
      Ashur: Treachery? When did you stand forth for Ashur?! When did any of you greet me short of mockery and scorn?! You... fucking cunts!
    • Caesar near the end of the series becomes this. Whilst he's an arrogant Jerkass with a few Kick the Dog moments, he's a lot nicer than some of the other Romans and has some moments that make him quite likable, such as becoming genuinely upset when he sees what the rebels did to the Roman woman in Sinuessa and by Tiberius's murder of the prostitute, protesting the harsh treatment of Laeta and going out of his way to help Kore, who is a slave. He's really only brutal towards the rebels, which is somewhat understandable, given he is on the opposite side of the conflict, and none of his actions really warrant being brutally raped and humiliated by Tiberius, especially as he had been rightly calling him out on his appalling behavior).
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Barca during his death. Despite being a literally huge Jerkass since his introduction, the show suddenly establishes him as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in his last episode. And while his death wasn't treated with And There Was Much Rejoicing, the general attitude towards his demise was "he had it coming", especially since his habit of bullying Rookie gladiators borders on extreme Kick the Dog, with the mastermind behind his Frame-Up being his constant victim for a number of years dating back to the latter's rookie years. Speaking of which, it doesn't help that the prequel didn't portray him in a positive light either except for two brief Pet the Dog moments.
      • Really, the saddest part of his death is the effect it has on poor Pietros, who certainly does not deserve any of the horrible things that happen to him in the aftermath of said death.
    • Naevia from War of the Damned and onward, which caused her to go from being The Woobie to The Scrappy in no time flat (not helping was that her original actress was replaced with another actress who had a radically different performing style). Simply put, many viewers just didn't feel that her experiences in the mines, as horrific as they were, in any way justifies or excuses her violent behavior and callous dismissal of the Roman civilians, especially seeing as several other characters are shown or implied to have suffered similarly horrible things but don't take them out on innocents. Her attitude runs counter to Spartacus' view that the rebels shouldn't stoop to the Romans' level and even starts to go right into Tautological Templar and Black and White Insanity territory, especially when she kills Attius on little more than an assumption he freed their prisoners - upon finding out he was innocent, she tries to downplay her actions as him being 'just' a Roman, apparently ignoring that he willingly helped the rebels infiltrate Sinuessa and that she's known at least a few Romans who were pretty decent people (Varro, Aurelia, Lucius Caelius etc.). It does not help that some of her actions also contributes to the rebels splitting apart, which ultimately gets many of them killed.
    • Aurelia. While still generally sympathetic for her Trauma Conga Line, some viewers think she goes way too far with her anger towards Spartacus for killing her husband. She can be extremely venomous towards him and even prays for his death, despite the fact Spartacus has done nothing but show her kindness, empathy and go out of his way to help her on several occasions. It doesn't help that the whole reason she ends up a slave in the first place is because she spurned Spartacus' offer to give her his winnings, purely out of pride and spite (especially as this was also Spartacus trying to honor her husband's Last Request). It gets even worse when one considers that killing Varro is the last thing in the world Spartacus wanted, it was not actually his fault as he was forced to do it (they would both have been killed if Spartacus refused and Varro actually begged him to do it, so at least one of them would live and see his family provided for) and he was left utterly distraught by it... and yet she keeps acting like he deliberately murdered her husband and even accuses him of rigging the match so he could win. While some people still find her sympathetic for the sheer amount of shit she's gone through and reason that her grief is making her irrational, others feel the amount of vitriol she directs towards Spartacus is completely disproportionate and uncalled for.
  • The Woobie:
    • Pietros, a genuinely kind young man who dreams of earning him freedom alongside his lover Barca, spends about an episode as this after being alledgedly abandoned by Barca, resulting in him being raped and beaten by Gnaeus. In despair, he ends up committing suicide and Batiatus doesn't even care, calling him "shit from a whore" who is easily replaced. Even worse, Pietros never learned that Barca didn't abandon him at all; he was murdered by Batiatus via the machinations of Ashur.
    • Diona, who undergoes a spectacular Trauma Conga Line involving her being repeatedly pimped out and raped by her masters to secure favors, that seems to have ended in her emancipation when Naevia helps her escape. It hasn't.
    • Naevia, if you can ignore her Scrappy status in War of the Damned. In addition to being a slave all her life, everyone she cares about has a habit of dying or being taken away from her. In Gods of the Arena, she loses both her childhood best friend Diona and her mother figure Melitta in traumatic circumstances; Diona's fate is particularly devastating for her because Naevia had helped her escape to save her from abuse, only for her to be caught and executed. In Blood and Sand, Naevia is consumed with guilt when Pietros kills himself after being repeatedly raped, believing his lover had abandoned him, when Naevia knows he was actually murdered but is threatened into secrecy. She finds happiness with Crixus, only for Ashur to use their love to get revenge on Crixus; first claiming Naevia as a wife against her will, then revealing her romance with Crixus publically, resulting in Naevia being beaten and humiliated by a jealous Lucretia. Naevia then endures an absolutely horrific Trauma Conga Line, being sent from one dominius to another and repeatedly raped and abused, before being sold to the mines. She is left severely traumatised, seeing herself as Defiled Forever and even feeling she would be better off dead. Though she gets over this somewhat, her trauma turns her into a borderline Ax-Crazy Blood Knight who sees enemies everywhere. She doesn't snap out of it until she is Forced to Watch as Crixus is killed in front of her, robbing her of the man she loves and the happy future she dreamt of with him. She then gets sent back to the rebels with her lover's decapitated head. Finally, she is killed in battle along with most of her remaining friends and allies, with her killer mockingly referring to her as a "slave" before stabbing her through the neck and leaving her to bleed out. Naevia may have been an absolute pain in the ass at times, especially War of the Damned, but considering all that she's been through, it's hard not to pity her by the end.
    • Kore. She's brutally raped by Tiberius, whom she treated like a son, in revenge for his father forcing him to kill his friend and her whole life goes to shit. She struggles to tell Crassus because she doesn't want to ruin his relationship with his son and she's afraid of what Tiberius will do; he at one point threatens to rape her again and tell Crassus she tried to seduce him. When she finally works up the courage to tell Crassus, he reveals he intends to leave her in Sinuessa as an advisor to Tiberius, believing he is honoring her, before remarking that nothing Tiberius could do would make him turn from him. Kore, taking this to mean that Crassus would do nothing and terrified at the prospect of being stuck alone with her rapist, flees to join the rebels, even though she doesn't want to hurt Crassus. She doesn't have much fun with them either; upon learning she was once Crassus's slave, Spartacus interrogates her until he is satisfied she is not a spy. She eventually kills Tiberius and rejoins Crassus as part of a deal to save some captured rebels, eventually being forced to come clean about killing his son and her reasons for doing so, which devastates them both. In the end, Crassus has her crucified for her involvement with the rebels, despite having forgiven her reasons for doing so.
    • Aurelia, Varro's wife. Good grief. Her husband has to become a gladiator to pay of gambling debts that have left them broke, and she is raped and impregnated by a 'family friend' whom she had turned to for help. Her husband then blames her for the rape and rejects her. Her rapist then comes back for her, forcing her to castrate and/or kill him in self-defense and flee town. Just when she and Varro have been reconciled and things are looking up for them, he is killed by his best friend for the entertainment of a spoilt rich kid. With no way of supporting herself, Aurelia gets an abortion and sells herself into slavery to Batiatus. Then, just when she's set free and is off to rejoin her son, she is captured by the Romans, beaten half to death and nearly publicly executed before being rescued... only to die a slow and agonizing death from her injuries in the middle of a sewer, begging Spartacus to stay away from her son so that he will be spared his parents' fate.
    • Laeta. She's one of the nicest Roman elites in the series and goes through a non-stop Trauma Conga Line for much of War of the Damned. First the rebels invade her city, killing her husband, turfing her out of her villa and keeping her prisoner; the only reason she isn't killed is because Spartacus intervenes...and he's the guy who is technically responsible for her predicament. She then finds out her late husband was secretly doing deals with Silician pirates behind her back, resulting in a Broken Pedestal. She does everything she can to protect the surviving Romans, including risking her life to hide some of them. When she's finally rescued by Crassus however, he declares her a traitor for having cooperated with the rebels at all and gives her as a Sex Slave to Heracleo. And as she's fleeing the city she once called home, she gets stabbed with a spear; although she lives, she feels so downtrodden by it all she even seems to wish she were dead. Luckily, things start looking up for her near the end of the season; although she does end up losing Spartacus, whom she had fallen in love with, she knows he died so that she and the other rebels could live in freedom.


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