Spartacus, “Shadow Games”: #9 ranked episode of Spartacus Season 1 – there will be blood!

spartacus - shadow games

When the drought denies the ground moisture, the Roman people demand blood to quench its thirst.

Spartacus Season 1 Rankings: where did “Shadow Games” rank?

Spartacus’ “Shadow Games” came in as the #9 ranked episode of Spartacus’ 13 Season 1 episodes!

Here’s why “Shadow Games” was ranked as the #9 episode of 13 Spartacus Season 1 episodes.

GENRE – Drama, Period Show, Historical Epic, Swords & Sandals
EPISODE – “Shadow Games”
BEING RANKED FOR – Spartacus Season 1
RANK – #9 of Spartacus’ 13 Season 1 episodes

Spartacus, “Shadow Games” (S0105) review

The lingering drought forces the moneyed classes of ancient Rome to hold gladiator games to appease the peoples’ restlessness and thirst.

Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) are paired up to fight the legendary, infamous Theokoles, the so called “shadow of death.” It’s fun to see the now longstanding conflict between Crixus and Spartacus brought into such sharp focus, and the buildup to Fight Day and the training involved (led by Peter Mensah as Doctore, who always delivers) is a lot of fun. And the fight itself is worthy enough to go up against recent sword and sand spectacles of the likes of 300 and Gladiator and Rome, though the latter still gets my vote as top dog in this category of sorts.

It must be noted how marvelous Lucy Lawless is as the charming, independent (for the times), and world weary Lucretia. She has a commanding presence and makes a great match for the equally engaging John Hannah as Batiatus. It would almost be tempting to look for a spin off show called Gladiator School that focused mostly on the doings and machinations of these two.

Other thoughts about “Shadow Games”:

  • Dude getting his face shoved into a piece of a corpse swarming with maggots tells you what you’re gonna be in for with Spartacus the TV show.
  • One-armed beggar dude being taunted by the gladiators for basically no reason – nice.
  • “You f-ing hemorrhoid-sucking f-” – Batiatus (also nice)
  • Do we really need to see <em>that much</em> of Crixus each week?</li>
  • Is it just me or do some of the slaves waiting on Batiatus and Lucretia look like they are out of a 1980s Robert Palmer video?
  • “Blood will surely pour on the day. I long to see it fall from the Threshian.” Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) to Lucretia (Lucy Lawless)
  • Batiatus goes absolutely medieval on his creditor / tormentor.
  • When we finally see Theokoles, my first thought: “that is one ugly dude!”

This review originally appeared on TV Geek Army.

Spartacus, “Shadow Games”: episode and cast info

Air date – February 19, 2010
Spartacus creator – Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by – Michael Hurst
Writing credits – Steven S. DeKnight, Miranda Kwok, Todd Helbing, Aaron Helbing


Andy Whitfield – Spartacus
John Hannah – Batiatus
Peter Mensah – Doctore
Manu Bennett – Crixus
Erin Cummings – Sura
Nick E. Tarabay – Ashur
Lucy Lawless – Lucretia
Jai Courtney – Varro
Antonio Te Maioha – Barca
Lesley-Ann Brandt – Naevia
Eka Darville – Pietros
John Bach – Magistrate Calavius
Lliam Powell – Numerius
Mark Mitchinson – Aulus
Matt Gillanders – Marcellus