There's a bit in the script for Titanic (which I downloaded and printed from the internet back in '98, no it's not that sad really) where, apparently, Jack is required to lie back, look at the stars and 'think artist thoughts'. If the script for Spartacus was written by the same person, it would say that this episode opens with Spartacus lying in his bed, 'thinking gladiator thoughts'. Which are like artist thoughts but, you know, more bloody.
Oooh, new gladiators! I was starting to worry that Spartacus wasn't going to have anyone left to rebel with. Drill Sergeant Guy has also acquired some rather fabulous new green and yellow britches, which I think he may have stolen from a hobbit. Meanwhile, poor Crixus is having trouble performing, which is unsurprising, given that he was practically chopped in half a couple of weeks ago. This means nothing to his girlfriend, unfortunately, who is so jealous she wants him to tear his stitches trying to do it with her as well as Xena.
Apparently the inspection of new gladiators requires them to remove their underpants and show everyone their penis - which in one case is unusually large (I think I shall call this character Biggus Dickus). I have to confess, this scene reminded me of Carry on Up the Khyber more than anything else (the one with the Third Foot and Mouth, who wear nothing under the kilt because they are 'always ready for action') and I'm not sure a man's attributes really have anything to do with fighting skill no matter how much the man in question may think it does, but the net result is that Paris Hilton claims Biggus Dickus for herself.
Spartacus' idea of a warm welcome back for Crixus is to bitchslap him into his place as no longer the top gladiator (though to be fair, Crixus was randomly denying the new guys food and Spartacus needs to win them over so they can be his Rebel Gladiator Army later). Neighbours Reject continues on his downwards slide, deciding his wife's rape is sufficient excuse for him to bang a random prostitute, and I'm really hoping he comes to a sticky end. Of the new recruits, the guy with the dreads - Biggus Dickus I think - and the guy with the goatee seem the most likely to join Spartacus' Rebel Gladiator Army, assuming they survive that long - which goatee guy doesn't, as Biggus has the same tendency as Spartacus to kill people in practice.
Spartacus has magically acquired people skills and a pretty decent ability to teach, and is busy training his men like Harry Potter training Dumbledore's Army. Except Harry Potter, to my knowledge, did not twist wooden swords in his friends' wounds. Remind me, why are we supposed to root for this guy again?
Crixus is, entirely understandably, pretty pissed off and once again tries, patiently, to explain the whole 'brotherhood' thing, getting nowhere. I really don't think Spartacus should be leading the revolt at all - it should be Crixus leading Dumbledore's Army into the mountains for a two year war. Spartacus is far too selfish and unpleasant to command the loyalty of so many people.
Xena is having a girly party and looking about as comfortable as you would imagine Xena Warrior Princess to look at a girly party. She really ought to find a suitable freeborn orphan or poor boy to adopt though, so they'll stop making nasty digs about children. Spartacus manages to ruin everything with a few remarks about Haldir, Paris Hilton's husband, though since she was slicing him with a knife so they could see if his blood was divine at the time, he was a wee bit provoked.
I think Biggus may actually be from the Third Foot and Mouth, since he seems to enjoy wandering around stark naked. I do love Spartacus' fatherly disapproval of Neighbours Reject's return to gambling though. John Hannah explains that Crassus is Paris Hilton's friend's cousin - did we know that before? It's intriuging anyway - an actual historical person, and the guy who fought Spartacus at that! Brave Girlfriend of Crixus encourages him to go sex the heck out of Xena to prevent him from being sent away - to Damascus I think, which is pretty far away and possibly rather dangerous.
Spartacus, it turns out, is a fully paid up member of Gamblers Anonymous, and has therefore been able to win Neighours Reject's money so he can give it back. Spartacus finally starts to be nice again by pointing out that Neighbours Rejects bears at least some responsibility for what happened to his wife - even if, as he thinks, she was willing - and encouraging him to sign up to the Gamblers' 12 Steps. Crixus rediscovers his mojo in time to impress Xena and even has some energy left to save Spartacus from Biggus Dickus, who has been persuaded to garrote him by Paris Hilton. And there goes the other new guy we knew - but at least Spartacus may finally get the brotherhood thing and make up with Crixus again now. Biggus Dickus was still just about alive at the end of the episode, but he was being crucified, so probably not for long, and Xena and JH are onto Paris Hilton. End of episode.
Definite improvement on the last two, this one - no loss of beloved characters, lots of Crixus, lots of silly, fun stuff and no miserable depressing reality! Spartacus and Crixus' relationship continues to develop and although I wish they would just make friends, it's going in the right direction, while Biggus Dickus was a ridiculous but entertaining character. Shame not to see any actual gladiatorial fights but we can't have that every week. And a mention - very briefly - of Crassus: we'll get to some actual history eventually!