This plot device again? In both the series and miniseries, the following scenario has happened many times: Batiatus wants people high up to stop treating him like shit, so he invites a powerful person to his house. Then, Batiatus literally says, “do whatever you want,” leading to sex and/or violence that he doesn’t want, and the powerful person treats Batiatus’s house like crap.
The usage of this to propel Gannicus into the arms of Melitta has a tired feeling to it, as we’ve seen this happen so many times before. I’m fine with people getting forced to do certain things, but the setting is always the same (the house of Batiatus), the players are always the same (rich/powerful person, gladiators, and slaves), and the outcome is always the same (gladiator forced to fight with real weapons, or a gladiator and/or slave forced to have sex). At same point, it doesn’t have anything positive qualities left to it.
But this rehash does reinforce the idea that Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is less a story about gladiators than sex politics, Batiatus climbing atop Capua on a mountain of cock and cunt (hey, I’m only using the language of the show). Furthermore, this practice seem a lot more taboo than in the series, where these gatherings seemed to be going on everywhere else.
The final twist, while not a complete surprise, adds a burst of momentum to the show, and we can pretty much expect bloody vengeance to come.