|Date Aired||February 18, 2011|
|Previous||Beneath The Mask|
|Next||The Bitter End|
Quintus' father announces a tournament to determine the worth of the men that make up his stable of gladiators. Crixus, dedicated to proving himself, is drawn into the power play within the house.
Melitta goes down into the wine cellar, where she finds Gannicus. When she asks how he got past the gates, he boasts that nothing can hold back his feelings for her and would do anything to be with her. Melitta tries to dissuade him, but Gannicus refuses, leading to Melitta falling for his charms and kissing him before making passionate love. A sword is suddenly thrust through Gannicus' throat at the hand of an angered Oenomaus who stands behind the dying Gannicus. He coldly calls Melitta a filthy whore and is about to stab her- when Melitta suddenly wakes up from this nightmare, in fright.
Naevia stands beside Melitta's bed, and tells her that Lucretia summons her. Answering the call, Melitta finds Lucretia clutching Gaia's red wig, the woman still lost in the memory of her friend's death. Lucretia informs Melitta of Titus' plan to purge the house of Gaia's memory via a cleansing ceremony with salt. She, however, does not wish for Gaia to be dismissed so easily. Understanding her wishes, Melitta tells her that she will lie and tell Titus of the ceremony's completion.
Meanwhile, Quintus and Solonius walk the streets of Capua. Quintus talks of his father's desire to have him divorce Lucretia. Solonius suggests that he let Lucretia take a new husband so that he will be able to run Titus' house.
Back at the ludus, Barca trains with Crixus, who grows more talented with the sword. Ashur and Dagan are sparring, with Rhaskos noting that the latter is upset. Duratius tells him that is because Ashur tricked Dagan into allowing himself to get raped. Asher dismisses it, but Duratius and Rhaskos tell him that he won't prevail in the arena without Dagan. To Ashur's shock, Dagan reveals that he knows that his skills as a gladiator surpass those of Ashur, and that he is able to understand some of the language of the others. Soon, he will no longer need Ashur as his interpreter.
Titus overlooks the gladiator training and tells Oenomaus of his plan to have a tournament between the gladiators so that he can determine positions and the true champion. Those who do not make it will be sent to the mines.
In the villa, Naevia and the other slaves are cleaning. Titus asks them if they have performed the ceremony; they lie and say that everything is taken care of. Meanwhile, Naevia notices the change in Diona, and questions her friend out of concern. Diona tells her that she is a whore not worthy of Naevia's friendship and asks Naevia to leave her alone.
Meanwhile, the test begins. Each gladiator is paired up to another of their equal to determine who the better fighter is- and to, ultimately, find a new champion. Quintus appears and asks his father what he is doing. Titus tells him that he is going to have a new champion soon, and reminds him of the decision he must make: to stay and run the ludus or leave with Lucretia. Titus tells his son that he has two days to decide.
Later in their chambers, Quintus gives Lucretia the news. Hurt, she asks him why he didn't tell his father "no" right away. In his frustration, Batiatus blurts out that Lucretia has not given him a son yet. She sees the truth now.
Melitta prays to let the image of Gannicus and her fade from her thoughts. Still unaware of their relationship, Oenomaus tells her that he will pray alongside her, though for different reasons: the fact that they have to do what they are told to better elevate The House of Batiatus.
The competition continues. Watching, Batiatus states that he has picked good gladiators in his father's absence. In the meantime, Lucretia tries to console Titus and gain his favor, but he wants nothing to do with her. Crixus fights another gladiator and wins.
Away from his father, Batiatus tells his wife that Titus' decision won't be swayed. In turn, Lucretia tells him that he needs to make sure that his father will be persuaded, even if it is through "drastic" measures.
Titus meets with Tullius and demands his reasons for killing Gaia. As an apology, Tullius gives him wine and a position in the games. He asks in return, however, to purchase Gannicus. Titus tells him that Batiatus reveres Gannicus as champion, and Tullius replies that he must make up his mind soon if wishes to gain favor in the games.
In the villa, Naevia finds Diona crying. When she talks to her, Diona tells her that she prays that the next man she is forced to lie with will take her life.
During the competition, Gannicus fights Barca. For an instant, he looks up at Melitta and loses focus. He is nearly defeated but manages to regain concentration and best Barca in the battle. Barca laughs and tells Gannicus that he nearly had him, as Gannicus states nearly. Meanwhile, Ashur asks Dagan to take it easy on him, but they are selected to fight next. As they take their positions, Dagan tells him that it is his turn to be hurt. In the fight, Dagan overpowers Ashur, but Ashur tricks him by begging him to let him stand and be defeated on his feet. Dagan sympathetically allows his request, and Ashur maliciously strikes him in the groin, following up with other quick strikes. Ashur then catches Dagan's eye socket with his sword, removing the side of the socket and
slashing the eyeball itself. Ashur wins through this cheap maneuver and celebrates his "victory", as the gladiators look at him with disgust.
Upstairs, Batiatus tells his father that he needs to talk to him. Titus replies that he also has words for him.
In the meantime, Lucretia asks Melitta to do something for her. Gannicus later meets her down in the cellars, and tells her that he wants to forget about her, but can't. Melitta answers that she loves her husband only. Crixus is led past the gates, and she escorts him upstairs, ending their conversation. Oenomaus suddenly appears at Gannicus' side, and asks why he almost let Barca get the better of him in the tournament. When Gannicus replies that he was "lost in a dream," his friend tells him to "wake from it."
Crixus is brought before Lucretia, who tells him that she has heard tales that a Gaul could produce a child by copulating just once. When she asks, Crixus tells her that his father had five children, his grandfather the
same. Coming to her decision, Lucretia orders him to have sex with her, but will not look at him as he does the deed. As she turns away from him, she is visibly disgusted with the task.
Meanwhile, Titus and Batiatus are in the old arena. Titus—with his back turned—reminisces on the times with his son just as Batiatus is reaching for a beam to strike and kill him with. Titus says that "You are my son Quintus, and I will always love you no matter the path you take". Batiatus then halts, touched and surprised by his father's words, and asks his father his reason for saying such a thing despite everything that's happened. Titus tells his son of Tullius' offer and says he hasn't given a reply yet as he wants his son to join him. Batiatus says he won't turn from his wife and Titus says he is sorry for everything that's happened to him and begins to walk off. Batiatus calls out to his father and he turns around to see his son with beam in hand. Although slightly worried, Titus waits as his son walks towards him, brandishing the beam, before Batiatus holds the wood out and calls it a memento of days past. Titus accepts it and Batiatus leaves his father alone.
Later, Batiatus goes to Lucretia and tells her that they need to make preparations to leave the house. She objects, saying that there has to be something that they can do; Batiatus tells her that there is nothing.
With Gannicus and Crixus as the last contenders for the title of champion, Titus tells Oenomaus that should Gannicus lose the fight, he will be sold to Tullius.
As the final round of the championship begins, Oenomaus tells Gannicus the news. While he and Crixus fight, Gannicus realizes that Melitta cannot be his, and loses the fight willingly. Alone in the villa, Naevia gives money to Diona and tells her to escape. Although reluctant at first, her friend accepts and thanks her.
After the fight, Titus is about to take leave, saying that he has business to attend to, but suddenly collapses onto the ground. As he is seen to a bed, a medical advisor tells Batiatus that his father is old, and that it is hard to get medicine for him. Batiatus leaves the ludus with Oenomaus to head to town and get the only medicine that might work. Meanwhile, Melitta asks Lucretia if she can see Gannicus one last time before he is sold to Tullius, and Lucretia obliges.
Melitta arrives at Gannicus' cell with some wine in hand, the same wine from Tullius' gift. When she offers one last drink, Gannicus declines, yet she takes a cup of her own. Taking a sip, she soon tells him that she doesn't want to fight her urges anymore, indicating that his feelings towards her are mutual and they share a kiss.
Inside the villa, Titus asks Lucretia to tell him that she is not the "serpent he thought her to be." She tells him that she is not, only to say that she is "much worse;" she goes on to inform him that she has poisoned his wine. Titus begins to cough, as does Melitta in the cell. They both cough up blood and die momentarily; Titus on the ground and Melitta in Gannicus' arms. Lucretia smiles at the death of her father-in-law as Gannicus screams, begging profusely for the dead Melitta to breathe.
When Gannicus brings Melitta's body up to the villa, Lucretia pales at the sight of it, knowing of her own mistake. Snatching the wine jug away from Gannicus, Lucretia tells Gannicus to tell no one that Melitta was with him when she died, and tells him to leave.
Batiatus and Oenomaus return home to find both their loved ones dead. Gannicus and Oenomaus mourn the loss of Melitta whom is carried down to the ludus by the latter. Batiatus places his hand on Titus's body, saddened by the loss of his beloved father.
Characters in Order of Appearance
Titus: "A day, a year, a man either knows his heart or he does not."
Gannicus: (to Melitta) "I cannot stay within these walls. To gaze upon you every day, and be denied your touch."
|Beneath The Mask||The Bitter End|