Crixus is a fan-favorite in Spartacus but as much as they often felt bad for him, there were times they hated him too.
When it comes to Starz’ historical action-drama Spartacus, much of the entertainment value comes from the inspiring, generally badass nature of the rebel hero himself. Yet, it’s Crixus, who serves both as a loyal friend and rival to the Thracian, who provides much of the intrigue throughout the series.
He acts as a grittier, brutish counterpart to the more benign and thoughtful Spartacus, and plays off him rather well.
He’s something of a fan favorite, thanks to his fighting prowess and tough, no-nonsense demeanor. Yet, these traits have also made him reckless, cruel, and generally unlikeable at times. His impulsiveness and tough-guy nature have gotten both himself and others into trouble – particularly Spartacus himself.
Hated Him: Breaking Ashur’s Leg In The Arena
As most Spartacus fans would likely agree, Ashur is a pretty manipulative, insensitive scoundrel for much of the series’ run, so it’s tough to muster too much sympathy for him.
Still, in the prequel season, the more humble and benign gladiator was certainly wronged by Crixus, who was hellbent on glory – to the point of taking Ashur out of commission.
In an effort to face the then-champion Gannicus without his ally Ashur, Crixus cruelly slashes his leg and physically knocks in out of the flaming circle of the arena. This causes Ashur to be hobbled for months.
Felt Bad For Him: His Growing Pains As A New Recruit
Crixus ultimately rises to power and glory as the champion of Capua, and Spartacus’ second-in-command during the slave revolt later on. But in the beginning, he was merely a downtrodden stone-hauler who was recruited by Batiatus on a whim. During the time of Gods of the Arena, viewers witnessed a much more vulnerable, isolated, and timid Crixus, and it’s tough to watch at times.
He sees defeats, scorn, isolation, and is very much overshadowed by then-champion Gannicus for much of this prequel season.
Hated Him: His Treatment Of Spartacus Following His Recruitment
As Spartacus demonstrates, the life of a Gladiator can be downright brutal – and the show’s protagonist learns this quickly.
The rogue Spartacus has to deal with being forced into this rough new life while being harassed and heckled by Crixus, who’s a far more capable gladiator than the Thracian at this time. He spends his early days as a gladiator getting hazed in some aggravating ways by Crixus and Barca in particular.
Not only this, but Crixus frequently bests him and beats him into submission during training. In fact, if not for the order of Batiatus, it was likely that Crixus would have ended Spartacus before he even saw his first fight in the arena.
Felt Bad For Him: Being Used (And Eventually Discarded) By Lucretia
From the outset of Spartacus season 1 – and even some time before that – Crixus is essentially used as an object of lust for Quintus’ wife Lucretia. At any given time, Crixus could be summoned to her chambers and forced to as she pleases, basically being a slave.
This takes a real bitter turn when Lucretia ends up shunning and discarding him after refusing to renounce Naevia, using her unborn child with Crixus as her leverage.
When Crixus refuses, it essentially condemns him to either being sold off or dying at the hands of Spartacus – being his lone advocate as Quintus looked to be rid of him.
Hated Him: His Generally Stubborn, Defiant Nature
Crixus proves to be quite the thorn in the back of Spartacus – from the day he’s recruited as a gladiator, to the height of the slave revolt, which he largely co-commands with Crixus. This intense rivalry can be irritating for those who favor Spartacus as he is typically the one trying to meet the Gaul halfway and make peace.
Crixus, on the other hand, often remains stubborn and unwilling to bend – whether it’s communication in the arena or tactics on the battlefield. Moreoever, Crixus ends up caving into Naevia’s wishes and influence, further driving a wedge between the two rebels.
Felt Bad For Him: His Defeat At The Hand Of Theokoles
When Spartacus and Crixus team up to face the great, intimidating Theokoles, most expected the current champion Crixus to take charge and lead the way to victory. This makes it all the more brutal for fans of the Gaul to see him fall and nearly die, while Spartacus deals the finishing blow and hogs the glory.
It’s even more frustrating given that it was actually Crixus that made a crucial play in helping Spartacus overcome this beast. He did this by aiming his helmet at him and temporarily blinding him with the reflected sunlight.
Hated Him: Almost Ending Spartacus (AGAIN) In The Arena
By just the third episode of Spartacus: Blood And Sand, called “Legends,” the protagonist almost finds himself dead at the hands of the brutish Gaul yet again. Granted, Spartacus had overstepped somewhat in making maneuvers to face the higher-ranked Crixus in the arena.
Still, the way the Gaul just toys with him before mercilessly wailing on him definitely puts Crixus in an ugly light. And once again, it takes the mercy of Batiatus – along with a plea by Spartacus – to keep Crixus from ending him then and there.
Felt Bad For Him: His Lashing And Loss Of Naevia
Near the end of season 1, the chickens come home to roost for Crixus, as it were, and he finds himself completely antagonized in the very ludus that once idolized him.
Not only does he get cast aside and nearly sold by Quintus and Lucretia, but he also gets severely punished after attempting to attack Ashur in the villa. Lucretia has also discovered Crixus’ love affair with Naevia and is none too happy about it.
It’s truly heartbreaking to see Crixus tied up and brutally lashed – especially after Naevia gets pulled from the sobbing Gaul and taken to be sold herself.
Hated Him: His Initial Refusal To Partake In The Rebellion
As it’s been established, this Gaul can be quite a handful. Though this reaches pretty frustrating levels near the conclusion of season 1, as Spartacus begins plotting his revolt and escape from Batiatus’ ludus. Just when it seems things are taking shape, the massive obstacle of Crixus stands in his way, refusing to aid his cause – and perhaps even clashing against him.
To the relief of most viewers – he does eventually give in, leading to a pretty epic skirmish. But this is only after being on the verge of defeat from a duel with Spartacus and learning of Lucretia’s betrayal.
Felt Bad For Him: His Defeat And Death
Spartacus is filled with goosebump-coaxing chills – along with some memorable dialouge – though it’s also loaded with tearjerking tradegy and death. Perhaps even more tragic than the defeat of the main protagonist himself is the death of Crixus at the hands of the Romans.
It’s tough to see this potent fighter meet such a swift, gruesome end after all of his fighting and resiliency. And it’s particularly harsh seeing it (literally) through the stunned eyes of his lover Naevia.
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