These two scenes are so interesting when you compare them to each other and what they actually say about Nasir and how he functions as a person at this point.
Nasir is a character who does not give you much outwardly, he’s very inside of himself. He was a slave, he was very used to internalizing all of his feelings, making sure nothing showed lest he be punished for it. So when Spartacus and Agron approach him with these kind of open and honest attempts to sway, you can just see Nasir taking it in, internalizing it, thinking about it and rejecting whatever they’re selling. But he lets them make the pitch, you know?
Spartacus approaches the slaves of the villa as if the situation is a done deal, as if of course they’ll fight after I give them this speech and take off the collar. He is actually very ignorant of the institutionalized system these people have been made to abide pretty much their whole entire lives. They know nothing else. He doesn’t seem aware of the actual complexities and individual feelings of these people until violently confronted with them. Nasir helps him learn, he learns Nasir as a person, not just as a freed slave and seeks to guide him. But in this initial scene with them you can see Nasir’s blankness on his face and his subtly defiant body language. It’s all very quiet and uneasy. Spartacus misses it because Nasir is very good at who he is supposed to be. Spartacus gets caught unaware by Nasir because Nasir is fucking smart and clever and very very exacting. He’s dangerous. Spartacus admires that.
Agron approaches Nasir very similarly, he’s open, he is wearing his interest all over his goddamn face. Agron is a very open character, when he’s angry he’s growling, when he’s sad, he’s crying, when he’s interesting he’s giving you sexual innuendo in the middle of the battlefield. He speaks to Nasir in a very familiar manner, as if to say, I know this will work. I will will this to work. Nasir, as with Spartacus earlier, does not give him much of anything at all to work with, he doesn’t really give a fuck. His voice is very even, he takes the drink (another interesting thing to read into because I doubt Nasir at this point would ever feel comfortable rejecting something from his new leaders), he’s a little snarky but in a very even toned way, in a way you can brush off and his body language is very closed off. He doesn’t ever show much in his face until the very end when he puts a killing blow to their interaction by hitting Agron right where it’s most sensitive. When Nasir mentions his brother his voice has a little change but he pulls his face and voice back immediately, it’s barely noticeable unless you watch a billion times.
I don’t think that was an accidental hit. I think as a body slave, as a slave with position he got to that point by being very good at judging people, situations, alliances etc. He’s attentive and smart. He knows Agron is attempting to flirt (in a really awkward, not smooth way), he can follow the line of questioning and the interest and absence of the brother. He can hit Agron where it hurts because he’s been paying attention even when it looks like he’s barely interested. It works. Luckily for us and for them, the walls begin to crumble and Nasir changes his own fate. Because he’s thought about it, because Agron’s reaction to his dig at him wasn’t to lash out violently, it was anger yes, but it wasn’t rage, it was’t violent retribution, it was verbal rebuke on the same level of Nasir’s. It was verbal warfare and I think Nasir respects that.
As the episodes continue you see Nasir get more and more open with his emotions and reactions without fear. You see Agron learn to pull his back and get more emotionally mature. They are good influences on each other’s extremes. It’s just interesting to go back and watch Nasir’s beginning scenes with Agron’s influence in mind.
Pana being amazing.