Spartacus: Vengeance – Episode 1 “Fugitivus”

Two years have passed and the Starz original series Spartacus has not missed a beat. (Good thing they stayed ready with Gods of the Arena) The story picks up not too far from where Blood and Sand left off; Spartacus, Crixus and the other freed slaves are on the run and committing attacks against Romans throughout Capua. Expect to see the same gratuitous amounts of blood and slow motion as we’ve seen in the other two seasons of Spartacus. The same goes for the naked debauchery found in previous seasons. Just picture sword fighting in the middle of a Roman whorehouse! It was like vinegar strokes v.s. sword strokes for heaven’s sake!

Of course let’s get the biggest concern out-of-the-way in the form of Liam McIntyre. In case you’re a Spartacus fan who’s been living under a rock, then you’ll need to know that Mr. McIntyre has replaced the dearly departed Andy Whitfield as ‘Spartacus’ this season. I had a tough time at first watching McIntyre as our favorite gladiator, but as the episode went on he definitely looked comfortable enough in the role. If Spartacus wasn’t just focused on killing Romans and that stupid asshole Claudius Glaber, I think it may have been a tougher job for McIntyre. Seriously though, how hard is it to play a vengeful slave hell-bent on murder? I feel confident that McIntyre will definitely look more and more comfortable in the role as the episodes go on.

 I kind of thought that Spartacus and the slaves would be a roaring force to be dealt with at this point, but truth be told they are simply renegades living in the sewers of Capua, killing and stealing for food and weapons. Spartacus, though still a great leader, does not have the undying loyalty of all. The Gauls of the group still only answer to Crixus, and the relationship between him and Spartacus is a bit strained as their goals remain totally different. By the end of the episode, their motives become a little more concerted and I think the season will really be roaring along.

It was very interesting to see Lucretia back, especially considering everything she knows. Of course most of the things that are implied by her return are very predictable. Her memory will clearly come back about Ilithyia at some point during the season, and I assume she will play dumb until she can exact revenge upon her. Not before humiliating her and her husband with the knowledge of Licinia’s murder. Hopefully before all of that she let’s good ole’ Claudius know about Ilithyia banging Spartacus back in Season One.

The high point for me in this episode was by far the scene where Claudius Glaber gave his speech and presented the surviving Lucretia to the people of Capua. The whole time Spartacus was looking on from the crowd and moving closer and closer, I was on the edge of my seat hoping he would take that scumbag out. Of course he didn’t, but that was to be expected.

Now to my low point. And I don’t mean quality wise because there was not much I didn’t like about this episode. The capture and death of Aurelia was definitely a downer. After all she had been through with losing Varo in season one I had hoped that she would be reunited with her son.

But alas, this is Spartacus and not a very good place for happy endings as was evidenced in the last two seasons. I almost expected something to go wrong when Spartacus sent her along her way but I was still shocked when Claudius Glaber brought her out before the crowd. Total bummer.

Overall, I give the episode a 4 out of 5 grizzlies.

The series is back and is as good as it previously was and hopefully the premature critics of Liam McIntyre can stopping their inane babble for awhile. At least until the season gets into full swing, which it certainly has a good start on. Tune in for the next episode and definitely check this one out online from Starz before it’s Friday premiere date!

“I believe I can fly!”
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