With many shows on the pay channels such as HBO and Starz, it’s very hard for them to follow up brilliant episodes with anything even close to the potential exhibited the week before. Spartacus this season, I have noticed, is the exception. Last weeks assault and basic massacre at the arena in Capua was nothing short of epic and Glaber’s murder of his wife’s father was a bold move for him to make. This week’s episode, though not as action packed as the last was just as good and even more so story wise.
Spartacus and his makeshift army are now based at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, holed up in a rundown temple awaiting the inevitable Roman counterstrike. As before, you at first believe the group of slaves to be united after such a morale boosting victory, but instead they are a bit divided as to what their next move should be and that morale is not helped by the nay-saying and dire warnings of Gannicus. At this point, Gannicus is somewhat of a beaten man despite being ex-champion and freed slave. He is now without his rudis, which is the wooden sword signifying his freedom, and needs it to prove that he is not a runaway slave. He also had words with Oenomaus who never really forgave him for what happened with Melitta and told him the truth of what a selfish and lost person he truly is. Even though we get to see an awesome clash between Spartacus and Gannicus, that is not the only reason he was brought back to the show. Gannicus is a great character who we will see in the coming episodes even after he has left what he sees as a futile cause against the Romans. We’ll see how he deals with the newest predicament next week when he returns to Capua to recover his rudis.
Probably one of the most interesting portions of this week’s episode would have to be that of Ashur, who proves that he is able to maneuver himself into a favored position with pretty much anyone through his deceit and double dealing. After sometime, if Ashur ever finally dies it’s going to be well deserved because he has basically crossed everyone on the show at this point. But I can’t help but love the character. The scene where Ashur proves that the escaped gladiators are worth three Roman soldiers was awesome and well choreographed. Ashur also proved the point to us, the viewers, that he is still in pretty damned good fighting condition. It had been since Gods of the Arena since we have seen him fight, (I don’t count the pitiful performance against Oenomaus in season 1) and he is clearly still quite the danger. And now he finds himself in the employ of Glaber himself, no longer needing the support of Lucretia which he points out in a most disturbing way in a certain scene. Ashur is tasked with putting together a group of killers to be utilized by Glaber as he sees fit and we are given a taste of this (albeit a disgusting one) by the end of the show.
The scene that I speak of is one that fully solidifies Glaber as the true villain of this story. Ashur and his newly formed squad of killers attack a villa and are shown brutally killing all of those inside including women and children. Then the last victim is shown to be Seppius who dies a prolonged death beneath the boot of Glaber who had offered an alliance earlier in the show. Glaber is seriously not f*cking around anymore. Anyone who crosses him at this point is expendable, dare I say even his wife Illythia. It was a fitting death for Seppius as I couldn’t see where else they might take his storyline, although his sister may still have a place as Glaber’s future wife once Illythia potentially outlives her usefulness.
This season is definitely heating up even further which I didn’t think was possible, but after two direct showdowns between Glaber and Spartacus they still have me clamoring for another tension filled showdown. And although I found Glaber as sort of an impotent villain in the previous season and episode it would seem that his wife definitely tipped the scales. Glaber is done with modesty and following the rules of honor. He is willing to kill those in his path to obtain an heir and maintain his position as praetor in the Republic. He is almost like the new Batiatus, a man whom he held nothing but disdain for but still practices his same methods of brutality and less than honorable actions. I can’t wait yet again for the next episode where we’ll see what Gannicus does with an offer from Lucretia and if Agron’s newly freed men from Neapolis complicate things in anyway for the group. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Naevia/Crixus story line even though it was a necessity. 4 out of 5 bears!