April 2, 2012

Episode Review: SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE, "Wrath of the Gods"

Spartacus: Vengeance is in the books, and boy does Steven S. DeKnight know how to end a season. Actually, his approach is pretty straightforward when you think about it because he pretty much kills everyone. Yup, if you thought the end of Blood and Sand was epic, then you haven't seen anything until you've watched "Wrath of the Gods."

Glaber has completely taken over Spartacus' old encampment at the base of Mt. Vesuvius and planned on waiting out the rebels until fatigue and hunger got the better of them. Some of the Germans got antsy while sitting around, so they made an attack on Glaber's men, but it ended up costing Mira her life when she and the rest of Sparty's men tried to save them.

As Spartacus grieved over the loss of Mira, Glaber was visited by Ilithyia who once again insisted that she return to Rome. While on the road, Lucretia informed her friend that she could not return with her because she had been promised to Ashur once Spartacus was dead, but Ilithyia convinced her husband that Ashur had betrayed him by telling Seppia that they were responsible for her brother's death. Glaber decided that both he and Lucretia had outlived their usefullness and knew too many of his secrets, so he ordered Ilithyia to kill Lucretia while he dealt with Ashur.

Instead of just killing Ashur, Glaber used him as bait for Spartacus by sending him up Vesuvius with a message.  The Assyrian told the rebels that those who wanted to live could return to a life of enslavement, and those who stayed with Spartacus would be killed. Of course, no one took Glaber up on his offer, and they decided to make an example out of Ashur. At first, Crixus challenged him to a duel, but Naevia decided that the only way she could be freed from her demons would be to take the life of the man who ruined hers. After he toyed with her for a while, she was able to get a critical blow to the crotch which weakened Ashur enough to allow Naevia to chop of his head.

Back in Capua, Ilithyia was preparing to kill Lucretia by throwing her over the cliff that the House of Batiatus sat on, but she went into labor before she could complete the deed. Lucretia helped Ilithyia get settled so she could bring the child into the world, but things took a sinister turn. Instead of letting Ilithyia give birth, Lucretia ended up killing her slaves and cut the baby from Ilithyia so she could give Batiatus the son that he had always wanted.

As Lucretia stole Ilithyia's baby from her body, Spartacus figured out a way to get off of the mountain and lay siege on Glaber's camp. The final moments of the episode cut between the second battle of Vesuvius, where Oenomaus fell while saving Gannicus, and the final showdown between Lucretia and Ilithyia. When it was all said and done, Lucretia threw herself and the baby off the cliff so they could reunite with Batiatus, Ilythia died from her wounds, and Spartacus finally got his vengeance on Glaber. Now, onto season 3.

Man, the body count was huge by the end of this episode, and we lost some very important characters, but for the most part all of the deaths made sense. There was no way Glaber was going to survive the battle because his his story had been told and keeping him around wouldn't have accomplished anything. It could be argued that Ilithyia could have been used next season, but since she's been tied so closely with Glaber she probably wouldn't have had much to do in future episodes. It's going to suck not seeing Viva Bianca every week though.

The most shocking death had to be Lucretia's though because I did not see that coming. I'm going to have to re-watch the entire season to see if I can pick up on all of the clues that pointed to her endgame, but while watching this episode I was completely caught off guard by her actions. That being said, she too lived out her usefulness and got a fitting end. The same cannot be said about Oenomaus, who could have lived on for a few more episodes (admittedly I don't know enough about the real man and when he died), but at least he was given an honorable death and help solidify Gannicus' dedication to the cause.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Now that Mira and Ilithyia are dead, I'm convinced that Sparty's junk's cursed.
  • It was clear from the start that Mira was going to die, but I did think she could have been kept around for a little while longer like Oenomaus.
  • One-Eyed Oenomaus was creepy and badass! I think I just came up for a band name, if I ever started a band.
  • At least with Ashur and Lucretia dead, we won't have to watch anymore of their painful scenes together.
  • I was certain that either Agron or Nasir was going to fall during this episode. Whoops.
Overall, "Wrath of the Gods" was a fitting end to a very fine season of television. The odds were stacked against Vengeance because of Andy Whitfield's premature departure, but Liam McIntyre made the role his own and led an extremely capable ensemble. Thanks to them and some strong writing, Vengeance proved that this show's more than what it seems and is worthy of being the flagship of Starz. Hopefully more will come around to appreciate what this show has to offer, but regardless we're in for at least one more season of sword-and-sandals goodness and I cannot wait.


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