PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE – Glaber receives Sparty’s love letter! Albinius is a pissy little bitch! Crixus finally gets word of Naevia, yay! Lucretia turns up all filthy and craycray! And Doctore must go to the only place for an animal without honor… wait, is it 4chan?
I am fucking psyched for this episode, ngl, because FUCK YEAH OENOMAUS FLASHBACK. We open up to that very scene – bb!Oenomaus is down in the fighting pits, all scrawny and bleeding and getting his ass kicked left, right, and upside down. His beefy opponent seems to be a favourite of the crowd, but we all know how quickly that can change. Bitty baby Oenomaus is all gawky arms and legs and great big Bambi eyes, bless. He’s also in some weird chalky whiteface, which, lol.
On his next ass-over-teakettle flop to the ground, Oenomaus spies a bloodied dagger half-buried in the sand nearby and slips it into his hand. While beefy opponent dude takes a moment to collect himself and roar proudly at his presumed approaching victory, lil Oenomaus leaps on him like a fucking madman and goes all Patrick Bateman on his ass, groinstab throatcut eyegouge bloodsplatter. No Phil Collins soundtrack, alas.
Lil Oneomaus looks as surprised as everyone else that he’s won his fight, but the crowd loves an underdog as much as they love a longtime champion. Two greasy gamblers up on the balcony cheer Lil Oenomaus as a “demon belched forth from the cunt of the Underworld,” and as I ponder where we’ve heard this unique compliment before, BEHOLD IT IS YOUNG TITUS BATIATUS peeking over their shoulders! AW YEAH.
The pit boss leads Titus down to the cell housing Lil Oenomaus, and gives us a bit of background exposition – Oenomaus is the last one left of a group of untrained Numidians purchased a week earlier, the rest of whom died quickly in the pits. Despite his total lack of formal training, Titus is certain that Oenomaus has awesome potential. TITUS YOU ARE SO RIGHT.
A bit of haggling over the price follows, and when the pit boss complains at Titus’ counteroffer, bitching to Titus that he “appears as honorable man yet attempts to slip cock in ass,” Titus’ response is pure unadulterated House of Batiatus – “if I held such desire, you would be split in two.” Snerk.
Back in our current day Capua, Doctore is again down in the pits, wearing the same crusty whiteface paint. It’s a reasonably good disguise, as it took me a second to realize this was the end of the previous flashback scene. Idek. A new pit boss comes to fetch him up to the sands.
Glaber and Marcus are sitting in Batty’s tablinum, planning their next moves against Spartacus and the rebel army. Since they have no idea about Crixus’ plan to rescue Naevia, they can’t understand why Sparty and the men have fled the city, and have no frame of reference to predict where they’ll turn up next. Furthermore, Seppius has already enlisted all the available men in town to serve as his own mercenaries, and Marcus has already realized that they’ll have to work together. Glaber remains unconvinced, not wanting to align himself with an ally of Varinius.
Lucretia glides in spookily to issue another one of her madwoman’s proclamations – she believes that the gods conspire against Glaber and his cause, and that a bloody sacrifice must be made to restore their favour. Glaber, oddly enough, seems to truly consider her words, and gives her permission to go to the market and buy whatever she needs to make an offering. He also grudgingly agrees to meet with Seppius to discuss an alliance. Glaber, what on earth has gotten into you?
Elsewhere, Spartacus and the rebels pause dramatically on a hilltop to look down at an isolated villa below. Inside, a noble is sweatily pounding a blonde slave girl with a long-suffering expression of distaste on her face. Outside, the rebels pick off the guards silently, one by one. The noble wouldn’t notice much of anything else anyway, as he’s intent on getting off — but first, he needs his loyal body slave Tiberius to “place cock in ass.” GET SOME, TIBERIUS.
The gladiators burst into the atrium messily and the startled noble stops mid-thrust, shouting for his robes. Dude, a dress isn’t going to defend you from Spartacus. Nothing is. The men distribute handy servings of death all around, and even Mira grabs a knife and gets down to business.
Soon all the guards are dead and the villa’s slaves are gathered in the moonlit courtyard, squawking like frightened chickens. Sparty tells them to calm the fuck down, and that they’re all free to go if they wish, or to join in their rebellion. The bloodied noble is dragged out to join the fun, and wants to know just who the fuck Sparty thinks he is, to make an offer like that.
“I AM SPARTACUS.” The “you fucking moron” is implied. The slaves go all fangirly and starry-eyed, recognizing his name immediately, and the noble finally has the sense to look scared. Crixus asks if he’s the dominus, and when the noble concurs, things get a whole lot scarier for him really quickly.
Crixus spends some quality time with the noble, eventually learning that Naevia had actually been there some time ago. The noble’s story rings true, as he knows all kinds of details about Naevia’s shitty haircut and tattoo. Unfortunately, Naevia was sent on to another villa after the noble was done fucking her, and Crixus loses his famous temper and bashes the dude’s head in.
The rebels sack the villa, and the Gauls promptly get fratboy drunk. Rhaskos tries to put the sexy moves on the blonde slave girl from earlier, and Mira steps in to shoo him away. The girls bitch momentarily about men in general, and the blonde somewhat cattily interrogates Mira on her relationship with Spartacus. Mira stammers a bit and then sends her away to take an accounting of the household supplies. Not your smoothest work, sweetie.
Spartacus and Agron are also discussing the many flaws of the drunken, cheering, randomly naked Gauls. While the other men looked to each others’ wounds, the Gauls only secured extra weapons and wine. Agron is pragmatic about it, saying that at least they’ll be able to arm more men now. Crixus joins them with the news of Naevia, all big shiny eyes and sad panda face, and Spartacus can barely restrain himself from offering sweet manly cuddles. No, actually, I don’t think I’m reading too much into this scene, why do you ask?
[Lolsome trivia tidbit - the drunken Gauls are singing the same ridiculous song that Gannicus sang every time he got drunk. (Side note: HURRY UP GANNICUS WHERE ARE YOU?) Wait, was Gannicus a Gaul too? Surely he was a Celt, no?]
Crixus stomps off to shut up his drunken men and find Rhaskos some panties, and Agron starts in with his same old argument with Spartacus about arming soft house slaves instead of recruiting fighting men. Agron, dude, where do you think you’re going to get fighting men who are also slaves needing to be freed? Come the fuck on.
The most promising of the house slaves are lined up before Sparty and Agron, and Sparty delivers his now trademarked moto speech on freedom and rebellion and general awesomeness, and rips off their slave collars. Most of the house slaves look scared but determined, except for Tiberius – he looks scared, determined, and hella pissed. ~DRAMATIC FORESHADOWING!
Back in Capua, Ilithyia’s having a lazy, petal-filled bath up at the villa. She’s back to her usual whingeing over once again being stuck in the loathsome House of Batiatus, and her attendant slave girls distract her with a cold compress for her forehead and some determined fingerbanging for the rest of her. Ilithyia slips off into pleasant fantasyland, but it’s not thoughts of her husband or even her body slave that are consuming her. No, she’s got Sparty on her mind, because it’s impossible to forget that kind of hotassery.
Glaber interrupts at a particularly crucial moment, and Ilithyia laughingly blames her lusts on both his own hot self as well as her pregnancy hormones. They have a sweet moment of makeouts which is then shattered by Glaber’s insistence that Illy accompany Lucretia to market the next morning. Ilithyia doesn’t want to spend any time with poor mad Lucretia, and Glaber again reminds her that she’s the one who got them into this mess in the first place. Glaber: 1; Ilithyia: 0.
Down south, at the conquered villa, Spartacus and Mira are getting ready for bed. Sparty’s glad to be sleeping in a real bed for a change, and Mira admits that she’s never slept in a real bed in her entire life. She then decides to nervously initiate the Relationship Talk with Sparty, and frankly, I’m bracing myself for a “BUT I STILL LOVE SURA SOB SOB” trainwreck of terrors. Luckily, it is not to be. Sparty’s either feeling real and trufax things for Mira finally, or has at least developed enough self-preservation to not bring up his dead wife while in bed with other women anymore. Well done indeed!
Their Hallmark moment is interrupted by Tiberius, sneaking in to make an attempt on Sparty’s life. Mira spots him at the last minute and Sparty disarms him easily. Tiberius is apparently super resentful that he’s lost his high-status position as body slave to the dominus, and demands that Sparty kill him immediately. Sparty finds this whole situation both infuriating and baffling — isn’t freedom better than slavery? Not according to Tiberius.
(Man, what is up with this show making all the Syrian characters sneaky and conflicted in their loyalties? I am just saying.)
Crixus, Agron, and Spartacus argue over Tiberius’ fate — Crixus is pretty sure they need to kill him posthaste before he tries to betray them again. Agron, to his immense disgust, agrees wholeheartedly with Crixus. They should probably just make out already.
Sparty is convinced he can successfully train Tiberius and win him over to their cause, and is further convinced that killing him will send the wrong message to the rest of the slaves. Agron wonders aloud how Spartacus intends to train someone like Tiberius, and Sparty’s sure that Doctore’s methods will work on Tiberius as well as they worked on himself. Yes, and look how well that turned out for everyone involved.
Back down in the pits, Doctore is taking on opponent after opponent, fighting under an assumed name and looking grim as all hell. Armed with a length of chain, he makes a less than impressive showing against his opponent Liberius, armed with flumbatae, which appears to be a fistful of iron-tipped arrows.
Midway through the fight, we flash back to Lil Oneomaus in the ludus. House guards muscle him down onto a pallet in the medicus’ quarters as Titus and tiny bebeh Batiatus join them. Lil Oenomaus is not taking well to his training, apparently. Titus is stern with him, but still treats him far more like a fellow human being than Batiatus ever did. Oenomaus resolves to be a better and more disciplined fighter, and takes Titus’ advice to heart — he will discover his purpose in life, and decide what it is he wants to fight for.
Back in the present-day Pits, Doctore finally wins his fight, but he’s nowhere near close to being done. He demands that the ringmaster send in the next opponent to fight him, as well as the next opponent’s opponent. Dude’s clearly got one hell of a death wish.
Down south with the gladiators, Spartacus is seeing to Tiberius’ training personally. He’s better than Spartacus was expecting, and far more willing to learn than Spartacus himself was on his first day of training. Sparty reiterates that Tiberius is free to stay or go as he chooses, but it looks like Tiberius has something to prove — to Spartacus and the rest of the men, and likely to himself as well.
Ilithyia and Lucretia stroll through the Capuan marketplace, and Lucretia is confused by all the stares and attention they’re drawing. Illy reminds her that they all think she’s god-touched, and Lucretia’s cryptic mumblings and overall oddness do nothing to reassure Ilithyia that their most troublesome secrets have truly been forgotten. Luckily, it seems that the secrets Lucretia refers to are innocuous ones from the very start of their friendship, and soon Lucretia is wholly distracted by random townspeople seeking her blessing.
Ilithyia herself is distracted by the arrival of Seppia; Seppia’s after Roman gossip and scandal, and Ilithyia’s lack of information on either subject is excused by her interest in her husband’s ambition and their coming child. Seppia can’t imagine living such a dull life, and says so without a second thought, and man, this gives Ilithyia a start. SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS. Suddenly realizing that you’re the grown up? Not cool.
The crowd around Lucretia has grown quite a bit, and it’s just enough to conceal the approach of a Mysterious Hooded Stranger. His arrival stops Lucretia in her tracks, and he passes her a note and slips away. She stares after him vacantly and returns to her whispered blessings, apparently with neither knowledge or curiosity of his identity. EVEN THOUGHT IT IS SO OBVIOUS OH MY GOD SO OBVIOUS. omg omg omg.
Smarmyface Seppius has arrived for his meeting with Glaber and Marcus, and damn, his smarmy smarmface is deliciously obnoxious. He’s not as much of a miserable little beast as Vettius was, but it’s close. Seppius takes enormous pleasure in pointing out that the only reason Spartacus was ever in Capua in the first place is because Glaber allowed him into the army’s auxiliary, and then enslaved him when he deserted with his men.
Lesson #1: Fucking Romans do not ever let anything go. Ever. You think Jewish moms are bad? YOU ARE WRONG. Yes, well into your 30s she will still bring up that time you had a tantrum at your first piano recital because you weren’t allowed to wear your ballerina tutu, but seriously, that’s nothing on this snippy Roman guilt trip bullshit.
Seppius also can’t resist bringing up the death of his beloved noble cousin Sextus, whose death can also be blamed indirectly on Glaber. Glaber is rapidly losing his patience, and Marcus does all he can to smooth things over. The men snip at one another relentlessly nevertheless.
Glaber gets to the point — he needs Seppius’ men to defeat Spartacus and the rebels, so why don’t they just fucking work together already? Seppius considers it for a moment but says he’ll need to consult with his hotass older manlover beffie Varinius. Yeah, Glaber’s not going to go for that. Seppius isn’t interested in the alliance either once he realizes he won’t be in charge of the attack. He mocks Glaber’s insistence that the gods themselves are on their side, dismissing this as madness from crazyface Lucretia.
And then, because he’s an arrogant fool who is sadly underestimating Glaber, not to mention his viciously cunning wife, Seppius points out that Ilithyia also escaped the slaughter in the villa that evening, somehow managing to leave just before it started, and with a company of Glaber’s men to boot. Men who could surely have stopped the slaughter, if only they’d been there! Oh how tragic!
Glaber can read through the lines as well as anyone, and knows this for what it is — a threat against his wife. Seppius, you dumbfuck. Glaber will feed your still-beating heart to Ilithyia and then bang her in a pool of your cooling blood.
I mean, that’s what I would do at least.
Back down south, the Gauls are once again drunk as shit and singing their happy cock song. Rhaskos the jackass drunkenly calls for the blonde girl to bring him more wine, as though she’s still a slave and he’s the dominus. Not cool, dude. Not cool at all. Sparty won’t stand for that, and tells him to get the wine his own damn self. Rhaskos is smart enough or maybe just still sober enough to do it without arguing, or possibly because Crixus is sitting in the shadows right next to Sparty.
Crixus, btw, is not really on board with the idea of treating the freed slaves as equals straight off the bat — he still has his romantic notions of the gladiator brotherhood being above regular slaves. Sparty won’t stand for that shit either, and clearly this argument is going to go on for the rest of the season. Crixus seems unable to draw a parallel between Spartacus’ desire to free all these slaves and his own desire to rescue Naevia from her own slavery — does he not see Naevia as an equal? ARGH.
oh god so many feelings
Angry little Tiberius has been reminding me a bit of Duro, and I guess Agron sees it too, because he stops off to lecture the kid for glaring at Spartacus from across the courtyard. Agron seems amused by Tiberius’ snappy comebacks and shares some wine with him, asking after his name — he’s taken aback by the name Tiberius, as it’s a wholly Roman name, while Tiberius himself is clearly Syrian. Agron takes a moment to muse on the last Syrian he knew, that treacherous fuck, and then the two of them have a bit of a bonding moment over their respective dead brothers. Aww. Agron’s clearly struggling with the urge to adopt this kid as his new little bratty gladiator brother. DO IT!
Off in a dark corner of the villa, Rhaskos is sweatily fucking the blonde girl up against the wall, and she doesn’t look very pleased to be there. Goddammit, Rhaskos, what the fuck? Mira shares my sentiments, and chases him off at knifepoint when she spots them. But no, apparently we’re both mistaken, because the blonde yells that she was there by choice, as sex is the only thing she has to trade in order to gain safety and position. Ouch. (Also, wtf show, tell us her goddamn name already.)
Lucretia’s in the center of the impluvium, preparing for her ritual sacrifice. The goat tied up next to her looks supremely unconcerned. Glaber and Ilithyia arrive to watch the ceremony, but while Glaber is truly interested, Illy’s got only mockery for the entire undertaking.
Lucretia catches their wandering attention with spooky ramblings that the gods are speaking to her of “deceit and treachery” and gives promises that their enemies will all soon fall. She dramatically cuts the goat’s throat and is soon lost in her own crazy little trance of blood and guts. When no sign from the gods appears immediately, Glaber loses interest in the face of Ilithyia’s teasing, and stalks off presumably to sulk somewhere.
Back down in the Pits, Oenomaus is bloody and beaten, but still determined to keep fighting until someone finally puts him out of his misery. He flashes back to the day he took his mark of the brotherhood.
Lil Oenomaus and Titus meet in the courtyard to discuss his future, and Lil Oenomaus announces that he’s discovered just what it is he wants to be fighting for — he wants to honor Titus himself as well as the entire House of Batiatus. Titus, who loves that kind of dramatic, manly shit, is genuinely moved, and you can see it’s likely the beginning of their true friendship.
Returning to the present Pitfighting scene, Doctore is struggling to his feet, weaponless, as his opponent whacks at him with a massive hammer. Doctore has a brief hallucinatory flash of his younger self next to young Titus off in the crowd, and is badly shaken. He grabs a fallen ax from the sand and goes on the offensive.
Simultaneously, back at the villa, Ilithyia’s realized that she and Lucretia are completely alone together, and that Lucretia is completely distracted by her own bloody, goat-dismembering madness. She moves toward Lucretia slowly, so as not to spook the crazy lady with the knife, waiting for the moment that the knife is set aside.
Doctore attacks desperately but is soon disarmed and at the mercy of Hammerdude, who tackles him to the sand and leaves him dazed. Hammerdude picks up his spear-ended hammer and moves in for the kill.
Meanwhile, Lucretia’s finally put down her goat-dismembering knife and Ilithyia also seems to be moving in for the kill, wtf wtf wtf no.
And then. AND THEN!
Hammerdude is pierced straight through the skull by a knife, thrown from the crowd. A second knife takes the ringmaster in the throat, and the crowd flees in a panic. As the thrower of the knives stands over Doctore’s barely conscious form, we see that it’s the same Mysterious Hooded Stranger from the marketplace earlier. THE ONE WHOSE IDENTITY IS REALLY FUCKING OBVIOUS YOU GUYS. Even Doctore, on the verge of passing the fuck out, knows exactly who it is, immediately.
Ilithyia’s stabby motions toward the back of Lucretia’s head are similarly interrupted by her body slave, coming to tell her that men are approaching the gates of the villa. DUN DUN DUUUUUN.
And it seems that men are approaching everywhere. Crixus bursts in through the gates of the captured southern villa with a few of his men with the bad news that a half dozen men with torches are arriving from the north. Crixus wants to attack immediately, but Spartacus is more cautious — what if they’re scouts from a larger group of men? If even one man escapes to bring back the news, they’re all super fucked. No, Sparty has a far more sneaky plan to enact.
The soldiers bang on the closed gates impatiently, and Tiberius opens them with the supreme confidence of a dominus’ most favoured body slave, as the gladiators lurk inside the villa. The lead soldier demands to see the dominus, and Tiberius apologizes, saying that the noble has gone off to visit his favourite whores in a distant city. The soldiers seem to take this info at face value, and prepare to return to Capua without a fight.
Instead, Tiberius calls them back, asking them to come inside for some refreshments before making the long trip back North. Crixus, always so suspicious, knows they’ve been betrayed, and leads the attack on the soldiers. Six heavily armed men are not really much of a match for a dozen pissed-off gladiators, especially after a long day’s travel, and they fall pretty quickly. As Sparty finishes off one of the remaining men, Agron sees Tiberius lunge for a discarded sword and shouts a warning. But once again, we’re mistaken, and Tiberius kills the soldier sneaking up on Sparty’s undefended back. YAY.
Crixus doesn’t think this excuses Tiberius’ earlier betrayal, and is poised to open him up from stem to stern. Tiberius explains that the soldier noticed his slave collar was missing, and, had they been allowed to leave, would have certainly returned with more men. Even Crixus can clearly see the logic in that. Spartacus tells Tiberius he’s done well, but Tiberius corrects him, saying his real name is Naseer.
Man, how badly will we freak out if he is a certain other Syrian’s little brother? It would be just like this show to do that to us, wouldn’t it?
Ilithyia’s interruption comes barging through the villa’s front door and is thrown at Glaber’s feet — the Mysterious Hooded Stranger has brought them Oenomaus, washed clean of his chalky white disguise. And then, in the most obvious reveal in the history of televised entertainment, the Mysterious Hooded Stranger throws back his Hood of Mystery and BEHOLD!
It is, of course, ASHUR.
ASHUUUURRRR! He’s here to help them bring about the downfall of Spartacus, naturally, and his gift of Doctore may yet see that happen.
[Side note of bizarro lols: when Nick Taraby does conventions and premieres for Spartacus, fans actually boo him! I can't decide if this is terrible or awesome or both simultaneously. Either way he is a fucking supremely glorious villain and I love to loathe him.]
And then. AND THEN. AND FUCKING THEN KSJDGHADF.
Lucretia comes out of the shadows, looking as loopy as ever, and whispers that the gods have truly heeded her prayers. Ilithyia and Glaber look totally convinced, and somehow manage to miss the Epically Significant Look shared by Ashur and Lucretia, as well as the note he passed her earlier, clutched in her bloody hand.
LUCRETIA YOU MAGNIFICENTLY CUNNING GODDESS. HAVE YOU BEEN FAKING IT ALL ALONG?
Her tiny triumphant smile says YES YES YES.
brb shrieking wildly with glee