Spartacus: Vengeance – 2.05 – Libertus

PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE! Death in the woods! Death at a party! Hot asses and cold icy rage! Nasir gets wounded, Seppius gets told, Ilithyia plots like never before, and omg Mira is a kickass ninja.

(You guys. Seriously. This episode was everything I have ever wanted in a teevee show and so much more. Prepare yourselves for unprecedented levels of CAPSLOCK and overall hysteria.)

We’re in Capua’s familiar arena as blood drips onto the sand and the very walls shake from the crowd’s excitement. There’s one hell of a fight going on between a murmillo and a hoplomachus — the latter wins, and everyone up in the pulvinus agrees that this is certainly a fine showing and an honor to the games’ patron, Varinius. Everyone except Glaber, that is — he’s got the most epic of bitchfaces on and isn’t being too discriminating about showing it around to anyone foolish enough to make eye contact.

glaber is judging you

Ilithyia’s certainly not spared, and returns his stroppy glare twofold, compounding the matter with a few choice words all but stating that Glaber’s not half the man Varinius is. Seppia, meanwhile, is still staring moonily at Varinius, while Albinius stares equally foolishly at Lucretia. Capua Valley High! Even Magistrate Gallienus and Mercato get in on the Varinius-lovin’ action, falling all over one another to tell him how superfab he is. FFS, why don’t they just dedicate a giant statue of the man’s erect cock in the center of the marketplace already? This is the Roman Republic, after all. They love that shit.

But no, there is no time for encockenings, for the trumpets sound the call for the primus! And it’s not just any primus this afternoon — it’s the execution of the prisoners: Crixus, Oenomaus, and Rhaskos. The fickle crowd cheers for the death of their former favourite champions.

Varinius stands and waves to the crowd like a rockstar, and gives them a dramatic speech comparing the prisoners to the terrible Carthaginian enemy, Hannibal, at the gates of Capua. And like Hannibal, Varinius expects the prisoners will be gloriously defeated, long live Rome, huzzah and buttsex. Cossutius, never a man to let the chance for a nasty quip slip him by, sweetly wonders aloud about Glaber’s distant relative, Appius Claudius Pulcher – wasn’t he sadly defeated by Hannibal in the first battle of Capua? How embarrassing!

The prisoners enter the arena to boos and hisses and flung cabbage. Seriously, who brings rotten cabbage with them on an afternoon’s outing? Weirdos, that’s who. Roman weirdos. (Now I’m going to wonder about Roman arena cabbage vendors and get stuck in an hour-long wikihole. Goddammit.) The men are in chains and slave panties, and are holding some extremely suboptimal gladii.

Varinius explains that the winners of all previous fights that day have determined which gladiators will have the privilege of executing these terrible prisoners. But who shall have the singular honor of leading the fight? Someone superawesome, naturally. The most superawesome gladiator ever, and the only one in all of Capua to ever win his freedom through combat…

aw yeah

GANNICUS!

Seriously, the only one screaming louder than the crowd in the arena is me. Also I may have fallen off the couch while writhing with epic glee. GANNICUS!

Oenomaus, Crixus, and Rhaskos aren’t nearly as excited to see him, though. Crixus can’t believe Gannicus would do this to them, but Oenomaus, still brooding vengefully over last week’s reveal about his dead wife, thinks Gannicus is a dog without honor. Ironic how those very words were once thrown at Spartacus, eh? EH?

LET US DANCE THE DANCE OF DRAMATIC FORESHADOWING.

Gannicus stops in front of Oenomaus and seems actually glad to see his oldest and best friend. He then makes an ill-advised comment about how they’re finally facing “one another upon the sands, as Melitta always feared.” Oenomaus has no time for friendly banter: he only wants to know one thing — is it true that Gannicus was having an affair with his beloved wife?

Gannicus can’t even meet Oenomaus’ eyes, and that’s all the answer he needs. And it’s ON. Oenomaus attacks before Gannicus even finishes saying his name apologetically.

*****

F-F-F-FLASHBACK TIME! It’s one day earlier, and the exhausted, bedraggled rebels are pushing on through the forested foothills below Vesuvius. Nasir, still looking wretched and pale, is carried on a stretcher by some of the house slaves, and Agron keeps glancing at him miserably. He stops Spartacus to once again apologize for the way things turned out: the group split, half their men dead in the mines, woe woe agony and woe. OH AGRON. Your sad panda face is so tragic and wooby.

Sparty halts the group at the sound of approaching footsteps; luckily it’s not an attack, it’s the forward scouts returning with interesting news — a deserted-looking building lies ahead in a large clearing. Spartacus, Agron, and a handful of men sneak in to explore. It’s run-down and mostly roofless, but it’s better than sleeping another night in the forest, and word is sent to the rest of the group to join them inside.

Donar and and some other dude gallop off to explore the inside of the building, leaving Sparty and Agron outside — of course, they’re immediately confronted by a filthy man with a bow and arrow at the ready. He’s not pleased that his temple has been invaded by a pack of scruffy men with swords, you see. Luckily Donar and his buddy have crept up behind him, but even with 4 to 1 odds, the bowman declines to lay down his arms. It’s only when he hears Agron call Spartacus by name that he’s willing to welcome them inside.

El Mysterioso Bowman is named Lucius Caelius, and he’s been the guardian of the temple for many years, all alone. When he offers Sparty some wine, Agron’s mistrust for all Romans takes over, and he rants about potential poisonings. Agron’s hate and bitchery and lack of manners leads Lucius to assume he’s a Gaul, which Agron does not find nearly as amusing as I do.

Lucius’ story is similar enough to everyone else’s: his family and home were destroyed by the dictator Sulla when his armies marched on Rome many years back. Now Lucius is left with nothing but his rundown temple and his desire for revenge. REVENNNNGE! And this, of course, is why he was delighted to see Spartacus — he’s glad to throw in his lot with anyone who plans to make the Republic suffer.

Lucius has some interesting news for the rebels, though. Rumour out of Neapolis has said that Sparty and his men all died in the mines of Lucania, save for a few who were taken to Capua to be executed at Varinius’ games. LE GASP. Who might these survivors be, wonders Our Hero Spartacus? Lucius has no names, alas, but he knows that there are three men, one of whom is called The Undefeated Gaul: Crixus! Naevia, having overheard the last of the conversation, goes from elated to shattered when she realizes that while Crixus is alive, he’s to be executed the following afternoon in the arena.

*****

The aforementioned Gaul and his prisoner compatriots are being held in the familiar cells of the ludus. The sight of Ashur strolling into the room, alive and unwounded, sends Crixus into a tooth-grinding rage, but the sight of Tribune Marcus, dead on a stretcher, gives them all a bit of renewed hope. It’s a sure sign that Spartacus and the rest of the rebels are still alive and still fighting. Crixus is stoically resigned to his impending death, thinking only to hold Naevia once again in the afterlife, as Oenomaus will once again be reunited with Melitta. Oenomaus has less romantic thoughts about this otherworldly reunion than Crixus does, though. He doesn’t want sexytimes and cuddles, he wants answers to difficult and unhappy questions.

*****

GANNICUS! Can I just say how much it fucking delights me that at the opening of every scene featuring Gannicus, we have a few seconds of Epic Rockstar Wailing Guitars? IT DELIGHTS ME SO MUCH, my internets friends.

Rockstar Gannicus is looking a little less rockstar than usual as he strolls through the marketplace with Mercato. Gannicus brushes aside Mercato’s flowery compliments and comparisons to the gods themselves, wanting only some advance payment on the next day’s fight. Nor does Gannicus care to be presented to Magistrate Gallienus or Praetor Varinius; he has some important appointments with wine and women of questionable virtue instead. Some things never change, do they.

*****

Glaber stands over the body of his faithful Tribune Marcus and is utterly fucking outraged that his beloved beffie lies dead while the unworthy Ashur yet lives. Ashur protests that he tried ever so hard to save Marcus’ life, and it’s a wonder that his pants do not burst into liar liar flames immediately. Glaber bitterly sends word to Varinius that Sparty will not be among the men executed in the arena, but there is one small light at the end of his surly tunnel — Ashur will be joining the prisoners instead. Ashur’s shocked groveling is for naught, and he’s dragged off to a cell.

Why the hell isn’t Glaber giving poor dead Marcus one last tender loving mansmooch upon his icy brow? SO UNFAIR. Come the fuck on, you know they “shared warmth” on cold campaigns. Warmth and mansex. SURELY.

*****

Albinius receives Glaber’s message with a sneer of amused derision. He doesn’t let it interfere with his current task of plotting against Glaber with Ilithyia, Varinius, and Lucretia, though. The fearsome foursome are scheming to divorce Ilithyia from Glaber and marry her to Varinius, and Albinius cautions everyone to make sure Glaber hears nothing until the appointed hour, when they can make their shocking reveal as one. The men stroll off to discuss manly business things, and Albinius has one last word of advice for Ilithyia — she’s to see herself rid of “encumbrances” before marrying Varinius. Ruh roh.

Lucretia hasn’t been a party to this aspect of the plan, and she can barely keep the horror off her face when Ilithyia explains that this so-called encumbrance is actually her unborn child. Man, sometimes Ilithyia is so dense. How can she not remember how badly Lucretia has always wanted a baby? Does she really think Lucretia is going to go along with this plan? BECAUSE I SURE DON’T.

Lucretia, meanwhile, has her crafty face on and crafty plans in motion as soon as Ilithyia walks away.

*****

That night, Naevia and some of the other women are tending to Nasir’s ghastly wound as the rest of the rebels rest and eat. Agron stops by to thank her for saving Nasir’s life in the forest, but Naevia is too full of self-loathing and guilt to accept such thanks. The thought of Crixus dying because he saved her is eating away at Naevia, and this plus Nasir’s injury — not to mention her severe trauma at the hands of the various nobles to whom she was sold — are all coming together to make her seriously fucking hate her life. Agron does his best to comfort her, but Naevia’s all wrapped up in her pain and can’t hear him anymore.

Mira interrupts with word from Sparty — he’s got a plan and everyone needs to hear it.

His plan, of course, is to rescue the prisoners in the arena…. The heavily guarded arena right in the center of Capua, a city full of soldiers and armed mercenaries, all of whom want only one thing — the death of Sparty and his men. Yeah, this should go over well.

Mira and Agron exchange epic OSHIT faces before politely expressing their incredulity. Sparty’s convinced that this attack is the very last thing Glaber or anyone else will be expecting, though, and his logic is pretty reasonable: who else is going to know the arena better than a bunch of angry ex-gladiators rescuing their ex-gladiator buddies? No one, by the gods. Agron’s learned his lesson from the mine attack well, and he’s not going to go against Sparty’s plans again. And Spartacus doesn’t just want to rescue their friends this time; he wants to send a message to the entire Republic as well.

*****

Ilithyia’s standing in her bedroom that evening, lost in thought and holding a small red vial in her hand. Lucretia has seen such vials before and knows exactly what abortifacient it holds, as she has used the same preparation on many of her female slaves in the past. She cautions Ilithyia to delay drinking its contents until after tomorrow’s games, since the silphium will make Ilithyia sick for days when she loses the child. Ilithyia agrees, hiding it carefully among her possessions, and thanks Lucretia for her thoughtful advice.

This is the opening Lucretia has been waiting for, and she carefully implies to Ilithyia that she wants to join her in Rome when she and Varinius and Albinius return there. Ilithyia’s surprised but pleased, and seems willing to consider Lucretia’s plan.

*****

Later that evening, Lucretia visits Ashur in his lonely cell across the courtyard, far away from the rest of the prisoners. He’s bitter and angry that she hasn’t come sooner, and expects to be freed. Lucretia has other things in mind, and Ashur’s drawn into her schemes once again. As I predicted, she really isn’t down with Ilithyia’s plan to rid herself of Glaber’s child. Instead, she wants Ashur to sneak into Ilithyia’s room and replace the silphium in the hidden vial with harmless but gross-tasting water and herbs.

Ashur knows exactly what such vials contain and exactly what the contents are for, and wants to know why Lucretia herself isn’t taking care of this situation. But Lucretia needs to be far above any suspicion in order to keep her place at Ilithyia’s side, so Ashur’s totally the only one left who is sneaky enough for this task. Lucretia slips him the keys to his shackles and to his cell, and Ashur’s left reluctantly agreeing to the plan.

*****

Back at the abandoned temple, Naevia’s beside herself with excitement at the prospect of Crixus’ rescue. Spartacus promises to return with the men or die trying, which shouldn’t be as comforting as it seems. As the gladiators prepare for their journey, Nasir staggers out from his sickbed with the intention of joining them. HE IS TOO PRECIOUS OMG.

Agron is practically bouncing with delight to see Nasir up on his feet again, but is less delighted by the idea of Nasir endangering himself by coming with the rescuers. Nasir seems ready to argue, so Agron shuts him up in THE GREATEST POSSIBLE WAY OH YES INDEED.

YOU GUYS. IT IS THE KISS WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR OMG HOORAYS. THE MANKISS OF AGRON AND NASIR.

Yeah, I screamed like a maniac while watching this, whatevs. I REGRET NOTHING. From the looks of it, neither does Nasir. OMG screaming screaming screaming.

Spartacus addresses the rebels, confirming that they’ll be attempting a rescue in the arena the following day. The remaining rebels are worried about what lies ahead for them should the gladiators fail, but Sparty has an answer for everything. Lucius Caelius promises to guide the rebels to relative safety, and they’re left nervous but enthusiastic about the rescue.

*****

That night in Capua, Gannicus is quite vigorously enjoying himself with women and wine at a local brothel. His chosen lady of the evening wonders why she’s never seen him around before, and he explains that he’s been away from Capua for a long time. When she hears that he’s returned for the games, she’s excited for him, but wishes she could see them herself. Gannicus would be happy to trade places with her, though, as he’s not looking forward to his day on the sands.

Now she’s even more excited, because she knows he’s the famous awesome rockstar Gannicus. Where the younger arrogant Gannicus would have preened at this and talked her into a freebie, the older wiser Gannicus just broods a bit over his fate and drinks some more wine.

The girl notices his rudus in his pack, and asks what it signifies. To the rest of the world, it’s a sign of his manumission, but to Gannicus, it’s a sign of the bad decisions he made on his way to winning his freedom — namely, Melitta and her death. He keeps it at his side all the time, even in the arena, presumably to remind him to be an emo mess as often as possible.

Gannicus, you totally need the healing power of a threesome. I am just saying.

*****

The prisoners are led from their cells to the courtyard, with the three rebels off to the arena and Ashur off to relative freedom, at Lucretia’s behest. Ashur stops Glaber on his way out to have a private chat with him, and oh what a surprise, he’s up to no good once again. Ashur ever-so-helpfully mentions that the night before, he saw one of Ilithyia’s slaves with a familiar red vial, the contents of which he sadly reveals to Glaber.

*****

Ilithyia rushes through the villa, giving her slaves some last minute instructions before departing for the arena. Glaber is waiting for her in her chambers with a strange smile on his face. It seems he’s made an unfortunate discovery among her belongings, and he’s fucking furious. To her credit, Ilithyia keeps her cool and admits openly that she no longer loves him, no longer wants his child, and plans to marry Varinius and return with him and her father to Rome that very day.

To his credit, Glaber doesn’t slap her around as I was expecting; instead, each successive revelation from her just seems to break his spirit more and more. I hate that I feel so bad for him right now, you guys. Now that Batty’s dead, Ilithyia and Glaber were my favourite evil power couple, and I really enjoyed their very obvious love for one another in season one. STUPID VARINIUS, YOU ARE A RUINER. YOU RUIN THINGS.

Admittedly, Ilithyia and Varinius would also be an awesome evil power couple. Hm.

Why is my heart breaking for these two terrible people? Is it because they are so goddamn hot? Oh god I am a superficial asshole.

…lol wait I knew this already.

*****

The crowd at the arena is getting angry and restless at the delay of the opening of the games. The mood up in the pulvinus isn’t much better when Ilithyia and Glaber arrive, full of apologies and smiles from Illy and icy sneering rage from Glaber. Ilithyia only has eyes for her soon-to-be husband Varinius, and Glaber seethes as they exchange loving smiles. Albinius has some loving (or at least lusting) smiles of his own for Lucretia, and I can’t decide if it’s adorable or horrifying. Adorifying? Hordorable?

The final day of Varinius’ games begins with a two-man fight: Mycter, in the plumed helmet of a Samnite, and Abiron, fighting murmillo-style. As Mycter takes his victory down on the sands, Lucretia notices Glaber’s distracted, grumpy expression across the pulvinus and you can almost taste the budding intrigue in the air.

The fights continue throughout the morning, each one gorier and messier than the last, and our frenemies in the pulvinus enjoy every gruesome moment. Seppia compliments Mercato on the day’s entertainment, and Varinius agrees, laughingly offering Mercato a job at the arena in Rome. Glaber bitches about that too, wondering aloud if Varinius means to steal away “everyone of note” off to Rome; Varinius only has plans for a few, though.

Lucretia watches this exchange with great interest, noting the secretive smiles shared by Varinius and Ilithyia, and the look of angry resignation on Glaber’s face. A whispered conversation with Ilithyia gives Lucretia the unfortunate news of Glaber’s discovery of the vial in Illy’s bedroom. Lucretia hides her shock at Ashur’s betrayal very well, and Ilithyia doesn’t suspect a thing.

I imagine Lucretia’s revenge upon Ashur will be quite inventive indeed. Oh yes.

*****

There’s plenty more fighting as the day goes on, with men in pairs, and men one-on-one: more murmillo fighters here and there; a handful of thraces; some secutores; even a few net-and-trident wielding retiarii are seen. As the arena slaves drag the mangled corpses of the losers down into the depths of the arena, we see Oenomaus, Crixus, and Rhaskos being led up for their execution. Upstairs, Varinius is announcing the final contest before the primus and execution: Masonius, a spear-fighting hoplomachus, against Strabo, fighting murmillo-style.

The dead fighters are carried into an unspeakably filthy chamber at the bottom of the arena. Bodies are being chopped up into smaller, more manageable pieces and dumped directly into the nearby open sewers along with bucketsful of blood and guts. UGH. ANCIENT ROME, Y U SO GROSS.

And as the camera shot tightens on the sewer entrance, I know immediately what’s coming next — Spartacus, Agron, and Donar rise up silently from the filthy grotendous water and make quick work of the body-choppers. After killing the guards posted outside, they lock the doors to the filthy corpse room and plan their next moves.

*****

Meanwhile, Masonius is kicking the everloving crap out of Strabo, and the crowd’s excitement is only rising with the promise of executions to come. A company of guards march in to the arena, while below, Spartacus and Agron prepare to join them, having stripped uniforms from a pair of dead guards. Mira, Donar, and the rest of the rebels stay behind to initiate the second part of the mysterious plan, hurrying out of the corpse room with mysterious amphorae of mystery.

Sparty, wtf. Why do you never kiss her good-bye? That is just Not On.

*****

And we’re back to the opening scene of today’s episode, with Varinius loftily comparing the prisoners to the hated Hannibal Barca. Oenomaus sadly tells Crixus that he’s dreamed of returning to the arena for many years. Crixus has no time for sadness — he’s honored to stand and die beside his old friend and former champion. A prunemouthed guard hands over some ancient, shitty, dull swords and sends them on their way.

Spartacus and Agron, in full disguise, join the guards at the inner gates as the winning gladiators assemble for the fight. One of the unknown gladiators tries to tell Gannicus what an honor it is to fight with him, and man, Gannicus is so totally not interested in fanboys right now. As an attendant adjusts the manica on Gannicus’ forearm, Sparty notices the mark of the brotherhood burned into his arm — the mark of Batiatus — and is openly astonished. (How did I forget that they never met? WTF SELF.) He asks Gannicus, disbelief all over his face, why he would agree to kill men who were his brothers, and this is the question we’ve all be asking ourselves this entire goddamn episode. FINALLY.

Gannicus actually has a really good reason, and it’s totally one that Crixus and Oenomaus would understand if they were in his position — he’s willing to kill his sworn brothers in the arena because they deserve to die with honor and at the hands of someone who loves them still. (*gross sobbing*)

Gannicus and the rest of the gladiators enter the arena to wild cheers from the crowd, and Agron and Sparty follow with the two remaining guards. Sparty stops to glare up at Glaber in the pulvinus, but luckily Glaber’s too distracted by the shambles of his life and his career and his marriage to notice. Agron, looking nervous as hell, is starting to think that maybe this plan isn’t so great after all, but it’s too late to back out now.

Meanwhile, Oenomaus has just attacked Gannicus in a blind rage, and soon all three prisoners are fighting for their lives against their half dozen or so opponents. Sparty and Agron stand there helplessly and watch their friends get chewed up and spat out all over the sands. They can hardly hold themselves in check as they wait for the signal from the rest of the rebels.

Between Crixus and his opponents, and Rhaskos and his, it’s business as usual and nothing personal. But between Oenomaus and Gannicus, it’s another story entirely. Oenomaus is attacking with a rage like none other, bellowing angrily about his wife and his best friend and their terrible betrayal. He knocks Gannicus to the ground, and his treasured rudus flies off into the distance. When another gladiator thinks to take advantage of Oenomaus’ undefended back, Gannicus leaps to his feet and throws the man aside — this fight, and Oenomaus’ life, belongs to him and him alone.

OMG I CANNOT CONTAIN ALL THESE FEELS.

*****

Down below, Mira and the rebels are throwing their amphorae of tarry pitch against the walls and supports of the arena. A pair of guards catches them in the act, but a carefully thrown torch from Mira sets them, and the walls, ablaze.

*****

Things are not looking too good for Crixus right now. Every time he escapes the sword of one enemy, another is there to immediately take its place. He’s spending more time dodging and weaving than he is stabbing and slicing, and the chain between his wrist manacles is not helping.

Agron is getting totally agitated, worrying that the rest of their team is taking too long in setting the arena on fire, and even Spartacus is looking nervous. Sparty still insists that they wait a while longer, because without the rest of the plan, none of them will survive.

Gannicus is somehow trying to defend his actions to Oenomaus in the middle of their battle, and it is really not having the desired effect. In fact, it looks like it’s actually just making Oenomaus even more insanely fucking pissed off.

Unnoticed up in the stands, smoke is beginning to seep through the floorboards beneath the feet of the spectators. DUN DUN DUUUUUN!

And then (and oh god why did I not see this coming immediately the other day when he suddenly became a pleasant and amusing individual instead of his usual jackass self), oh god, and then Rhaskos is caught under the net of the retiarius and stabbed a hillion jillion times from behind by the thraex. Crixus struggles to free himself from his own fight but is forced to watch his old friend and sole remaining fellow Gaul among the rebels die instead.

Chadara is going to be so pissed, oh my god.

Crixus’ opponents close in on him for the kill, and up in the pulvinus, Lucretia smiles a slow and satisfied grin of triumph. It looks like her triumph is a bit hasty, though, as smoke starts rising from the stands in earnest. The frenzied spectators are still oblivious, too busy shouting for a kill to notice their own ~DRAMATIC PERIL.

*****

Down below, everything is in flames, but the destruction isn’t moving fast enough. Mira has the men wrap a huge length of chain around a nearby support, and everyone heaves on it desperately, hoping to dislodge the supports and collapse the stands.

*****

As the hoplomachus stands over the fallen Crixus with spear in hand, Ilithyia and Lucretia grip each other’s hands in excitement. Crixus thwarts them yet again by rolling away at the last minute and snatching the spear away to kill a nearby murmillo, but it’s still not enough. In the next moment, he’s helpless, unarmed, and on his back in the sand. Spartacus and Agron look moments away from a very rash decision indeed. And oh god, Gannicus has just disarmed Oenomaus, saying, “I will send you to her arms, brother.” OH GOD STOP PLZ WHY NO STOP.

(This is the point where I began literally and factually and very truly shrieking into my fists like a goddamn maniac. Despite the fact that, since this is historical fiction, I know what happens already. DAMN THIS SHOW.)

Luckily for our friends the rebels, Mira and the men below are finally able to destroy the burning support beam, and after that, things get busy real fast. An entire section of the stands collapses into a huge gust of roaring horrible flames, and at least a hundred spectators die screaming in the fire. This proves to be a very efficient distraction for the rest of the crowd, most of whom begin to panic and flee.

Unfortunately for the bloodthirsty citizens of Capua, there isn’t anywhere left to flee. Another section of the stands on the far side of the arena collapses into the flames, bringing the blazing cantilevered roof shades down onto the nearby sections…and down onto Gannicus and Oenomaus. DO NOT WANT.

Spartacus and Agron decide this is the perfect time to attack, and Agron kills both guards behind them with a single blow. Agron is such a fucking badass sometimes, omg. While the rest of the guards are distracted by the increasingly ominous-sounding creakings and groanings coming from deep within the arena, Sparty and Agron throw themselves into the fight, picking off the remaining gladiators one by one.

Mira and the rest of the rebels have now set the entire basement on fire, and the walls and ceilings are collapsing all around them. Guuurl, you get shit done.

Even the pulvinus is no longer safe now. Huge chunks of masonry are falling in on all sides, and the floor is cracking open to reveal the fire beneath. The gang rushes to escape, but unlucky Mercato is crushed to death beneath a flaming beam.

Crixus finally realizes that Sparty and Agron have a rescue underway, and makes the ridiculous gobsmacked face that I so adore. Hope renewed, Crixus joins Agron and Sparty, and the rest of the gladiators and guards are no match for Our Heroes and their tiny panties.

Varinius and Seppius are trying to beat down the flames preventing escape from the pulvinus. Glaber stops a moment to look out over the unbelievable chaos as the arena collapses into flames and the whole of Capua panics and flees. Who could be behind this dastardly deed?

Glaber looks down onto the sands just in time to meet Sparty’s gaze in a Glorious Eyefuck of Firey Vengeance. While Glaber basically has a Captain Kirk KHAAAAAAAN freakout of epic proportions, Spartacus grabs the hoplomachus‘ discarded spear and launches it like a fucking exocet directly into the pulvinus. ZOMG.

The spear glances off of Glaber’s cheek and AHAHA oh man, it hits the vile Cossutius right in his evil little heart. Sic semper douchebaggis, dude. Varinius and Seppius finally manage to clear a path to safety, and everyone runs off weeping and screaming and generally piddling their pants; everyone except Albinius, who stays behind a moment to once again berate Glaber for not being as awesome as Varinius. He blames Glaber completely for all of Sparty’s actions that day, which, come on, that is a little bit fucking illogical. Varinius and Seppius didn’t exactly catch Sparty and the rebels either, now did they?

Everyone is so mean to Glaber. What is even wrong with these people? Haven’t they seen dat ass?

Glaber stands alone in the ruined pulvinus, clearly pondering whether or not to fling himself down onto the sands and attack Spartacus with his bare hands. As Sparty, Agron, and Crixus finish off the guards, Glaber has apparently decided to flee; when Spartacus glances at the pulvinus again, it’s empty.

Before they can flee as well, though, Crixus insists that they stop and look for Oenomaus.

*****

Glaber makes his way through the collapsing, smoke-filled halls of the arena. Off to the side, a feeble voice cries out for help — it’s Albinius, pinned beneath a fallen beam. Glaber runs over and heaves the beam off his trapped father-in-law, and Albinius looks extremely relieved and grateful. That lasts all of a minute, until Albinius sees the look on Glaber’s face. Crazyface smile in place, Glaber tells Albinius he’s “not the fool you and your daughter think me,” and smashes the beam back down onto Albinius’ face again and again. OMG.

*****

Sparty and Agron run over to the side of the arena where Gannicus has just pulled himself out from under some debris. Oenomaus lies unconscious nearby, and there’s a tense moment of standoff between the three gladiators until Crixus staggers over. At the sight of his other old friend, Gannicus comes to an immediate decision, and demands that the men help him carry Oenomaus to safety. FUCK YEAH GANNICUS JOINING THE REBELLION.

Crixus and Gannicus lift Oenomaus to his feet while Agron clears the path to a nearby door. Sparty gives the flaming ruins of the arena one last satisfied glare before following them out. Gannicus’ rudus lies unnoticed in the sand by their feet.

The rebels downstairs hurry back to the sewer gate and throw themselves into the filthy waters. Mira sends Lugo on with the rest of them, meaning to wait behind for Spartacus. An armed guard approaches through the smoke and dust, but it’s not Spartacus — Sparty’s right behind him, and cuts the guard’s throat. Crixus and Gannicus haul Oenomaus off to the grotendous water, and wtf is this Sparty, seriously, why are you not kissing your hot girlfriend after you both almost died horribly?

I guess on the other hand it might be really hard to stop making out with Mira once you start, and they are in kind of a hurry right now. I shall reluctantly forgive Spartacus this terrible oversight.

*****

Outside, the streets of Capua are a mess of total fucking chaos. Magistrate Gallienus stumbles through the screaming crowd in his filthy bloodstained toga, trying and failing to calm things down. No one is even listening to you, dude. They are pooping their pants and crying.

Varinius and Ilithyia regroup with Seppius, Seppia, and Lucretia, and Varinius shouts at Seppius to gather his guards for a retaliatory attack. Seppius takes Seppia off to the safety of their villa just as Glaber arrives from the ruins of the arena, alone.

Ilithyia tearfully demands to know where her father is, and Glaber gives her the news with an unbelievably sincere look of sadness on his face — Albinius, he says, was killed by Spartacus. Ilithyia swoons in horror, and Glaber holds her tightly, promising that they will survive this “together…as husband and wife.”

And just like that, Ilithyia’s plans are shattered. There’s no one left to dissolve her marriage to Glaber and allow her to marry Varinius instead. Varinius also knows he’s been defeated, and, ever the politician, he leaves them behind with barely a shrug of regret. Ilithyia sobs miserably, and who knows if it’s at the loss of her father or the loss of all her hopes and dreams. OH MY PRECIOUS DARLING GIRL.

It’s horrible, but I’m kind of psyched for Glaber. IDEK OKAY.

*****

NEXT WEEK! I have no idea what’s happening next week, omg. I was too busy having a total flaily fit over this week. I AM EXCITE.

Please like & share:
  • Tommy

    Holy shit! That felt like a season finale! I thought they were just trying to smoke the crowd out, not bring the whole arena down! I continue to be amazed at how much they cram into each hour of Spartacus.

    • Liz

      RIGHT? I had to double check and make sure they weren’t preparing us for some horrible three week hiatus or something! And right at the halfway point I glanced at the clock and COULD NOT BELIEVE there was still 30 minutes to go!

      So many characters killed off in one episode gave me some epic LOST flashbacks, too.

      • Tommy

        Though, unlike Lost, Spartacus doesn’t string ideas out for ages and ages and AGES. This show gets shit done!

        • Liz

          Oh god, seriously. Lost was the most emotionally exhausting entertainment of my entire life, I couldn’t take that kind of thing ever again!

  • Sir John silvertaintus Magnus

    Holy Crap!! This show is sooo rad!! I didn’t expect them to pull the fucking arena down on the fans, all- Sugarland and shit. Fuuuuuck! Glaber pulls the pimp move at the end. Ooof! What an episode!!

    • Liz

      SERIOUSLY. I was thinking “ok, rescue mission, sounds good” and then suddenly everything is on fucking fire. Totally didn’t see that coming.

  • Laina

    This episode totally effing blew me away! I’m totally going to rip you off right now and say that it had EVERYTHING I could possibly want in one amazing hour. God I love this show…I can’t even pick out one moment that was the best. Each scene was even more epic than the last. I honestly can’t even think how they’re going to top this. Unbelievably awesomesauce. :o)

    • Liz

      I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen the rest of this season, not to mention season 3! SO EXCITED.

  • Athena

    Can we all agree that Seppius and Seppia are totally and utterly pointless? I mean next friday we have episode 6 which means we’re closer to the season finale and those two characters have yet to offer anything to the show. They get like…1-2 tops per episode.

    • Liz

      I was hoping they’d join in Glaber’s plotting against Varinius (Seppius to keep him away from Seppia and Seppia to keep him away from Ilithyia), but idk what’s going to happen now with Albinius out of the picture. Glaber seems like the kind of dude who won’t let the whole “this dude is consorting with my wife wtf” thing go, though, so maybe some HORRIBLEAWESOME revenge is in the works!

  • Steven S. DeKnight

    Dear Ridiculously Fantastic Liz,

    Steven S. DeKnight here, creator (and killer) of all things Spartacus. Just wanted to drop by and tell you how much I love your reviews. By far the most entertaining ones I read every week (and I read them all because I’m an unrepentant masochist). Thanks for helping make all the hard work worth it.

    – DeKnight

    • Liz

      Oh man. I got this comment notification while sitting in an extremely tedious staff meeting, and I absolutely made a very undignified noise of glee. THANK YOU SO MUCH: for reading, for enjoying, for commenting, but most of all, for giving us this show.

      And here is my more longwinded reply:

      When I first saw the previews and teasers for Season One, I was psyched in general; I assumed it would be an actiontastic sex and gorefest with attractive people doing terrible things to one another, and I was not disappointed. (Also, admittedly, Lucy Lawless was a huge draw for me. I’d watch her do late night infomercials for toenail fungus remover or useless kitchen gadgets and by god I would clamor for more.)

      But right away, I saw that it was so much more than that, and I was really pleasantly surprised. From the very first episode, I got all the sex and egregious violence I was expecting, but I was also immediately hooked by characters I loved, and ones I loved to hate, and a fantastic storyline that had a perfect mix of history and historical fiction.

      So yeah. I never expected to be so addicted to this show, or to be so wildly invested in pretty much every single character, or to have inadvertently learned so much random stuff about gladiator fighting styles and ancient roman architecture, but yet here we are. AND I LOVE IT.

      Again, thank YOU (and of course the rest of the cast and crew) for this entire series!

  • Star

    I love your recaps SO MUCH. ALL THE FEELINGS, I have them.

    I wanted to comment – but forgot due to RL things – on the recap with Varinius’ ah, loving touch to Ilythia. The actor was in an Australian soapie called “Neighbors,” playing a high school principle. I can’t help thinking, every time I see him, that the school board would NOT approve these sorts of parent/teacher meetings. No indeed!

    I hope this isn’t the last we see of Varinius, because I love him and his smarm so much. And Craig Parker is so awesome as Glaber, I can’t even. And Team Sparty, omg.

    This show is fantastic.

    • Liz

      OMG NEIGHBORS. Whenever I see an Australian/NZ actor who hasn’t been on Neighbors, I am extremely suspicious of their true origins. It is surely the law that everyone has to at least guest star ONCE.

      Thank you so much for reading!

      • Star

        “Neighbors” and “Home and Away.” Oh, and “McLeod’s Daughers.” And “Blue Heelers.” Okay, I’m done with the list of soaps. XD

        It cracks me up no end to see Principal Dan being Varinius. Varinius is definitely the better role, and he’s fantastic in it, but there are these fleeting moments – like the scene with Ilythia and talk of wetness, ahem – that make me think of his old role on “Neighbors” and then he ends up being Principle Varinius of Capua and Rome and that’s just a recipe for a crossover fanfic. XD

        • Liz

          HAHA. My dream crossover fic is totally Spartacus/True Blood. I wanna see Godric hanging out with Oenomaus and deciding to turn him so they can be kickass beffies.

  • mrmonkeybottoms

    I’m loving this season soooo much and this episode? Killed. It. I actually gasped out loud in fear when Crixus was about to get totes stabbed and Spartacus totes saves him.
    Plus the whole spearing of Cossutius! AND! AND! Then Glaber is like, “Bitch, please” and ruthlessly mashes Albinius’ face to goo and then sticks it to Ilithyia that she’s SO FUCKED too bad so sad.
    Seriously, her face as she realizes? Daaaaamn.

    • Liz

      INORITE? I was legit on the edge of my seat so many times it was not even funny.

  • Sunshine

    Holy fuck shit and beavers sauce! I’m catching up having been out the country off and on and I come back to this?! I was going insane and my reaction was totally the same as yours! Spartacus, I think you have just set the standard for manhood and I officially declare you an ancestor of Chuck Norris and Jim Bowie your total awesomeness and new guy, you totally do old Sparty’s memory much justice!

    • Liz

      This season has totally blown away all my expectations and then some! Now I’m like “wtf, how are they possibly going to top this next season? Dinosaurs with lasers?”