Spartacus: Vengeance – 2.09 – Monsters

PENULTIMATE EPISODE OF SEASON TWO! You guys. Action-packed doesn’t even begin to sum this up. “Pants-poopingly epic” is somewhat closer.

Donar’s innocently having a wee in the woods when BAM! he’s clocked on the head from behind. It’s dark-o-clock in the morning and everyone’s asleep at the temple, except for Nasir and Lugo, who are on watch atop the wall. Well, Nasir’s on watch, anyway. Lugo is mostly just huddling in his fur blankie and dozing off. Nasir pokes at him, trying to keep him awake, but Lugo’s really not feeling it. Leave him alone, little man! Lugo need nap!

bitty baby Lugo is sleepy!

Nasir sighs a tragically put-upon sigh, and kneels down next to Lugo, presumably to explain yet again what being a team player means, but instead, he’s yanked unceremoniously off the wall by unseen hands, with Lugo tumbling off next. In the next moment, three Roman soldiers leap up onto the wall and stealthily creep down into the temple’s courtyard. OH NOES!

They quietly move through the sleeping rebels to the temple proper, where Naevia is pouring herself a cup of water. As soon as she sees them, she gives a warning shout of “ROMANS!” and the rebels leap to defend their hideout: Mira with her bow, Naevia smashing heads with her water jug, and Saxa waving a lit torch menacingly. As the fight escalates, the lead soldier yanks off his helmet and yells to stop the fighting—it’s Spartacus in disguise, accompanied by Gannicus and Crixus. Naevia looks somewhat betrayed and a little chagrined for having smashed a pot over her sweetie’s head.

Obviously it was just a test of their defenses, because Spartacus is kind of a tightass about this sort of thing. He sniffily berates the rebels, telling them that their defenses are lame and if this had been a real attack, they’d all be dead. Oenomaus seems to share this grim assessment, telling Sparty that they won’t be taken by surprise ever again. SO THERE!

As if this rude awakening wasn’t bad enough, Sparty now wants everyone to have some breakfast and begin the day’s training early. This is like the equivalent of being awakened by your rowdy pet knocking over something huge in the living room at 5am on a winter’s morning, and by the time you clean it all up, your bed is no longer the snuggly warm haven it was just moments ago and besides, now you have to walk the damn dog. Puppies! Their adorableness serves only to hide their fiendish ways!

Oh hay tangent how you doin’.

*****

Seppia’s kneeling beside one of the impluvia, absent-mindedly trailing her hand through the water, lost in thought. She’s definitely having some serious existential darkness over the whole “I’m shagging the dude who killed my beloved brother” thing she’s got going on. Glaber, having noticed her gone from their bed, comes out to find her and see what’s amiss. Seppia tells him she’s just got a lot on her mind, what with her brother having been murdered and all. Again, Glaber tries to play it off like they’ve both been badly wronged by Spartacus, so obviously they should take naked comfort in one another.

Seppia is pretty new to the Game of Intrigues, and doesn’t dissemble nearly as well as Lucretia or Ilithyia. She tells Glaber that she feels they may be moving too fast, and that she regrets not having given him sufficient time to mourn the presumed loss of his wife and child. Glaber doesn’t care in the least about Ilithyia or the baby, though—he only wants to get his young hottie back into his bed. Despite her shivers of fear and discomfort, Seppia allows him to pull her into an embrace.

Just as Glaber slips Seppia’s nightdress off her shoulder, the villa’s front door crashes open, and Ilithyia—filthy, disheveled, bruised Ilithyia—staggers into the atrium, passing out facedown in another impluvium.

*****

Ilithyia hazily regains consciousness a few times, catching glimpses of the concerned faces of her slaves and her husband. She finally comes to, and Glaber sits by her side, taking her hand and dismissing the servants. Ilithyia is heartbreakingly glad to see him, clinging to his hand tearfully and gazing at him with great big moony eyes. This, frankly, seems wholly wasted upon Glaber, who is clearly made of stone and jerkitude and hotassery.

Ilithyia quietly tells him that the child inside her was all that gave her hope at her most desperate moments, which, while absolutely true, certainly doesn’t mean what Glaber thinks it means. Either way, he’s far more concerned with getting the details of her escape and of the rebel hideout from Ilithyia.

She tells him that Spartacus let her go because her death “would mean nothing,” and Glaber doesn’t even look remotely guilty. Grr. Instead of petting her glorious golden head and cuddling her to his firm manbosom, he grills her relentlessly for details—how did Gannicus carry her to the hideout? How long did it take? What did it look like?

Ilithyia gives him all the details she can recall: the half day spent on horseback, the long trek through the woods, the cold stone basement in which she was imprisoned, the possibly Greek writing etched onto the walls—until she finally loses her temper a bit at his shitty bedside manner. To make matters worse, she suddenly realizes that she’s in a guest chamber, and not their marital bedroom. Right away, Ilithyia knows what this means—Seppia has taken her place in Glaber’s bed, and furthermore, Spartacus was correct in surmising that Ilithyia’s death would have meant nothing to Glaber. He truly no longer loves her.

OH MY PRECIOUS DARLING GIRL.

The look of anguish on her face is fucking heartbreaking, even though she surely had more than an inkling of this before she was taken. Glaber’s also rather surprised that Ilithyia didn’t see this coming, after the way she schemed with her late father to betray her husband in favour of another man. With tears in her eyes, Ilithyia asks him if there’s truly “nothing left between us,” in a sad reflection of his exact same question to her just a few weeks ago, when she announced her intent to leave him for Varinius. Glaber smiles grimly at the irony of it all.

Ilithyia’s pretty sure that she’s suffered enough, thanks, and would really just like things to go back to the way they were before all this mishegoss went down. Glaber, however, doesn’t see any chance of that happening any time soon—he tells her the man she once loved no longer exists, for he has become a monster! A MONSTERRRR!

I am so sad that Glaber doesn’t rip open his shirt and say THIS IS THE SKIN OF A KILLER right now, not even gonna lie.

Instead, Glaber stalks off dramatically in his sassy boots, leaving Ilithyia sitting alone on the bed, looking just as lost and alone as she did in the forest.

*****

Back at Vesuvius, the day’s training is not going very well. Everyone’s in a crappy mood today, presumably due to having been awakened at ass o’clock by a fake raid. Instead of paying attention to their training, they’re all just standing around arguing with one another.

Spartacus shouts them down by saying that they’ll stand no chance defending their hideout from the Romans if they can’t stop fighting among themselves like little bratty babies. The heart of the issue, of course, is that the Germanic tribesmen are still cliquish outsiders among the rebels, and are still impatient with the lack of fighting skills among the former house slaves. It probably doesn’t help that Agron shares this opinion, and isn’t shy about sharing it.

Lugo makes a dismissive comment about Nasir’s size and skill as a fighter, and Agron has to leap to keep them from going for each other’s throats. He’s more than willing to throw down with Lugo once Spartacus mentions that Lugo was sleeping on watch, though. And then Crixus, who naturally can’t resist a chance to snark at Agron himself, snarks that Agron should pay less attention to his boyfriend and more to his own problems. SIGH.

It’s all Spartacus can do not to put each and every one of them over his knee for a good spanking—and not the sexy funtimes kind of spanking, either. These guys need some apple juice and graham crackers before being sent off for naps, because otherwise they are just going to be giant whiny babies for the rest of the afternoon.

Sparty reminds them that they will get their asses kicked from here to Sicilia and back if the Romans show up and find them fighting among themselves all the time, but it’s apparently the part of Festivus where everyone decides to air their grievances all at once. Lugo wants a sword! Why does little man have sword and Lugo only have stick? Nemetus thinks sticks are stupid too! No one cares that there aren’t enough swords for everyone, they just want to whine, and when Mira reminds them that they have the means to make more bows and arrows, she’s met with even more derision. Saxa grumps about the “bitch and her fucking bow,” and Nemetes agrees—tribesmen fight with steel, goddammit!

Seriously, dude, what do you want Sparty to do? Pull a bunch of swords from the highly skilled foundry operating out of his ass? PERSPECTIVE, MOTHERFUCKER! DO YOU HAVE IT?

Further grievances come to light next—everyone’s upset that Spartacus let Ilithyia go free without having received the promised weapons from Glaber. Spartacus tells them that Ilithyia’s death wouldn’t have benefited them in any demonstrable way, and only brought them down to Glaber’s level. No one comes right out and tells him where he can stick his lofty ideals, but it’s fairly apparent that more than a few of them are thinking it.

Sparty tells Oenomaus and Gannicus to arrange everyone in positions to fight off a mock attack, in the hopes that they’ll suck less than they did that morning. Gannicus is eager to get started, but Oenomaus rebuffs him coldly, saying he needs no assistance, and immediately gets down to work, ignoring the hurt look on Gannicus’s face. Both Crixus and Agron seem pessimistic about the plan, and Agron muses aloud that maybe meting out some form of punishment to the poorly performing rebels might work. Spartacus gives him a serious stinkeye—this is no way to win people over! No, he has something better in mind. He sends Agron off with Fulco and Harudes to undertake his mysterious plan.

*****

Mira’s downstairs in Lucius’s chambers, lost in unhappy thought while gathering up his large supply of spare bows and arrows. Spartacus stops a moment to commiserate with her about the loss of Lucius, but that’s not really the main thing her mind right now. Sure, she misses Lucius, but she’s more hurt right now by Sparty’s rejection. Mira, being as plainspoken as she is, confronts him directly about his coldness towards her—he won’t sleep with her anymore, and the only time he talks to her is to give orders, and she’s hurting badly. Spartacus looks as pained as any dudebro does when confronted with relationship talks, but he’s game for it nevertheless—he tells her she’s the one who turned against him when she tried to kill Ilithyia against his orders.

Mira, sweetie, let me tell you a thing or two about getting romantically involved with distant, damaged, angry men—IT NEVER WORKS OUT. Yeah, the sex is fucking awesome, but you end up writhing in despair over the fact that he’s just not going to be able to give you as much as you give him! ARGH.

Spartacus basically says as much to Mira. He loves her as much as he’s able, but he doesn’t have very much love to give anymore. You can tell that he kind of doesn’t understand how she can even love him in the first place, much less love him as deeply as she does. *sobs*

SO BASICALLY they break up and it is really fucking sad and I hate it forever.

Mira, with her endless font of former-slave pragmatism, pulls herself together with one last grit of her teeth, and tells him they need to get back to work with training the rebels. She leaves Spartacus alone in Lucius’ chambers and as far as I am concerned, he has himself a good cry.

*****

Ilithyia is standing on the balcony, looking out over Capua and the valley below, reliving the moment where Spartacus told her of her husband’s total absence of love for her. As a sudden ray of light breaks through the overcast sky, Lucretia, somehow not having known of her return, is utterly shocked to spot her out on the balcony.

HUGZ TIME

Lucretia all but runs into Ilithyia’s arms, giving her the loving, delighted welcome home hug that Ilithyia was denied by her cruel mean bully of a husband. Lucretia’s pretty much weeping with gladness and relief, tearfully telling Ilithyia that she has neither eaten nor slept since her disappearance, too busy with fear and prayer for her safety.

Ilithyia just lights up like the sun, alive once again from the warmth of Lucretia’s very genuine affection and love. And it seems that her trauma has opened her up like never before, because Ilithyia has some very important facts to share with Lucretia: namely, that her baby isn’t Glaber’s, but Sparty’s.

Oh, Lucretia’s face! She looks like someone slapped her with a trout! When Ilithyia explains that it happened the night that Lucretia arranged for her to sex up a gladiator, Lucretia looks ready to beg her forgiveness. Instead, Ilithyia heads off Luce’s apology with one of her own—she admits it was her own fault for manipulating Lucretia so badly that she was forced to seek revenge in such a way. She further admits that she’s grown to love her child, and that this love and her love for Lucretia, a woman who she once hated with a terrible passion, are all that sustains her anymore. AWWWW.

The epic hugfest I assume would otherwise have happened is interrupted by the arrival of Seppia, who looks mortified to be seen by the lady of the house. Seppia stammers an uncomfortable apology and scampers off. Ilithyia can’t even muster up an angry glare for her husband’s mistress, and instead muses bitterly that Seppia will one day realize what a shit Glaber is. Lucretia helpfully explains that Seppia is already very aware of this fact, thanks to Lucretia’s clever revelations of the truth about Seppius’s murder on Glaber’s orders and at Ashur’s hands. Lucretia even forgoes explaining how she came about this knowledge, saying only that it was under the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Ilithyia is shocked that Seppia would stay with a man who she knows is a monster, but let’s be real here—she’s only staying because it would be suspicious for her to leave immediately, and because surely Lucretia has convinced her to stay for cunning vengeance purposes. Ilithyia agrees that they should keep Seppia close and make sure she stays angry and eager for revenge.

I am, quite frankly, wildly excited to see Ilithyia and Lucretia back in fiendish action together. SO EXCITED.

*****

Ashur and Glaber are in the tablinum, working out their next moves against Spartacus. Over a large map of the region, they’re plotting out the various places where Spartacus has attacked, and trying to triangulate the location of the rebel hideout. (Every time I type “rebel hideout” I picture Hoth and/or Endor, because I am an enormous dorkface.) When Glaber mentions the Greek writing on the walls of the chamber where Ilithyia was held, Ashur looks very thoughtful indeed.

The Egyptian thug returns with a grimy sack and some important news. In the sack, grotendously, is Lucius’s severed head, which the Egyptian has taken around town, seeking knowledge of Lucius’s prior whereabouts. They’ve found out his full name—Lucius Caelius—and that he lived in the shadows of Vesuvius. Glaber protests that this isn’t nearly enough information, but Ashur’s not finished: he knows of an old, abandoned temple in that very region, one built by Greeks. Glaber gets an unholy gleam in his eye. This is the moment he’s been waiting for! He practically makes grabby hands at the thought of attacking Spartacus.

Ashur cautions that there is a high wall surrounding the temple proper, but this doesn’t deter Glaber. He’s going to bring firey hell down upon the rebels, by Jupiter’s cock! He’s so excited, he even invites Ashur to be by his side when the attack goes down. Ashur thanks him smarmily, but being Ashur, he wants a little something more. Glaber cuts off his flowery compliments and self-deprecating blather and tells him to get to the goddamn point, and just maybe he’ll get his way. Ashur girds his evil loins and—

Oh look, cliffhanger.

*****

Back at the temple, the rebels are training impatiently. Saxa takes a FIFA-worthy dive to the ground and ends up with a mouthful of sand, and all because Nemetes can’t seem to wait for a command to attack. Oh Nemetes. Gannicus, seated atop the wall, shouts warning of a wagon’s approach, and there’s a moment of panic before they realize that Agron is among the men leading the wagon.

Crixus, being Crixus, assumes the worst, ranting about how Agron’s taken another wagon against Sparty’s explicit commands, but Sparty corrects him immediately—Agron was acting under his orders, to “secure something we desperately need.”

Weapons? Food? Warm clothing for winter?… Cake?

Nope. It’s WINE.

*****

Everybody in the temple gettin’ tipsy! There’s toasting and laughing and an excess of hugging all around, and for the first time since the tribesmen’s arrival, the entire group seems pleased with themselves and one another. Gannicus and Crixus hold themselves apart from the celebration to suss out Sparty’s intent—Gannicus says he barely recognizes this relaxed, cup-lifting Spartacus, but Crixus knows Sparty well enough to see that despite outward appearances, Sparty has something on his mind.

And Crixus is absolutely right. Spartacus riles up the rebels with a cheer for freedom and drunken togetherness, and just when they’re feeling giddy and fine, he drops the plan—everyone who’s been feeling bitchy toward one another will now have a chance to fight it out in the name of drunken funtimes, to see if team spirit can overcome their bratty behavior.

Sparty selects Donar and Nemetes to begin the sparring, pairing them together against Lugo and Nasir. Lugo laughingly tells Nasir that they’ll win “if you stay out of way, little man!” Well. Nasir’s not going to stand for that kind of bullshit, I tell you what. He slaps away Lugo’s matey arm clasping and, with a roar of delight, launches himself through the air like a goddamn ninja on FIRE, smashing Nemetes to the ground triumphantly. Not about to be out-awesomed, Lugo follows with a mighty leap of his own onto Donar, while the watching rebels shriek gleefully.

*****

Ashur is sitting in his cell monologuing to a bored-looking Lucretia all about his accomplishments and his plans for freedom. Lucretia doesn’t think much of his plan, and meets his revelations that Glaber is willing to manumit Ashur once Spartacus is captured with frank disbelief. Far worse revelations follow: Ashur has also apparently received Glaber’s promise of not only Lucretia’s hand in marriage, but the ownership of the ludus itself. Lucretia looks like she’s about to projectile vomit all over the damn place, and who can fucking blame her? Forced to marry her rapist and give him the business owned by her late-husband’s family for generations? HELL TO THE NO.

Ashur, as usual, brushes aside her protests and disdain, calling her “my love” and promising that together, they will effect the glorious rise of the “House of Ashur.” Ashur, you are a goddamn fool if you truly think she won’t gut you or die trying on your so-called wedding night. Come the fuck on.

He pulls her against him for another one of his grotendous faux-romantic interludes, and fortunately the camera pans away so we don’t have to see him rape her again.

*****

Glaber’s readying his men for the attack on the temple, and sends Salvius off to meet their reinforcements on the road from Neapolis. He’s practically prancing in the courtyard like an excited puppy, eager to get on the move and kick some rebel ass, so imagine his enormous surprise and rage when a voice from above stops him in his tracks.

It’s Varinius, standing on the villa’s balcony—and he doesn’t look happy.

Varinius has been sent from Rome with word from the Senate—they want Glaber to stop his pursuit of Spartacus and return immediately to Rome. Glaber refuses angrily, telling Varinius that the Senate has no power to make demands like this. Varinius agrees that the Senate doesn’t actually have the power to force Glaber to accede to their wishes, but they can make the rest of his life very difficult. Glaber will certainly never rise to an office higher than Praetor if he goes against the Senate’s request.

Glaber doesn’t give a crap about this very logical explanation, as he is naturally more concerned with scoring points against the man who conspired to steal his wife. Varinius rises handily to the bait, and accuses Glaber of concealing the news that Spartacus kidnapped Ilithyia. As predicted, Varinius thinks Glaber is a pathetic loser for allowing his wife to be taken by a mere slave, and the men look ready for wild fisticuffs right then and there.

Ilithyia’s arrival shuts Varinius up immediately. She sweetly waves away his concerns that she’d been kidnapped, telling him that she’s only been bedridden lately with morning sickness. Ilithyia’s performance is almost perfect, except for the large bruise on her cheek. She explains that away handily as well, blaming a slip in the bathtub. Ilithyia gives Varinius one last rueful smile before leaving the men to glare at each other grumpily.

Varinius, clearly feeling a bit foolish, tells Glaber to get his sorry ass back to Rome and stop being such a little bitch. The men are sniping back and forth at one another rather enthusiastically when Glaber makes a fairly stupid miscalculation—in the heat of their argument, he reveals to Varinius that Sparty and the rebels are based at Vesuvius. Glaber tries to make the information seem less important, but Varinius didn’t get to be Praetor just on his good looks alone. He informs Glaber that he and his more worthy army will take over the attack on Vesuvius, and that Glaber will just have to go home like a good little boy.

Yeah, like that will ever happen. Glaber gives Varinius the death glare to end all death glares, and flatly refuses to back down. Varinius tosses his curls and stalks away.

On his way out, Seppia pounces on Varinius excitedly. Apparently she’s the one who sent word to him in Rome, giving news of Ilithyia’s kidnapping and of Glaber’s part in Seppius’s death. Varinius, already well and truly pissed off from his confrontation with Glaber, is viciously cold to Seppia, accusing her of lying to him about Ilithyia’s abduction, and insinuating that her story of Seppius’s death is similarly false. Oh man, Seppia’s little miserably betrayed face is awful to see. Varinius was probably her last hope for getting herself out of this shitty situation, and now he’s staring at her with the most epic contempt she’s ever beheld in her entire spoiled little life.

She defends her story by explaining the discovery of Seppius’s bloodstained bracelet among Ashur’s belongings, but this only serves to enrage Varinius more. He can’t believe this is the entirety of her so-called evidence, telling her that it’s just not enough to bring an accusation against a fellow Praetor of Rome, and that while he hates Glaber possibly as much as Seppia herself does, there’s no way he can help her with this. And that, it would seem, is that. He leaves her standing alone in the atrium in tears.

This episode is just chock-full of people conspiring and making shocking revelations right out in the open, in the middle of the villa where anyone could hear them! WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE TODAY. Stop shouting about murder and betrayal so I can stop shouting at the teevee, ffs!

*****

The rebels are still brawling happily, with Mira and Saxa against another woman and a hapless, beleaguered man. Nasir is sitting on steps, poking at his bloody lip, and suffering through Agron’s inevitable mother hen-ing with a smile. Lugo approaches them to drunkenly bro-hug Nasir for being such a crazy asskicker, and that’s one pair of grumpy babies sorted out.

Meanwhile, having defeated the unnamed female opponent, Saxa joins Mira in fighting against their male opponent, and between the two of them, they get the poor dude flailing face down in the sand, shamefacedly defeated. I KNEW THESE GIRLS WOULD BE AWESOME TOGETHER. Yays!

The rest of the rebels are as thrilled as I am to see the girls win, and there’s a ton of cheering and toasting and giddy revelry. Saxa, meanwhile, celebrates their victory by grabbing the totally startled Mira and giving her one hell of a kiss. Yays again!

Oenomaus pulls Spartacus aside to congratulate him on the success of his plan, not realizing that he’s speaking too soon—there’s one last fight that needs to take place, and Spartacus steps up to announce the participants.

He calls Agron and Crixus forward, and they roll their eyes at one another a bit and sigh with terribly put-upon resignation. As they move down into the center of the crowd to get into position, Sparty corrects their immediate assumption that they’re meant to fight against one another: he actually means for them to fight together. Their opponents? Oenomaus and Gannicus, of course.

Gannicus, a wine jug in one hand and a snuggling girl in the other (AS USUAL), is startled but very game. Oenomaus, on the other hand, looks like he has some serious reservations. He can’t very well refuse now, though, having just told Sparty what a great idea it was in the first place, and he smiles a tiny smile of acceptance, joining Gannicus on the sand.

This is basically the awesomest brawl ever to awesome—three former champions of Capua plus a giddy drunken Germanic tribesman who has probably been brawling since the day he was born, and they’re all fratboy drunk. (Well. Everyone but Oenomaus, I think?)

(Also, from the way they leap at one another like giddy puppies, I get the sense that the guys have definitely spent some quality time play-fighting on set, because there is no hiding how much fun they are absolutely having in this scene. I am so psyched for the DVD outtakes of this season, omg omg.)

Crixus pounces on Gannicus immediately, and I am once again struck by how goddamn fast Manu Bennett can move for a guy his size. Do pardon me whilst I shiver with lust.

Ahem. Oenomaus springs on Agron and flings him over his shoulder onto the sand without even breaking a sweat, which Nasir apparently finds hilarious. So adorable!

Meanwhile, Naevia’s cheering wildly for Crixus, with all evidence of her former misery gone, hopefully for good. Mira notices this as well, and remarks on it happily, telling Naevia how thrilling it is to see her like this. Naevia’s certain that she only arrived at this newfound happiness due to Crixus’s love and patience, but when she compares her loving relationship with Crixus to Mira’s supposed similar one with Spartacus, Mira just smiles a brave little toaster smile and says that it’s over. Naevia’s at a complete loss for words, but doesn’t push the matter when Mira turns away.

Gannicus sends Crixus flying onto his ass with a mighty haymaker, and takes advantage of Crixus’s disorientation to grab a nearby jug of wine and drink deeply. Have I mentioned how much I adore his ridiculous self? SO MUCH. Next to them, try as he might, Agron can barely lay a single blow on Oenomaus. He ends up in a laughing heap on the sand, with Oenomaus grinning above him. As Oenomaus glances over to see how Crixus and Gannicus are faring, he and Gannicus exchange a brief look of agreement, and then (OH MY HEART) work together to defeat Crixus. The happy smiles on both their faces is almost enough to make up for the lack of bro-hugging.

Even better is the sight of Crixus getting all up in Agron’s grill: not to tell him off for losing, as you might expect, but to arrogantly inform him that he fought well, “for a simple fuck from the east of the Rhine.” Agron finds this admission delightful, telling Crixus that he also fought well, “for a shit-eating Gaul.” This is basically gladiator-speak for “we are now BFFs!”

I can't even begin to describe all the things I love about this picture, omg

Spartacus looks around at the companionable groups of formerly antagonistic rebels, and smiles a satisfied little smile to himself. Behind him, and unnoticed by him, Mira watches him with her same sad little smile.

*****

That evening, Seppia’s sitting in her room, staring at herself in a hand mirror and sniveling a bit to Lucretia. Seppia protests that she sent word to Varinius as Lucretia requested, but no part of their plan worked out as intended. She’s feeling small and worthless and rejected, and very lost and alone. Lucretia comforts her gently, telling her that she’s not a little girl anymore, but a woman in control of her fate, but this just sends Seppia into wild sobs. She clings to Lucretia helplessly, and is absolutely shocked when Lucretia’s method of comforting her turns out to be a sharp knife placed into her trembly little hand. Yep, Lucretia’s going to send her on a mission to stab the crap out of Glaber while in bed with him. Oh god, there are so many ways this can go horribly awry.

Seppia’s scared to death, but is angry enough over Glaber’s betrayal and murder of Seppius to agree to the awful plan. She takes the knife in hand, and tests the edge against her finger; it’s razor sharp.

*****

Ilithyia and Lucretia stride dramatically through the villa on separate paths, to meet in the center at the edge of the largest of the impluvia. Ilithyia asks if Seppia has agreed to participate in their plan, and Lucretia confirms it, inquiring one last time if Ilithyia is sure this is what she wants. Ilithyia has never looked surer of anything in her life. She wants blood and death, and her life returned to her.

OMG.

*****

Glaber is impatiently preparing for a bath, slapping at the fumbling hands of his slaves as they try to get him nakey. Seppia joins him outside the bath, asking if it’s true that he’ll be forced to return to Rome the following day. Glaber confirms her suspicions, grouching about having his choice taken away by the hated Varinius. Seppia waves away the servants and undresses Glaber herself, and her stiff, angry gestures startle him out of his sulkings a bit.

They have a bit of back and forth about justice and vengeance and whatnot but man, who even knows what’s being said because OH HAY full frontal Glaber in tha house!

Glaber seems a bit confused by Seppia’s anger, but likely rationalizes it as having been caused by her fears of being abandoned by him due to Ilithyia’s return. When she says she doesn’t trust Varinius to bring to justice the man who killed her brother, he seems a bit befuddled but nevertheless assumes she means Spartacus. He tells her he doesn’t trust Varinius either, and gives her his old familiar line about seeking comfort together, while he slips up behind her to pull her into his arms.

Instead, to his complete and glorious shock, she whirls around and smashes a nearby wine jug in his face, knocking him flat onto his perky and magnificent ass. For one awful moment, I thought he was going to smash his head open on the side of the tub, but instead he sort of flails around on the floor with a ridiculously bewildered look on his face.

HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW

Seppia lunges at him, screaming about how she’s going to kill Glaber just as Glaber killed her brother, and pulls a concealed knife out from under her dress. She is about 1.3 seconds away from plunging it into his chest when OH MY GOD YOU GUYS Ilithyia comes lunging out of nowhere, grabs Seppia’s hand, and stabs Seppia with her own knife right in the chest.

Oh yeah, and then she cuts Seppia’s throat for good measure. Seppia’s blood spurts fucking everywhere, and her body falls limply into the bathtub. Glaber’s still lying naked and confused on the floor throughout this entire scene, and only manages to get up once Seppia’s floating dead in the pool. The look on his face is, quite frankly, hilarious. He just cannot figure out why his day keeps getting worse and worse!

His main source of confusion is Ilithyia’s presence. Why would she save his life after he so cruelly cast her aside? Ilithyia’s answer is simple: he’s still her husband, goddammit. Glaber (somewhat foolishly, I think, since she’s still holding the knife and has proven she knows how to use it) tells her that they can “never be what they were,” but Ilithyia’s got an answer for that too.

Ilithyia thinks that they’re pretty much even at this point. They’ve both done shitty things to each other, yes, but can’t they join together and concentrate on getting revenge against those who have wronged them? Seppia is only the first step, with the Senate and Varinius to follow. Glaber’s startled to hear Ilithyia say she’s willing to move against Varinius, but it’s really her next words that seal the deal and give him a boner simultaneously:

“We are both monsters, Gaius. Let us be so together, and seize the fucking heavens.”

Covered head to toe in the blood of his dead mistress, they make out wildly against the wall. Glaber pulls away to giddily outline his plans to march on Vesuvius and destroy the rebels, and Ilithyia lets him have his moment of glory before demanding what is so rightfully hers: a good, sound shagging.

Somewhere across space and time and fandoms, I can sense Eric Northman’s deep approval of this scene.

*****

A similar but unbloodied scene is occurring back at the temple, where Crixus and Naevia are also making out wildly against the wall. Crixus stops himself suddenly, apologizing to Naevia for getting lost in the moment. Oh Crixus, sweetie, you have nothing to apologize for as far as Naevia’s concerned. She wants you as badly as you want her, and she isn’t going to let past hurts and traumas get in the way of giving you all the hot loving you can stand. YAYS!

*****

Upstairs, the revelry is still going strong, and although many rebels are scattered about in drunken heaps on the ground there are plenty more staggering around singing bawdy songs. Spartacus, far more sober than anyone else, is standing watch on top of the wall. Gannicus, ever-present wine jug still in hand, hauls his fine drunken ass up to join Sparty, telling him that while he’s still sure they’re all going to die, it will totally be glorious and rad.

Gannicus sobers up super fast when he and Spartacus see the mountainside sentry waving a torch—it’s the signal that men are approaching on the road. GLABER!

*****

A company of soldiers is moving quietly through the forest. The commander silently calls them to a halt, having heard a small noise in the distance. That small noise, unfortunately for the soldiers, is Mira and her bow, accompanied by a half dozen other rebels with bows. While the soldiers are fully distracted by the arrows they’ve got suddenly sticking out of their limbs, the swordsmen attack. Once again, Ashur’s wise words are proven true: soldiers of Rome are seriously no match for well-trained champion gladiators in hand-to-hand combat.

As the next wave of soldiers appears, Crixus shouts to the bowmen to fall back to the temple. The 4 swordsmen stay behind to cover their retreat, and Donar’s buddy Fulco is killed by an unlucky sword slash to the throat. He’s the only non-Roman casualty so far.

A soldier, fresh from battle, runs back to bring Glaber the news that the rebels are retreating. Before anyone can react, Sparty and Gannicus dive onto the half dozen men and immediately start fucking their whole world up, pinning the Praetor under his fallen horse and killing the second horseman.

(Let me just pause a moment to say that the wiki article on Roman military tactics is ridiculously exhaustive, so don’t start reading it unless you have about 14 hours to spare. Fucking wikipedia, you life ruiner. Would you like to know about the history of stirrup usage by cavalry? How about Iron Age sword manufacturing? Maybe you’d like to know more about the deployment of infantry throughout the ages? No?)

Having reached the temple, the soldiers fall into a modified testudo formation, using their scuta to create a staircase on which the rest of the company can ascend to leap over the wall. As they burst into the temple courtyard, the rebels are ready and waiting. Crixus, Agron, and Donar charge out to defend the temple, with a dozen or so bowmen covering their backs. Mira and a handful of other bowmen are on the roof, picking off the invaders one by one.

RAAAAAAAHHHH

Back outside in the forest, Gannicus and Sparty are slicing their way through Glaber’s personal guards. Glaber finally gets out from under his horse, and tries to remount and flee, but Spartacus drags him away from the horse, tossing him back onto his ass.

OH SHIT. It’s not even Glaber, it’s Varinius, y’all. In hindsight, this should have been totally obvious to me, but what can I say? This show just makes me stupid with excitement. Stupid and flaily and helpless in the thrall of its sinister attraction.

Spartacus is also pretty startled to see Varinius, and clocks him in the jaw out of sheer frustration.

Back at the temple! Roman asses are being kicked left and right, because Our Heroes are goddamn badasses. As Saxa hurtles through the melee, hacking men to bits with her pair of daggers, Spartacus and Gannicus enter the courtyard, with Varinius as their prisoner. Varinius shouts to the remaining soldiers—a dozen at most—to lay down their weapons and surrender. The rebels strip the soldiers, both living and dead, of their weapons, and hand them out amongst themselves with much rejoicing.

Crixus spots Varinius and gallops over to exact a bloody revenge for the deaths of Acer and Rhaskos, but Spartacus holds him back—there’ll be plenty of time for vengeance after Varinius answers some questions about the rest of the soldiers, Glaber in particular.

No answer is needed, because in the next moment, it becomes very clear where Glaber and the rest of the soldiers are: they’re outside in the forest, armed with siege weapons that are hurling flaming missiles into the courtyard. (I’m going to need to watch this episode a few more times in order to determine if these are onagers or ballistae, or, god forbid, appallingly anachronistic trebuchets, so for now let’s just call them catapults. Yes, I am a huge fucking nerd for siege engines. Don’t judge.)

The rebel hideout is now in total chaos, with half the place on fire. Crixus struggles with Varinius as he tries to escape, but ends up abandoning his plans for stabby revenge when he instead shoves Varinius into the path of an oncoming fireball. OMG Varinius your poor pretty face! Ok bie.

Outside, Glaber’s got at least a centuria with him, if not two, and they’re well-prepared for an all-out battle. From the look on his face, he’s just as turned on by this fight as he was by Ilithyia’s savage determination to destroy their mutual enemies. It’s pretty hot, admittedly.

Inside, the rebels flee for cover, but Spartacus is just a second too late—he’s knocked on his butt when some incoming artillery takes out the front of the temple’s surrounding wall. When the wall is more thoroughly breached, Ashur and his band of thugs lead the charge into the temple’s courtyard, followed by the soldiers.

The rebels fight them off like superstars, but they’re not going to be able to hold out for long. For every enemy they kill off, another two step up to take his place. Sparty calls for a retreat into the escape tunnel downstairs. Naevia doesn’t want to leave without Crixus, though, and goes only reluctantly when he yells that he’ll follow right away.

I will flip my shit if these two end up somehow separated or hurt or in any way not feeling awesome, goddammit.

*****

Gannicus is fighting Ashur, and while I’d love to see him fall under Gannicus’ sword, I’d really rather him die at Lucretia’s hand. So DON’T DIE YET, dude! Nearby, Oenomaus is up against the giant Egyptian, and it actually looks like he may have met his match with this awful dude. The Egyptian slashes savagely at Oenomaus’ face, and Oenomaus just barely manages to block the blow, instead taking the dagger right through the palm of his left hand. AND THEN! Oh god, Egyptian, you bastard! The Egyptian (dammit, I wish he had a name) thrusts the dagger forward and, catching Oenomaus right in the goddamn eye, twists the blade horribly. OHNOES MY PRECIOUS DARLING.

Gannicus hurries to the rescue, shoving Ashur out of the way and literally flinging the Egyptian across the courtyard in his haste to help his beloved beffie. He carries Oenomaus away to the escape tunnel, just as Glaber arrogantly struts into the courtyard. Glaber doesn’t have so much as a salad fork in his hand as a weapon. You’d think he’d want a sword in either hand to hack away at Spartacus whenever he got the chance. Huh.

Sparty, Crixus, and Agron make their final retreat into the basement, tossing a few amphorae of pitch to cut off the soldiers with a wall of fire. Glaber and Spartacus eyefuck passionately through the flames for a moment or two before storming off in opposite directions.

Downstairs, the rebels are shoving one another urgently though the tunnel, desperate to escape. The tunnel lets them out a short way into the forest, where their relief lasts a whole 30 seconds before the rest of the soldiers mount an attack. The rebels are forced to flee along the narrow path up the side of Vesuvius, despite knowing that they’ll likely be trapped up there. For a second, Sparty stares furiously at the oncoming soldiers like he’s about to ragequit the whole rebellion and just throw himself into a desperate suicide attack, but he retreats with the rest of the rebels.

*****

Glaber receives reports from Ashur and Salvius: the rebels are holding the high ground, and thus far all attempts made by the soldiers to pursue have been met with resounding defeat and the loss of many men. Glaber seems like he has transcended all his rage into some kind of stabby nirvana, resolving to simply starve the rebels out of hiding. Once they descend from the mountain, he’ll be waiting to kill them all.

This is the perfect moment for an evil supervillain laugh, Glaber. Why must you disappoint me so?

*****

OH GOD SEASON FINALE NEXT WEEK. I am going to get so drunk, you guys. Messy, sobbing drunk. Hell, I might even drunkenly liveblog it on tumblr.

Please like & share:
  • Marie

    This is an awesome and hilarious post. I had so much fun reading it. Very well written. BTW, this episode truly rocked.

    • Liz

      Thank you so much for reading! I feel almost silly for last week, having said “How will they ever top this?”

  • mrmonkeybottoms

    “RAHHHHHHHHH” hahahahaha!

    Dude, how awesomely awesomecakes was that awesome stabbing/throat slashing scene? So awesome.

    • Liz

      I love how their first thought was WE SHALL NOW BONE WHILST COVERED IN THE BLOOD OF YOUR DEAD GIRLFRIEND. Romance! It is a beautiful thing.

  • Star

    OMG. SO MANY FEELINGS. I HAVE THEM ALL! ILITHYIA! NAKED GLABER! VARINIUS! ROMAN VERSUS SLAVE FIGHT CLUB!

    Next week is going to kill me. Kill me dead, I say!

    • Liz

      NGL I shrieked with ridiculously prurient glee at Glaber’s peen, and clutched my metaphorical pearls.

      • Star

        After peering at screencaps with a magnifying glass, I’m pretty sure that Glaber’s friendly fire was both ballistae – there’s a second of scene with soldiers carrying the box thingy with amphorae of pitch and naptha, like arming ballistae, and the structure of the body of the onagers is too similar to onagers rather than medieval trebuchet or mangonels. /history geek.

        • Liz

          Yeah, it looks very ballista-ish to me too! Definitely not counterweight trebuchets, at least.

  • Vampa

    This was AN ABSOLUTELY EPIC EPISODE and Hilarious Recap!!!!

    The only thing that pissed me off was that annoying/huge/Mysterious Egyptian arsehole who injured our beloved/honourable Oenomaus. I hope next time Gannicas slices that dude’s sorry arse sideways!!!! ARGGHHH, so angry right now!!!!

    • Liz

      OH MY GOD I WANT HIM TO BE EATEN BY WOLVES. Or like, bees. Can bees do that? I HOPE SO.

      I was so outraged, omg. OENOMAUS YOUR PRECIOUS PERFECT FACE.

    • mrmonkeybottoms

      Oenomaus! Noooooo! I have sad face eternal.

  • solange

    Love reading you.

    • Liz

      Thank you so much for reading!

  • Laura M

    THIS EPISODE WAS EPIC. I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with Spartacus this season- c’mon dude, you can’t jerk Mira around like that forever- so as sad as it was, I was glad to see them hash things out. It was an episode for communication, apparently! (Though getting everyone drunk before hooking them up with their enemies? Uhhhhh. Might want to rethink your tactics, Sparty.)

    I think my favourite thing about that picture of Agron and Crixus making up is Naevia and Nasir on either side. You can so clearly see them sending mental waves at their boyfriends: “behave . . . BEHAVE . . .”

    • Liz

      HAHA YES EXACTLY. Naevia and Nasir are both like “okay, we know they can handle this but JUST IN CASE, WE ARE POISED TO TACKLE”.