PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE! Naevia’s safe but Crixus is screwed! Agron the betrayer is betraying all over the place! Ashur smacks and Oenomaus cracks! And omg, Glaber has a fantastic ass.
The rebels are hiding in the forest from Glaber’s men, who have pursued them from the mines. Everyone’s still and quiet under the leaves, save for Naevia, who is moments away from a weapons-grade freakout. Eventually the pressure is too much for her and she flips her shit, and runs screaming into the trees. Bad move, girlfriend. These dudes have spears and one hell of a grudge, and they are hot on your tail.
Mira bolts after them, holding a giant knife, because Mira is a kickass mofo superhero goddess lately. The rest of the rebels leap from their hiding spots and our regularly scheduled session of blood and gore immediately follows.
The soldier closest to Naevia drops her with a wicked clotheslined-forearm to the throat, and she goes down like a sack of angry, terrified potatoes. He pauses in his murderous intent to complain that Naevia made him run, and then presumably gets ready for some rape and killing. But no, it is not to be, because HOLY SHIT MIRA. Mira comes flying out of the trees like Spider-man on meth, and pounces onto the exercise-hating guard’s back, stabbing him in the throat about a dozen times in 10 seconds. Damn gurl, you fierce.
On the other side of the clearing, the gladiators are slashing through the soldiers like butter through a goose. Between Spartacus, Liscus, Nasir, and Fortis, nearly a dozen men have fallen. Unfortunately, one of the last remaining soldiers gets in a lucky blow to Tychos’ stomach, leaving him as the sole rebel casualty of the day.
Liscus doesn’t want to leave his friend’s body to the certain desecration of the Romans, but there’s no time to bury or burn poor Tychos, as more soldiers are approaching. The rebels know they need to meet up with Agron and his men at Vesuvius if they’re going to survive, and they run off into the forest, leaving Tychos’ body behind.
Glaber’s leading Albinius and Varinius through the villa, impatiently explaining why he sent his men after Spartacus instead of having them uselessly perform in the arena. Albinius is way too concerned with appearances, and is full of self-righteous indignation over the perceived slight to good Varinius. Varinius just looks amused and cynical, as per usual. I like him a lot, despite my best intentions to see him as an interloping, Ilithyia-groping, villainous jerkface.
Glaber’s of the highly logical opinion that it would be a far greater slight to the citizens of the Republic if he was to give up on his search for Spartacus. Come the fuck on, Glaber. Since when has logic and reason ever worked? Besides, as Varinius points out, Seppius has been fruitlessly searching for Spartacus for months now.
Sorry Varinius, but Glaber is way more awesome than that little whippersnapper Seppius. You best recognize, fool. Varinius doesn’t want to recognize, though. He wants to know how the fuck Glaber knew Spartacus and his men would attack the mines in the first place. Silly Varinius. The gods themselves told Glaber, of course. Once Albinius realizes it was Lucretia who inspired Glaber, he’s somehow totally reassured that Glaber did the right thing. This is legit the silliest thing I have heard since GWB claimed that Jesus told him to start the second Gulf War.
Ilithyia swans in at that very moment, full of vicious smiles and snappy comments about heeding the ramblings of madwomen. Apparently that argument is far from over, no matter what Glaber hopes. Ilithyia continues her catty husbandly backstabbing by announcing that they plan to host a party in honor of Varinius at the villa. Glaber plays along when Varinius accepts the offer, but inside he’s seething with icy rage. SEETHING, I tell you.
Later that evening, Illy and Glaber rehash the argument yet again while in the bath together. Glaber is still consumed by his hate for Varinius and his impatience with Ilithyia’s friendliness towards the man. This shitty mood leads him to make some extremely ill-advised comments about how Lucretia has certainly been proving her worth lately — unlike Ilithyia, in his opinion. Oh no he din’t. Ilithyia couldn’t look more shocked and hurt if he’d actually slapped her. OH MY PRECIOUS DARLING.
The sole saving grace of this entire painful scene is yet another long, loving shot of Glaber’s magnificent ass as he storms out of the bath, all glistening and wet and perky. UNF.
Back in the forest, the rebels continue to flee into the sunset. The gladiators look like they’d be happy to run for a few more days, but Naevia can’t take much more of this, and collapses facedown in the dirt. Liscus is incredibly impatient with her weakness, but even Nasir’s not feeling so good right now. Spartacus agrees they should find a safe place to rest for a while, and Mira drags Naevia to her feet.
Liscus won’t let it go, though — he and Fortis complain to Sparty that Naevia is holding them back, and will likely be the death of them all. And besides, they believe Crixus is dead, so what need is there to keep any promises they made to him regarding Naevia? Sparty doesn’t bitch slap Liscus, but it’s a close call.
Farther back along the path, Marcus, Ashur, and the rest of Glaber’s men come across the scene of the last battle. Ashur identifies Tychos as being one of Sparty’s men, and the soldiers mangle the body — as Liscus predicted — and hang him from a tree as a warning to others. (Who are they going to warn when the rebels are all ahead of them? Silly Romans.)
Ashur gives Marcus a warning of his own: he doesn’t think the soldiers are up to the task of fighting Spartacus and his men. He’s right, too — Roman soldiers don’t have the same kind of intensive training that gladiators do, surely. Yeah, they go off to war, but they don’t spend every single waking moment training or fighting for their lives. Marcus, of course, won’t even consider the possibility that Roman soldiers might not be as badass as mere slaves, and brushes off Ashur’s excellent advice. Marcus, you idiot.
Ilithyia’s busy giving her body slaves their instructions for the evening’s party, when to her total surprise, she sees Seppia and Lucretia sitting together in close conversation. Ilithyia apologizes for neglecting her guest, but she’s in for an even bigger surprise — Seppia’s actually there to see Lucretia. Yeah, that doesn’t go over well.
Even worse, Seppia’s there to discuss thoughts of marriage with Lucretia, and it’s not just any man she’s got her eye on: it’s Varinius. Lucretia happily promises to entreat the gods on behalf of Seppia’s desires, and Ilithyia is no longer able to keep a sociable smile on her face. Seppia’s too excited by the thought of making out forever with Varinius the hottie to notice that Ilithyia’s moving toward epic bitchface territory, but Lucretia recognizes that face immediately, and the pleased smile fades from her face.
Once Seppia takes her leave, Ilithyia unleashes the full force of her disdain onto Lucretia, mocking her as the Oracle of Capua. Her angry rantings about Seppia’s relative unworthiness for a man like Varinius reveal way more than she likely intends to Lucretia, and you can see Luce filing this all away in her mind fortress of epic cunning. She carefully offers to seek the will of the gods on behalf of a different marriage, “one closer to home,” pointing out that both Glaber and Albinius seem to believe this is what Varinius himself wants. Ilithyia refuses to accept Lucretia’s assistance, all but spitting in her former friend’s face. Lucretia admits that all she wants is to regain Ilithyia’s trust and friendship, but Ilithyia’s too hurt and angry to see the truth of Lucretia’s confession. OH GIRLS.
Meanwhile, Glaber’s men have returned from the mine with their prisoners. The girls hurry out onto the balcony as the men are led into the courtyard. Lucretia is delighted that her predictions proved correct, assuming that one of the hooded captive men is Spartacus himself.
Oh, the look on her face when the captives are revealed: Rhaskos, Acer, and Crixus. YAY CRIXUS I KNEW YOU WERE ALIVE. Ilithyia looks amused and triumphant that Lucretia turned out to be wrong, snarking that at least Lucretia has her Gaul back. Glaber, of course, is furious at the absence of Spartacus, and the news that Marcus and his men are in pursuit does little to appease him.
The gladiators are thrown into the familiar cells of the ludus, with defiance from Rhaskos and Acer, but resignation from Crixus. Oenomaus appears from the shadows in the next cell over, and Crixus is simultaneously pleased and distressed to see his old friend in chains. Crixus shares his happy news that Naevia has been found and freed from the mines, but alas, Oenomaus is in no mood to hear tales of love and women, so close on the story of Melitta’s betrayal. Oenomaus makes some veiled references to the uselessness of love and women and trust in general, but Crixus doesn’t care. His Naevia is free and alive and that is all that matters. Aww.
The rebels are resting quietly in a secluded bit of the forest. Even in this relative moment of safety, Naevia’s still shaking with nightmares. Mira comforts her for a bit and then walks off to find Spartacus, who is stubbornly refusing to take a rest, preferring to stand endless watch over the rebels. Naevia’s terrified screams draw them back to the camp at a run.
They’re under attack from a party of soldiers, and the rebels are at a serious disadvantage, having been taken by surprise. An unfamiliar black gladiator dies first, his blood spraying all over Naevia’s face. And then, horror of horrors, Nasir takes a sword wound to the stomach, and falls screaming. NOOO.
That evening, back in Capua, the festivities at the villa are underway, and I get to break out my “it’s orgy time!” tag once again. YAY. Naked slaves are writhing orgasmically to the familiar strains of the wailing orgy guitars, while the guests — Mercato and Magistrate Gallienus among them — look on with glee. Ilithyia is full of pleased self-congratulation at the success of the evening so far, and Glaber is forced to reluctantly agree that things seem to be going well.
Varinius makes a dramatic entrance with his entourage: Seppia, Seppius, and an old horrible frenemy, the vile Cossutius. Cossutius is pleased to return to a place where he has enjoyed so many nights of rape and douchebaggery, and gives a regal nod to Lucretia. Ugh, so vile.
Seppia’s all full of blushing excitement over the orgy spectacle — her giggles do not seem very well-received by Seppius, who looks at her rather judgmentally, the hypocrite. Glaber takes a moment to make a short speech in honor of Albinius and Varinius, and actually manages to look completely sincere in his ever-so-slightly backhanded compliments and adulation. Argh. I keep meaning to hate him and yet I find myself adoring him more and more as the season progresses. HALP.
As the crowd applauds Varinius, Seppia remarks to him flirtatiously about the admiration they hold for him. Ilithyia notes their interaction with a vicious look of distaste on her face, but that’s nothing compared to the murderous look on Seppius’ face. Could this be dramatic twincest foreshadowing? I’m going to go with HELL YES.
Glaber has a surprise planned for Varinius and the guests, and it’s a thrilling one. He has Oenomaus, Rhaskos, Crixus, and Acer brought out in chains, calling them Sparty’s “most trusted men.” Glaber then announces that, as an apology for keeping his men from appearing in Varinius’ games, he will hand these men over to Varinius for execution. Immediate execution, right there in the atrium, and at Varinius’ hands. The guests are wildly excited and start cheering for blood.
Varinius is not about to be out-statesman’d, and dramatically declines to execute the men that evening. Instead, he’d prefer to share their deaths with all of Capua in the arena. The guests like this idea even better, and Glaber’s too startled by the defeat of his stratagem to say a single word.
The exhausted rebels are still hurrying through the forest, and have finally found a source of water. They all bury their faces in the stream and drink, and oh my god, don’t these people know about the dangers of amoebic dysentery?
Mira and Naevia drop Nasir by the stream bed, and holy shit he is not looking well AT ALL. Sparty brings him some water, but he can barely drink. Liscus admits that Nasir fought well, but thinks everyone would be better off if Nasir was… eliminated. He likens it to Spartacus delivering Varro’s mercy killing, and Sparty’s measured response to this statement is a wicked right hook to the jaw.
The group is now firmly divided — Liscus and Fortis on one side, and Sparty, Mira, Naevia, and Nasir on the other. Sparty won’t even consider the thought of leaving Nasir behind, much less killing him off, and the tense stand-off is broken finally by Naevia’s important point — Crixus survived worse wounds than Nasir’s from his fight against Theokeles. If they cauterize Nasir’s wound, he’ll stand a better chance of survival.
Unfortunately, building a fire will draw the soldiers to them like flies on shit, and Liscus isn’t willing to take that risk. Instead of arguing, Spartacus sends Liscus and Fortis ahead to find Agron and the rest of the rebels. He and the girls will stay behind and tend to Nasir’s wounds, and catch up as soon as they can.
Damn, Sparty. You are almost offensively noble. You and Crixus really need to get married and have a lot of little gay gladiator babies. I AM JUST SAYING.
Back in orgyland, the party is in full swing. The 4 chained gladiators are mostly impassive, having surely seen hundreds of nights just like this. Rhaskos, at least, still has a hint of a pervy smirk on his face. I find myself liking him more and more.
Seppius can’t get over their defiance in the face of certain death — how dare Crixus kneel there glaring at his betters? Furthermore, when Seppia coos to Varinius about how eager she is to see them die in the arena, Seppius’ bitchface is back in full force. As retribution for his cousin Sextus, he wants blood and he wants it now. Glaber’s shrewd enough to read this situation perfectly, and sides immediately with Seppius. Varinius diplomatically agrees that one man will be chosen for immediate torture and death, and the rest can die in the arena.
Glaber’s got one more scheme up his sleeve — Seppius is not the only person present who lost loved ones that fateful day. Lucretia’s loss was dramatic enough for the gods themselves to intervene and save her life, wasn’t it? Therefore, Lucretia should be the one to choose which man is tortured. Albinius, lately Lucretia’s biggest fan, agrees that this would be the fairest choice, and Varinius can only concur.
Of course we’re supposed to assume that Lucretia’s going to choose Crixus. COME THE FUCK ON, we all know this isn’t going to happen. SPOILER ALERT FOR ACTUAL HISTORY: this does not happen.
Among much drama and production, Lucretia instead chooses the unfortunate Acer. He’s dragged off shouting and swearing, and the guards beat him down to the cheers of the guests. Crixus looks mildly surprised that Lucretia didn’t choose him, but at the end of the day, he really could not possibly care less. He tells her calmly that he would be gladly give his life in exchange for Naevia’s. Lucretia’s pleased to hear she’s alive, as she can now watch Crixus die in the arena as a pathetic slave and not as a champion. (The best part is when she tells him his name will forever be lost to history.)
You have to find her first, Luce.
As retribution for his shouting and swearing, Seppius cuts out Acer’s tongue, getting the torture games off to a grotendous start. Each guest has drawn lots, and everyone will take a turn tormenting the bound, helpless Acer.
The Roman Republic looks like the least fun place ever, seriously. No amount of orgy madness can make up for this shit.
The vile Cossutius steps up next, and slices off Acer’s left manboob. Even more gruesomely, each severed bit is apparently being saved on trays by nearby slaves. Eew.
Ilithyia and Albinius are standing off to the side and watching Varinius with fangirlish glee. To Albinius’ surprise, Ilithyia now openly shares his opinions about Glaber’s relative worthlessness compared to Varinius. When he asks her straight out if she wants a divorce, she dissembles by saying that he’s the only one with the power to do so. After a moment or two of consideration, Albinius states that it would look bad for everyone involved if Ilithyia left Glaber while pregnant with his child, and instructs Ilithyia to put the idea out of her mind completely. As he moves off impatiently through the crowd, Lucretia takes careful notice of his anger, and of the furious look on Ilithyia’s face as she watches Seppia flirt with Varinius.
INITIATE PLOTTING SEQUENCE!
Nasir is unconscious on the forest floor and looks pale and dreadfully near death. Spartacus and the girls have built a small fire, and Sparty’s holding the tip of his sword in it. Naevia tiptoes away to find something for Nasir to bite on, lest he scream and draw the soldiers’ attention, and Spartacus takes a moment to wallow in tears and recriminations. As usual, he blames himself for everything, refusing to accept that the people following him are doing so out of love and honor and of their own free will, and refusing to understand that by taking all the blame, he is robbing them of their personal agency, dammit. (I apparently have a lot of feelings about this, who knew.) Mira agrees — it IS all his fault… that they’re free, for fuck’s sake.
Nasir awakens in the middle of their whispered argument. Instead of being terrified for his upcoming crude surgery, he smiles hesitantly and says he’ll now be branded like a true gladiator. YOU GUYS. HE IS SO PRECIOUS.
Sparty cauterizes the wound, and Nasir holds back his terrible screams like the bravest little toaster ever. Mira quickly douses the fire with dirt, but it’s too late — shouting men can be heard in the distance. FLEE!
Seppia’s up next to take her turn torturing Acer, and she blushes adorably while telling Varinius that she’s never held a sword before — Seppius would never allow her to do so. Seppius watches, his jaw set with rage, as Varinius gets up close and personal with her in the guise of showing her how to hold his sword. (snerk)
Glaber slips up behind Seppius with a few measured barbs about how Seppius very obviously doesn’t like seeing Varinius and his sister together. Seppius grits out that he only tolerates the man because of his assistance in finding Spartacus. Glaber’s response is magnificent: “I would have done so as well…. absent attempt to fuck your sister.”
Seppius got told, y’all.
When it comes down to it, though, Seppia’s unable to torture Acer after all. She giggles nervously, but when Acer raises his bloody, beaten face to stare her right in the eye, she loses her nerve completely, and stammers her apologies to a disapproving Varinius. Ilithyia cannot let this golden opportunity pass her by, and strides over confidently to take the sword from Seppia’s shaky hands.
With a calm smile and a snark about Seppia’s “inexperienced hands,” Ilithyia plunges the sword straight into Acer’s stomach, earning the admiration of the assembled guests. Varinius in particular looks pleased as punch, and the two share a significant and horny look before he leads the crowd in a round of applause. My darling Ilithyia, naturally, preens.
Albinius is standing alone on the villa’s balcony, and Lucretia walks out to join him, commenting once again on how nice it is to have all of Capua at one’s feet. Albinius isn’t out there to enjoy the view, though — he just wanted some peace and quiet. Lucretia takes this as a remonstration for her interruption, but Albinius didn’t mean to make her feel unwelcome in her own home. And besides, he wants someone to bitch to, as usual.
Lucretia turns the conversation toward Ilithyia, assuming it will be a pleasant subject, and is all concern and friendliness when Albinius voices his disappointment with his daughter. Albinius is hesitant at first, but soon warms to the idea of taking Lucretia’s counsel, and perhaps, through her, that of the gods themselves.
I have a feeling it’s not just advice that he has in mind…
Sparty runs through the forest with Nasir over his shoulder and the girls at his side. Everyone is totally exhausted and nervous, and the sound of a twig snapping under an approaching foot has Sparty reaching for his sword. It’s not a soldier, though — it’s Liscus! Oh fuck, he’s all alone, and has lost Fortis somewhere in the woods while fleeing from more soldiers. Liscus doesn’t think much of their chances, whether alone or together, but runs off with them in search of Fortis anyway.
Off in a curtained alcove in the villa, Seppia is weeping quietly, and Seppius is doing a truly miserable job of comforting her. Instead, he coldly tells her that she overreached in her attempts to win Varinius, and has only herself to blame for her humiliation.
And then, OH YES AND THEN, he carefully dries her tears, telling her that they’ll leave the party to go home and forget about their troubles together, “in warm embrace.” Oh, and also he kisses her in a very unbrotherly fashion. LIKE A LANNISTER, ACTUALLY.
Glaber, of course, sees everything, and files it away for future reference.
Unfortunately, there are some other things that Glaber should be paying attention to, things that he misses completely. Things like Varinius and Ilithyia, for example.
Varinius is strolling through the villa with an adoring girl on each arm, and sends them away for more wine when Ilithyia glides out of the shadows looking fine as all hell. She’s overheard the crude jokes he was making about the famous Crassus and his apparently tiny cock, and Varinius wants some reassurance that she won’t repeat his gossip in Crassus’ company. Ilithyia’s not making any promises so easily, and wants to know what’s in it for her if she keeps her silence. She doesn’t want favour for her husband, as Varinius assumes, but something for herself. And that something is Varinius.
He’s hesitant to get involved with a married woman with so many obligations, and rests his hand on her pregnant stomach meaningfully. Ilithyia skates around the idea of dissolving her marriage to Glaber, and Varinius is hooked — quite literally, as he buries his hand between her legs. They scheme and plot against Glaber as Varinius gets her off up against a column, and he promises to go steady with her if her daddy lets them. OMG.
Ilithyia walks through the crowd in a postorgasmic daze, with a beautiful smile for everyone she passes — even the husband she’s just betrayed. She’s obviously looking for Albinius, with the hopes of winning him over to Team Varinius once again, but Albinius is nowhere to be seen. How odd.
Oh wait, there he is… off in that bedroom… fucking Lucretia? Man, Ilithyia has gotten a whole lot of use out of her WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK face this episode, hasn’t she. To make matters worse, Lucretia meets her eyes mid-hump.
The rebels are reaching the end of their rope, barely able to stagger on through the forest. A small noise stops their progress, and they stop to evaluate the situation.
It’s the sound of blood dripping from above them. Fortis has been captured and killed, and hung from a tree as a warning. The rebels turn to run back the way they came, but they’ve already been spotted — it’s Marcus and his men, accompanied by Ashur.
Sparty drops Nasir to the ground, leaving Mira and Naevia to his defense. Liscus and Sparty attack the dozen or so men, but Liscus is immediately overwhelmed, and, in his signature move, Ashur stabs him in the back. Sparty’s fighting this battle alone.
Were it anyone else, the fight would surely be over in a matter of seconds, but since Spartacus is the most asskickery asskicker ever to kick ass, he hacks each and every soldier to whimpering pieces, even catching Marcus in the gut with a spear. Ashur carries Marcus away from the fight, hoping to finally convince him of the error of his ways. Marcus, stupid Marcus, instead shouts to the remaining soldiers scattered throughout the forest to come and fight, so Ashur cuts his throat. That’ll shut him up.
Spartacus kills the last of the soldiers and tries to haul Liscus to his feet. Liscus knows his injuries are fatal, and says he’s through with running from the goddamn Romans. He dies quietly and undramatically.
Lucretia heads back into the party, straightening her clothing and her hair, and Ilithyia is lying in wait. She confronts Lucretia, assuming that Lucretia’s assignation with Albinius was motivated by her desire to save herself from censure over Glaber’s failure to capture Spartacus. Lucretia protests that everything she’s doing is only to further Ilithyia’s cause and regain her trust, to heal the rift between them, and Ilithyia finally realizes something very significant indeed. She asks Lucretia if she remembers the things that have happened between them, and Lucretia comes right out and says it — she remembers everything.
Ilithyia takes this as an immediate threat, and before Lucretia even realizes the danger, Illy has her by the throat, threatening to bash her head in as she did Licinia’s. The only thing stopping Ilithyia’s hand is Lucretia’s gasped admission that she fucked Albinius to gain his favour… his favour toward dissolving Ilithyia’s marriage to Glaber. And she’s done it all to make sure of a successful future for Ilithyia and her child.
….wait. WAIT. Does this mean Lucretia suspects that the baby is Sparty’s? OMG YOU GUYS.
Ilithyia decides not to murder Lucretia after all. Instead, some girlkissing seems to be in order.
Glaber sees the last of the drunken guests to the door, knowing nothing of Varinius’ assignation with Ilithyia or of Albinius’ with Lucretia. Before the two men depart, Albinius glances at Lucretia, and tells Varinius they have much to discuss.
Glaber then lovingly apologizes to Ilithyia for ever doubting her awesomeness, which Ilithyia accepts with a smug grin. OH GLABER if only you knew.
It’s sunrise, and Sparty, Nasir, and the girls are finally within sight of Vesuvius. But just behind them, a large force of men is approaching. Sparty gauges the distance to Vesuvius and makes his decision — the girls must take Nasir to safety, and he will stay behind alone to fight.
Oh hell no. Mira’s not leaving your goddamn side, Sparty, how dare you even suggest it? Naevia leans Nasir up against a tree and hovers over him protectively, knife in hand, and Sparty and Mira turn to face the oncoming threat. TOGETHER IN KICKASSERY.
HOORAY IT IS AGRON! And all those other duders whose names I have forgotten! There’s lots of slo-mo hugging and relief and manly backslapping. YAYS. Agron totally neglects to cuddle poor wounded Nasir, though. Bad Agron.
Next week! A whole fuckton of stuff went down in the trailer but frankly all I took away from it was GANNICUS GANNICUS OMG GANNICUS!
I AM EXCITE.