Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Three – The Greater Good

Worst 18-30 holiday ever...

The problem with rabbiting on about how great a show Spartacus is, is that to the casual viewer it can still look very much like a non-stop locomotive of sex and violence.

It’s all very well my praising the character development and cunning politicking but the very first thing anyone tuning in last week would have seen is someone being stabbed right in the eye. But not in a subtle way that allows your imagination to fill in the gaps left by what’s on screen. No, this was a bloody great sword going in someone’s eyehole and right through to their brain.

Yep, it was slightly less pleasant than finding half a caterpillar in the remains of your salad, and though last time I had a decent ‘stab’ (see what I did there) at claiming the rampant sexiness of Spartacus was a cunning ploy to create a convincingly alien Roman ambiance, this was just some good old fashioned exploitative gore.

And it was far from the last of it as Spartacus and pals had some serious slaughtering to do.

For all the high-minded chats this series about the overarching evils of slavery, so far the primary action has been driven by Spartacus helping his former gladiatorial rival and fellow rebel Crixus track down his lost love Naevia: a fellow slave from last season who’s been passed from Roman slave owner to Roman slave owner like a sexy bowl of bread.

This led to a fair bit of tension in the camp as another of Spartacus’s lieutenants, Argon, was far more concerned with bashing up some Romans, leading to him pulling the old ‘your girlfriend is dead so now we can get on with mashing up the greatest empire the world has ever seen’ trick-  much to Crixus’s grief.

Fortunately for Spartacus, his Roman opposition seem much more concerned with jostling for position and throwing huge gladiatorial spectacles than actually getting out there and putting down his rebellion.

However Lucy Lawless’s magnificent Lucretia (as she must always be called), is rather more on the ball. She engineers the breaking of the doughty Oenomaus, ensuring he’s tricked into giving away Spartacus’s position despite previously withstanding much bloody torture, thus setting up a grand finale whereby Roman troops close in on Spartacus just as he and his men are in the process of freeing Naevia from a vast Roman mine complex.

One suspects that being a slave miner for the Romans is probably among the worst jobs in history. Sure, your horrible, controlling supervisor may force you to ask permission before you go to the toilet, but that’s still marginally better than working for 20 hours straight in boiling heat miles below the earth’s surface.

Although still possibly not quite as bad as toiling unpaid in your local Poundland.

The mines, it must be said, look magnificent, and the Romans relentless pursuit of the rebels through them is one of the best action sequences the programme has ever done. My only criticism would be that it did seem a little like one of those levels in a computer game where they take you to a totally different location just to mix things up, but that’s probably because I played too many repetitive computer games in my youth: no such thing as Skyrim then- just endlessly battering through the same monsters in incredibly similar locations.

And just as the glory of a completing a lengthy computer game is made bittersweet by the knowledge you’ve just spent thirty hours gurning over a flickering box like a autistic magpie goblin, so too was Spartacus eventual victory in the mines. Naevia was rescued but only after Crixus was forced to sacrifice himself, a shocking twist that reminds us that while the endless blood spilt on Spartacus: Vengeance is deepest red, the consequences of characters’ decisions are always many shades of gray.

Savage Roman brutality of the week – Surprisingly not the aforementioned eye stabbing but rather the lengthy and savage torture of Oenomaus. Yikes.

Savage Roman nudity of the week – If you’re a bunch of escaped Gladiators preparing to launch a daring raid on a vast mining complex, there’s no point wearing clothes. Just let it all hang loose. That’s definitely sensible.

Obligatory mention of how Lucy Lawless is great to keep my Xena loving editor happy – Lucy Lawless’s magnificent Lucretia had a fairly quiet week, but her casual exposure of the dark secret in Oenomaus’s past that allowed him to be broken was wonderfully chilling.

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The next ep of Spartacus: Vengeance is on FX tonight at 10pm

Related Posts

Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog Episode One
Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog Episode Two

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About Ian Dunn
I love avocados, WH Auden and dinosaurs but I don't like effort.

2 Responses to Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Three – The Greater Good

  1. Pingback: Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Four – Empty Hands « Tellysquawks

  2. Pingback: Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Five – Libertus « Tellysquawks

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