Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Four – Empty Hands

"Hey, look at that! A house made from sweets. We're saved, guys!"

The start of this episode found Spartacus in a rough old state.

After escaping from the mines last week, he and what’s left of his merry band ended up wandering through a vast forest with Roman legionaries picking them off one by one. It’s a bit of a stress, frankly and the huge weird forest the action takes place in is bloody creepy. It’s a bit like Gladiator meets Grimm.

It’s worth pointing that in Roman times, huge swathes of Europe were entirely given over to woodland so wandering around a forest for days on end without a clue where you were was entirely feasible. One rather suspects that getting lost in the forest and eaten by wolves/bears/witches was one of the leading causes of death for Europeans up until the late Middle Ages.

Now because human beings subsequently cut down 90% of the trees we think of forests as being rather lovely and picturesque, but the trees Spartacus and  friends stagger through retain a bit of that ancient menace. In fact, at least a few of them look like they probably have teeth and claws.

But this running battle has nothing on the ongoing struggle between Lucy Lawless’s magnificent Lucretia and her female rival Ilithyia. If you’re interested in savagely brilliant, furiously manipulative women  who are willing to cross any boundary and break any rule to get what they want then this really is the show for you.

Ilithyia’s husband Claudius Glaber is the Roman leader in charge of the hunt for Spartacus while also being embroiled in some rather tricky political situations of his own. He believes that Lucretia is some kind of conduit to the Gods who will ultimately help him retrieve Spartacus, much to the chagrin of Iliythia who has her own very messy past with Lucretia.

Illthyia’s response to this is encourage her husband to throw a vast decadently lavish party, then plot with her incredibly rich father to replace her husband with a more influential Roman. Her plan for doing this involves humiliating a young love rival by being more willing to cut hunks of flesh off one of Spartacus’s captured comrades than her, while at the same time thrusting her not inconsiderable charms into the hands of the man she wants to ensnare.

Along the way she continually tells Lucretia how much she loathes her, so it’s a bit of a blow when she comes across Lucretia going at it like knives with her father.

All of leads to a rather ahem ‘intense’ spot of cat fighting culminating in Illythia being about to bash Lucretia’s head in when she’s finally convinced that their interests are best served by working together. Thus Lucretia, who’s playing an exceedingly long and involved con, appears to have gained the upper hand. However, this being Spartacus (the show that loves to crush its characters every chance it gets) it’s doubtful that will last long.

Savage Roman brutality of the week – Apparently the ancient Roman upper crust liked to liven up a party by carrying out a bit of light recreational torture of their enemies. It’s like an ancient version of Total Wipeout.

Savage Roman Nudity of the week – Said parties were apparently also best adorned with so many nude slaves it’s impossible to tell were one ends and the next begins. It’s like a sexy version of a battery farm.

Obligatory mention of how Lucy Lawless is great to keep my Xena loving editor happy – I imagine the hate filled sexual tension her character and female rival display toward each other in this episode has  already allowed a thousand pieces of badly written fan fiction to bloom. (editor’s note: cheers Ian, googling it now)


Spartacus: Vengeance is on Sky1, Mondays at 10pm.

Related Posts

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


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

One Response to Spartacus: Vengeance Series Blog – Episode Four – Empty Hands

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

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