Spartacus Vengeance Watch: Episode 4 - Empty Hands
I’ll say one thing about Glaber, he sure does know how to throw a party. Granted, we’ve seen wilder times in what used to be the House of Batiatus, but there was enough sexy decor and torture to meet the standards set by the home’s predecessor.
Before we get to what the rich people were doing, let’s talk about the rebels, because they certainly were busy tonight. Or some of them were. While Agron and most of the men were off in Vesuvius, Spartacus and a quickly diminishing cluster of rebels were attempting to outrun and hide from the Romans. Ashur urged the leader of Glaber’s men to call for reinforcements, but the soldier ignored the advice, insisting that “common slaves” weren’t much of a match for them. Of course, he was dead by the end of the episode, and at Ashur’s sword. No surprise there.
Naevia is like a stranger. Part of that is likely due to the role being recast. With newcomer Cynthia Addai-Robinson playing the part, she’s now an unfamiliar face to us. Plus, after weeks of being tortured and stuffed away in the mines, she’s a shell of her old self. In that respect, it’s kind of hard to feel especially supportive of Naevia's presence when she’s blowing everyone’s cover by screaming in fear and running, or cowering in a ball while everyone else, including Mira, is fighting. I know, she’s scared, and traumatized and the only person who might be able to calm her, not to mention the only person who really raises Naevia’s worth due to his love for her, is not around.
Naevia did redeem herself somewhat when Nasir was slashed in the abdomen and dying. When one of the men suggested euthanizing Nasir so they could move on, Naevia reminded Spartacus of how badly Crixus was injured when they fought Theocles. He was healed by fire, which inspired Spartacus to cauterize Nasir’s wound. And while he looked a bit worse for wear at the end of the episode, it seems like he may live. Plus, as a bonus, how sweet were the smiles that Nasir and Agron exchanged when they were reunited?
As for Naevia, it's going to take some time to get used to the recast, added to how different she is right now. Right now she feels like a new character, but hopefully given time she'll settle in within the group.
Mira was a full-on warrior tonight. She saved Naevia’s life by jumping on a Roman like a fierce cat or something and stabbing him over and over with a knife. She continued to do battle later, and when it seemed like it was over and they were about to be outnumbered, she insisted on staying at Spartacus’ side. I love that there are women in this show as brave and determined as the men.
While some of Spartacus’ men were killed over the course of the episode, including one whose name I didn’t get, but who seemed relatively highly ranked, the Romans suffered losses too and I’m wondering how long it will be before Glaber sees that sending a handful of men at a time to take down Spartacus isn’t the way to go about it.
Before we get to the Romans, let’s talk about Crixus. He’s alive! He and a handful of other captured rebels were brought back to Glaber, who got to pull the masks off each captured man one by one like he was opening birthday presents. While he was disappointed not to have Spartacus, Crixus was a good catch.
Lucretia looking down on Crixus from the balcony was a familiar sight. And she was given the opportunity to confront him after she intentionally spared his life, when given the choice to pick one slave at the party later on, to be tortured for entertainment. She claimed she’s saving his death for a time when she can savor it. And then Crixus rubbed it in her face that Naevia’s alive. There’s some major unfinished business between these two, what with him “cheating” on her with Naevia, her sending Naevia away, and him eventually killing their unborn child. It seems it’s Lucretia’s turn for some vengeance.
On a related note, Crixus seems blind to all fear or concern for his own life, now that Naevia’s alive. Her safety is all that matters to him. Meanwhile, as Oenomaus sees it, Crixus has fallen “to ruin for love.” Poor Oenomaus has nothing to do but sit and stew over learning from Ashur that his wife Melitta had a love affair with his best friend Gannicus before she died. It’s not all that hard to understand that Oenomaus might feel a bit jaded about love, all things considered. But is his gloominess also meant to foreshadow something? Hearing him talk to Crixus, I had this sudden fear that, if she believes Crixus is dead, Naevia might eventually move on to someone else. And then if/when the two are inevitably reunited, he’ll find out and be heart broken. Think there’s a chance of that?
Ilithyia and Lucretia
Poor, Ilithyia. She’s unhappy about so much lately. For one thing, her husband is paying all this attention to Lucretia, whom he believes is getting counsel from the gods. Ilithyia’s not buying that for a second and since none of Lucretia’s predictions really serve her purpose (yet), she doesn’t like it. She’s also unhappy with Seppia, who, on the advice of Lucretia, has now set her eyes on Varinius.
Ilithyia’s problems seemed to sort themselves out somewhat during the party. When the slave was being tortured, Varinius was flirtatiously encouraging Seppia to join in on the fun. Of course, after the man - who had already been poked, stabbed and mutilated beyond recognition - managed to make eye contact with Seppia, she backed down, which gave Ilithyia the opportunity to step up and kill the slave, making a big show of it and embarrassing Seppia in the process. Seppia was sort of due to be put in her place anyway. Although, we can hardly consider it a bad thing that the girl wasn’t able to participate in torture (yet anyway).
While Seppia tearfully pouted to her brother, Ilithyia’s confidence was restored, which lead to a bit of naughty-finger-time with Varinius, during which she suggested he be her husband instead of Glaber. Varinius agreed under the condition that Ilithyia get her father to consent. When Ilithyia tracked her dad down, he was busy underneath Lucretia. You’d think walking in on something like that would be fairly horrifying, but maybe stuff like that is a common thing at these kinds of parties. Ilithyia seemed more offended that Lucretia was going after her father. This was probably less about fearing Lucretia would end up becoming her step-mother (although that would be pretty amazing), as it is in recognizing Lucretia’s power play.
Lucretia claims her actions were an effort to help Ilithyia convince the senator to free her from her marriage to Glaber. And that turned Ilithyia around. Of course, she won’t mind Lucretia’s fake powers if they serve her purpose. Ilithyia’s an opportunist, after all.
Glaber’s not in the best position right now, especially considering his own wife is turning on him. At the party, he presented Varinius with the captured slaves, which was likely his attempt to show everyone of status what he and his men caught. Varinius used the moment to his advantage though by donating the slaves back to the people, thus sending them to the arena.
So it seems Crixus and Oenomaus will be back in the arena soon enough. And the timing couldn’t be better. As great as the battles among the rebels and the Romans have been, we could use some arena fighting on this show, especially with a couple of characters in whom we’re invested. Although, if things don’t turn out so well for one or both of them, I’m going to kick myself for even suggesting that.
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