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Holy crap and wow. We knew it would be bloody. We knew the end was probably near for certain characters. But tonight’s finale of Spartacus: Vengeance delivered one stellar moment after another, one of which actually caused me to tear up like the mushy girl that I am, while another was simply jaw-dropping. Suffice to say, vengeance has been served, and the season closed with a stack of bodies.
Major spoilers ahead if you haven’t see the season finale of Spartacus: Vengeance!
I’d like to start by saying that I’m officially sold on Liam McIntyre as Spartacus. I could have said that episodes back, but I haven’t. I miss Andy Whitfield, and I will always enjoy his fantastic performance as the series lead in Blood and Sand, but McIntyre does the role justice. This season would not have held up as well as it did were that not the case.
As mentioned previously, tonight’s finale was a series of stellar moments, spaced out nicely as the rebels found a way to fight back against Glaber’s men. In-fighting on both sides led to some interesting developments, and in the end, I was left feeling mentally gutted (if that’s even possible) over the loss of so many fantastic characters. But that’s ok, because not one of them was a wasted death. Each character’s loss served a purpose within the show, and their final moments did them justice.
Spartacus has always been somewhat evenly divided between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” So much so, in fact, that the bad guys don’t always feel like villains. We’re forced into a sort of gray area with them, as they’re presented to us as opposition to Spartacus, but we also get to know them as people and understand their motivations. It is for that reason that I’m actually sad that Ashur and Glaber are gone. As for Lucretia... I can’t even talk about that yet.
”...A talent I pray your next woman holds...”
Mira was the first to die tonight. As I sort of predicted her death, given the semi-falling out she and Spartacus had, I can’t say I was especially surprised by this one. At least, not by comparison to some of the other deaths. But I expect Spartacus will miss her and her counsel and support. Mira died by an axe to the chest after some of the rebels grew desperate for food and attempted to escape down the mountain. Her death left Spartacus angry enough to attack one of the rebels responsible, but the group fortunately didn’t fracture from the incident. It was a setback, for sure, and one that saw the full end to another romantic relationship for Spartacus, but the there was business to attend to. RIP Mira. She was a warrior.
“He is mine...”
I thought it would be Lucretia who’d be the one to kill Ashur. She did play her part in his demise. Lucretia revealed to Ilithyia that Glaber intended to give Ashur Batiatus’ house and herself as bride in exchange for his assistance in taking down Spartacus. Given how chummy Ilithyia and Lucretia have been recently, it wasn’t a huge surprise that Ilithyia would conspire to get Glaber to turn against Ashur. And turn he did. After buying off his men, Glaber threatened to kill Ashur, then instead, sent him up the mountain, knowing full-well that it was unlikely that Ashur would return in one piece. Ashur probably knew that too, but what choice did he have?
After Ashur offered the rebels enslavement and their lives in exchange for Spartacus, on behalf of Glaber, the rebels refused and Crixus demanded Ashur stay and pay for his misdeeds. Naevia insisted that she be the one to fight Ashur. Given that she’d once been forced to have sex with him, and Ashur’s involvement in Naevia being shipped off to be raped and abused, I’d say it was fitting that he pay the price for everything that was done to her. And Naevia needed this. Even Crixus could see that, though it looked like it was taking everything in him to stand back and not try to protect her.
Of course, even with Naevia’s recent training and Ashur’s injuries, she was barely a match for him. He swatted at her attacks for the most part, and there were a couple of moments when it seemed like he was going to kill her. But then she caught him in a weak spot... literally. Ashur’s nothing if not cocky, and that worked to Naevia’s advantage. I also think he might have been prolonging killing her just a little bit, knowing that when she died, he’d have about two breaths left before Crixus tore into him. But in the end, Naevia got her vengeance. Not only did she slash him between the legs - a move I bet Lucretia would have approved of - but she also hacked his head off. That took a few tries, but it did come off. RIP Ashur. He was evil, but he will be missed.
“A man is never too weak or wounded to fight if the cause is greater than his own life.”
Great words from Oenomaus! Following Ashur’s death, some bitter remarks from one of the rebels inspired Spartacus to come up with a plan. Using vines, he, Crixus, Gannicus and Agron climbed down the side of the mountain, attacked some of Glaber’s men, then bombarded the army’s village with fiery canon balls. Lots of fighting ensued. And this would not be the only time a cliff would prove useful... but I’m still not ready to talk about that other thing just yet...
“I go to my wife’s arms. We shall greet you in the afterlife, my brother.”
?Tears for Oenomaus’ parting words. I’m not supposed to cry during Spartacus dammit! It’s a gladiator show with blood and violence and nakedness. It is not a show for tears. Of course, I probably never stood a chance of having dry eyes watching Oenomaus’ death, no matter the circumstances, as he was one of my favorite characters. But tack on confirmation that he had fully forgiven Gannicus and Melitta for the affair they had in Gods of the Arena, and I’m truly sad that he’s gone.
Still, it was a beautiful exit, as Oenomaus died after saving Gannicus from the Egyptian, whom Gannicus then killed. Oenomaus took his final breath after finding the perfect words to ensure his old friend that all was forgiven. Gannicus mentioned earlier that if he died, he would die among brothers, but it was Oenomaus who died among his brothers, which included Gannicus. RIP Oenomaus. His wisdom and strength will be missed.
“I am a free man.”
We knew a show-down between Glaber and Spartacus was inevitable, and as much as I wanted to see Spartacus finally exact vengeance against the man responsible for his wife’s death, I’m going to miss Glaber. Much like Batiatus, his evilness mingled with his determination made him a great character to watch. Still, I’m sure someone else will rise up to fill that role come Season 3. Glaber said he wouldn’t be killed by a slave, and he was right. Spartacus is no slave. He’s a free man. And tonight, he gave Glaber a mouthful of sword, just to get that message through. RIP Glaber. He looked good with a scowl and in a towel.
“Quintus always wanted a son. Because of you, he shall have one.”
I’ve run out of bodies to cover, which means it’s time to address what was easily the greatest and most jaw-dropping moment of the episode. The fact that it incorporated my favorite piece of scenery from the entire series (the cliff!) was just the bloody icing on the already blood-drenched cake.
All season long Lucretia was struggling to get the upper hand, or so it seemed. The only time she seemed to have it was when she was playing the role of conduit to the gods. That role expired for her tonight when Glaber revealed to Ilithyia that he was done with Lucretia and couldn’t afford to keep her around, given everything she knew. And since he was planning on seeing Ashur dead by that point, he had no reason to keep Lucretia around.
Given her rekindled friendship with Lucretia, Ilithyia seemed hesitant to kill her. But judging by the glint in her eye just before her water broke, she seemed fully prepared to flip Lucretia over the railing (isn’t that where Gaia’s “funeral” took place?). Of course, the gods intervened... or her baby did.
Lucretia had plans for that baby. We all knew that. I’m pretty sure I believed that, at worst, she’d snatch that baby up and run off somewhere with it. Or perhaps that she’d kill Ilithyia and take over as the child’s mother, using the baby as a replacement to the one she’d lost. Those were the two most horrible scenarios I’d considered. Clearly, my imagination underestimated this series. (Well played, Mr. DeKnight.)
Lucretia did want the baby, but her plans were much darker than merely stealing it. I feel like I should have seen it coming the moment she tossed that wig over the cliff. The wig, which Ashur made her wear because Batiatus favored it. I assumed she discarded it as a way to rid herself of the memory of Ashur, the wig being sort of a symbol of her submission to him. Maybe that’s what we were supposed to think, but now it looks like she was sending it off to where she would soon meet it, when she reunited with Quintus.
Ilithyia’s water breaking hit the pause button on her plans to murder her friend on Glaber’s request. She didn’t have long to panic over the early birth, as Lucretia killed the slaves tending to her, and then presumably cut the baby out of her. (Grossgrossgross!) Then she made her way in an excellent slow-walk toward the cliff, her blood-covered dress flowing in the breeze, baby in her arms, lightning flashing, and thunder crashing - so deliciously dramatic! As she stood by the cliff, I wondered if she was planning to toss the baby overboard. And then I thought not. As Ilithyia slithered (snake-like!) across the ground in an effort to get to them, I actually thought maybe I was crazy to think that Lucretia would kill a helpless baby. All of this played out while Glaber and Spartacus were fighting, which created a tortuous (and amazing) kind of suspense.
Lucretia revealed her plans by noting that Quintus wanted a child. She was not only planning on giving him one. She planned to deliver herself to him as well. And so she did, tipping backwards in excellent slow-motion, over the cliff. Lucretia’s conclusion is both devastating and brilliant, and yet I have no idea how to wrap my mind around the idea of Spartacus without Lucretia.
Ilithyia was left bleeding but not dead, near the edge of the cliff. Not-dead hopefully means she’ll be back next season! And maybe she’ll be crazed enough over the loss of her husband, her child, and her dearest frenemy to hallucinate some Lucy Lawless back onto the show for us. In the meantime, RIP Lucretia. She was scary and brilliant and apparently still one step ahead, right to the very end (and over the cliff).
“Now we will become an army.”
?Vengeance has been served. Spartacus has avenged his wife’s death. Pretty much everyone who had any direct involvement in what happened to her is dead. His statement that “we will become an army” suggests to me that he’s ready to move forward now. There’s a bigger purpose at hand and one he seems prepared to tackle as leader.
?It’s going to feel like an eternity to wait for Season 3, however, series creator Steven DeKnight hints at big things to come when Spartacus returns in 2013...
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