Spartacus is back with a vengeance tonight and after a long wait, we finally got to see what happened after Spartacus and his slaves killed them all (or most of “them” anyway). “Fugitivus” not only brought the characters of this bloody fun series back to screen, but it also introduced us to our new leading man, Liam McIntyre.
The absence of the ludus at the start, added to the new face of Spartacus made the beginning of tonight’s premiere feel a bit unfamiliar. We’re used to our gladiators fighting within the confines of the ludus or the walls of the arena, not out in the wide-open, with no walls or scary cliff to confine them. Alas, Spartacus is out and he and his men aren’t being idle. A score must be settled. Following an opening fight scene involving Spartacus, a small cluster of his men, and some of Seppius’ soldiers, Spartacus carves Glaber’s name into the body of one of the fallen soldiers, lest their be any mistaking who his true target is. And that opens the season!
I figure the best way to run through the highlights of what happened tonight is to break it down by character. Somehow “Fugitivus” managed to re-introduce us to most of the relevant characters while also setting the stage for what’s ahead.
He wants Glaber, and for good reason. The man’s responsible for his wife’s death. Yeah, he’s still not over that. While he seeks comfort and occasional counsel in the arms of Mira, he’s still determined to make Glaber pay, which puts him somewhat at odds with Crixus...
It feels like Crixus and Spartacus should be BFF’s by now, but really, their alliance only formed in a last-minute decision by Crixus at the end of Blood and Sand. Crixus and Spartacus have different motives for their use of freedom. Spartacus wants to kill Glaber. Crixus wants to find Naevia (Reminder: She was Lucretia’s slave, and was shipped off to parts unknown after her relationship with Crixus was exposed).
Crixus has his band of merry men and Spartacus has his. Both dominated in the arena and now they’ve begun to rise as leaders, which seems to have split the group. We see a demonstration of this when Crixus’ men try to refuse to share their food with the rest of the slaves. This leads to a spat between Spartacus and Crixus that doesn’t get especially heated, but does demonstrate the tension present between the two.
Crixus wins a small victory in directing the group toward tracking down Naevia, in that everyone agrees to go to a brothel to search for Trebius, a guy who might know where she was taken. A lot of nakedness and imaginative sexual scenarios are glimpsed, and then there’s violence. This show’s never been one to shy away from sex or violence, but combine the two and you have a really gruesome scene. Naked people getting stabbed in all sorts of places is not a pretty sight.
The trip to the brothel does end up yielding fruit as Crixus tracks down Trebius and gently fondles the man’s intestines through a hole in his abdomen in exchange for information. Naevia is somewhere south, possibly in villa owned by people Batiatus was trying to win favor with. So Crixus wants to go south and find his lady-love. That seems like the plan going forward. We’ll get to more of that later.
Last time we saw Ilithyia, she was striding out of the house of Batiatus, ordering her guards to bar the doors, locking everyone inside to be slaughtered by Spartacus and his men. Now, she’s back with Glaber, happy to have the Ludus behind her. She’s also relieved that anyone who knew she smashed Licinia’s face to death is dead, or so she thinks. She’s also pregnant! Yay! A baby Glaber on the way. Or is it? A flashback to the murder of Licinia reminds us that moments earlier she’d been unknowingly going at it with a gold-painted, masked Spartacus. Is there a chance Glaber Jr. is really Spartacus Jr.? There was no mention of that possibility, so we’ll file that under soapy-drama theories for now.
Spartacus’ message to Glaber added to Senator Albinias’ threats of politically crippling him have Glaber packing up and heading back to Capua. He decides the Ludus is the place to be since it has a good vantage point, plus I’m guessing the cliff makes for a convenient garbage (or body) disposal, and maybe he likes the smell of death. Of course, he takes his wife with him, which doesn’t please Ilithyia one bit. Batiatus’ house looks untouched since the slaughter, which means lots of blood, sex masks and the gods know what has been festering in that place for weeks... Oh yeah, and Lucretia’s there too.
Lucretia somehow managed to survive the stab to the tummy. But what she lacked in fatal internal bleeding or infection, she made up for in crazy. She doesn’t seem to remember anything, including Ilithyia killing Lycinia (crafty Ilithyia was quick to confirm that after she was done screaming at the sight of crazed-Lucretia). In addition to crazy, Lucretia might be a little bit psychic. She sensed right away that Ilithyia’s pregnant, even though she’s barely showing.
Aurelia’s big moment in the Blood and Sand finale remains my favorite part of the episode. Last we saw her she was stabbing barely-a-man Numerius repeatedly, screaming “He was mine!” over and over. Aurelia got her vengeance for Numerius killing her husband Varro just for funsies (and if I remember correctly, as part of an implied agreement between himself and Ilithyia in exchange for whatever she did with him in that bathtub...). With her score more or less settled, I suppose we should have predicted that her number would be up tonight. Her story really only had one of two endings, the first being that she managed to get to her son, using the money Spartacus gave her (likely as a penance from his guilt at being involved in Varro’s death), or she was going to get caught, just like Diona did in Gods of the Arena and killed. Unfortunately, it was that latter that was to be her fate.
After arriving in Capua, Glaber wanted to make a big public show that everything was A-OK there. He did this by showing everyone that Lucretia is, in fact, alive (though not entirely well, but they cleaned her up and made her pretty), and by presenting the crowd with the captured Aurelia, whom he intended to torture publicly to obtain the whereabouts of Spartacus.
Spartacus interfered though and though he didn’t kill Glaber, contact was made and blood was shed. It’s so on. Crixus and his men also showed up to join the fray. Crixus actually wanted to stop Spartacus, but he got there a shade or two too late. He did manage to make eye contact with Lucretia, whom he stabbed the last time they locked eyes. Awkward.
Aurelia didn’t die until Spartacus and the other men retreated, and not before telling Spartacus to stay the heck away from her son since he’s brought nothing but problems to her family. She kind of has a point. Sure, we can defend Spartacus by saying it wasn’t his fault Varro died. The man practically neck-stabbed himself after all. But from Aurelia’s perspective, Spartacus is all over everything that’s happened to her and her family. She died bitter, which is unfortunate. She had moxie.
Speaking of bitter, while Crixus may be willing to take his tentative alliance with Spartacus to the next level if it serves his own needs, Oenomaus is not happy about what happened in “Kill Them All” and he doesn’t seem to have any intention of joining forces with Spartacus and the rest of the slaves. He did stop by their tunnel to advise them to get out of town when Glaber and his men arrived, but that was all the contact he seemed to want to have with them.
Agron and his brother were always pretty energetic, but in the wake of his brother’s death, he seems quick to anger now. In the opening fight scene, he went all Ilithyia on one of the soldiers, smashing the man’s face against a rock. While it doesn’t seem like he has any one person to aim his anger at, he’s not a happy camper, which is to be expected, given how close he and his brother were.
And then there’s Mira, who is at Spartacus’ side quite a bit when they’re “home.” Spartacus seems to listen to her, somewhat, though he made it clear that he’s still very much out for blood for his wife’s death. So, while they may be sort of together and continue to share a bed, his walls aren’t entirely down with her.
Seppius and Seppia
Their parents couldn’t give them different names? Anyway, these two were set up in Capua before Glabor arrived. The siblings seem to have some status in the area, and Seppius’ men were the ones opposing Spartacus and the slaves before Glaber arrived. There’s a weird sort of flirty-vibe between this brother and sister duo that I have no idea what to make of at this point.
And that about covers it for the night! The episode ended with Spartacus talking about staying united, which is a good plan, considering they need the numbers. It was a good beginning to what will hopefully be another great season. We’ll end this run-down with one of the more amusing quotes of the night, courtesy of one of Spartacus’ men:
“You had me at whores.”