After the conclusion of last week’s episode of Spartacus: Vengeance, it seemed unlikely that tonight’s would top it in terms of the magnitude of destruction and mayhem. Impressively, “Chosen Path” did manage to make a splash as both sides of the growing war between Romans and rebels moved forward.
You’d think it’d be a man’s world on a show like this, and while the men certainly do have the final say in most matters, the female characters are never shunted to the side or forgotten in the series. Tonight’s episode was a fine example of that. Unfortunately, a lot of the developments among the females weren’t all that positive. But since we’re on the subject, we’ll start with them.
“We both carry the burden of our acts.”
Ilithyia’s naturally a mess because her father is dead and her kind-of fiancé Varinius is gone. She’s now stuck with Glaber, who’s basically treating her like an enslaved wife. Given that he knows she was looking to divorce and disgrace him, this is a little payback for that. Lucretia lashed out at Ashur for going behind her back and telling Glaber about Ilithyia’s plan to abort her baby. She made a bad call in trusting Ashur and an even worse one in thinking she could scold him like a child for his betrayal. She’s not the boss of him anymore and he let her know it when he threw her against the wall and raped her.
Ilithyia and Lucretia bonded in the bathtub later on in a moment that might have been amusing to me if not for the circumstances. Ilithyia and Lucretia aren’t exactly the most upstanding people, and they’ve done their share of evil things. Just the other episode, Ilithyia was stabbing a tortured and bound slave in the chest for funsies, and we need only to look at Naevia to see the evidence of Lucretia’s temper. Lucretia might not have been the one to rape and abuse Naevia, but she did send her on the path that led to that. All the same, I still felt bad for both of them tonight. I also feel a little bad for Ashur, but only because I know (hope) Lucretia makes him pay for what he did.
“Seize it with your own hands. Not by the spreading of your legs.”
On the other side of the war, Chadara was dealing with Rhaskos death by desperately trying to find some other man to bed with to secure her status among the group. Maybe it’s because we don’t really know her or her history, or because we haven’t really seen any evidence that rank and status among the rebels is all that important, but it seemed odd to me that she’s so insistent on sleeping her way to a comfortable position within the group. What exactly is she getting out of the deal? Perhaps an example of what life among the rebels is like at a low rank would have made her efforts a bit more understandable from our perspective.
Unfortunately, Mira’s excellence at archery didn’t set a good example for Chadara in terms of building her own status, but did prove useful in killing Chadara as she was attempting to take off with the map and the money, betraying the whole group in the process. It was a bold and completely foolish attempt on Chadara’s part. Given the demonstrated fighting and killing abilities of Spartacus and the other rebels, why on earth would anyone want to get on their bad list by betraying them?
“No I would not have you watch. I would have you teach how to breathe again. How to live. How to fight, so that no man will ever lay hands on me against my will.”
Naevia and Crixus were reunited tonight, but attempts to make love revealed that Naevia is too messed up from everything she’s been through to be intimate just yet. It seemed like she was considering suicide at one point, but as it turns out, she has some fight in her. She doesn’t want to run from it. Crixus’ motivation is recharged thanks to this. Before, he was all about reuniting with Naevia. That was his driving force. Now he has her back, and it seems seeking vengeance for what was done to her - in the hopes of helping her reclaim what she lost - will be what pushes him forward.
On a related note, what a fantastic performance by Cynthia Addai-Robinson! I’m still getting used to her as Naevia, but she really hit it out of the park tonight, delivering an intense and emotionally moving performance as she talked about the girl that was lost.
“Freedom is not a stick of wood to be presented as bone to obedient dog. It is a thing all men deserve.”
Unsurprisingly, Gannicus has no interest in joining the ranks of Spartacus. He wants wine and women and to do his own thing. He wasn’t even interested in Chadara’s offer of an alliance. He hung around for a little while, catching up with Crixus, whom he knew back when Crixus was first enslaved by the House of Batiatus (Gods of the Arena). And he spoke with Oenomaus, who woke up just long enough to quietly tell Gannicus off properly, basically calling him selfish. That may have been the deciding factor in Gannicus leaving, if he was even considering staying at all. The only reason he was there to begin with was for Oenomaus. I wonder if they’ll ever be any kind of friend to each other again.
Gannicus seems to have gone his own way now, but not before having an awesome fight with Spartacus. Their brawl was cut short when Mira shot Chadara with the arrow. Given that Chadara was proven to be the betrayer, that let Gannicus off the hook and Spartacus let him leave. As nice as it was to get a sample of what a Spartacus/Gannicus fight might look like, I was glad to see it ended before either of them got seriously hurt.
“And I was considered lowest among the brotherhood.”
Ashur got himself cleaned up and bumped up a few notches. He no longer needs Lucretia to help him, and after raping her and threatening to reveal to Glaber the lies they told at the start of the season, he was free of her leash. After using himself as an example of what even the lowest-ranked gladiator-slave can do against Roman soldiers, Ashur got Glaber to trust him enough to hire some thugs worthy of gladiator fighting. And by thugs, I mean a guy who smashed another guy’s head into the floor for fun, and another guy, called the Egyptian, who lived down a pit. These guys are scary, blood-thirsty and merciless, and could prove to be unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Ashur’s assembled group was used to kill Seppius and his slaves. Seppius died under Glaber’s foot, just after Glaber promised him he’d take real good care of his sister. It seemed like they were almost ready to start working together too. Maybe Seppius' hesitation to take Glaber's hand (and mentioning Varinius) is what did him in. Poor Seppia. She’s been grieving over the people she knew who died at the arena, and now she’ll have to deal with the death of her brother, and find herself tangled further in Glaber’s web, which has too many spiders in it.
Other things worth noting
Seppia may seem a bit naive, but she did pick up on the fact that Lucretia and Ilithyia were trying to manipulate her. It’ll be interesting to see how she does when taken into Glaber’s house. Will she figure out that he killed her brother?
Crixus and Agron had it out again. Crixus is still angry with Agron for lying to him about Naevia being dead. Agron isn’t really sorry he lied.
Gannicus mentioned he lost his rudis. Does that mean he’s not free anymore? Or is he going to try to go back to get it?
The episode ended with Ashur taking Seppius' bracelet. Will he use that as proof of Glaber's decision to kill him?