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If done with “balance,” wronging someone who’s wronged you makes you sort of like them, doesn’t it? So, how does Spartacus exact vengeance against Glaber without becoming Glaber? I like to think that sooner or later he’s going to be driven by a cause beyond simple revenge, and see the bigger picture. I feel like he’s close to that, and maybe what happened in tonight’s episode will inch him closer to a broader perspective on what’s going on.
In “Balance,” Spartacus had the opportunity to kill Glaber’s wife. Gannicus delivered her to him, hoping that if Spartacus could get his eye-for-an-eye (or wife-for-a-wife) all of this rebellion business would be finished and life could go back to normal. Spartacus seemed prepared to kill her, and the fact that she was pregnant may have only sweetened the pot for him, as her unborn child was a reminder of what he lost when his wife died. He and Sura wanted a family one day.
Ilithyia revealing to Spartacus that her unborn child was his was an excellent confirmation (I’d suspected as much given flashbacks to their gold-plated-sex-session), but what saved her life was bringing up his wife and suggesting Sura would turn from him when he reunited with her in the afterlife if he killed her. That resonated with Spartacus, and afterward it seemed like killing Ilithyia was off the table for him. Because killing Glaber’s wife makes him as bad as Glaber. It makes him his enemy. But Mira wasn’t above giving it a shot, but Spartacus stopped her and I’m wondering if the attempt might cause some distance between them. More on that later.
Lucius played a key role in how things worked out tonight. He payed the enslaved Ilithyia some kindness in bringing her food and had a chat with her that seemed to suggest he was open to helping her escape in exchange the land he lost. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of that conversation was, other than to lead us to think he was going to betray the rebels... unless he really was going to betray the rebels. Instead, he delivered a message to Glaber for a meet-up, and rejoined the rebels. But the fact that his family was killed by the Romans suggests that he never had any intention of striking such a deal. Money and land can’t buy back what he’s lost. And I doubt any of them really believed Glaber would reward him with anything once he had the information he needed.
We knew Glaber was pretty much over Ilithyia, so it's not shock that he’d trojan-horse the armor wagon, filling it Ashur and his rag-tag band of crazed murderers, instead of the armor Spartacus demanded in exchange for Ilithyia, but I thought he cared enough for his heir not to put his wife(ish) in harm’s way. Guess not. Or at the very least, he wants Spartacus dead more than he wants his heir. It doesn’t hurt that Seppia’s keeping his bed (and bath) warm. Maybe he hopes she’ll give him a baby.
A battle ensued and Crixus nearly bought the farm at the hands of the Egyptian, but there was back-up at the meet-up, with Lucius, Mira and others firing arrows at Glaber and his men. Glaber took one in the shoulder but he appears to be ok. Others were less fortunate, and after reinforcements were called, Glaber and his men backed off. But not before Lucius died at the sword of the Egyptian, who was starting to look like a pin-cushion by the time he was within slashing distance of Lucius.
Spartacus let Ilithyia go, but not before telling her what she already knows. Glaber doesn’t love her. She may also have figured out by what he said that he was fine with letting her die if it meant getting vengeance. So I expect things to get even more awkward when she returns to Casa Glaber... assuming she makes it back. Glaber thinks she’s dead. Maybe she’ll decide to go to Rome to find Varinius.
Meanwhile, Spartacus rose above, which is the mark of a true hero. Sure, we should factor in the fact that Glaber’s attempt at an ambush proved he doesn’t love Ilithyia the way Spartacus loved his wife, and would therefore offer no balance to his vengeance, but I don’t think he could have killed Ilithyia anyway. Not in this context. And not while she’s carrying his child.
Back to Glaber... During a scuffle and a bit of rape, Lucretia saw Seppius’ bracelet among Ashur’s treasure. It took her all-episode to get this little nugget of proof to Seppia, and it came after the girl thoroughly went at it with Glaber, but she now knows the man she’s sleeping with murdered her brother. How will Seppia deal with this? My guess is she’ll look for guidance from Lucretia, at least at first. And then maybe she’ll end up being Glaber’s final undoing. Perhaps she’ll go all Aurelia on him. (“He was mine!!!”)
Other things worth mentioning:
Spartacus’ little comment to Glaber about how he’ll be reminded of him when he looks at his child was a clever little jab. The whole situation with the baby being Spartacus’ is sort of Braveheartesque, and I can only hope that Glaber does learn that he has no heir before he meets his end, much in the way Isabelle whispered the news to Longshanks when he was too sickly to speak.
Crixus and Naevia seem to be in a better place, what with all the sparring and kissing. Hopefully that scene is an indication that she’s feeling more empowered.
Nasir and Agron are adorably smitten by one another, but they should not be on watch-duty together.
Oenomaus and Gannicus haven’t reconciled, but all signs point to Gannicus making an effort for penance. He doesn’t believe in Spartacus’ cause, but it seems he’s willing to join it for Oenomaus’ sake.
In terms of PR work, Glaber seems to be aiming for a combination of fear, and the veneer of control. He refused to let word get out of Ilithyia’s disappearance, but wasn’t above going to the brothel to slash people up and demand information about Gannicus’ whereabouts. Of course, the one person who might have been able to help him was crucified by Glaber during last week’s episode.
There seems to be more tension between Mira and Spartacus. Even before she tried to kill Ilithyia behind Spartacus’ back, which was sort of on behalf of him in a whole “I won’t let him stoop to Glaber’s level by killing you, so I’ll do it myself” sort of way, there was some awkward tension when they were talking earlier and the conversation came around to his wife. It’s a weird topic. Mira’s a trooper for being at Spartacus’ side while he’s still clearly torn up about losing his wife. It can’t be easy on her, but she doesn’t seem to demand his affection, though it’s clear she wants it.
And we’ll end tonight’s write-up with a quote. Lucius’ final words as the Egyptian was about to kill him, “At least it’s not a fucking Roman that takes me.”
I can’t wait to see how the Egyptian meets his end.