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Friday, 02 March 2012


Amidst the usual political and personal maneuverings in Capua, Spartacus decides to take his crusade for freedom right to the arena itself, on the latest episode of “Spartacus: Vengeance,” “Libertus.”

We begin not with the first image seen in the episode (more on the arena’s bloody activities in due time), but with Spartacus himself, as he and the ragtag warriors, still weary from the journey, find shelter in an abandoned villa.  On the premises, Spartacus and Agron find Lucius, a disgraced Roman in exile, embittered by his experiences.

Having kept an ear to the ground, Lucius tells Spartacus that Crixis, “the undefeated Gaul” is alive, but due to be executed in Capua.  He also intimates that word is spreading that Spartacus himself has been killed.

Meanwhile, Ashur has returned to Capua, lying to Glaber about the dead Roman soldier (remember, it was Ashur who killed the soldier out of fear of being slaughtered by Spartacus and his warriors).  Glaber has Ashur imprisoned.  But that’s the least of his concerns, as Ilithyia is openly planning the dissolution of their marriage with her father, Virinius and even Lucretia, who is stunned to discover that Ilithyia plans to take a potion, concealed in a red vial, designed to end her pregnancy.  Lucretia does some fast talking, convinces Ilithyia to hold off until after the execution of Crixus, Oenomaus and the other Gaul, a grand spectacle indeed.  And it is grander than before because, as a special attraction, Gannicus will return to deliver the killing blows.

More on Gannicus in a moment…

Lucretia goes to Ashur, once more telling him that she will use her influence to free him, and giving him a special assignment: replace the red vial’s contents with water and herbs.  Indeed, Ashur is freed, but somehow, Glaber is told of Ilithyia’s plans.  He finds the vial, confronts her with it, then smashing it against the wall.  Ilithyia responds by mocking her husband, saying that he’s unworthy of her.  She is more determined than ever to dissolve their union, but will wait until after the ceremony in the arena, performing her duties as Glaber’s faithful wife one more time.

Meanwhile, Spartacus decides that they will sneak into the arena, disrupt the execution and save Crixus and the others.  Nassir, healing but still weak, wants to go with them, but Agron gently tells him to stay behind and be safe, sealing their happy reunion with a kiss.  As Spartacus grimly prepares for the dangerous mission…

Gannicus is in a brotherl, enjoying himself before his task.  In reality, Gannicus is conflicted about his agreement with the Romans.

But as a freed man, he’s been adrift, despite the legendary status he has achieved.  But money is money, so he will be the executioner.

The ceremony begins, and the three warriors are given blunted swords with which to “defend” themselves.  They all agree to make the Romans rue the day they’ve given them even such paltry weaponry.  They are led to the arena, boos raining down on them.  Soon after, Gannicus hits the sands, and is cheered like a rock star.  Watching all of this, the Roman hierarchy anticipates bloody good sport.  Glaber, understandably, is distracted by his world crumbling around him.  Virinius is smug, Ilithyia wet with future ambition, Lucretia conflicted by it all.

Meanwhile, Spartacus, Mira, Agron and the others are underneath the literal bowels of the arena, overpowering the guards and get into position.  As Spartacus and Agron don the guards’ uniforms and position themselves inside the arena, Mira and the warriors douse and set fire to the walls.

The execution is cloaked as a “battle”, in which Oenomaus strikes the first blow, raging at Gannicus for bedding his dead wife.  The battle is pitched, with Crixus fighting like a man possessed.  Agron is impatient, but Spartacus tells him they must wait until the fire takes down the arena.  Crixus and Oenomaus (and the other Gaul) put up as fierce a fight as they can, but it looks like they’ve run out of steam.

Just then, the fire does its job, as the stands collapse, causing panic.  Spartacus and Agron make their move, dispatching the warriors and saving Crixus.  A piece of the canopy structure falls on top of Gannicus and Oenomaus.  However, Gannicus proves what side he’s really on when he helps Spartacus save Oenomaus.  They all manage to escape in the same manner from which they came.

As chaos reigns, Glaber happens upon his father-in-law, pinned under strong timber.  Instead of saving his life, Glaber kills him.  Shortly, he “sadly” reports his father-in-law’s demise.  Instantly sensing that his power base has been weakened, Virinius leaves, abandoning the plan to marry Ilithyia.  She is forced to look on as Glaber proudly proclaims his return to status.

With that, “Spartacus: Vengeance” rests for a week.  The aftermath is sure to be eventful.  But for now, what did you think of “Libertus”?


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