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TV Review: SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE Mid-Season Episodes 1 - 5

Monday, 5 March 2012

There are a whole host of TV shows that I watch as you know, but there are also many that I watch which I don't blog about, the reason? Well, I just feel that there are some shows that don't really require weekly reviews. One of those would have to be Spartacus: Vengeance, as you know I'm no writer and I'm no good at telling you how beautiful the subtle tones of the background are, or telling you how some flower blossomed. I'm more of a lets guess what's going to happen next episode guy, or why did they do that? For that reason I probably don't write about Spartacus, lets face it, since Spartacus is based on a real person who most of us learnt a little about at school, all we need to do is type Spartacus Wiki into Google and you got the story there so there would be no point of me writing about it as we know what happens eventually.

I absolutely love Spartacus, and I'm saying that when I didn't even see Blood and Sand, although I do have the box set to watch now. I was lucky enough to catch Gods of The Arena which gave me the basics of who was who so I could pick up in Vengeance. Even then I'm not one to go on about how sublime a performance a certain actor has put in, or tell you how terribly drama school like their acting was (not the case in this show). What I could say is Craig Parker as Glaber is the least convincing Roman Praetor I've seen. of course not seeing the afor mentioned Blood and Sand I can't compare the late Andy Whitfield and Liam McIntyre, what I do know is that McIntyre puts in a great performance and I know he was Andy Whitfield's personal choice for the role.

2.1 Fugitivus

The story of the second (or third) season started with "Fugitivus" and follows straight on from Blood and Sand's last episode which saw Spartacus and his Gladiator rebellion in full force causing the death of Batiatus, the bloody battle saw the slaves free and Spartacus with a dilemma. By this time Roman Praetor Gaius Cladius Glaber and his Roman legion have been sent to Capua to crush Spartacus and his growing band of slaves. Does Spartacus stay and tackle the man who condemned him and his wife to slavery or does he make the sacrifice for the greater good and head for higher ground for his army to grow? I got into the show because I heard that it was pretty full on in every aspect and in "Fugitivus" that's exactly what I got with plenty bloody violence sex and swearing on offer. The battle in the brothel certainly opens your eyes if you didn't see the first season, I mean did you see the size of those things?

2.2 A Place In This World

As the title of this episode would suggest it's pretty much what does a slave do when their master has disappeared? The slave rebellion continued to grow though, and lead by Spartacus and Crixus the small army get into Robin Hood Territory robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, as they make their way through the Italian terrain they raid villa after villa killing all Roman’s in their wake and freeing slaves the help fight against the Republic.  Not quite as battle laden “A Place in This World” was brilliant (especially for me) as it showed us the backing story of Oenomaus (Peter Mensah), showing us how his life started fighting in the pit and how he was sold to Titus (Jeffrey Thomas) and entered into the house of Batiatus where his Gladiatorial presence would eventually see him achieve the role of Doctore. Oenomaus now finds himself back in that same pit fighting man after man wanting each to kill him for the shame he brought on the house of Batiatus. This episode also saw the return of Ashur (Nick E. Tarabay) who has been working with Lucretia to bring back Oenomaus to the Ludus fold.

2.3 The Greater Good

For me this is probably the least memorable episode of the second season, it was still very, very good but more in the way of character development as Crixus learns the fate of his love Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinon). We also see the coming together of Spartacus’ most trust aid Agron and the newest addition to the fighting army Nasier.
It is learnt eventually that Navia lives and is working in the mines, though you can see Agron’s reason for not disclosing the fact to Crixus you can also see Spartacus’ argument for them to raid the mines and save her life. Less action packed without doubt but I still enjoyed this. Eventually we see the beaten and tortured Oenomaus break and reveal the whereabouts of Spartacus to Ashur.

2.4 Empty Hands

Spartacus and Agron have parted ways, joining Crixus to the mines in a bid to rescue Naevia, Spartacus makes a narrow escape only to be pursued to the woods by the Romans. As Crixus has been captured in the mine and men have fell left right and centre Spartacus faces an uphill challenge and it would seem that he and Mira are resigned to the fate of being captured by the Romans, following all the battles before Spartacus soon learns that his latest threat is nothing more than right hand man Agron with his men on their way to meet with him at Mt Vesuvius.

2.5 Libertus

“Libertus” would have to go down as my favourite episode so far, not only was it spectacular with Spartacus returning to the arena posing as a Roman before he burned the place down, but as I promised in last weeks preview this episode saw the return of Gannicus, the Gladiator given his freedom at the end of Gods of the Arena. Everything about this episode was brilliant, far from the green screen scenes we have seen in this series of Spartacus the effects and money spent on them were on display for all to see. Roll on tonight's "Chosen Paths".

I’ve seen a few things which people have wrote in relation to Spartacus: Vengeance saying that it’s not as good as Blood and Sand, but like I said above I haven’t seen that (yet). I would guess that most of Blood and Sand is based in the House of Batiatus and the arena, don’t get me wrong that’s great and I can’t wait to see it but I could put it in terms similar to Prison Break, for the first season they were all stuck in a prison which was good but I enjoyed the second season more when they where on the run. Maybe that’s why I enjoy Spartacus: Vengeance so much.
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