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Spartacus

Spartacus is a drama about a Thracian soldier imprisoned by the Roman Republic around the turn of the 1st century BC. He is sold into slavery and trained to be a gladiator in the city of Capua. STARZ 2010-???

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Episode 10 - Wrath of the Gods

15 June 2012

Credit STARZ

Synopsis: The slaves grow restless on top of Vesuvius and some of the Germans attempt to rush the Romans guarding the pass. Spartacus leads a group to rescue the situation but Mira is killed. Ilithyia travels to the Temple with Lucretia to encourage Glaber to speed things up so that their child could be born in Rome. She also tells lies about Ashur so that Glaber will get rid of him. Ashur is sent up to negotiate with the slaves and Naevia fights and kills him. Spartacus strings vines together and he, Crixus, Agron and Gannicus descend on the Roman camp and attack. They take the Romans by surprise and Spartacus kills Glaber. Ilithyia gives birth at the ludus and Lucretia takes the baby and throws herself off the cliff.

The Good: This was an adequate finale but no more.

Ashur’s death was satisfying but slightly drawn out. It was certainly fitting that Ashur was betrayed to his death (by Ilithyia) after all those he has crossed. And of course if he hadn’t chosen to lie with Naevia it’s possible that none of them would be where they are now.  The idea of leaving Naevia to fight him alone was just about credible and of course was a great moment of closure for her.

The writers decided to stick with a version of the historical scenario where Spartacus and his men used vines to scale down the cliff and take the Romans by surprise. I was pleased with the surprise attack part of the story because it gave the slaves a realistic way of overwhelming the superior numbers of their enemy. We also finally got a good fight scene when the Egyptian stabbed Oenomaus and Gannicus leapt into action to avenge him.

Glaber’s death was adequate too. The same echoing of lines went on (as with Batiatus) where Spartacus reverses Glaber’s phrase (from 102 about Spartacus finding his place on his knees) before dispatching him. It wasn’t remotely as emotive but it was the moment we came to see.

The Bad: If the producers expected Lucretia’s betrayal of Ilithyia to be a surprise then they failed. They made it clear that she remembered everything and gave us no plausible reason to believe that she would have forgiven Ilithyia. Instead this “twist” has been hanging out there all season and ended with a thud. Literally. In terms of the character I totally buy that Lucretia would take the baby and jump off the cliff. What has she got to live for? Now at least she can end her misery by dealing a cruel blow to the woman who locked her in the villa to lose her own child. However as a viewer I take no pleasure from seeing that. I feel like I was jerked around all season waiting for this and have no emotion but disappointment with this tale of woe.

The Unknown: I am really tired of Spartacus’ speeches. He made several in this episode and I wasn’t convinced by any. In season one he was a man who was able to charm, convince and cajole people with his intelligence and self assurance. This season he has been left to lecture en masse so many times that it has become a strained technique. With the position of the slaves looking increasingly desperate I kept expecting someone to call him out for talking too much. It’s not just the speechifying but the lack of intelligent planning and clear thinking about how to fight the Romans. I wish we could have swapped talk of freedom for strategy.

There has also developed an unfortunate subtext to the series where the real hero is now Gannicus. Spartacus seems to believe his own hype. Despite having killed all those responsible for his wife’s death he now seems intent on killing thousands more by taking on the Romans in their homeland. Gannicus has warned all season that this will lead to doom and yet is too phlegmatic to suggest they all just flee Italy. The mixed messages about why the slaves are fighting has left Spartacus looking like a false prophet and I assume that’s not the story being told.

The deaths of Mira and Oenomaus were unexpected but not emotive. It’s sad to lose them in theory but they fell in battle, as should happen and neither really had a story still to be told. I didn’t have an emotional reaction as I did when Varro (wife and child depending on him) or Barca (freedom within grasp) or Aurelia (ditto) fell. 

I was amused by Ilithyia manipulating Glaber into killing Ashur. I guess their ludicrously rediscovered passion wasn’t based on honesty. It wasn’t clear if she had died on the sands of the ludus. I suppose she could live on into next season but unless the ghost of Varro does appear I’m not sure what role she would have going forward.

Best Moment: I enjoyed the two long sequences with Ashur (his betrayal and subsequent death) just fine. It was nice to get a bit longer to focus on his story and he played his part as well as ever. Frankly though as soon as Lucretia showed him any enthusiasm he should have been suspicious.

The Bottom Line: I thought this was a flat finale. It wasn’t bad but it was everything you would expect and not a drop more. As you know I am sad and disappointed with what Spartacus has become as a show. It’s doubtful if the tone is going to change and bring back the subtleties which made season one such an unexpected delight. However with the “business” left over from the ludus taken care of perhaps next season will be able to make something of a fresh start.

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  • Is it just me or did this season of Spartacus seem disappointing?
    The fight scenes lack the drama and pull of season 1. Even the sex and nudity seems to lack purpose and direction. Season 1 used sex be it straight, gay, lesbian or all 3 together to further character development and plot; be it for love, as a weapon or a tool to create division amongst the characters. It always served a meaningful purpose. As much as i appreciate nudity, sex and violence, its use this season felt gratuitous and without reason. Insufficient plot with excessive naked breasts for the hetero men and lesbians. Excessive naked men for the gays and straight chicks. Please go back to your roots. Period DRAMA with sex and violence to keep the middle class’s interested, not merely expensive period porn by digital playground.

    In conclusion, season 1 managed to captivate both my intelligence and my cock. While season 2 has insulted my intelligence and raised my appreciation of the therapeutic benefits available through 5 minutes of amateur internet porn.
    I am now a dumberorer masturbating idiot for watching season 2. Thankyou

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Bangkokian, 14/06/2012 10:10pm (7 years ago)

  • I didn't think this was terrible, but I also didn't think it was great. Because of the nature of last season's finale (the slaves broke free) the entire show was changed. That being the case it was obviously a hard task to figure out how to keep the feel of the show "the same" and yet the stakes, setting and entire setup of the show was completely different. At times it was a success and at times it was a failure. Ultimately, though, this season of Spartacus will be remembered in my mind as uneven.

    I reserved a lot of judgment of certain characters and situations for the end of the season, waiting to see how resolutions played out. So while this is the page for the last episode, for me my thoughts will probably encompass more of the season as a whole.

    Things I liked:
    *Crixus and Naevia had strong seasons even with relatively minimal screen time.

    *The mutual respect turned growing friendship between Crixus and Spartacus. They both backed each other up in every moment it mattered most. I really liked that. Fierce loyalty to each other felt like the glue that *actually* held the slaves together...not the speeches or causes.

    *I like that Mira was more three dimensional this season. In the first season she just kind of seemed like "the female that Spartacus would actually allow himself to sleep with from time to time," but this season grew into a real character...even if not one of the strongest ones.

    *Even if it was too "on the head" for some, I really liked the battle of sport with Oenomaus and Gannicus vs. Crixus and Agron. All season I looked forward to the coming together of Spartacus, Crixus, Gannicus, Oenomaus and Agron...but aside from the final battle in the last episode this was really the only glimpse of that.

    *The initial coupling of Glaber and Seppia provided momentary intrigue and possibilities for more. Unfortunately I think they botched it.

    *Ashur had an absolute standout season. Well written. Well portrayed. Fit perfectly with Ashur's arcs in both the first season and the prequel season. Really strong stuff, and really the only finale death scene that was worthy of the character (an argument can be made for Lucretia's, but more on that later).

    *I appreciated the presence of Illythia, Lucretia and Gannicus, even if not their story arcs at times.

    *Liam McIntyre was not bad as Spartacus, but...

    The Bad:

    *Liam McIntyre/Spartacus, by no fault of his own, was reduced to obligatory speech machine. I noticed it in the first few episodes, but let it slide. But then it just became ridiculous as he would give rousing or rallying speeches every...single...episode. And sometimes more than one in an episode!

    *Glaber was never an interesting character to me. He was always an arrogant prick and so watching his story as compared to a character like Battiatus was a lot less captivating. With Battiatus you knew he had to die, but you also thought, "No! I don't want him to die yet!" With Glaber it's been a wait since episode one of the first season. The only time he rose above uninteresting prick was when the tides turned his way after he was pitted against Illythia. Seeing him have the upper hand with Seppia by his side, Illythia's father dead, and Varinius back in Rome was a great change of pace...but it was squandered by bringing Glaber and Illythia back together.

    *Which was ridiculous! Illythia being set free by Spartacus. Her returning to Glaber and somehow winning back his favor. And her killing Seppia. Blah. So many wasted opportunities.

    *The deaths of Glaber, Lucretia, Ashur, Illythia, Varinius, Seppius and Seppia leaves us with......what? No (known) villains for next season. That, to me, is not good. Granted, it could turn out great if the villain gets nice focus, story, performance, etc. But at face value it looks like a major mistake. New characters will have to be fully introduced and given lots of screen time. Familiarity is lost completely. Built in storylines and character connections (Spartacus/Illythia, Crixus/Lucretia, Lucretia/Ashur, Ashur/Everyone, etc.) are lost completely. I even though Varinius had been built up well enough on the periphery to become one of the driving villains of next season. He had ranking higher than Glaber, showed a lot more political finesse, yet still would have been seeking the end to Spartacus. Instead he got his faces blown off.

    *Did I mention too many speeches? :P

    *The arc of Gannicus. For someone who held so staunchly to his (un)beliefs about the war, he surely did jump all in pretty quickly with the rebels. His disdain for the cause was too overplayed for him to just join right up with no qualms after capturing Illythia.

    *The death of Illythia. For some reason I loved (to hate) this character. I think she will be the character I miss most. I will always feel they masterfully built a connection between her and Spartacus (even before their night of passion), a love-hate-lust push pull for the ages...yet it felt almost completely abandoned her. But back to her death and the ultimate "plan" that Lucretia had. Obviously we can poke holes right through this thing. If she (Lucretia) didn't care to live, but wanted revenge she could have stabbed Illythia in the baby bump to begin with, let her react with horror, and then slit her throat. Or if it was imperative to hold the baby as "her own" that she could bring to Battiatus in the afterlife, then why not keep playing the role of best friend throughout and wait for the baby to be delivered safely? Illythia seemed to (re)trust Lucretia enough to let her help deliver the baby and then hold it afterward. Wouldn't it have been sweeter revenge to jump off the cliff with the baby (which in and of itself I thought was brilliant) with Illythia unharmed and experiencing what she thought to be a joyous and celebratory moment? Killing Illythia along her the baby betrayal is too kind to Illythia. Too quick a death. Let her feel the day after day misery that Lucretia felt after losing her baby. I suppose that a case could be made that Illythia did not die, but I just don't believe that to be the case.

    *I agree completely that Lucretia became WAY to cognizant of the past for us to believe she wasn't up to something. It felt like Dexter writing...where a twist is telegraphed from the get go, yet when it happens we're supposed to think, "Wow!"

    *The death of Oenomaus. Only cause I will miss the character. I felt he could have been given more. I liked the times we saw him step up as the defacto-trainer and wise counsel to Spartacus (like when he acknowledged Spartacus wise plan of drink and sport...then realizing he had to join in). I wish we had had more of those moments rather than the cold war between him and Gannicus.

    *As I alluded to above, I also wish we could have seen more of Spartacus, Crixus, Oenomaus, Gannicus and Agron together. On the same side. Brothers. Standing as one together. Just for the sheer joy of seeing "the good guys" stand in unified bad assery for a little while. I knew they would start dropping at some point, but I wanted a little more embellished new hope before the empire struck back.



    Ultimately I enjoyed the season, but I don't think it stayed on top as a contender for the best show on television or of the year. The gripes slightly outweigh the highlights, but in the end it's still in my Top 10, maybe even Top 5 shows on television still airing.

    Posted by Brando, 11/04/2012 4:56pm (8 years ago)

  • Despite all the problems that arose out of this season of Spartacus, it seems we can always count on the ability of the show to give us spectacular events and finales. Even though the last two episodes had been disappointing to me, this final episode brought it all home somewhat safely. Of course the storylines that were problematic still remain so even in the light of final revelations, but they were seen to such a finality that ensures their permanent conclusion.
    As usual, this finale didn’t come without its share of surprises. The death of Mira makes sense in the light of her breakup with Spartacus and going forward, but it still came as a shock to the system. Unlike you it moved me to sadness to watch her demise. Her character was one that I enjoyed watching develop and while it would have been sad to watch her linger in the background to no purpose in upcoming seasons, I still felt that impact of that axe.
    Turning the siege weapons against the romans was a smart way to even the odds and made the defeat of the romans more believable. This entire event at the mountain also illustrated that the rebels needed an army. In the end, this business of vengeance was dealt with across the board. From Crixus and Navia, to Ilithya and Lucretia, Spartacus and Glaber, the arch of vengeance was concluded. Watching Navia scrape for hers, was hard to watch but eventually satisfying. I was glad that she wasn’t shown as some warrior princess, when she had only just started training. Plus it was nice to see Ashur die as a result of his arrogance and contempt, the same qualities that defined him for so long. I really must commend Nick Tarabay, who played Ashur so well. His facial expressions spoke volumes in every scene he was in, it’s sad to see another wonderful actor leaving the show.
    Another shocker was the death of Oemanaus. While I didn’t like the forgiveness he showed Gannicus last week, it helped ease into the moment they shared as the rebels descended the hills. It was a nice arch, but it could have been done much better as the writers showed with the Navia arch.
    So we come to the conclusion of this mixed bag of a season. It started off like a shot from a cannon with a fantastic first half, but slowed to a grind in the last half. At the very least there will be no endless loop of the Spartacus and Glaber dance and the story finally moves forward. Aiming above the muck is never a good thing for a TV show that had previously floated in the clouds. If this season was a way to transition Liam McIntyre into the title role with the support of our old favorites, then for me it was successful in doing just that.
    So we can conclude that Lucretia was batshit crazy after all. The end of her story arch was shocking, but left me questioning all the scenes that she was involved in. This weekend seemed to be the baby killing week for TV show with game of thrones, but it also ended a potential baby daddy storyline that I am glad we won’t be following. It does make rewatching the season more interesting now that we know just how crazy Lucretia was. Knowing that she was enduring everything just to get her hands on the baby paints a different light on everything.
    The Glaber and Ilithya storyline was another disappointment since last week’s craziness was just confirmed. Thankfully, it didn’t save either of them so we won’t have to think about it again. The only reason I can think of is that the writers wanted to mirror the love that Lucretia and Battiatus shared in the previous seasons. If they were doing this, they should have realized that even when Lucretia was in love with Crixus, she would never betray Battiatus like Ilithya did to Glaber. I never doubted the love Lucretia shared with Battiatus, but Ilithya and Glaber had the potential to get there, but all the machinations at the beginning of Vengeance killed that.
    Despite its faults, this season still did some great things. The friendship of Spartacus and Crixus was as good as we suspected it could be from blood and sand. In a show that loves the intrigue of the double cross it’s nice to see genuine friendship, hopefully next season will see Gannicus firmly entrenched in the brotherhood. Generally, this show has been good with relationships between its characters even when the storylines get a little absurd. As I mentioned before the Navia storyline was probably one of the best work done on the show to date, can’t wait to see where her character goes from here.
    Bringing down the arena still remains very memorable for me and it proved to be the height of the season. if the pacing for the season had been better planned, it could have made the season much better. Despite the moral problems of that act, it still made good television for me.
    All in all, it was a marginally good season trailing behind the previous two but still better than the network shows. I am sure Starz is aiming for HBO territory so lets hope the next season brings back the high quality Spartacus has brought in the past.

    As always, thanks for the forum Robin

    Viewer score: 58 / 100

    Posted by Kayode from Baltimore, 03/04/2012 7:13pm (8 years ago)

  • Well vengeance is over and after being really excited at the beginning of the series I'm a little disappointed at the end. The series in parts has had some great moments, but overall it has been let down by losing its 'fear factor' and the timings of events and story lines have been ridiculous. Within this ep there again was some ridiculous moments, not in a sexist way but navia beating Asher was so unrealistic it was embarrassing! A slave who had only trained a short time against an ex gladiator, who only an episode ago was slaying far better trained warriors somehow managed to beat him! All common sense went out the window with that one but I feared it would happen as soon as Neva made the challenge. What would have been better was if Asher had killed nevia then crixus killed Asher, this would have made it more real and emotional, but I guess they were never going to kill both Spartacus and crixus other halves off in the same ep. It was sad to see Asher get killed off as he was a good character and actor but I guess next season will be a fresh start and many of the characters needed to go. This is why I feel that many had to be killed off in this last ep as they will be taking on the big boys now and have done with the small fish, but the question begs...why couldn't this have been done throughout the series? Could it have been spaced out instead of drawing storylines out when we only have  10 episodes.  Even though loads happened I didn't enjoy this ep as much as I have others this season which is strange.  Sadly this finale didn't have me on the edge of my seat as id hoped. The fire balls being flung into the roman camp didn't have the effect it needed as we had seen it being done in the last ep. The battle and rush of soldiers coming over the wall had also been done in the last ep so what I feared last week sadly came true. The writers killed a lot of the tension and passion of the battle as most of the scenes and effects were used in the last ep, and was much better. To finish I think the writers need to make a fresh start and with the character clear out i think this is going to happen. Characters we know are going to fall, so i hope they learn from this season and make it special and build up the tension like in blood and sand. Spartacus is still a great show and I do enjoy it but this season just hasn't been up to the standard of storytelling and character plots I am used to. 

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by Ryan_B_11, 03/04/2012 12:27am (8 years ago)

  • Of the established characters deaths, Ashurs was the best. Finally outmanouvered by all parties and ultimately defeated by a girl after receiving the type of dirty 'low blow' he would have been proud of.
    I didn't feel too much for Mira, Luctretia or Oenomaus although the laters death did surprise me knowing the small amount of Spartacus history that I do. I imagine fan favourite Gannicus will assume that role now.

    Overall it was an ok season. Even before the season started I was apprehensive at how interesting the concept of the rebels being on the run would be. I wasn't bothered so much regarding Spartacus' speeches as I could understand that he had to quell the infighting to bring about unity but it looks like characterisation took a hit because of it.
    I'm with Robin. With the vengeance theme done and dusted I hope the writers can build something fresh with the next season.

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by Mark B, 02/04/2012 7:52pm (8 years ago)

  • Great podcast for the episode 'Monsters', i have to apologise about my concerns about Ashur’s leg, i have a medical background and that part of my mind was working while i was watching the first two seasons, you were right ashur did say his leg was healed in 'Blood and Sand', however he sustained the wound several years earlier in 'Gods of the Arena' and a wound that serious would never heal well enough for a man to fight again, but the writers did a good job trying to explain it and i now remember and appreciate this. I just wish the same regard was shown this season with respect to character motivations and actions.

    i believe all stories should make sense - like Star Wars, or if they don't make sense at least try very hard to make sense - like Lost.
    your review shows how full of holes the story is and how the writers are not even trying anymore. I have great respect for the writers and producers of Spartacus, they created a good first season which grew into something special and more importantly they handled the passing of the eponymous character’s actor very well in 'Gods of the Arena', its obvious they have the talent but i suspect its time and money that are the problem.

    'Wrath of the Gods' was a poor final episode.
    The deaths of five central characters was nothing more than a bribe to the audience and a poor one at that since all five characters had nothing left to live for anyway, making their deaths mean almost nothing.
    Ashur’s final scenes were unintentionally humorous
    - Glaber confronts him about the bracelet, meaning to kill him, but then lets Ashur’s own men do the deed, but then stops them and sends Ashur to the Spartacus camp to face certain death. When he gets there crixus goes to kill him but ashur says, ‘wait, I don’t have a weapon’, so they give him a sword, then he says ‘wait, I’m wounded so it would not be a fair fight’ so they let him fight Navia instead. LOL!

    In truth I wasn’t expecting much from this episode and I’m not surprised by it, I expect the viewing ratings will take a hammering but I will be watching next season for the simple reason that I know the creative team on this show can bounce back from a set-back as they did at the end of ‘Blood and Sand’ by delivering ‘Gods of the Arena’.
    If they are to do this I would really love to see two things that I think we need to see: the glory and might of the Roman Empire!

    I want to see it! not have characters talk about it, in doing so we can see what Spartacus and his people are up against and decide for ourselves if he has a chance of success. The Roman Empire at that time was an economic and military Super-power not a bunch of bullies commanded by fat dudes in togas.

    Sorry for the long comment but I would like to mention one more thing about the episode ‘Monsters’ and that the use of maps. I wish a director had used them earlier in the season then I would have felt less lost in regard to where people were in relation to each other. I mean I know where Rome is because its still there today but Mt. Vesuvius and Capua’s location were not as clear. In ‘Game of Throne’ they address this problem by placing the map in the opening credits so even though it’s a fictional realm you know where the characters are in relation to each other, I think this would have helped in ‘Vengence’ and made the ‘woods’ scenes make more sense.
    - Anyway sorry this is your last podcast on Spartcus for a while, they are a great add-on to the show and will look out for them when the new season starts.
    - Take Care.

    Viewer score: 45 / 100

    Posted by Charlie, 01/04/2012 11:29pm (8 years ago)

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