Note: This entry may contain some spoilers from the first five episodes so it is advised that readers view the first half of the season before they continue. 🙂
With all of Capua and Rome left agog by the destruction of the arena staged by Spartacus and his men to save their brothers from execution, Glaber finds the perfect opportunity to turn the tides in his favor and blindside his enemies, all the while blaming the rebels for all that has happened. Spotting an opportunity, the wily Ashur offers Glaber the strategy to defeat his foe and is able to use his cunning to gain favor and form his own band of villains to track down and strike the rebellion no matter what the cost.
Meanwhile, Gannicus, who has joined Spartacus’s men in escaping from arena is reluctant to join the rebellion’s cause and seeks only to make amends with his best friend and brother Oenomaus. With Glaber’s men closing in and factions and suspicions forming within the camp, Spartacus must find a way not only to triumph against Rome but bring his men together to fulfill their cause.
After the explosive end to the fifth episode, I must admit that I was chomping at the bit to see what happens next. Episode 6, entitled Chosen Path was a bit of a breather from the action as new alliances are formed and choices made on the sides of both Spartacus and Glaber. The rest of the episodes, while they had their moments of sex, blood and gore that is the trademark of the series, also focused on what happens behind the walls of the House of Bathiatus, as characters attempt to play one another to elevate their positions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the run of the series because of its excellent cinematography and quality of material. There is always something to look forward to as treachery and betrayal are commonplace in series that one finds it hard to trust any one of the characters.
But for me, the original Spartacus characters were what really brought the show together — Oenomaus, Ganicus, Crixus, Glaber, Lucretia, Ilythia and the scheming Ashur, the villain that viewers love to hate. The manner in which the characters play off the newer characters was absolutely magnificent, owing to the strong storyline and the brilliance of the writing that manages to pull off trick after trick despite the rapid sequence of events.
The newer characters also gelled well with the others and made viewers sympathetic to them much like the older guys. Of course, this did take a while but by the end, viewers become so invested in the characters that one would genuinely worry for them and feel concern over their fates in this brutal series that really doesn’t care whether one is a main character or not. Everyone is fair game, thank you very much.
I felt that the showrunners wanted Liam to be a different Spartacus from Andy’s rebel leader and they succeeded in doing so by making his character, although a spectacular warrior, a great diplomat, sort of a union leader type dude who always knows what to say to ignite the fires of rebellion in the hearts of his men. This worked well with Liam because he appears younger and more vulnerable, and more idealistic compared to Andy’s harder, more mature and weathered version of the character (which I thought was a perfect depiction. RIP Andy).
I also liked how Ganacus remained much of the same character as he was in Gods of the Arena, now portrayed in a deeper level. His devil may care attitude, his reckless abandon and precision in fighting was a perfect foil to everyone’s seriousness but in the times that he needed to be vulnerable, he was also perfect. I felt Crixus has gotten a bit soft because of Naevea but still, he held his own against the Romans, whose soldiers the Gladiators used to wipe their butts.
Anyways, the finale was everything loyal viewers of the series could hope for, and more. The final curtain call to reveal what Lucretia was plotting against Ilythia throughout the season was a shocker, as what the rebels had to pull to fight against the overpowering forces of the Romans. The ending was open ended and could well serve as the beginning for the next season and could also serve as a finale to the series, depending on what the showrunners decide. I must admit though that I felt a bit sad about Ashur’s fate. The dude got on my nerves but one has to admire his skills.
Aside from stunts, war tactics and whatnot, there will be a lot of emotional and poignant moments, but one thing is for sure. There will be blood and there will be vengeance. This series delivers on all levels, an excellent watch for TV fans.
More Spartacus entries:
Will Liam McIntyre truly be Spartacus?
Spartacus Vengeance: A Premiere Review