Friday, 17 February 2012

Spartacus Vengeance: The Greater Good


A cart is pulled through a forest. It looks like something from a weird, twisted fairytale. It's full of slaves being transported. The slavedriver makes the mistake of looking out through the slats when he hears a noise and - ew! Eye! (I'm one of those people who freaks out at the thought of eye trauma).

Number One and The Artist Formerly Known as Tiberius bond over their shared killing of slave traders while Spartacus and Crixus play at Who's the Leader? A slave trader tries to get his life spared by (apparently) telling Number One and The Artist Naevia is dead (which does not work, unsurprisingly). Crixus does the obligatory falling over and screaming which is the accepted reaction to news of this nature (see also: Romeo + Juliet).

Gnomey Guy insists to Haldir that DSG will turn on his former friends and help them while DSG appears to be having a Blue Screen of Death moment. Haldir makes Gnomey Guy cut out his brand from Batiatus, mostly, as far as anyone can tell, because he takes a perverse pleasure from watching him do it.

Paris Hilton's dad and someone called Varinius have turned up to indulge in a giggle fest with her. Haldir is not happy, especially since Varinius seems to be flirting with his wife. Varinius is holding some Games to cheer everyone up (and calm them down - since when have the crowd in Spartacus ever been calmed down by gladiatorial games?!). They demand the use of Haldir's men for the Games (to police them, presumably).

Spartacus and Number One decide to head for Mount Vesuvius, hoping to recruit more men in Neapolis (Naples). Spartacus goes to consult Crixus and Number One whines. I bet Number One lied and Naevia isn't really dead, and he just wanted to get Crixus to shut up about her so they could focus on recruitment.

Spartacus and Crixus have a cheerful conversation about death. Crixus blames himself for Naevia's, while Spartacus tries to persuade him to put his energy into freeing as many slaves as possible (Crixus is unimpressed, possibly because he's brighter than Spartacus and realises that they're not going to end slavery in the Roman world, especially not by killing people, seemingly at random, all over the place).

Number One and the Artist have a whispered conversation in which we learn that they have not told Crixus the truth - whatever happened to Naevia, it wasn't what they said and she probably isn't dead.

DSG has been strung up in his old training ground at Batiatus' place to be sulked at by Gnomey Guy. He is refusing to talk, probably because he'd rather die than hold a conversation with Gnomey Guy, which is understandable. He is also refusing to betray Spartacus and the others. Meanwhile, Haldir has words with Paris Hilton about Varinius and his fondling of her bump, which seems to change in size in every scene. Haldir explains he's too preoccupied to have sex with her, which doesn't impress her at all.

Crixus' Gauls don't like Number One any more than I do, and they're not wild about the Vesuvius plan, which seems to involve 'freeing' as many slaves as humanly possible (i.e. turning them into runaways who will be crucified if caught) but does not involve a plan for how to feed all these hungry ex-slaves. Crixus gives them all an inspiring speech to get them to follow Spartacus' plan. I think these people must be the direct ancestors of those werewolves from Twilight (somehow, I don't know how they got to America, maybe they went with the Vikings and intermarried with Native Americans), because they all seem to be allergic to shirts. Italy really isn't that hot, especially at night, and they must have raided enough villas by now to have got hold of some clothing.

Gnomey Guy is still whipping DSG, insisting he'll give Spartacus and the others away before he dies. Given that DSG had almost been beaten to death in Roman Fight Club already, I'm starting to find his continued survival implausible. According to Xena, there's some kind of prophecy involving DSG, but Gnomey Guy puts the blink on her new-found religious fervour by pointing out it was him that picked her up and stitched up her wound (quite glad that that's cleared up, but really - why?!). She sees him as an instrument of the gods, which makes sense, except I can't imagine what kind of god would want him as an instrument.

Xena suggests breaking DSG with pleasure rather than pain, and thinks she can somehow use her old secret about DSG's wife to get him to reveal where Spartacus is (I'm not seeing the link there, I confess, as Gannicus doesn't appear to be anywhere near Spartacus at the moment). Back at our heroes' hideout, Spartacus' girlfriend declares that she wants to fight alongside him, which I hope means he's going to give her some training rather than just setting her loose with a sword against the best organised and most highly trained army in the world. Then we get a brief sex scene between the two, apropos of nothing much, because the sex scene with Haldir and Paris Hilton earlier got cut off (and frankly, who wanted to see them anyway - I rather like him, even if he is the campest Elf in Elfland, but not so much with her. He needs to find someone nicer to have a hot and steamy affair with).

He's quite yummy. Unfortunately, he's the only character who seems fairly attached to his clothes - though we did get a view of his naked rear end this week.

The Artist is packing supplies while the blonde from last week teases him about the fact he fancies Number One. She herself is going with whoever will get her protection and position. Crixus comes to help him carry the stuff and explains that his initial objection to The Artist was not caused by his attempt on Spartacus' life, but because Crixus has a racist dislike of Syrians (because of Gnomey Guy). He explains that Naevia would not have held a grudge against an entire race this way and offers his hand. This, of course, sends The Artist's guilt into overdrive and he lets the whole litter of kittens out of the bag.

Naturally, Crixus' immediate reaction is to attack Number One (sadly he doesn't get the chance to inflict any serious damage). Apparently Naevia's in the mines - this seems rather unlikely, unless she's being kept as the mine-owner's sex slave (you want men to work in mines, or perhaps small boys for very narrow mine-shafts). Number One points out the mines might as well be death but obviously this holds no water and Spartacus punches him (this is quite satisfying). Number One delcares that he's off to Vesuvius, while Spartacus will go with Crixus to the mines.

DSG comes round, with hot sun now added to Gnomey Guy's torture techniques. Haldir's men turn up while Crixus goes through his previous crimes, for the benefit of the new or forgetful audience. In amongst the rest, he happens to mention Gannicus and DSG's wife, which has the desired effect of drawing a word from DSG ('lie'). Gnomey Guy is, unfortunately, telling the truth, and points out DSG's wife ended up drinking poison because she was with Gannicus. Since this is true, DSG has to face it, but he clings to the fact Gnomey Guy doesn't know the first thing about love and to the idea that Spartacus and Crixus will find Naevia. Of course, this is the information Gnomey Guy needs - Spartacus and Crixus are going south to find Naevia.

Gnomey Guy brings this information to Xena and Haldir, though Haldir complains thart it's not specific enough. Xena, however, knows where Naevia is, and finds it more useful.

Crixus has finally observed their general lack of clothes but no one except Number One and The Artist seem moved to do anything about it. The Artist abandons Numnber One because he has visited mines before and thinks he might be able to help. Crixus and Spartacus have a moment (aw).

There's a sweeping shot over CGI mines, that look just like the mines from the opening of Spartacus. Our heroes disguise themselves as slaves, which is easy enough, as this is the one disguise that requires very little in the way of clothing. The Artist claims the slave dealer expected is dead and offers GF as a present to make up for the trouble. Once alone, she holds a knife to the guy's manhood and interrogates him about Naevia.

Spartacus is fretting about GF, at which point he is recognised by someone who's seen him in the arena, just as GF is forced to do for the dealer when her knife slips. She grabs a map of the mine and heads out to where Spartacus and Crixus have already dispatched a few Romans. They head into the mines.

We cut to Paris Hilton and Gladiator Groupie discussing sex and pregnancy at the Games. Paris Hilton observes that lust fades over time. It can only be a matter of time until those two end up fighting over a man.

Varinius makes a big speech about how awful Spartacus is to kick-start the Games, but Haldir's men are a no-show, since they're busy actually chasing Spartacus (what were they expecting actual soldiers to do in the Games anyway? March around like the Olympics opening ceremony?). Haldir tells the crowd his soldiers are busy, you know, soldiering, which cheers everyone up again. All the women still have their clothes on, though, so they can't be that excited.

Gnomey Guy and Haldir's men turn up at the mine, where Gnomey Guy identifies some of Spartacus' men by killing them. Within the mine, the group splits up to search for Naevia. Crixus has to point out to Spartacus that they can't, in fact, free all the slaves in the mine.

Finally, they find Naevia! Thank Jupiter for that! Just as Crixus is telling her she's safe, they're attacked by Haldir's men and chaos ensues. Crixus spots Gnomey Guy but is pulled away.

The fight in the mine is intercut with the Games, which sort of works, except we don't know or care about the gladiators fighting in the Games, so it doesn't really mean anything, and just gets in the way of the story we're actually interested in, which is Crixus' and Naevia's at this point. Back in the mine, GF is trying to read the map of the mine (everyone else is letting her so clearly these ancient Romans haven't developed jokes about women's map-reading skills yet, though a couple of them make snarky comments).

Crixus sends Naevia ahead with Spartacus while he takes on several Romans at once, because he thinks he is a One Man Army. Just as the episode ends, however, it looks like Gnomey Guy (or all people) might have got him...

This season is still finding it rather hard to get going, partly because we're just waiting for inevitable story events to hurry up and happen. This is something of an unavoidable problem with Spartacus, of course, since we all know how it's going to end, but these last few episodes seem particularly to be dragging their feet as we wait for Naevia to be found, for DSG to get back together with everyone else, and for Gannicus to turn up again. I can't see why on earth a female house slave would be sold to work in a mine, never mind how she's managed to survive in there for so long, but I'll buy it just for the sake of having Naevia back and getting on with the plot. Now, if next week we could just finish off Gnomey Guy and reunite DSG with the rest of the cast, we might be getting somewhere.

Quotes

GF: (re: Naevia) Her life [was] a slow march towards death.
Spartacus: We all move towards such end. Only the length of the journey differs.
GF: Let us tread it together and show not all go quietly.
(It's good she has this philosophy, since the closest anyone is going to get to a happy ending is that they get to go down fighting. Mind you, as Spartacus' other half, she's got a better chance of survival than anyone else on the show).

Crixus: I was not in favour of your training. Do you know the reason?
The Artist: Because I made attempt on Spartacus?
Crixus: As have I, on more than one occasion.

Spartacus: If a single life holds no value, then none are of worth.

All Spartacus: Blood and Sand reviews

4 comments:

  1. Cheers Juliette! I'm very much enjoying the recaps and the series so far - just one thing is puzzling me everytime I see it on screen... Both Nmuber One and Haldir's right hand man seem to have immaculately manicured eybrows!

    I can understand this for the pampered Roman, but am ex-gladiator fugitive fresh from the sewers? I remember Suetonius said the slave revolt involved some household implements but did not imagine he was referring to tweezers! ;)

    cheers
    H

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  2. Lol! To be fair, I went backpacking once and one of our group brought hair straighteners - perhaps this is the Roman equivalent!

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  3. Nothing really pertinent, but I am so with you on the eye thing. I can't even watch people put in or take out contact lenses. Ugh!

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  4. Totally! I used to have trouble sewing. Managed to get used to contact lenses but only if I put them in myself, not if the optician does it.

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