Review: Spartacus Vengeance: “Wrath of the Gods”, Season 2 Finale, Episode 10
Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead.
The thirst for vengeance is an appetite that can never truly be sated. The desire for retribution or the balancing of a wrong, cannot undo the initial harmful act or make the perpetrator feel the loss or agony of the original suffering. In history, religion, society, literature and in life, acts of vengeance often beget a cycle of retaliation where the original intent, whether it be for social justice or simply “an eye for an eye”, is lost and the victims seeking punishment become the very thing they want to destroy.
As an old proverb states, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Or five or six graves, make that a cemetery for what happened in the shocking, epic season finale of Spartacus Vengeance. Mira dies from a flying axe intended for Spartacus, Ashur is beheaded by Naevia, Oenomaus is killed by the Egyptian gladiator, Spartacus shoves his sword down Glaber’s throat, Ilithyia presumably bleeds to death after her baby is cut out of her and Lucretia intentionally falls off a steep cliff with baby in hand.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Spartacus Vengeance is watching the villains scheme, manipulate, and connive in their quest for power and status. Ilithyia’s demise was poetically just, having lost her husband and baby snatched from womb in the very house where Lucretia met the same fate in the first season finale. Ilithyia asking Lucretia, “We are friends, are we not?” is ironic because in the previous scene she was about to push Lucretia over the balcony.
The most unexpected moment in the episode is Lucretia falling off the cliff with Ilithyia’s baby. She never completely recovered from the season one massacre, at least not mentally. So it does make sense this was her end game all along; giving her husband a baby son in the afterlife, which she could never do in the here and now. It also explained why she let Ashur abuse her repeatedly as she intended on ending her life sooner or later and could not let anything get in the way of her ultimate goal.
When Ashur gets out maneuvered by Ilithyia and her lies, it proved to be the beginning of the end for the treacherous Syrian. Glaber forces Ashur to go up Mount Vesuvius to bargain the terms of surrender with the rebels, which Glaber knew was a one-way trip. If Glaber’s goal was to create division among the rebels in deciding whether to sacrifice Spartacus in exchange for their lives, it backfired and only served to further unite the rebels in their cause. Through-out the season, Spartacus has gained the respect and loyalty of his followers.
In contrast, Ashur’s band of gladiators quickly turned on him without hesitation when offered money. There was a small glimmer of hope that Ashur would talk his way out of certain death but payback was ultimately served by Naevia, a women he sexually took advantage of in the first season. On his knees, Ashur tells Naevia, “my death will not heal scars you bare”. She replies, “No, it will not, but it’s a f’cking start!” as she makes several attempts before succeeding in hacking off his head.
Spartacus and his sidekicks repel down the side of the mountain and turn the tables on the Roman’s using the fiery catapults that once rained down on them. Even as Glaber is bleeding from the wounds inflicted by Spartacus, he shows no remorse, repentance or regret for his actions. He proclaims to Spartacus, “You’ve won nothing. Rome will send legions in my wake. And one day you shall fall to deserved end.” In Glaber’s death, Spartacus honors the memory of his late wife but cannot bring her back to life nor does it bring balance to the world. Vengeance, in and of itself, could not get to the core of Glaber and change his values, beliefs or perspective. Instead, his execution can be viewed as an act of defiance to those that wish to enslave humanity.
Wrath of the Gods delivered a satisfying yet bittersweet finale having lost many beloved characters that most other shows would not consider killing off. This episode culminated a richly layered and expertly executed season of blood, betrayal, murder, and vengeance. The flaws of Spartacus Vengeance, are part of the enjoyment, as they are with the characters so twisted and tormented in their quest for power, status, freedom, justice and purpose in life. If the intent of this season was to examine the actions of individuals fueled by the darkest and most primal of human desires and showcase the evolution of a leader and burgeoning rebellion, the prophecy was certainly fulfilled.
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Posted on April 1, 2012, in Spartacus Vengeance, Television and tagged Ashur, Death, Episode 10, Glaber, Ilithyia, Lucretia, nudity, Reaction, Recap, Review, Season 2, Spartacus, Spartacus Vengeance, Starz, Wrath of the Gods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.