Spartacus Returns With a Vengeance

By Seth Abramovitch

Jan 28, 2012

Penises! Now that we have your attention, we hope you’re comfortable with the aforementioned genitalia, for you will be glimpsing a great many of them as you make your way through Spartacus: Vengeance. “Fugitivus,” the premiere episode of Starz’s beyond-graphic return to the gladiatorial saga that put the network on the original programming map, proved that even if you don’t love penises, you are all but certain to love Vengeance, a worthy successor to the original series that piles on more action, gore, and sex than is probably recommended for healthy emotional development. But who really cares, when it’s this deliriously entertaining?

Let us first address the matter of our new Spartacus, Australian actor Liam McIntyre. McIntyre will forever face comparisons to his predecessor, Andy Whitfield, who died last year from cancer. And while Whitfield was superb in the part, let’s not get carried away here. We’re not recasting Indiana Jones. McIntyre brings his own strengths to the role. His look is less other-worldly handsome than Whitfield’s, his body less chiseled, but from scene one—an ambitiously choreographed ambush battle—McIntyre literally rips into the role with abandon.

With Batiatus out of the picture, marquee villain duties have fallen to Gauis Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker), now Praetor in the Roman army, who was dispatched by a high-ranking toga party to Capua with a prime directive of snuffing Spartacus and his gladiatorial uprising. Spartacus, driven by vengeance against the man responsible for his wife’s condemnation to slavery and eventual death, wants Glaber equally dead. And while he’s at it, he’d like to snuff Glaber’s conniving wife, Ilithyia, who is now pregnant. That’s the same Illithyia who, as you might remember, left us in Blood and Sand having locked all her besties, including Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), inside an orgy room to be massacred by rebels. Imagine her shock when Lucretia turned up, very much alive but gone somewhat insane having had her unborn child stabbed to death in her womb. Bummer.

All the while Crixus, Spartacus’s worthy gladiatorial cohort, searches for his lost love, Naevia. “Let us split darkness with the cries of Romans,” he bombastically pledges, and they’re off to the most graphic orgy-turned-bloodbath you’re likely to witness until at least the next season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Seriously—if you haven't already seen it, hide the kids, keep your thumb hovering over the instant replay button, and “strap on” your seatbelts, folks. This one ain’t for the faint of heart. (It’s also amazing.) Back too are freed hottie/slave Mira (Katrina Law), who offers Spartacus a warm body and sympathetic ear, and former gladiator trainer Oenomaus (Peter Mensah), who lingers in a shadowy purgatory, seemingly incapable of choosing allegiances. He’d make a great Ancient Batman. And let us not forget Seppius (Tom Hobbs), a comely young Roman official with eyes for his sister, who set up a competition with Glaber to see who can win the head of Spartacus first.

The discovery of Aurelia, wife of Spartacus’s fallen friend Varro, graphically injured and locked up in stocks in the city square, sent our hero into a fighting rage, where Crixus and the rest of the masters of the ancient Roman universe got in on the action. After Aurelia’s death, Spartacus decided to direct the uprising south, in search of Naevia. All in all, an action-packed start to what is quickly looking to be another fantastic season of Spartacus. We’re in.


... What do you think of Liam? Is he worthy of the loincloth?

... What was your favorite moment in the orgy-bloodbath scene? Keep in mind this is a family site, so keep your descriptions PG-rated. (Yes, I realize that’s close to impossible. Consider it a creative challenge.)

... Do you think Lucretia will ever remember what Illithyia did to her?

... Who’s a better adversary? Gauis or Batiatus?

... Who’s the hottest girl on the show?

... Who’s the hottest guy on the show?

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  • SolikhjonAbra Feb 13, 2012

    With all respect to his talent, I think Liam doesn't fit for this role at all. Spartacus is a historical person which should be presented as a strong, masculine, with a face and voice of a warrior and a leader. Andy, rest in peace, was the best performer for this role, but he was an actor, not the Spartacus himself. So putting Liam in this role was a big mistake, because we need Spartacus, not someone who reminds Andy only with his face. When I watch the second season It seems like, the producer tried to find someone who reminds Andy but not the Spartacus. I am very disappointed.

  • TaviaHughes Feb 03, 2012

    Liam is not in the shadow of Andy! Andy Will Always Be, Spartacus: Blood and Sand!!! Rest in Peace Angel... Now Liam, this is another animal of another color!!! This man has got his own "IT", thang going on...He interacts well with the other characters and is holding his own!!! I'm hooked for the long duration of this series!!! Anybody with me??? And hurry and find Naevia before Crixus, "Kills Them All"!!!

  • telvisnostic Feb 03, 2012

    ... What do you think of Liam? Is he worthy of the loincloth?- I will give him a few more episodes to decide his fate.

    ... What was your favorite moment in the orgy-bloodbath scene? Keep in mind this is a family site, so keep your descriptions PG-rated. (Yes, I realize that's close to impossible. Consider it a creative challenge.)- My favorite moment was when the naked lady stabbed the man that Crixus wanted to talk to.

    ... Do you think Lucretia will ever remember what Ilithyia did to her?- Oh she will, she will and then all hell will break loose.

    ... Who's a better adversary? Gauis or Batiatus? Batiatus.

    ... Who's the hottest girl on the show? Ilythia by far.

    ... Who's the hottest guy on the show? Oh wow, not are really that attractive, but if I had to choose, it will be Agron.

    I really enjoyed this first episode of the new season. The ending, oh the ending, it was great.

  • Ankh49 Jan 31, 2012

    I agree with Boom Moo - I think Spartacus might be Ilythia's baby daddy. It will be interesting to see if see finds herself in a similar situation as Lucretia was at the end of the first season.... OF COURSE Lucretia will remember! The fun part will be the timing of WHEN it all comes back to her. I m quite interested to see what the trigger will be. Fav part of the gory orgy? I found the warning of the dangers of 'self gratification' quite amusing. Looks like their are worse things to worry about than mis-matching bicep muscles! ;-)

  • Chaos_Zombie Jan 31, 2012

    Good to see the Rome porno is back on TV......

  • BarryDalton Jan 30, 2012

    the lead actor could have done with a little less eye makeup, but otherwise a strong performance

  • zachwiedeman Jan 30, 2012

    McIntyre looks the roll - they couldn't have done better replacing Whitfield as far as looks go. Not a dead on match (but seriously, who expected that) but certainly close enough that if I saw him on the street I'd be doing multiple double-takes.

    However, it is going to be VERY very hard to live up to Whitfield's acting chops. The guy was a rare genius - no one in the Sparticus cast could touch him as far as acting talent, and McIntyre, as good as he might be, is going to be an inevitable let down. Nothing against McIntyre or the rest of the Sparticus cast, but acting next to (or replacing) Andy Whitfield is just impossible... The guy was one of the greatest actors of his generation. It is sad we didn't get to enjoy his talent longer.

  • boom-moo Jan 30, 2012

    Liam is very worthy of hte loinchoth indeed but Craig Parker is the hottest!

    I hope that Lucretia keeps getting flashbacks but is cunning enough to keep it secret and use it against Ilithya when the time is right.

    I think Ilithya is expecting Spartacus' child, btw! :o

  • EnreutuMpom Jan 30, 2012

    sinking. Less thrilling, less entertainment and less veteran characters

  • marioni211 Jan 30, 2012

    No doubt the worst episode of the entire show. Will keep watching, but right now I'm leaning towards "should have been canceled".

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