My thoughts on Spartacus: Vengeance episode 1 are here. Like before, I’ll vent my overall thoughts on the episode first, and then I’ll treat Seppius/Seppia in the final section.
I would like to just start out by saying that I don’t think my discussion of Liam McIntyre in my first entry was acceptable, because the truth is that I like him a great deal, both as an actor and in the role. The adjustment is not easy, but I think Liam is great and we’re lucky to have him. Actually, the more I think about it, the more impressed I am with how he has slid into the character.
I have to say, episode 2 of the new season of Spartacus was rather disappointing in a number of ways.
(I realize that after a rather awesome season premiere that such disappointment is only natural, but…)
Can I firstly complain that there was no mention of Aurelia? She just died a horrible, unjust death and not even a passing remark?
Secondly, it was boring. It just…was. So much focus on Oenomaus. I’m rather indifferent to him, so when his totally independent storyline takes up 1/3 of the episode, yeah, I’m going to get restless. (I realize he has his fans. I guess I have to give and take with them.) But all that and it didn’t even take him to Gannicus. Finding out what a crazy animal he was when Batiatus Sr. got a hold of him was interesting – but one interesting tidbit is not worth 20 precious minutes of episode. I also couldn’t believe how old he is – older than Batiatus Jr. His scenes reinforced how attached he was to the ludus, but it was something we already knew. Anyway, yawn.
Thirdly, we met two new characters that I do not like:
They joined Spartacus after he and his band of slaves “liberated” their villa. I approve of the overall storyline – these two showing Spartacus and Mira that running from the army might not necessarily be a better life than the one they had as slaves to a rich Roman. But I don’t like them.
And I don’t like Nasir stirring up trouble between Agron and Spartacus. He wasn’t doing it on purpose, but he was part of the cause. Agron is extremely hotheaded, and without Duro (his brother who died in the season finale, it was SO SAD), he’s completely untethered and ungrounded and seeing a vengeance red. But I’ve come to really appreciate him and his face and his body and his new haircut and his friendship with Spartacus and I don’t want to see them fight!
Fourthly, there was a lot of Spartacus/Mira content. Some scenes discussing their relationship were absolutely in order. Doesn’t mean I have to like them. The new blonde woman kept saying that Mira was sleeping with Spartacus and getting protection in exchange, that it was an agreement. I’d love for that to be true, but it’s not, and who the hell does this woman think she is? She doesn’t know Mira, she doesn’t know Spartacus, she hasn’t seen them together, or even realize that they were together before Spartacus began his rebellion. Spartacus wouldn’t treat a woman like that. Especially not a woman he respects like Mira. The blonde woman’s remarks seemed to give Mira pause, which is just stupid because she knows better than that. It does prompt her to ask Spartacus about their relationship. I actually thought that Spartacus’ response was perfect – he tells her that he has only known blood and misery recently, but not when she is in his arms. This makes her smile – it’s good enough for her. I liked it because it was a nice sentiment, but not exactly protestations of epic love, which is appropriate. Still, seeing them all romantic and cute and whatnot together is really boring to me. Like I mentioned, I really only liked them when she thought he was an ass and he wanted nothing to do with her.
They just cleaned all the blood out of that place. That’s all I could think about, and that part where Atia takes a blood shower from the artery of a bull on Rome and how much cooler it was.
Sixthly, Spartacus and Crixus are a little too buddy-buddy for my tastes. I don’t want them to be friends. I don’t want endless episodes focusing on their dangerous tension, but I don’t like this friend thing.
And seventhly, and most importantly, Seppius and Seppia didn’t have any scenes together, and only had one scene each apart.
Oh well. Not every single episode can be great. Might as well get the duds out of the way.
There were some positives, though, of course. The biggest being, naturally, the indubitable confirmation of Ilithyia’s raw lust for Spartacus. She’s taking a bath and is in a bad mood. Her body slave tells her to close her eyes and think of something pleasing.
And I said to myself, “More like think about having sex with Spartacus”, and then she did! It was glorious. Two flashbacks to my favorite sex scene in as many episodes. And then she started fingering herself, so there’s not a lot of room for misinterpretation. I didn’t have too many doubts after her little reverie while holding the mask last week, but I’m not complaining about the reinforcement.
Now we just need something from Spartacus.
I also liked Ilithyia trying to kill Lucretia. She was holding a knife and got pretty close to her, but I don’t think we can say for sure that she would have gone through with it if she had not been interrupted. Lucretia knows two incriminating secrets about Ilithyia: that she killed Licinia, and that she had sex with Spartacus. I’m surprised Ilithyia hasn’t killed her already.
I was also very happy to see Ashur again. Crixus called him a “treacherous fuck” and fewer descriptions of anyone have ever been as accurate. He got Oenomaus caught and delivered him to Lucretia. I’m really going to enjoy him helping the Romans try and put down the slave rebellion.
Glaber’s right hand man – a tribune, it would seem, who is named Marcus like half the male population – convinces him that they need Seppius’ men in order to search for Spartacus.(There’s something up with this guy. He hasn’t acted suspicious in the least, which makes me think him very suspect indeed. He just seems very loyal to Glaber and very wise and cool-headed and NO ONE IS THIS GOOD ON SPARTACUS, so I’m piqued. He’s also young and good-looking so I’m feeling the need to ship him with someone. Hmmm…Seppia or Ilithyia or maybe new blonde slave? Or what about Mira? This is all assuming he’s not in love with Glaber, which, at this point, I’m not totally certain of:I guess we’ll see. Tell us your secrets, Marcus. I would totally lean towards shipping him with Ilithyia if it wasn’t for Spartacus.)
He doesn’t stand on ceremony for long, and ends up saying some truly terrible things to Glaber, reminding him that he was the one who brought Spartacus to the Republic, that he owes his position as Praetor to Senator Albinius – Ilithyia’s father – and that the people wouldn’t like to hear that Ilithyia and most of Glaber’s men left Batiatus’ house just before (the lie)/at the beginning (the truth) of Spartacus’ massacre, and that it might have been stopped then and there if they had remained.
I was impressed with Seppius. It wasn’t clear to me which man was supposed to be the superior from last week’s episode. We’ve seen Glaber embarrassed and defeated and blackmailed and belittled, but he was still a man of great power and position in comparison to Batiatus. And he certainly outshone Seppius when he spoke in the market at the end of last episode. But the way Seppius handled Glaber in this scene made me wonder whether they’re not actually on rather equal footing, in terms of political/connectional advantages, and intelligence. In parallel, Ilithyia encounters Seppia in the market. They greet each other as great friends, and very amicable. Curious, since Glaber and Seppius seem to hardly know each other.
I’m now even more convinced that Seppia is another Ilithyia. It was like watching two Ilithyias talk to each other. It sort of reminded me of the smack-talk show down between the cybermen and the daleks in Doomsday (Doctor Who). (Can I win an award for nerdiest reference ever?) Except that they pretend like they’re getting along. Actually, they’re quite warm at first, but it gets catty quickly.
Seppia mentions Seppius briefly, saying only that she had just parted from him so that he could go meet with Glaber. She wants to know the gossip from Rome, but Ilithyia claims ignorance, focused on “husband and coming child”. Seppia is surprised, because she knows that Ilithyia is acquainted with everyone. “And desired by more than a few” Ilithyia adds. They laugh.
Seppia: “How I envy such attentions.”
Ilithya: “And how I miss them. “
Seppia: “Must all joy be so abandoned when weighted with husband.”
…Perhaps I should entreat the gods to shield me from such dour fate.”Ilithyia is insulted; hides it. I don’t think Seppia meant offense, exactly, but she was thoughtless. It was exactly like Ilithyia and Lucretia’s first scenes together.
And it’s not like Ilithyia is unhappy in her marriage. She and Glaber have had some pretty ugly moments between them, but they’re still sweet sometimes:Well, we now know that Seppia is definitely not married, and possibly shows little interest in it. Interesting that she even considers that a possibility. Hmmmm? I guess if she’s got a big brother to take care of her, then she doesn’t need to…?
On the other hand, I find it highly unlikely that Seppius wouldn’t marry her off for some political advantage. Not just because almost any man would do that in his position, but Seppius in particular strikes me as prone to that sort of maneuvering.
I liked how the two scenes were parallel: Seppia meets the wife while Seppius meets with the husband.
Also of note:
And I’m not surprised that Seppia and Seppius didn’t have a scene together in this episode, because Seppius made sweet love to his piece of fruit during his meeting with Glaber:I’m serious. These two needed to get a room.
So, yeah, very little to speak of, nothing to get excited about. Next week has to be better. Friday can’t come soon enough.