Spartacus: Vengeance S01E03: “The Greater Good”
“The Greater Good” had elements of some of my favorite childhood adventure tales. It started out like Robin Hood, with Spartacus and his not-so-merry men lurking in the woods, waiting to pounce on slave wagons and set its human cargo free. And it ended a lot like The Goonies, with the gladiators being led through a subterranean network of caves, chased by a lot of big, ugly Sloths. Of course, this being Spartacus: Vengeance, both scenarios involved far more full-frontal male nudity and swords entering and exiting people’s heads—but the essence of both stories were there. Is it any wonder Spartacus: Vengeance so holds us in its thrall? It’s wisely looting from the classics!
Here’s what’s happened this week: Oenamaus and Ashur were being held in a cell, where Oenamaus was scorched with a branding iron, but impressively made no sound. Ashur explained to Glaber that pain alone would not get the O-dawg to betray his gladiator buddies; Ashur, meanwhile, was happy to play Muttley to Glaber’s Dick Dastardly. As a show of devotion, Glaber forced Ashur to slice off a “B” scar on his forearm that represented his allegiance to Batiatus. Ashur did so, and it was pretty gross. Later, Oenamous stood chained as Ashur whipped him nearly to death in an attempt to get him to speak. Lucretia stopped him just in time, but when she approached him, had a flashback to Ashur sewing her wound back up after her unborn child was cut out of her. “There’s a secret buried in these walls,” she told him. “And you will see it exhumed.” Eventually the evil Ashur broke Oenamaus, by revealing that Gannicus was nailing Oenamaus’s wife behind his back. Ashur is a jerk!
Meanwhile, Illythia’s dad had come from Rome to pay his daughter a visit, along with a handsome senator who was a little overly handsy with Illythia’s baby bump. He was in town to host a games. What with the whole slave uprising and subsequent gladiator shortage currently giving him an ulcer, Glaber found himself suddenly in need of some suitable scabs.
Poor Crixus spent much of the episode assuming Naevia was dead, probably because Agron told her she was. But Agron was lying, because he felt the search for her was putting the lives of the slave rebellion at risk. And you know what? He was right! Then again, that was a pretty dirty thing of Agron to do. Feeling incredibly guilty, Nasir was the one who eventually told Crixus. Crixus attacked Agron and Spartacus stepped in to mediate, and was subsequently outraged to learn that Agron would lie so cruelly for the “greater good.” But Agron stood by his choice, and asked the men to follow him if they wanted to live. And most of them did—including Nasir.
The remaining gladiators then took off their clothes and showed us their penises, for some reason. Probably because they could? But I think it’s because they were masquerading as a slave shipment being delivered to the mines on a rescue mission to save Naevia! Which brings us finally to that Goonies sequence. Mira put herself in harm’s way, nearly raped by the mine foreman before she got a dagger up against his balls, and demanded to know where Naevia was being held. He gave her an actual treasure map (which made me laugh), and the good guys set out through the mines to find her. And find her they did! It was a happy reunion for Crixus and Naevia, but one that did not last long, as the Romans were hot on their tail, followed close behind by Ashur, that snake. Who will live? Who will die? Who will find One-Eyed Willie’s treasure? Hopefully not Crixus, though things were not looking particularly good for him at episode’s end: Naevia was trapped behind a locked door, and Ashur came down hard on his head with the butt of his sword. I didn’t see the head come off, however, so he’s probably fine.
– What now for Oenamaus? Will he crumble before Glaber or rise up against him?
– Who’s ready for Lucretia to snap out of her spell already? I know I am. I miss conniving, lucid Lucretia.
– Where would you like to see the series go now that Naevia is (almost) rescued? Which villains will you like to see remain for future seasons? Which are you looking forward to seeing graphically dismembered?