TV REVIEW: Spartacus: Vengeance Season 3, Episode 1 – Fugitivus (Spoiler-Free)

Set to kick off in the US this Friday, 27th January, Spartacus: Vengeance is the long-awaited second season of Starz Network’s hit show Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

While we had the 6-episode prequel Gods of the Arena to help tide us over in early 2011, it’s still been nearly two years since Spartacus and his band of gladiators rose up against the House of Batiatus to regain their freedom.  Thankfully, the writers waste no time getting down to business: “Fugitivus” throws us back into the action shortly after the events that capped off Season One.

Let’s get right down to it: Spartacus has never been for the faint of heart.  There’s blood, there’s gore, there’s sex – and lots of it.  Each episode highlights new and innovative ways to kill people, and does it in graphic fashion.  It’s one of the greatest things about the show: the unapologetic, in-your-face portrayal of a society that was pretty on the outside, but a little rotten at its core.

Thankfully, Vengeance hasn’t lost any of that edge.  There’s plenty of the above-mentioned blood, gore and sex, and lots of swords getting thrust into awkward and painful places.  But the thing that makes Spartacus work as a series is that while so much of it is gratuitous, there is also a compelling story.  That continues in “Fugitivus,” where the audience learns of the challenges Spartacus and the gladiators face in the months after their rebellion.  Reality is setting in after the heat of the battle; it’s up to Spartacus, along with Crixus, to figure out how to lead the people he’s now responsible for.

One of the things that is different for Vengeance is the face leading the rebellion.  Liam McIntyre makes his debut as Spartacus, taking on the role after it was announced that Andy Whitfield would be unable to return to the role due to his ongoing battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Tragically, Andy passed away in September, 2011 at the too young age of 39.

Unless you’re writing Doctor Who, re-casting the leading role of a television series is no small task.  Thankfully, McIntyre appears to be well up to the challenge.  He’s got the right balance of intensity and compassion, and the transition is relatively smooth.  He is helped along by the familiar faces around him: Manu Bennett returns as Crixus, Spartacus’s favorite frenemy, and Craig Parker and Viva Bianca are back as his nemeses Gaius Claudius Glaber and his wife, Ilithyia.

All in all, a highly entertaining first episode – if “Fugitivus” is an indication of things to come, then there is a lot to look forward to in Spartacus: Vengeance.
Episode Rating: 4/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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  1. zaz /

    Liam was satisfactory, however he lacked the ability to convey emotions with quite the same skill as his predecessor. Whitfield thrilled when he was angry and caused me to cry and feel his pain, heartbreak and sadness. My attachment to the first Spartacus will not cause me to adbandon the show, I am stuck fast! I do wish Liam the very best of luck with the series. Was also shocked to learn the role of Navia has also been recast, a great diasppoinment indeed.

  2. The episode 1 (Fugitivus) was great opener of the season. In my opinion, Liam is pretty good his role, not as good as Andy but good acceptable. Maybe what’s lacking with Liam is the level of angst and arrogance that, I think, only Andy can pull-off. In general, it was a good episode. Lucretia, that woman is just creepy. She is the kind of bitch that you would love to hate, and Lucy Lawless is flawless on her role. Can’t wait for episode 2.

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