TV REVIEW: Spartacus: Vengeance Season 3, Episode 3 – The Greater Good

This week’s episode takes a while to get going, but patience pays off.  The last ten minutes is action packed, and leads to a heartbreaking (and frustrating) ending.

Spartacus is determined to see Crixus reunited with Naevia, despite Agron’s best efforts.  Glaber’s misfortunes continue to pile up, this time in the form of a wealthy Roman who catches Ilithyia’s eye.  Fortunately for him, things start to look up when he gets an interesting piece of information out of an unlikely source.

On their way south, the gladiators decide to liberate a cart full of slaves. During the process, one of the slavers spills the beans to Agron and Nasir that Naevia is alive and toiling away in the mines.  However, we don’t know this at first as Agron kills the man and then tells everyone that the salver said Naevia is dead.  While Crixus mourns, Spartacus and Agron plot out their next destination. Once everything is decided, Spartacus goes to seek Crixus’s opinion.  Predictably, Crixus has started to question the point of continuing.  Unable to convince him, Spartacus goes to inform the men.  The Gauls oppose him, wanting to hear from Crixus, who thankfully has decided he is still on board and wants to stand by Spartacus.

While this is happening, we find out that Agron lied to Crixus about Naevia’s fate.  Nasir feels guilt over it, which is only made worse when Crixus extends a tentative olive branch in his direction while they are preparing to move.  Unable to hold it in any longer, he tells Crixus the truth.  When Spartacus learns what Agron has done, he is furious and strikes him.  Agron decides that he will continue on to the next destination rather than going to the mines, and he takes several men with him.

Back in Capua, Oenomaus is being held captive by Glaber.  Ashur is torturing him for Spartacus’s whereabouts, which he eventually succeeds in getting.  Varinius (another legate) is paying a visit to Glaber and Ilithyia, along with Ilithyia’s father.  Ilithyia seems taken with their guest, which does not go unnoticed by her husband.  Varinius asks for some of Glaber’s soldiers to present in the arena.  When he refuses, Ilithyia’s father puts him in his place and reminds him of his duties.  At the arena, at the time his soldiers are supposed to be presented, Glaber steals the spotlight by announcing that at that very moment, his soldiers are closing in on Spartacus.

In the mines, Spartacus and Crixus have managed to locate Naevia and are rescuing her when Glaber’s men attack.  Crixus and Rhoskos stay behind to give the others time to escape, and are eventually captured.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this episode took a while to get going.  At first, Agron’s frustration is understandable – how many episodes can they spend searching for Naevia?  But the emotional payoff when Crixus finds her is well worth the wait – even if it is short-lived.  Crixus has come a long way since the first season, when he was the hero’s nemesis.  Now he himself is a hero, willing to risk it all for love and to see his woman safe.  Kudos to Manu Bennett for being able to sell that transition so well.

Nick Tarabay had a great episode as Ashur.  There is absolutely nothing to like about Ashur, unless you appreciate the fact that he’s slippery enough to get out of just about anything.  His persistence when it comes to torturing Oenomaus is difficult to watch, and then he finally breaks him by revealing Gannicus’s betrayal (which occurred in Gods of the Arena).  You feel terrible for Oenomaus, because in his defense of Spartacus and Crixus he reveals the one piece of information that ends up leading to Crixus being captured.

The sequences leading up to the end of the episode are riveting. The scene flashes back and forth between gladiators fighting in the arena in Capua and Glaber’s soldiers fighting Spartacus and his men in the mines.  One has to wonder at the parallels – is that what Crixus and Rhoskos are bound for when they return to Capua? Or perhaps Glaber has something worse in store, something that will get him what he really wants…Spartacus.

Episode Rating: 3/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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