TV REVIEW: Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 8 – Balance

Thanks to Gannicus, Spartacus finally has the chance to truly get even with Glaber for the death of his wife.  His hand is stayed, however, by a shocking revelation from Ilithyia.  Even so, Spartacus decides to try his luck and meets Glaber face-to-face, with surprising results.

At the same time, Lucretia makes a discovery amongst Ashur’s things that could ruin all of Glaber’s plans for his life after Ilithyia.

Gannicus’s motivation for kidnapping Ilithyia immediately become clear as he leads her right to Spartacus.  He hopes that Spartacus will take her life to avenge his wife’s, and that once done he will cease his campaign against the Romans.  Spartacus is on board initially, but when he goes to do the deed Ilithyia reveals that the child she carries belongs to Spartacus, not Glaber.  So spared, Ilithyia pleads her case to Lucius, trying to convince him to go to Glaber and reveal their location.  He appears to consider it, and does indeed go to Glaber, but he is there to deliver a message from Spartacus: he will turn Ilithyia over in exchange for a wagon full of weapons.

Glaber is enjoying Seppia’s attentions while Ashur and his men search for news of Gannicus.  Getting nowhere, Ashur takes his frustration out on Lucretia, who spies Seppius’s armlet among his things.  After it becomes clear that Seppia intends to take Ilithyia’s place, she tries talking sense into her; when she is met with denial she reveals what she found, telling her that Glaber ordered Ashur and his men to murder her brother.

Glaber and his three soldiers meet with Spartacus, Agron, Crixus and Gannicus at the appointed time and place. Just when it appears that Glaber has kept his end of the bargain, Agron discovers that the wagon is full of Ashur and his men, not weapons.  Thankfully, Spartacus also brought reinforcements and they manage to escape, but not before Lucius is killed in the battle.  When they return to the camp, Spartacus takes Ilithyia into the forest and releases her.  When she asks why, he reveals that Glaber chose vengeance against him over her life, so killing her would serve him no purpose.  Spartacus leaves her there to fend for herself.

This is a good episode, one that really highlights the differences between Glaber and Spartacus.  Their priorities couldn’t be more different.  Spartacus couldn’t bring himself to kill Ilithyia, even though some might argue he has a justifiable reason to do so.  All Glaber cares about is destroying Spartacus – he is willing to sacrifice his wife and the unborn child he thinks is his as part of the effort.

The writers do a great job painting a grey area around the concept of good vs. evil.  The rebels are technically the “bad” guys, because they are attacking Romans, who are the “good” civilized ones.  In actuality, however, Spartacus and the rebels – most of them – act with more honor than any of the Romans could ever hope to achieve.  It’s even difficult to muster any sympathy for Ilithyia, who, for all intents and purposes, is a helpless pregnant woman in grave danger and whose husband refuses to help.  You can’t help but wonder how differently things would have played out had she not been so intent on leaving him for greener pastures.

As the episode title suggests, in the end it all comes down to balance; unlike Glaber, Spartacus isn’t willing to kill needlessly.  With so many pieces still left in play, hopefully his decision won’t come back to haunt him.

Rating: 4/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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