TV REVIEW: Spartacus: Vengeance Season 3, Episode 4 – Empty Hands

After a painful separation at the end of last week’s episode, our suffering is rewarded with a happy reunion in “Empty Hands.”

Spartacus and the few men he has left continue their trek toward Vesuvius, where they hope to find reinforcements.  Back in Capua, things are unraveling for Glaber at an alarming rate.  His wife’s wandering eye has settled on Varinius, who doesn’t mind the attention at all. Meanwhile, Spartacus continues to elude (i.e. maim and kill) his soldiers, who, led by Ashur, are still in hot pursuit.  We’re not even halfway through the season, yet things are starting to pick up quite nicely.  Caution: Contains Spoilers.

Episode 4: Empty Hands

After a somewhat lackluster episode last week, the show was back to fine form in Episode 4.

Spartacus and his companions can’t seem to get ahead of the Romans, no matter what they try.  They are trying to get to Vesuvius, where they hope to reunite with Agron and the others, yet everywhere they turn they run into more soldiers.  Their predicament is made worse by Naevia’s exhaustion, which slows them down and leads to some conflict between Spartacus and those that would leave her behind.  When they are attacked again, Nasir is gravely wounded while defending Naevia and Mira.  Their progress hindered once again, Spartacus again refuses any attempt to leave Nasir behind.  Their numbers dwindle until just Spartacus, Mira, Nasir, and Naevia remain.  As they brace themselves for yet another battle, their perseverance is rewarded when they see that it is Agron that has found them.

The captured gladiators are brought back to the House of Batiatus, where they are thrown into holding cells.  There is to be a celebration at the house, with Varinius as the guest of honor.  Ilithyia is initially delighted, but then she discovers that Seppia has set her sights on marriage, and on Varinius.  With the party in full swing, Glaber brings out the captured gladiators, offering their lives to Varinius in exchange for not having his soldiers available for the arena.  Varinius decides that he’d rather have them in the arena the following day, but Lucretia is to pick one of them to die that night.  She chooses Acer, the other man captured with Crixus and Rhoskos.

Ilithyia spends the entire episode trying to gain Varinius’s favor.  First she asks her father to dissolve the marriage between her and Glaber, but he refuses.  Then she goes to Varinius, who agrees as long as she gets her father’s consent.  When she tries for daddy dearest again, she finds him in a…compromising position with Lucretia.  When she confronts Lucretia later on, Lucretia reveals that she did it for Ilithyia, to sway her father’s mind in favor of her marriage to Varinius.

My opinion may be a bit clouded by the happy reunion at the end, but I really enjoyed this episode.  Last week’s episode was a bit bleak, what with Crixus’s capture, and as the gladiators continued to fall as they got closer to Vesuvius, it felt like that trend would continue.  I literally cheered out loud when Agron appeared, and his genuine delight at seeing Spartacus made the moment that much more uplifting.  I am looking forward to the return of his snark – the comic relief has been sorely missed.

The female characters are really highlighted in this episode.  Mira continues to impress week after week with her strength, both in battle and in her refusal to leave Spartacus’s side.  She has emerged as one of the leaders of the group, and not just because she is sleeping with Spartacus.  She is leading by example, and she has gained his trust through her unfailing loyalty.  Back in Capua, Ilithyia and Lucretia are the ones driving the action, even if the men think that they are in charge.  Ilithyia has never been one to shy away from something that she wants, and she’ll stop at nothing to convince him that he wants her as well.  Meanwhile, Lucretia spares Crixus at the party because she wants to enjoy his long, drawn-out death in the arena.  She puts on a good innocent face when she needs to, but underneath she is as shrewd as ever.

A solid episode overall, and one that’s really got me looking forward to next week, when we see the return of yet another familiar face.
Episode Rating: 4.5/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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One comment

  1. still can’t come close to Andy and not cast the right man poor at best

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