‘Spartacus: Vengeance’ Episode 4: ‘Empty Hands’ Recap

Published 2 years ago by

Liam McIntyre Spartacus Vengeance Empty Hands Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 4: Empty Hands Recap

With Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Stephen S. DeKnight and his writers displayed an ability to shift focus from one central character to a bevy of supporting ones – making them leads in their own right, and far stronger personalities, as a result. In ‘Empty Hands,’ the fourth episode of Spartacus: Vengeance, DeKnight and crew have managed a similar feat, though this time with Cladius Glaber (Craig Parker).

Early on, ‘Empty Hands’ concerns Spartacus’ escape from the mines – his ranks severely depleted due to the loss of Crixus and several of his Gauls, as well as those who fall while being pursued by Ashur (Nick Tarabay) and a group of Roman soldiers.

Crixus’ capture is felt not only in his absence, but also in the presence of Naevia who is looked upon with a great deal of scorn by the remaining rebels. Poor Naevia does little to justify the sacrifice that earned her freedom by alerting a band of Romans to the rebels’ whereabouts, and nearly being killed by a soldier, were it not for Mira’s (Katrina Law) alarming ferocity that is rapidly proving her to be a great asset to the group.

During the struggle, young Nasir (Pana Hema Taylor) is dealt a potentially fatal wound, but hangs on and, in a display of brotherhood, accepts the cauterizing of his injury as though it were the brand issued to the former gladiators of the House of Batiatus.

As thrilling a spectacle it would be to watch Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) cut down swaths of Roman soldiers, ‘Empty Hands’ takes pause from the Thracian and delivers a rather compelling episode that focuses on Cladius Glaber and the underhanded forces mounting against him – in his own house no less.

Glaber is beset on all sides; his fellow Praetor Varinius (Brett Tucker), Seppius (Tom Hobbs), his father in-law, Albinius (Kevin J. Wilson) and, unsurprisingly, his wife Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) all scheme against him in some way – yet Glaber manages to keep his head above water.

He plays what little cards he has to their fullest extent, putting Crixus, Oenomaus and the two captured Gauls on display for the those attending the soirée thrown in honor of Varinius, who has put on games to distract from the terror of Spartacus. In addition, Glaber continues to wring use out of Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) and her supposedly lying in favor with the gods; mere mention of her name affords Glaber some breathing room with Albinius – a move which angers both Ilithyia and Varinius.

For her part, Lucretia is no mere pawn, though she is content to appear as such. Of anyone in the rejuvenated House of Batiatus, it is Lucretia who seemingly sees all the gaming pieces on the board. This is confirmed by her continued manipulation of Ilithyia by way of her father, Albinius.

Viva Bianca and Craig Parker Spartacus Vengeance Empty Hands Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 4: Empty Hands Recap

Ilithyia is somewhat distracted at the moment, however, with the overwhelming desire to leap from her current position with Glaber to one she feels has more potential – namely as Varinius’ wife. Unfortunately, the switch isn’t as easy as she might like. For one, her father won’t allow it, and more disturbingly, a move toward the up-and-coming Praetor places Ilithyia in the middle of a love triangle between Varinius, Seppia (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) and her brother Seppius.

The most interesting consequence of Ilithyia’s deceit, though, is that of a deeper understanding and interest in Glaber’s character – who up until this point was something of a stock villain and target of Spartacus’ ire. Watching Glaber shuffle back and forth, struggling to win the approval of the people of Capua (and the senate) against a seemingly stronger, more capable opponent in Varinius is compelling enough it almost makes one feel for the guy. There is an air of need and desperation in Glaber that smacks of John Hannah’s Batiatus, and adds more depth and flavor to the proceedings.

After the struggles that begun in ‘A Place in this World,’ ‘Empty Hands’ ends on a much-needed high note that consists of watching Spartacus’ threat of “a wounded animal may yet bare teeth,” come to fruition in one of the most bombastic battle sequences this season, and a reunion with Argon (Dan Feuerriegel) and the rebels he took to with him in ‘The Greater Good.’

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Spartacus: Vengeance teases the return of Gannicus in ‘Libertus,’ which airs next Friday @10pm on Starz.

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  1. Good episode, Gancicus returns in Ep.5!!!!

    • Yeah I see that coming. This was the best episode of the season yet!

  2. I feel as though there is a pattern of manipulation from Lucretia in this season as there was in the other two seasons. Ilithyia was so focused on her arranged rendezvous with Crixus in B&S, Lucretia acted upon it. She knew how badly Ilithyia wanted Crixus, she intervened. Thus coming a downfall of Ilithyia in the short term. Now, Lucretia sees that Ilithyia favors Varinius. Once again, Lucretia acted. Although Ilithyia somewhat withstood what she saw because of the lie told by Lucretia, it leads me to believe that something more is going to happen. Lucretia couldn’t have known about the “conversation” that Iliythia and Varinius had, just moments before. seeing how blindly Ilithyia acts and the correlation of manipulation between the past seasons, something more will happen. Possibly the past transgression with Spartacus will arise, the nature of who the father really is or maybe Glaber will be pulled into the mix with Lucretia as Craig Parker eluded to this in an interview. The episodes just get better and better this season! Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

  3. great episode, loved the battle spartacus takes out like 20 guys, feel bad for the other guys killed thogh espicially marcus or liscus for that matter by ashur, i can’t wait till someone kills him i bet it’ll be crixus or oenamaous and cant wait to see gannicus again and to see how oenamaos and him do with him knowing the truth looking forward till next week

  4. First off….How the hell do you people even remember and keep all the names straight…Much less know how to speel them? I think I might have four or five tops…..

    I find it amazing how the show can intertwine some of the near pornagraphic scenes with some of the most bloodiest fight scenes…..and make it work. Except the part where they slowly killed the one guy I don’t think we ever saw before….by cutting off a piece a a time and finding it absolutely funny as hell…..That was a bit over the top…

  5. Liam earned his spots as Spartacus in this episod with destorying the Roman soldiers. Mira all of a sudden has become a bad ass. The way she saved Naiva’s life was epic and wild and crazy. The shot with the two of them facing the oncoming “Romans” was just beautiful.

    The whole Roman/Villian saga is playing out nicely and I felt for Glabis and had a lot sympathy for him. Of course Lucretia is still the master manipulater. Batiatus was a lucky man…sort of.

  6. I love what they’ve done with this series. It keeps getting better and better. Great acting, fun story, and lots more to come. Ashur is one of my favorite baddies. Ilithyia is as well. Now if only they would put them together in some twisted way. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  7. It’s as yet another marvellous episode and this season continues to hit its stride. It’s simply getting better every single week.

    Yes it was great to see the small band of rebels constantly on the run , there was always a constant threat and danger – none netter showed that the first opening minutes. For me this was the first episode that McIntyre convinced that he could be Spartacus. He did show that wounded animal look, but also the care for the others around him, at last he has started to realise his own interpretation of the character.

    For all the intense fight scenes, as the review says – the high point was around the villa. So many different agendas, sub plots – motivations, all shifting and changing with almost every scene. Glaber may not be as extravagant as Batiatus – but he is much more sly, more tactically aware. Its great to see him making certain moves and then holding back waiting to see what further opportunities arise.

    The episode however belonged to Illythia and Viva Bianca was outstanding. Truly sexy and villainous at the same time – it was a fantastic slow mo sequence as she paraded around the house full of glee, only to be shocked when seeing Lucretia on top of her father.

    Call me crazy or not , but after watching Mira’s constant involvement in the battles this season – a good shout for Katrina Law to be cast as the lead for a Big screen Wonder Woman movie????

  8. Liam will never play Spartacus the way Andy did. This show is now a shadow of what it was. Gannicus may be the only highlight left as even Crixus and Oenamaous are not the same as B&S.

    Arena battles are needed badly. Hopefully Crixus and Oenamaous will return to their form in the next episode in the arena.

    • It has taken me a while to get used to Liam as well. But I think he is an amazing job. I’m very excited for Gannicus’s return! The battle is going to be epic between him and Crixus and Oenamaous. Especially now since he knows that Gannicus has slept with his wife. I can see them fighting and arguing the whole time about what actually happened.

  9. I have a question about Lucretia. How did she all of a sudden start remembering things? When they first found her she couldn’t remember anything prior to the slaughter at the ludis

    • I think she’s playing everyone. I think she remembers somethings but not everything. Asher, I think, reminded her of several things such as him stitching her up and saving her life.

      • I guess that makes sense they’re both pretty coniving but how do we know it was Ashur that stitched her up?

        • There was a flashback in episode 3 when Oenemuis was being whipped

  10. Man. Great episode. I still feel Iliythia is carrying Sparticus’s baby and in some way has grown some type of connection to him. Maybe a slight care for the man. Gannicus is coming back soon, I can not wait for that. Keep them coming Sparticus.

  11. *ludis. And I’m also wondering how Crixus and Oenomaus are going to escape from Glaber. I also really hate Ashur and I think Oenomaus will be the one to kill him if, that is, he’s still pissed about Ashur getting Barca killed in season 1

  12. Ashur is doing a great job and making all of the fans hate him lol. I’ll be honest I’ll be happy when he is killed by whoever. Hopefully Oenamaous.

  13. @Kstar

    You can’t just go back to everyone fighting in the arena again. Yes the arena battles from Blood & Sand and Gods of the Arena were fantastic but the story has to progress. The show has a more darker, dangerous feel to it this season and it’s all the better for it. There’s only so much action you can show in the arena before it starts to become stale and repetitive.

    Vengeance is going great in it’s own style and the moment and long may it continue

  14. I have to say that the first couple episodes were hard to get into probabaly because of the absence of Andy Whitfield and the change of venue outside the House of Batiatus . But I have warmed up to the new lead, Liam, and the episode progression has gotten better and this episode proves that. I like the new plots coming about.. Ilithyia’s aspirations to dispatch her current husband for a one more befitting of her, the return of Gannicus and the plot of Asher and Lucretia to bring vengeance on those that deserted and left them for dead.

  15. Definately the best episode yet. Liam has started to take hold of the reins as Spartacus.