‘Spartacus: Vengeance’ Episode 5: ‘Libertus’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by

Dustin Clare as Gannicus SpartacusVengeance Libertus Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 5: Libertus Recap

After last week’s episode, ‘Empty Hands,’ Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) gave a glimpse of the rage that lived deep inside him, and how once that fire was lit, there was little anyone standing in his way could do, but die. Now, with ‘Libertus,’ Spartacus: Vengeance translates that burning into an act of aggression that none of the Thracian’s enemies could have foreseen. For the viewer, however, ‘Libertus’ now stands as the benchmark of storytelling and spectacle, not just for this season, but also for the entire series.

‘Libertus’ opens in grand fashion, depicting the less-than-amicable reunion between Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Oenomaus (Peter Mensah) in the arena, where it is intended that the former Doctore and Crixus (Manu Bennett) will be executed in front of the good people of Capua. Just as Oenomaus swings his sword at his foe, the episode takes us back 24 hours to see how the players all came to stand on the same board.

And what a large board it is. Whether it is a declaration of intentions or crushing of one’s enemy, nearly all of the major players in this large ensemble make a move that will affect their position in the series. As the ensemble grows, with the addition of Gannicus, moving the pieces around the board is just getting to be more enjoyable for Steven S. DeKnight and his team of writers.

As we are re-introduced to Gannicus, it seems he’s fallen on hard times – short of coin and looking to regain some of his past glory by giving his former brothers an honorable death in Varinius’ games. Though he carries the wooden sword that tells of how he earned his freedom, Gannicus is still shackled by the guilt of what transpired between him and Oenomaus’ wife Melita (Marisa Ramirez).

Meanwhile, in the House of Batiatus, Ilithyia (Vivia Bianca) moves a step closer to her intended marriage to Varinius (Brett Tucker), thanks almost entirely to Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). However, Ilithyia is tasked by her father Albinius (Kevin J. Wilson) to abort the child she is carrying, so as to enter her union with Varinius unfettered by the past with Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker). Lucretia, sensing an opportunity, convinces Ilithyia to delay the act, and sets out to have Ashur (Nick Tarabay) arrange another intervention from the gods.

Ashur, more duplicitous since his return, takes his information directly to Glaber – essentially severing ties with Lucretia to win favor with the man who can better deliver what he wants. This sets up an astonishingly honest confrontation between Ilithyia and Glaber, wherein she confesses to her husband that the love which once existed between them is no longer there, and she plans to move on to Varinius. Now that all of Ilythia’s scheming has been revealed, it is only a matter of time before those who would act against him feel Glaber’s reaction.

That is how the rest of ‘Lbertus’ plays out. It is two men, Spartacus and Glaber, driven to act by forces largely out of their control, but by episode’s end, both will have made a rather bold statement regarding their position.

Liam McIntyre Spartacus Vengeance Libertus Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 5: Libertus Recap

Spartacus’ mad plan is to strike at the arena, utilizing the gladiators’ intimate knowledge of the structure to their advantage. Unlike the trek to rescue Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robbinson), the attack is intended not only to free their comrades, but also to strike at the Romans and show that this band of rebels is more than a mere annoyance – they are capable of making the republic bleed.

For those who have been clamoring for the arena battles in Blood and Sand and Gods of the Arena to appear in Vengeance, your calls have been answered. The games leading up to the final battle between Gannicus and the rebels feature some of the most brutal and gloriously bloody matches the series has seen thus far.

But all of that is a far cry from the spectacle of Spartacus’ masterfully executed move to tear down the structure that stood to make sport out of men’s lives, while simultaneously freeing Crixus and Oenomaus. The fire that erupts to swallow spectators whole is met in intensity by the blows struck between Gannicus and Oenomaus. Despite the utter chaos surrounding them, the meaning of the battle is not lost on the combatants or the viewers, and is an excellent way to bring Gannicus back into the fold.

Perhaps more importantly, through the fire that surrounds him, and the fire that is Spartacus’ rage, Glaber somehow regains a sense of self and purpose. It is no mistake that his brush with death results in him crushing Albinius and once more staking claim on his wife; it is reclamation of his stolen manhood.

‘Libertus’ was first-rate television that illustrates just how far Spartacus has come, and suggests the grandness of where the series may yet be headed.


Spartacus: Vengeance continues next week with ‘Chosen Path,’ Friday @10pm on Starz.

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  1. Great episode….Actually it was more like an episode you’d expect for a season finale. For all those who still want to put the series down because there’s been a couple of forced actor changes and insist that this isn’t living up to the original…..Drop it then, because if you aren’t in it by now, then you just wont get it….

    This isn’t a spoiler, but the major creep show who caught Spartacu’s spear with his chest……Man was his death long over due. He’s even below Asure in my opinion….Asure is an opportunist…That guy was just a creepshow to the core…

    • Absolutly, i wanted that guy to get it ever since what he did to that slave girl.

    • I completely concur! Cusutius’s (however you say his name) death was long overdue. Spartacus is taking each one down one at a time. I’m loving how Glabber’s whole life was slowly being taken from him (his position in the Senate, his wife, and almost his child). Only to be restored by the actions of his arch enemy Spartacus! Great story! Can’t wait until next week.

  2. Brilliant episode! Not just the best episode of this incredible series, but one of the best episodes of any series ever televised.

    • I also agree with Stephen this was the best episode ever aired in my opinion. I can’t wait to see the next episode with the Gannicus and Oenomaus to see how they act with each other since Oenomaus knows that Gannicus slept with his wife. Should be a really good episode. Really looking forward to it. Keep up the good work.

  3. gannicus, oenomaus, crixus, and spartacus all in the arena together, only to see it fall. best episode ever.

  4. Positively one of the best episodes ever of the series. Spartacus rocks on all forms. A perfect mix of violence,sex,romance,betrayal,and drama. All the characters are truly impressive especially the villians. They play their parts well, I love to hate them. I mean they don’t just feel like the old I am evil villian, their motives have depth. I mean I some what felt bad for Claudius Glaber a little as his world started to crumble. Man, what can I say. Great series. Spectacular episode.

    • I so agree. I think I dislike his wife so much more that I actually am routing for him within that situaion and even for lucretia. I will say that I so dearly miss Andy Whitfield and up until this last episode I thought there was no way Liam could do as well as he did in this character portrayel. But he really out did himself in this episode and makes me feel like he’s filling into this role as Spartacus.

      • I agree with you completely. I do miss Andy Whitfield. He had a charm as well an aggressiveness about him. Liam is doing fine as well with the character, making the role more his.

  5. I’ve been a fan of the show since its premiered as it slowly won me over during the first season. Last night’s episode for me was the best thing they had done. I knew things were going to be rough due to the casting changes once the new season started. Then, these past 2-3 episodes started to do something that I didn’t even expect. It was the writing that became more confident and more complex. The villains started to flesh out more where you kind of hated them but you also liked them.

    Now, I’m excited about the pairing of Glaber and Ashur. Those 2 together would be the ultimate villain combo. I think it would be a great match against Spartacus and his band of rebels. Yet, with Oenomaus back in the fold and possibly gaining Gannicus. It looks like we’ll have the ultimate battle.

    Man, I’m pumped up about this show!

  6. Hi can you please send me video stream link on the episode libertus. Im very into Spartacus series

    • @ Alfred you should just go download the graboid video program. It might be on there

  7. What an episode! The best yet so far! What a team of great wirters! Can’t wait for next Friday’s!

  8. This season has wisely taken some of the focus off of Spartacus and placed it on other central characters. The writers are pure genius! The return of Gannicus was nothing short of a masterpeice. It appears that Barca will be the next gladiator to return next week (I guess he survived the attack by the guards of Batiatus). Awesome story telling.

    • Dude barca was stabbed like 27 times, had his throat slit, then layed face down in a pool of water for like 20 mind, and was then tossed over the cliff. hes dead……and if hes not then skynet sent the terminator back too far.

      • It is rather amazing just how fast most of the gladiators heal. Granted they would be conditioned from all that brutal training, but still…They never seem to take too long to be back to tip top form for killing…

      • omg your response realy made me laugh. This was by far the best episode of the series. This is fast becoming my favorite TV show!

      • “…and if hes not then skynet sent the terminator back too far.” made me laugh like crazy for the last 10-15 minutes. Thank you, ben, for this. I didn’t have such a good laugh in years.

  9. This years series shows me one thing and one thing only . All you have to do to be successful is increase the sex , nudity add much more blood and viola SUCCESS ! It’s predictable crap
    that’s meant for 13 year old’s to giggle about at school the next day . Last years story was much more watch-able because of the muted and POWERFUL acting of ANDY . It’s now just a copy of it’s former self . Sometimes you should just leave well enough alone ! But hey MONEY always talks the loudest over any sense of integrity or substance ! MORE SEX ,MORE BLOOD make everyone MORE EVIL No one will ever notice or care ! I DO !

    • You know there’s really no pressure to watch this unless it’s coming from your own hosehold…..If you just can’t live with the changes…Then move on….

      Other than the showing of blood splatter that they’ve really been going over the top with I really don’t think the argument of more sex and violence holds up…Those have been very common from the first season of the first Spartacus. They basically have been melding the two back to back a bit more this season so that you go from severe violence to soft porn and then back and forth until your nerves are at an end from a bit of an overload.

    • Are you kidding me?! Another “it’s not the same without Andy!” get over it…the simple fact you believe these writers, actors and crew are doing this JUST for the money. Your ridiculous…they much like the fans know. This Show is far different from what’s being shoved down our throats. Visually and storyline wise…there is nothing else like it.

      Get over the fact Andy isn’t there…move on (No Offense to Andy, he was AMAZING and always missed.) but I promise you…being the MAN that he was, he’d tell you continue watching because PEOPLE LIKE YOU are turning their backs to show that I am 100% he loved like his family.

      • Agree 100 percent. he wanted the show to continue without him. he wouldnt want his friends to lose their job and fail because he couldnt physically continue. your underminding him by saying they are doing it just for money.

        • Yes! I read that he sent an email to Liam wishing him success and telling him that he was ok with him taking his role. Andy loved this show and loved the people he worked with. He wanted the story to continue. They loved Andy and respected him so much that they put filming season 2 on hold so that he could recover. They only moved forward because he wanted them to.

    • Dude,

      Why so bitter, if you dont’ like it don’t watch it, it isn’t for everybody and yeah I am not 13 but I LOVE IT!!!

  10. One thing that I really like about the Spartacus series is that the “villains” don’t view themselves as villains. They truly believe that their actions are for the greater good of Rome. All the characters are fleshed out so well that you can’t help but to root for Spartacus and his rebels while eagerly waiting to see what the romans will do next to stop/capture/kill him. Best tv series I’ve ever seen hands down.

    • Too true…

  11. I have to agree with many here that this was the best episode of Spartacus yet. My one complaint, an ever so small one, was that Gannicus was a little bit moody and brooding. There were glimpses of the hedonist that we came to know and love in Gods of the Arena, but they were short lived. Hopefully, in spite of the circumstances, he can inject a little bit of the comedic relief that he did in some of the GotA episodes. Also I know it’s almost sacrilegious, but I don’t think I hate Glaber.

    • I can see where your coming from about not hating Glaber. Its kind of like Batiatus you hated him having to be a villain but at the same time you felt for him and liked him. I still wish he hadn’t died at the end of season 1.

    • Dave I agree with you about Gannicus, he just seemed to be an empty shell of his former self. I can’t wait to see how or if him and Oenomaus will end up burying the hatchet figuratively or literally

  12. I literally sat on the edge of the couch the entire show- watching with my mouth hanging open, sometimes peering through my fingers, sometimes cheering, laughing or cringing. This was by far the best episode of the entire series…I have no idea where it’s going, but I love it! Who is coming up out of that hole….Ashur’s twin brother is my guess.

  13. awesome episode :D man i just hope that the director doesn’t go with the real historical story and get a better ending than the historical one

    • You mean like the gladiators actually beat the Romans, and then Spartacus lives a really long life…So long that he and the other gladiators not only see Christ born, but become his body guards for life…Thus keeping all those unpleasantries from occuring….Which of course would be another grand example of not sticking to history….As a result for their protection Christ could grant them immortality and they could change history up to the present………Ya….That’s some really long range thinking to keep the series from never ending….Ever

  14. This was indeed a tremendous episode. By far it was the best episode of the season and one of the best of the entire series. I am definitely looking forward to next week!

  15. @Beatle I was feeling the same way as you before this episode buy I am back on board. While I Andy will never be replaced Liam showed some fire in his eyes that reminded me of Andy.

    This show is back to number 1!

  16. Another good episode. I liked the short focus during the fight with Gannicus on his freedom sword and how he left it behind, either accidental or on purpose.

    I think it’s important they kept Gannicus’ character reserved because of the tragedies and horrors he endured at the hands of the house of Batiatus(sp is wrong there). He left a tragic character after everything that went down with Melita. Personally, I was hoping to see Crixus face Gannicus because of Crixus’ desire for proper contest. However, Crixus kicked some serious ass in the arena as did the other Gaal, until he met his death, which was unfortunate but expected. I mean they all are going to die eventually.

    Wonder if anyone felt this way: as I watched the three men walk into the arena to face execution and the five/six men come out to fight, I thought, “those are good odds for our heroes.” It just showed to me how well they were trained and how good of a Ludas the house of Batiatus was in making gladiators.

    Also, if Barca comes out of that pit after getting slaughtered by Batiatus and his gaurds, I would think, “Well. Good. Barca was handed some bad cards in Blood and Sand and Gods of the Arena” but I seriously doubt that will happen unless he reattached his own head.

  17. This show has stepped it up tremendously. I love the fact that this series although focuses on Spartacus, he isn’t alone the main focus. Other characters also shine and make this series top notch. Friday’s episode was the best one thus far since the beginning of the Spartacus series. Andy would have been proud. I am excited for this Friday’s episode and what’s to come.

  18. I’ve watched this series since the first episode and I have to say that this episode is tied for my favorite between this and the first season finale

    • Ok you are right . The final episode from the first season was great as well. Dang you, Yeti(lol).

  19. Hey man I do what I can lol :-D

  20. Epic, epic and just truly epic!!! – Anyone who doubts Vengeance after this episode needs to be put to the sword themselves.

    In terms of action, spectacle and just pure ambition – it was on a par with the Gods of the Arena finale. Here we saw the show’s budget at it’s most optimal point – once again producing a thrill and excitement that would put many bigger budget movies to shame.

    The episode gave so much, but without doubt it’s biggest achievement is that as a viewer you are now starting to empathise with Glaber. Yes, he doesn’t have the charisma of Baitatus, but from he’s practically had everyone against him from the start – it was satisfying to see him finally apply some payback.

    My only gripe – and maybe this is overcritical – was that the much anticipated face off between Gannicus and Oenomaus didn’t quite pay off. Fans were eagerly looking forward to these two squaring off against each other – yet having Oenomaus chained and with only one small sword meant the contest was never evenly matched. This should’ve been a much more singular, dramatic fight, but with so much going on , much of the tension was lost. I still reckon if equally armed – Oenomaus wins all the way – but that’s just me.

    Still – this is one of the best tv episodes of the year for without doubt one of the best, if not best show of the year so far. Yes it was worthy of being a season finale and you do fear if the finale can possibly be as good. I have faith with the show’s producers though and if they can top this episode then we’re in for something truly special.

    Can we please have next week’s episode – like now please..

  21. Finally my thirst for battle is satiated!!! Now Gannicus must go heads up with Sparticus to please the Gods!

  22. I’ve watch this episode about 3x now. It was befitting of a season finale. Each week the story goes in directions that I don’t expect, which is a good thing and a testament to the great writing. I love how they were able to incorporate the stories from the prequel(S:GOA) into this season with the return of Gannicus( I thought he would not resurface seeing as GOA was a “fill in season” of sorts. I’ll admit the the new faces I had to get used to, but now thats no longer an issue. GREAT EPISODE!

  23. A poorly written, illogical and irrelevant review.