After the destruction of the arena, it didn’t take long before Claudius Glaber took to punishing the very people Spartacus seeks to set free. Perhaps it is because he is a Praetor, and therefore holds more power than Baitatus (John Hannah), therefore Glaber (Craig Parker) has the potential to take villainy in Spartacus: Vengeance to new heights, as we see near the beginning of ‘Sacramentum.’
Having laid claim to Seppius’ (Tom Hobbs) soldiers, after crushing his throat at the end of ‘Chosen Path,’ Glaber finally finds himself in a position where he may stand a chance against his foes – both Spartacus and those who would oppose him politically.
Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), on the other hand, is still forced to corral his followers from time to time, and strengthen their spirits by demolishing an entire arena or making an example of a new recruit who doesn’t seem to get there is no “I” in team.
The newcomers to Spartacus’ party come courtesy of a liberated slave ship – scouted out by Agron (Dan Feuerriegel) – that just so happens to be filled with some seriously rough customers from his homeland. It turns out securing the boatload of Germans was in response to Agron’s growing disdain for the Gauls, and his desire to even – if not completely tip – the scales in his favor. Immediately, the presence of the Germans upsets the balance of Spartacus’ camp, with Agron seemingly more interested in breaking bread with his newfound friends, than in helping Spartacus earn the trust and loyalty of the would-be freedom fighters.
Much like it was in ‘Empty Hands,’ though, a great deal of the real action in ‘Sacramentum’ comes from the underhanded dealings of those in Capua.
After his run-in with Spartacus, last episode, Gannicus (Dustin Clare) has returned to the city in search of his payment for participating in the rather disastrous games in ‘Libertus.’ Given he’s partial to whorehouses and drink, it doesn’t take long for Ashur (Nick Tarabay) to track Gannicus down, and set him before Glaber. As luck would have it, Glaber is in possession of the rudis, which was bestowed upon Gannicus as a symbol of his freedom. Glaber sees the rudis returned, but expects Gannicus’ obedience as a thank you.
Not long after, Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) catches Gannicus in the streets gazing upon a recently crucified prostitute he had spoken with recently. Perhaps in desperation to escape the clutches of Ashur, or because she overestimated her insight into the man, Lucretia solicits Gannicus’ hand in killing Glaber – giving the former gladiator knowledge that his target will be left alone, and largely unguarded, as many of Glaber’s men will be accompanying Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) to Rome.
The two women had earlier conspired to fake an illness, which would threaten Glaber’s unborn child, resulting in his sending his supposedly ailing wife and Lucretia away from The House of Batiatus. Sadly, though, Ashur stepped in and swayed Glaber’s decision – with regards to Lucretia, at least.
Back at the rebel’s camp, too much wine, revelry and Germanic song leads to Sedullus, a mountain of a man, taking things too far with a cornered Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robbinson). Though she defends herself and stabs the towering German, it does little to deter his aggression. Before Sedullus can harm Naevia further, he is pulled away and into a fight by, of all people, Agron. Crixus is all too pleased to watch the two pummel one another, until he sees Naevia’s bloodied face – and he too joins the fracas.
Naturally, with everyone in the camp prone to violence, all hell breaks loose, causing Spartacus and a newly healed Oenomaus (Peter Mensah) to join the fray. While most of the men seem content to throw punches, Sedullus is the first to draw a weapon, and bring it down with the intent to kill Agron. Spartacus, sword in hand, halts the blow and proceeds to engage the towering German in combat. Since Sedullus has no idea the man he’s up against, the fight does not last long, and ends with his face being sliced off in a single, deadly blow.
The gruesome sight is enough to quell the skirmish, and afford Spartacus the opportunity to address a stunned group and remind them they fight a common foe, not one another. It is enough to earn Spartacus Oenomaus’ approval and the loyalty of all the men.
‘Sacramentum’ ends with Seppia (Hannah Mangan Lawrence) and Glaber’s tryst interrupted by news that Ilithyia’s caravan was ambushed on the road. As Glaber and his men view the carnage, they come upon Ashur’s tattooed companion with Gannicus’ rudis buried deep in his neck – a fitting reply to the proposal of both Glaber and Lucretia.
Spartacus: Vengeance returns next Friday with ‘Balance,’ @10pm on Starz.