‘Spartacus: Vengeance’ Episode 9: ‘Monsters’ Recap

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Dan Feuerriegel Liam McIntyre Spartacus Vengeance Monsters Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 9: Monsters Recap

After the cinematic highpoint that was ‘Libertus,’ Spartacus: Vengeance was hard pressed to find another hour this season that was as entertaining, or thrilling. But with ‘Monsters,’ the program may have done just that.

As last episode, ‘Balance,’ sought to finally arrange the pieces that would see Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker) finally square off, those moments serve to offer a comparison between the Thracian warrior and the Praetor – with some striking similarities. But arguably, those similarities are nothing new, since Spartacus struggled during ‘Balance‘ to deny his thirst for vengeance by releasing a captive Ilithyia (Viva Bianca), and therefore proving his stance has now grown beyond retribution for the death of his wife.

While Spartacus’ cause expands, Glaber finds his more focused on a single foe than ever. He confesses to his recently returned wife that he is no longer the man she knew, but a monster born of circumstance and necessity – not unlike his nemesis.

Spartacus is in the midst of becoming a leader – something we see Oenomaus (Peter Mensah) and Crixus (Manu Bennett) recognize, but many of the others still do not. Sure, they are willing to follow him into battle, but the Thracian has yet to unite them as a singular unit. Unlike Glaber, Spartacus seeks to rise above his origins and do battle with his foe without emulating his methods. His means, however, prove difficult, as the rebels under Spartacus’ command are a disjointed group that, like Crixus says is “not a fist, but fingers twitching, absent single purpose.”

In finding purpose, Spartacus tasks Agron (Dan Feuerriegel) to obtain some wine so that the rebels can bond over drink and violence. While similar circumstances have elicited scolding from Spartacus in the past, under his watchful eye the proceedings serve as a much-needed oasis from worry and as a way for many to bury the proverbial hatchet. Of course, the highlight of this bonding session is Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Oenomaus against Agron and Crixus. It’s a brief tussle, but an important one that sees Gannicus earn a small amount of acknowledgement from man he betrayed, and the disdain between Crixus and Agron reduced to verbal jabs born from mutual respect.

The revelry will be short-lived, however, as Glaber uses Ashur’s knowledge of the area (and Lucius’ head) to surmise where Spartacus has been holed up all this time. Despite such an advantage, Glaber’s house continues to weaken, as every woman in it seems to conspire in one way or another to end the Praetor’s life.

Young Seppia (Hannah Mangan Lawrence) is set to task after being given evidence of Glaber’s involvement in her brother’s death. Perhaps as indication of the her naiveté, Seppia calls Varinius (Brett Tucker) back from Rome, but given her pitiful proof against Glaber, Varinius is less than convinced – especially when Ilithyia sides with her husband while he is being grilled by Varinius.

Manu Bennett as Crixus Spartacus Vengeance Monsters Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 9: Monsters Recap

And with that, it is clear that Seppia has fallen victim to the far more cunning and devious minds of Ilithyia and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). The fact is cemented as Glaber and his wife celebrate their reunion bathed in the blood of the young woman who, moments earlier, set forth to murder Glaber. Ilithyia’s swift and shocking attack is further confirmation that no character is safe from the specter of death in Spartacus: Vengeance.

After all the bonding is done, the attack on Spartacus’ camp is soon underway. Though it seems that the first wave was insufficient, resulting in Varinius’ capture, and the rebels seizing much-needed weapons, Glaber shows up making good on his threat of bringing the firey might of Rome down upon the rebels. The ensuing catapult attack is devastating, ending the life of Varinius in a moment where he closely resembled a young Peter O’Toole. Sadly, any such comparison is forgotten after Varinius’ face is burned away.

The rest of the attack is as exciting and visually splendid as it is a nerve-wracking experience. Close-quarter combat and tight camera focus prepares the audience for the inevitability that one of the rebels (Oenomaus) is surely about to lose his life. But in the end, Oenomaus settles for losing an eye in battle with the fearsome Egyptian – a maiming that should provide a certain poetic reprisal.

As Glaber pays homage to the season 1 finale by assuring he will “kill them all,” ‘Monsters’ ends teasing a climatic battle between Spartacus’ retreating troops and the seemingly insurmountable might of Glaber’s army

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Spartacus: Vengeance airs its season finale with ‘Wrath of the Gods’ next Friday @10pm on Starz.

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  1. Anyone think the mountain is going to erupt?

    • I hope not, since that would be silly for so many reasons.

  2. No mention of “The house of ashur”?

  3. Another episode on the edge of my seat. Next week’s episode is going to have me in knots. The fight between Oenomaus and the Egyptian was great and I thought Oenomaus had lost his life but thankfully only his eye. At one point I thought Spartacus was going to get captured or killed (even though I know the history).

    The blonde German chick is just crazy and I like the fighting role both here and Mira have in the camp. They seem to be the leaders of the warrior women and are getting some great screen time.

    I think Lucreatia’s monster is going to show herself in the finale if the brief scene is anything to go by.

  4. is there going to be another season?

    • Starz ordered the third season before season two even began after a screening to the company.

  5. Great Episode !
    And yeah..i think the Mountain is going to erupt !
    Otherwise it would be a wasted opportunity !

    Just imagine.its the only way Spartacus and the others can escape,when all hell breaks lose and the Volcano explodes !
    WOW..that will be an amazing season Final I guess,can’t wait !

  6. Awesome episode. Is it just me or did this season seem to just fly by? :( why did Illithyia kill Seppia? I thought she wanted Glaber dead also

    • Well the original season had like 16 or so episodes, so yeah this season was cut almost by a 1/3 …sad but true. Not to mention, the prequel was only like what? 6? so I guess it evens out if you really look @ it.

  7. Yeah, blonde chick killing burnette chick made absolutely no sense(this was protecting the husband who was willing to kill her and her unborne child to kill Spartacus). Especially when blonde dude came back and she could have married him. I don’t watch this show because of the writing but that decision made me sense whatsoever.

    • Read my comment below, there is more to the script than the surface lines and actions. Try and imagine WHY she would do that and you begin to understand how complex and clever the scripting actually is

      • To be honest if there are boobs or fighting going on I am usually browsing the web when I watch it, haha.

  8. This series keeps getting better every episode. Although no one can replace Andy, Liam is making the character his own now. Great episode!

  9. Lol, obviously the subtly written script didn’t hit home for a few viewers… Illithyia used seppia to gain a place by her husbands side again, by saving his life she finally convinced him of her worth. the past few episodes have shown glabius is not the weak willed, inept leader we all thought he was but a roman destined for power. The scripting is quite clever if you can only look past what is said and done and venture into the things left unsaid….

    • Agreed. Illythia and Glaber both just earned the right to live longer.

    • People should also recognize that w/o her Father, Illythia holds no power. Remember she needs a male figure, her child or her spouse, to hold power therefore she needed Glabber to hold her position.

  10. Great episode. Spartacus now with his unified army with his lieutenants was a great sight to see. Liam has won me over in the role of Spartacus (He still needs to work out. His chest looks small) Looking forward to Season 3.

    BTW Spartacus putting Katrina Law character in check was great. Its was a good love intrest, w/o gettin cliche, but i like how he keeps Sura and mission above all else.

  11. Although historically some of the names of the main players are right and that’s pretty much the extent of historic accuracy….there should be a far more interesting situation on the mountain than it arupting. They really should get some of that right

  12. Awesome episode, Ashur is scum of the earth and needs to die, although I remember thinking that about Batiatus and I have missed him all season! Looks like it will be a good finale

    • True…But if he goes you kinow there will be another scum bag to take his place…You have to have really low life scum bags to hate so the good guys seem so much better and rightous…

  13. ****POSSIBLE SPOLIER ALERT*****

    While the slaves lacked military training, Spartacus’ forces displayed ingenuity in their use of available local materials, and in their use of clever, unorthodox tactics when facing the disciplined Roman armies. In response to Glaber’s siege, Spartacus’ men made ropes and ladders from vines and trees growing on the slopes of Vesuvius and used them to rappel down the cliffs on the side of the mountain opposite Glaber’s forces. They moved around the base of Vesuvius, outflanked the army, and annihilated Glaber’s men.

    seems more likely than a volcano erupting…

    • I hope they stay true to the history. That would make for an epic season finale IMO. I also wonder what Spartacus intends to do with Illithyia since she is carrying his child, that is, if Lucretia doesn’t tell Glaber first

      • I don’t think Lucretia or Illithyia make it long enough to tell Glaber based on the preview of next week’s episode. I am not even sure Glaber will make it.

        • I think Glaber will die thus crumbling down the walls of the house of Ashur because he was only going to gain his freedom after Glaber killed Spartacus Since he goes back to being a slave Lucretia then gets her revenge for him raping her by becoming his domina once again and showing him how cruel she can be. That’s just one way I could see it going :)

    • So much for trying to skirt the facts…

    • And since it’s out there…Myth Busters did an episode where they proved that the story could be true because they were able to make rope from the materials at hand that was .strong enough to take the weight of an adult male. I’m not too sure how much of the history they’ll follow though because the trailer looked more like a great deal of head to head combat…..Can’t wait to see how they handled it….

  14. I think Lucretia will kill Ilithia as an act of revenge for locking her and her guests in the house of season 1′s finale. If you think about it. It’s be cause of her all this trouble has happened.

    • Lucretia is a bit like a chess master in all of this. When you think about it her and Ashur are pretty uch the puppet masgters behind most of what’s going on….I wonder if they’ll both survive the season? If someone has to go…I think it’d be Ashur…Just because everyone wants to see him get what’s coming to hime….and most likely beg for his life before it’s taken…

  15. The Egyptian beat Crixus and would have killed him…but for an arrow in the knee ;o) He beat Oenomaus and would have killed him but for Gannicus. So what next for The Egyptian…Gannicus or the big man himself? Either way, this guy needs a fitting death…hopefully he won’t get killed by a spear intended for Glaber. Grrr…that particular death still bugs me!

    • Totally agree. That Egyptian needs to get his ass handed to him! I’m thinking Spartacus is going to be the one. I can see someone else going up against the Egyptian and being killed… Spartacus then comes in and owns the living hell out of him:)

      • Does Spartacus seem more bad ass this season than the 1st season? His fighting skills are twice what they were in the first season, even compared to last season’s finale.

  16. Breathtaking, jaw-dropping, awesome. intense. Simply not enough words to describe this episode. I agree with the article that it equalled Libertus as an exceptional standout episode. Perhaps even surpassing it as in Monsters – it was just so unpredictable, never knowing who would actually survive.

    Seppia’s death was a typically overwrought scene. Of all theories, I believe IIlythia spared Glaber as a way of repaying a debt to Spartacus – so that he can ultimately take his revenge against Glaber himself. It’ll be interesting to see what Lucretia’s next move is. She may want vengeance against IIlythia – but what other ally does she have if she takes that action?

    I too enjoyed Spartacus’ plan of getting opposing rebels to finally bond. It was more of the ‘happier’ scenes of this season also slightly misleading that you felt it’s something we should’ve seen in the middle of the season not at the end.

    Despite this, the final 15 minutes was worth everything. The fight scenes and battle set pieces put many higher budgeted movies to shame. I credit effects team so much – the visual effect of burning fire has never seem so vivid as in this show (see also Libertus and the GOTA finale)

  17. Oenomaus vs the Egyptian was great moment. Thrilling to see as Oenomaus held his own and did strike a blow So saddening to see him lose his eye. It’s perhaps the one down point of the episode as it surely means the end of Oenoamus – how can he function anymore as a fighter / trainer with one eye. My worst fears will now come true next episode.

  18. It all confirms that next week will undoubtedly be not only the best episode of the entire series , but also the best season finale of any show this year. For nearly ten years Smallville was the benchmark show for season enders – Spartacus has now taken over that mantle.

    I just can’t wait until next week – Kill them all indeed!!

    • Well there was the Sopranos series ender…That mostly didn’t….(If you didn’t see the last episode…It just ended in black screen leaving you to hyour own interpertation as to what just happened…Some say brilliant…I and others say…Rip off

  19. @Tudrabeast

    The Sopranos series finale was one of the biggest crimes in television history. For a show laden with such adulation, praise, critical reception and high ratings – to simply have that ‘blackout’ ending was a disgrace ( yes i admit to checking my tv to see if anything was wrong)

    Other legendary shows like Quantum Leap didn’t have the chance to end of their own terms but Sopranos did and the infamous ‘open to interpretation’ excuse was an insult to viewers. Rip off yes and also Kop out indeed.

    Thankfully we have no such worries of sudden black screens with Spartacus. This finale will be truly exceptional

  20. I think that Ashur should survive the season. He is an awesome bad guy. Get him in badly wounded and let him watch as Glaber gets killed and all his dreams get destroyed. Then Bring him back in season 3 to unleash his bad ass attitude on Spartacus and his gang. I believe that Ashur can be fleshed out even more and that we have only seen a taste of what he is capable of.