‘Spartacus: Vengeance’ Season Finale Review

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Liam McIntyre Spartacus Vengeance Wrath of the Gods Spartacus: Vengeance Season Finale Review

Rushing headlong into this finale with a true sense of revolution, Spartacus: Vengeance is set to complete an incredibly strong season by finishing what it had started with ‘Kill Them All’ way back in April of 2010. Moreover, though, Spartacus: Vengeance faces an unlikely challenger in its own storytelling, by having to face the prospect of exceeding the kind of epic grandiosity on display in episodes like ‘Libertus‘ and last week’s ‘Monsters.’

Suffice to say: the season finale ‘Wrath of the Gods’ does not disappoint. The episode is nearly wall-to-wall action that gloriously upends the series, offers closure to several lingering plot threads, and once more redefines the man Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) will become for the pending third season – whatever that may be subtitled.

As storm clouds brew over Mt. Vesuvius, Spartacus’ band of rebels is nearly undone by the impatience of Nemetes (Ditch Davies), Saxa (Ellen Hollman) and Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage look-alike, Ludo, after they attempt to escape the mountain and take on a small band of Roman soldiers. Unfortunately, their escape is met by the arrival of Ashur (Nick Tarabay) and the Egyptian. Were it not for the intervention of Mira (Katrina Law) and eventually Spartacus, Crixus (Manu Bennett), Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Agron (Dan Feuerriegel), the three surely would have met their end. Sadly, it is Mira who is dealt the deathblow. And while she and Spartacus had been growing apart after the events in ‘Balance,’ her death brings to the forefront the reason for Spartacus’ vengeance, and sets the tone for the rest of the episode: one in which any character, no matter the importance he or she have to the series’ narrative, may become a casualty before this season is officially in the record books.

Meanwhile, in the pit of deceit below, Glaber (Craig Parker) and Ashur each whittle away the time, waiting for the rebels to starve atop the mountain, by fixating on the life they will lead once this objectionable uprising is finally quelled. Such pleasant thoughts are put on hold, however, as the arrival of Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) heralds the end of Glaber’s arrangement with Ashur – effectively putting to rest any hopes the Syrian may have had of transferring the ludus and wife of Batiatus into the House of Ashur.

One good turn deserves another, though, as Glaber cannot have any loose ends, so he orders his newly dutiful wife to eliminate Lucretia before the couple embarks on their return to Rome.

If losing out on the promise of the House of Ashur wasn’t bad enough, the Syrian quickly loses the loyalty of his men, and very nearly his life at the hands of the Egyptian. Rather than simply kill him, Glaber sends Ashur to Vesuvius to negotiate the terms of the Spartacus’ surrender. Naturally, the rebels politely refuse, but Crixus feels the message to Glaber might carry more weight if Ashur’s head were separated from his shoulders first. Before they can square off, Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robbinson) demands a shot at reclaiming a little of what was taken from her at the hands of the Syrian.

Manu Bennett Spartacus Vengeance Wrath of the Gods Spartacus: Vengeance Season Finale Review

At first it seems unlikely that both Mira and Naevia would fall in the same episode, but despite her rage, Ashur appears poised to once more evade the icy jaws of death – at least long enough for Crixus to kill him. After a heart wrenching and brutal brawl, Ashur, ready to cut Naevia’s throat, pauses to add ridicule, but in doing so opens himself up to a devastating slice from Naevia’s blade that almost certainly robs him of his weapon of choice. While Ashur gets a verbal shot at Naevia before she hacks his head off with three vicious blows, the smiting of her tormenter is the beginning of Naevia’s transformation from traumatized victim to fearsome warrior.

If you thought Ashur’s death brought about a sense of closure, then the goings on back at the ludus were appropriately mind-blowing. All season long, it was clear that Lucretia had a game plan that was known only to her. And the end goal she had in mind? Why the unborn spawn of Spartacus and Ilithyia, of course.

Lucretia delivers the line of the night by saying to the mother-to-be: “Your child? You are but a vessel carrying a gift from the gods to the House of Batiatus. Now then, let us see it unwrapped.” Having cut the child from Ilithyia, Lucretia makes her way to the cliff’s edge, and in as dramatic a goodbye as could possibly be imagined, joins her husband in the afterlife – bringing with her the child she failed to give him in life.

But ‘Wrath of the Gods’ isn’t done, yet. After descending the sheer face of Vesuvius, the Gladiators Four begin the assault on Glaber’s camp by turning the Roman army’s firery catapults against them. And with that the climactic battle is upon us.

Peter Mensah Spartacus Vengeance Wrath of the Gods Spartacus: Vengeance Season Finale Review

Having delivered the final scenes of so many memorable characters, it stood to reason that only Glaber would be left on the finale’s bloody chopping block. But not so, says series creator Stephen S. DeKnight. In coming to the aid of the man who betrayed him, Oenomaus (Peter Mensah), battle weary and severely injured from his last run-in with the Egyptian, saves Gannicus’ life, but falls in his stead. And though it’s hard to see the once-proud Doctore go, his death acts to reaffirm Gannicus’ place in the world: as a warrior for Spartacus and the inevitable war that is coming.

As for Glaber, his death serves as the final act to the amazing character arc that has brought Spartacus from the unknown Thracian, to slave, gladiator, and now, the leader of an army united by a singular purpose: to bring freedom to those long suffering under the tyranny of an empire. It also shows how Spartacus is set to take on the new challenge of telling a larger, more powerful story now that will require a new cast of supporting characters be brought in with the expanding scale of the series.

Yet despite all the evidence to justify the program’s quality (re: this entire season) it can be downright impossible to convince others how Spartacus: Vengeance truly is a worthwhile program, with insanely talented people at the helm. Yes, the show is synonymous with gratuitous violence and sex – an aspect designed to attract a key demographic – but it is also home to some masterful storytelling. In the end, those of us who know will see ‘Wrath of the Gods’ as a fierce, powerful and insanely entertaining climax to what has been an epic season of a show that rightly claims its place as one of the most compelling programs on television.

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Spartacus returns in 2013 for season 3 on Starz.

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  1. Is it just me or did anyone else realize that lucretia took spartacus son with her to greet her husband in the afterlife?

    • Kinda of hard to miss it. The way it played out it seemed like a dream sequence because I find it hard to believe Lucretia would go out like that. Very interesting finale with the main protagonist dead. Cant wait to see who the new baddie is!

    • Uh yeah no kidding. It was quite apparent that Lucretia was not all there mentally obviously ever since the massacre.
      I thought her death was epic and fitting for her demise. The whole episode was reall good.
      The death of Ashur was a bit lame as I am not a fan at all of the the new Naviea (and new softy crixus, for that matter).
      However it is hard to deny the brilliance of the season and the finale.

      In response to the point in the review where it said that it is hard to convice others of its brilliance I could not agree more.
      I have watched every episode and have tried and tried to turn others on to it but they think its just gratuitous sex and violence.
      this is true but the show is much more than this. I applaud Starz for allowing this show to air it is by far one of the best shows on TV.
      High hopes for next season.

  2. My heart is broken! Mira, Oenemaus, Illythia, Lucretia! why! Fantastic Finale!

  3. Aside from the catapults being in the perfect poition to bombard the Roman encampment, I really liked the finally. Nevia moves with the sword were pretty lame but fueled I believe by rage more than training.
    It will be interesting to see who they cast in the new roles especially the casting for Marcus Lucinius Crassus, one of the richest men in all history. All hale Spartacus!!

    • Actually, the catapults were something the writers didn’t even have to come up with. In the actual historical event Spartacus and his men really do scale the rock face and turn the roman catapults on the camp. So while somethings obviously are made up in the show that event is taken right from the annals of history.

  4. I really thought it was a finale of two halves. Thought the first half was alright and the last half was excellent. I understand the killing off of Lucretia because she wouldn’t fit next season but her whole reason for obsessing over the baby was to jump off a cliff? Sorry, but whatever reason you think of that’s lame. Asher being killed by Naevia was so awful I couldn’t believe it… first that just shouldn’t happen, second it wasn’t even close to believable, and third, the new Naevia has been a terrible addition to the show. Asher should have lived and taken the ludus and if you have to kill him make it good, having Naevia do it is terribly unbelievable. The actors of next season need to be amazing or else they are in trouble. They just killed off the 5 best actors/actresses in the entire show in this finale. Glaber, Asher, Lucretia, Ilithia, and Oenemaeus… Sorry but nobody else on this show is even near how good those actors were, especially the first 4 listed. Enjoyed the finale, but was left very disappointed also.

    • It was a great episode. And I agree they got rid of some great actors. I will miss Katrina Law also. I find her ridiculously beautiful.

    • just to clarify i don’t think that Ilithia is dead everyone… a main character like that isn’t going to just pass out on the side of a cliff and that be it. i mean Lucretia was literally stabbed through by Crixus and was made out to be dead. there’s no way that’s it for Ilithia

      • Sorry Justafan. She is dead – showrunner Steven DeKnight has said she is and that is why she dies with her eyes open. More importantly there is no room for her going forward. Who is going to take her in and why? Simply put we are moving past Glaber and up the political ladder.

        Bringing Lucretia back wasn’t initially in the plans. It was only when he thought about her bringing a baby to Quintus did they decide it could work.

  5. Insane finale!!! So many dead and I will miss Oenemaus and Mira most! The death of Lucretia and Glabber ends the chapter of Capua. Spartacus will move on towards Rome while building his army. I cant wait to find out who the new protagonist will be and the head producer said there will be epic things to come! Cant wait and can only wish the season was longer!

    • Oh, was awesome to see Ashur get his come uppins too! Woot!

  6. I find it interesting that some have a problem with Asher’s death. The dude was a scoundrel without any honor. He deserved to die at the hands of a lesser person because he’s never achieved anything honorably. Personally, it was a fitting humilating end to his character.

  7. Not enough words can sum up what this episode was. Simply a finale of the gods. A quite staggering contrast to the snoozefest at times that was the Game of Thrones premiere earlier tonight.

    I don’t think I’ve known another show in recent times to be so bold in terms not only of character development but story progression. Taking so many risks by killing off so many compelling and rootable characters, yet still leave you wanting more. Incredible.

    One just wonders as to whether too many were eliminated. Personal sadness over Mira (killed in the opening minutes!!!)hopefully Katrina Law gets more acting roles as she’s hot.

    So sad over Oenomaus, here was a character that should’ve survived. Revered fighter and mentor, surely he had more standing than Argon? – Peter Mensah gave a certain mysticism and gravitas to the role and will be missed.

    Ditto Nick Taraby as Ashur, his death by the hands of Naevia was a seminal moment, and in truth – took up more screentime that needed but agreed that Ashur was too great a villain to go out like that.

    And then there was Lucretia and IIythia. What a shocking & stunning conclusion to their story arc. The sense of vengeance all season was truly captured in her fall from the cliff.

    Sparatcus vs Glaber whilst epic – didn’t quite carry that pay off it deserved. This encounter had been built up since Blood and Sand but their fight never stood out amongst the chaos and mayhem going on around it. Kudos to Craig Parker in delivering , despite having much less centre stage than Hannah did as Baitiatus.

    Last word on Liam McIntyre as he convinced me completely as Spartacus this episode. Yes Whitfield’s interpretation was still superior, but Liam is now truly worthy of the role.

    In short Spartacus Venegeance has proved the benchmark, of consistently epic television series. Giving characters to root for, twists and turns aplenty, and delivering premieres and finales the way they should be done. I never thought I would see an epic, great show I could love again so much after Smallville departed, but in Spartacus, i think i’ve found it.

    How they’re going to top this season I just don’t know, but its going to be fun watching them try. Season 3 will definitely need more than 10 episodes this time. HBO take note – this is how it should be done.

    I

    • Yes, I agree that Oenomaus should have survived until the next season at least and historically speaking it would have been accurate cuz the actual Oenomaus didn’t die until the slave army split and Crixis’ portion of the army were plundering cities and towns in the south of Italy.

  8. Lucretia’s character ending was complete genius! She took a son with her to greet quintus in the afterlife. Her diving off a cliff shows that she had no place in this world, she had lost everthing. Including her mind. I still wish ashur couldve faceoff against a true gladiator before he came to an end. I feel I never did see ashur face off against someone of note. He let naevia win…

    • Well he did get to faceoff against Oenomaus in Blood & Sand – it went badly for him. As Ashur himself admitted he was the least of his brothers and compared to any of our heroes he would of been eliminated disappointingly quickly.

      I seem to have been the only one to watch that scene and see he was pretty much toying with Naevia the whole fight. She never really had chance, except when he makes the mistake of taunting Crixus instead of just killing her.

  9. Although I admit boredom with the first three episodes, the latter part of the season made up for them in spades.
    Ashur’s dead and I say “adios” with glee in my heart. I loathed Ashur from the beginning, picturing in my mind an endless reel of ways he could buy the farm, each one more gruesome than the next as his brutality raged in the show. Naevia doing the slaying was perfect as she, with all her inept skills, brought down a Gladiator-trained man because of his over-blown importance and ego.
    Although I didn’t think it possible, Liam did a fine job of filling the mighty Spartacus shoes left behind by Andy. I missed Andy’s quiet yet lethal presence, but must give Liam props for his own quiet and lethal portrayal.
    I wonder….is it possible the child cut from Ilythia’s womb will survive the fall and be found? I like the idea of Spartacus being a father although I suppose a very large part of what makes Spartacus god-like is his being unencumbered of wife or child; he has no ties that bind and make him vulnerable.
    I look forward to next season.

  10. @ Champ Kind couldn’t agree with you more would have rather seen Naevia die and the old Crixus come back he has been weak this season! Ashur was a great villian and will be missed like Batiatus was this season.

    I think that the supporting actors are making up for Liam. I’m sorry he is not a good actor! Still love the show because the supporting cast minus Crixus are doing well.

  11. @Kstar

    I agree with your comments. One thing for certain is that Vengeance was definitely an ensemble piece – with the supporting characters outshining the lead in many episodes.

    On the plus side, it makes more greater depth in storytelling – giving the show more completeness, by not relying solely on one character or lead actor’s performance alone. Gods of the Arena’s success proved that you could have great episodes in which Spartacus hardly featured. Unlike Game of Thrones, Vengeance was able to cope with having multiple characters and make them all seem relevant and pivotal to main events.

    It does mean that the the main story can lose focus – and strong lead characters can become marginalised. This was no more the case than with Crixus. His rivalry with Spartacus was such a compelling part of Blood and Sand – but in Vengeance his whole motivation centered around Naveia and he became less interesting as a result. (The Crixus from Blood and Sand would’ve never let Naveia take on Ashur in a one on one fight.)

    I also agree about the supporting cast making up of Liam to a degree. No doubt that Andy Whitfield’s presence would’ve elevated this season even higher, but I thought McIntyre finally nailed the part towards the final episodes. Its clear that the producers were concerned with initial fan reaction towards him. So they kind of covered their bets my making Vengeance more multi- faceted but it all worked out in the end.

  12. I luv the show due to its story telling i waited so long for this season and now i dont knowhow much i have to do for the next one…… the season was really excellent but lucretia should not be died……

  13. ****SPOILERS CONTAINED*****
    This whole series really annoyed me. I can’t stand the unbelievably righteous preening twats portraying filthily rebelling slaves who would have conducted themselves in this manner in any scene or any line. This along with the anorexic female models en mass whom we are led to believe could fight half naked against a legion and repeatedly win. Further more the only good main characters with and depth in my opinion were Glabber and Asher. I would pay handsomely to see a series where Asher gets his own ludus, to see Glabber rip out the hearts of all the slaves and rise in Rome’s political elite or just to see them all the slaves hammered one by one to wooden crosses.
    Don’t get me wrong I’m not against goodies winning and a happyish ending but not in such contrived fallacies hoisted upon its audience as if we are some backwards chimpanzees who will clap their hands at the first sign of a handsome squeeky clean hero beating up the boogeymonster.

    • @GJD

      I completely agree. But especially with asher. He was actually a good guy turned corrupt by dreams of power and lust. (lucretia and her husband’s Ludas) I still thought even in the end he was a good guy and didn’t deserve t go, ESPECIALLY not in the way he did. He was the only character with huge amounts of background story and depth while being in the shoes of a slave, a brother, and a desperate man wanting to be free. He should not have died, period.

      • if your looking for that kind of story then you waisted your time watching spartacus. I have to say watching the kill em all season finale was sooo satisfying to me. my only regrets is that ashur and glaba wasnt tortured and nailed to a cross before they died. Spartacus should have took Glaba’s head off

      • Ashur was never a good guy. He was always a snake with own interest at heart. He got what he deservehd…oh yea he was a rapist.

        • @kerb
          He was a rapist and they were all killers and muderes. That a weak argument that dictates they all deserve to die.
          I for one was very disappointed when Asher was killed, favourite character in vengence.
          Totally agree with GJD, well put.

  14. Hmm. The final episode of this chapter was awesome, but I can’t help thinking that if the details of Oenomaus has been changed for the sake of entertainment,then ANYTHING is possible, meaning F*CK History! I appreciate that he was changed from a Gaul (like Crixus) into a black man, but history stated that he also gained/commanded his own army to aid Spartacus. Does this mean that Gannicus will do what Oenomaus was supposed to do? What’s up with that?

  15. I’m happy with how the demise of the Egyptian was handled…and glad that Spartacus also handed him a brief ass kicking too. :o) It truly is a brilliant series…though I’m still hesitant to reveal to people that I watch it coz they might think I’m in to porn or something :o)

  16. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, THIS SHOW WAS GOOD,I REALLY WISH LUCRETIA AND ILLYTHIA COULD HAVE BEEN FRIENDS,I WISH MIRA DIDN’T DIE ARE OEMOMAUS,ASHER REALLY NEEDED TO DIE HE WAS EVIL,I WISH GLABBER COULD HAVE LIVED A LIL MORE LONGER AND I MISS BATIATUS CRIXUS PART WAS PLAYED GOOD HE ACTS MORE LIKE WHAT NAVEIA WANTS,I HOPE THEY DON’T KILL OFF GANNICUS ARE THE TWIN WHO BROTHER GOT KILLED,I JUST LOVE THIS SHOW.

  17. Garbage. Complete and udder trash. Navea is wack, her killing ashur was even more wack. Crixus was a bender this whole season. The new spartacus needs intravenous protein shake. booboo!!!!

    • hyper I agree with you about Liam that he misses the Spartacus ingredient but still Manu (Crixus) played the a good role being sentimental and a ^good boy^ so the fans will expect him to be more brutal when Naevia dies

  18. I can’t wait for season 3!! I keep watching that part in season 2 where Gannicus kills that Egyptian freak over and over again!!!

  19. I was so unhappy about miras demise, that I almost wept. She have been outstanding, her supportive role was very notable. Spartacus will miss her so much. Am so happy that Ashur died in the hands of naevia, Ashur is so cruel, self centered, trickish and power hungry. Just imagine all his dirty deals from season one. Can’t wait for season 3

  20. it will be a next season from this awesome serial?

  21. Oh my god, this was terrible.

    The way Rihanna kills Ashur ruined my entire day. He could have split her in two at least fourteen times during their “fight”. And when she slices his jewels, his sword magically disappears. The guy beat up FOUR Roman soldiers in battle armor two episodes ago, and gets his head chopped off by a skinny and clumsy woman (who is, by the way, played by a very lousy actor).

    And how are FOUR men able to fire a catapult like it’s a god damn machine gun? Do you know how long it takes to reload that thing?

    Why does it take 10 people to hold one rope? 2 people are more than enough to hold one guy descending. More people could have climbed down from the mountain.

    Why wasn’t the Egyptian placed in the arena? The guy wasted Doctore twice.

    And for the entire season, what’s with Spartacus giving speeches every 3 minutes?! He turned from a soldier to a slave to a gladiator to a rebel to a damn politician. The replacement actor is not good enough and not physically built well enough. He only shows one facial expression, there is no passion Spartacus should have, which Andy displayed flawlessly.

    And Crixus became a weakling. THAT should not have happened.

    • True i agree, it’s very sad that shur dies by a weak girl who kept me distractig from the original one. The Egyptian was actually too dangerous to be out….
      Yeah Andy stays the best Spartacus ever.

    • @Vladmir I agree.

    • I agree with you as well. But I had to see a few times the part of Ashur and they could have left him for a good fight to lead his death. With the guys but a twist to the story line a women who was Raped and slaved had changed do to the cruelty by the way I miss the other one her face was softer and her eyes were very captivating and beautiful. But also her replacement lets see what she brings for the finale. And the new cast since they killed everyone..

  22. @ Vladimir well said this series is not going to last too long unless they replace Liam with someone who embodies Andy Whitfield’s potrayal of Spartacus.

  23. Fascinating series and based on a fascinating piece of history. Bringing Gannicus back was brilliant and the supporting characters make this series work. Getting rid of some of the best characters is bold and is one of the keys to the series’ success. You don’t know who’s going to be next. The females, Ilithia and Lucretia were powerful and complex characters let’s hope they can be replaced with the same quality.

  24. The season was total class from whoa to go! It set such a precedent that I won’t be able to watch TV again until the next season as all else pales in comparison.
    The Egyptian should have had his head spliced to the shoulders! And Glabers corpse should have been decapitated and held aloft!
    And Naevia I feel did do a reasonable part. And humiliated the slime ball Ashur while hacking his head off.

  25. Perfect story-line compared to the historic spartacus of thrace.. The season’s finale is blessed by the role played by Liam(spartacus), no less than andy (late). The tragedy that dropped my tears, mira’s death shlould hav been averted, ashur should hav survived for another season to make any meaning, shouldn’t spartacus’ child live? The same reason he spared ilithyia her life, oenomeous ‘ death happened too soon enough.. Generally, the story was well enjoyed wit the various scenes( you know what i mean:)) we hope for an equally good season..

  26. This episode played, in Australia, only this week.

    I understand the requirement to move on, and that therefore some characters must die, but I, for one, will miss Ilithyia: So excellently played by Viva Bianca, she epitomised the “woman I love to hate”, yet for whom I felt strangely sympathetic.

    This is a great series, highly underrated, IMHO.

  27. What a f****** series!

  28. Season 3 had a different twist because they escaped and the writers had to come up with a different story line. Even if Andy was here his character might have been a bit more of a leader and more to care for the people that followed him. The others characters had to play a little bit softer I did noticed they weren’t as fit as they were in the past 2 season and Liam did go to Gladiator boo camp. The reason they chided him is because he has a similar look to Andy. Which we all miss but I think this new Spartacus is doing a good job. I wish they did another season.

  29. I absolutely love this show..but am I the only one who didn’t like Myra’s character at all?? I thought 99% of the time she was so desperately scrounging to win Spartacus’s heart when it was obvious there was no way that was going to happen. Yea, Spartacus gave her some attention for a bit because he felt he could trust her..but that was it. Get a hint Myra! New Spartacus..hate to be blunt..can’t stand him! No where near Andy! He, not only doesnt look like a gladiator physically..but enough with the speeches already. Just didn’t fit this kind of show. I know its hard to fill someone’s shoes, but there’s better out there by far. And while I’m for love and all..I love Crixius, but really???..lets have everyone risk their lives to search for someone who, in the end, doesn’t even appreciate all he’s gone through to find her. Yea, i know Navia went through alot, but give the guy a break! Illythia..loved her..she should have had a better ending. Oenamaus..never thought i’d see such a massive character die but it had to be either him or Gannicus because the whole “begging for forgivness/no i dont forgive you thing” had to end. That being all said..I wish this show would never end and i can’t wait until January!! :)

    • i liked Myra’ s character it was a love she wanted from Spartagus but he just couldnt give her the same but he still cared.. After her death he was hurt And Came up with a Good plan. Keep in mind that maybe she had to be there because it helped the ratings and for the New Spartacus, maybe to throw us away from focusing too much on him.. He has done a good job but when I see him I tried just to see my old Spartagus I’m still sad how young he was.. But anyways I think they should have giving more character to Crixius he was a bad ass. Now he follows order so I agree Hey Great !!! I agree with his love one but maybe it might change. I caint wait for January .. It’s a new cast of Romans and leaders. I don’t like how they eliminated just about all the good cast , but Starz must know what they are doing.. Let’s hope this last one ends with a big bang!!!

    • After all Andy deserves a good ending of Spartacus for him.. RIP he made this movie and the character I felt it in his eyes and tears and through his anger.. The best ever !!!