“Spartacus: Vengeance” – Missing One Key Component

Written by Mitchell B February 02, 2012

The new season of “Spartacus” kicks off a few weeks after the finale of season one. Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and Crixus (Manu Bennett) lead their men on rampages, slaughtering Roman guards attempting to track them down. However, Spartacus and Crixus still have their differing views. Spartacus’ sole goal is to avenge his wife’s death by killing newly-promoted Praetor Glaber (Craig Parker). Crixus, on the other hand, looks to find his lost love-interest Naevia, so already the two are butting heads. It’s definitely a little difficult to become fully engaged in the Spartacus-Crixus relationship, as we are not used to seeing McIntyre in the Spartacus role, but more on that later.

Glaber and his wife Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) are commanded to return to Capua to find and kill Spartacus and end the havoc he continues to spread. While taking up residence in the house of Battiatus (why, who knows?) they find Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), who has survived her wounds and has lapsed into a state of madness. Her survival is used by Glaber to show the citizens of Capua that not all who face Spartacus are destroyed by him; Spartacus is just a man, who Glaber vows to kill. While making this announcement Spartacus attempts a solo assassination that is thwarted by Glaber’s Roman guards. He is able to escape with the help of Crixus and friends, who show up just in the nick of time. The episode ends with Spartacus agreeing to head South with Crixus to find Naevia.

The premiere of ‘Vengeance’ felt very similar to the first few episodes of ‘Blood & Sand.’ It is still an over-the-top actioner; filled with more sex and nudity than True Blood and Californication combined (did they really have strap-on dildos back then?), but I just felt disconnected from the show. Trying to get back into the Spartacus frame of mind was incredibly difficult. McIntyre in the lead role is not bad by any means, but it’s just not the same show without Whitfield. This isn’t exactly McIntyre’s fault either, being brought on to replace the show’s beloved lead actor is no easy feat. As an audience we shouldn’t be too quick to judge him, and rather let him grow into the role and give ourselves some time to get used to him. I definitely didn’t love Whitfield after viewing the original pilot, but he certainly grew on me.

The most disappointing aspect of the ‘Vengeance’ premiere was the lack of returning characters from ‘Blood & Sand’ and ‘Gods of the Arena’. With the main villain of ‘Blood and Sand’ dead, I expected to see one of the remaining villains pop-up somewhere in the episode, but that was not the case. Ashur (Nick Tarabay) was nowhere to be found in episode one, which was certainly a disappointment as Glaber was a pretty minor villain in season one.  The absence of Gannicus (Dustin Clare) was also a little disappointing. The entire ‘Gods of the Arena’ prequel pretty much revolved around him, so it was a mistake on the writers’ part to jump into a new season with unfamiliar characters and new faces, and not provide us with some familiarity in the characters we already know and like.

All in all, the ‘Vengeance’ premiere was bittersweet. Seeing some familiar faces was enjoyable, and the action sequences were still very good. Despite this, it is simply impossible to watch the show and not be reminded of Andy Whitfield. McIntyre lacks the charisma that Whitfield brought to the role, and we can’t help but think of how much more invested we would be in the character if Andy were still around. As the season progresses and we get used to McIntyre, I have no doubt that the show will return to form and be a solid piece of over-the-top entertainment. The premiere, however, was definitely missing something…or rather, someone.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Mitchell B

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on “Spartacus: Vengeance” – Missing One Key Component. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment