“Spartacus: Vengeance” Season Review

Written by Mitchell B April 25, 2012

Though not quite as thrilling as the finale of “Blood and Sand”, “Spartacus: Vengeance” has gone out in similarly bloody and entertaining fashion. This season had many highs, lows, and everything in between. Let’s start with the highs.

In my initial review of the premiere I expressed my displeasure with the lack of Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Ashur (Nick Tarabay). After watching the rest of the season I must retract this remark, as I believe both characters were used quite well and introduced at just the right time. Ashur stands out as one of the best parts of this season. Tarabay plays the conniving snake perfectly and as an audience we love to hate him, which I will discuss more later. The rest of cast all play their parts quite well, including newcomer Liam McIntyre. Though he could never replace Andy Whitfield, he is a serviceable backup.

I also enjoyed Oenomaus’ (Peter Mensah) inclusion and exploring his character more, as I believe he is also one of the more interesting characters the show has to offer. Mensah does a great job with this role and will be sorely missed. His relationship with Gannicus was one of the more interesting plotlines of this season. Unfortunately, it felt cheapened a little when all they had to do to make up was drink a little and wrestle their brethren. But, that’s men, right?

The progression of the season is one of the negative aspects of “Vengeance”. It seemed like the writers struggled to come up with a solid storyline so instead they introduced so many plot twists (almost all of them involving Ilithya (Viva Bianca), Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) and Glaber (Craig Parker)) that it just became a guessing game as to what each character’s intentions really were. It was also a little frustrating watching Spartacus come face to face with Glaber multiple times, each time something happening to thwart his efforts. Spartacus is a renowned warrior, never defeated in the arena, but when it comes to killing a man who stands only a few feet away, something always got in the way.

Praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber, the main villain of this season, was also a fairly big disappointment. He was played well by Parker, but it didn’t feel like there was enough motivation for Spartacus to want to kill him. Yes, we know Glaber was responsible for the death of Spartacus’ wife, but it’s hard to still be angry about that when the initial season of Spartacus aired over two years ago, and Glaber wasn’t even the main villain of THAT season. Ashur was a much more compelling character to watch this season, and as much as we hate him, it was tough to watch him go in the finale. With he and Glaber killed off, and Lucretia killing herself, there are really no villains left for next season.

My only other real complaint regarding this season was the fight sequences. I may be remembering incorrectly, but was there so much slow motion in the initial season? I realize it’s the style of the show to be over the top, but the constant slow motion just removed me from some of these sequences, which are supposed to be some of the most compelling. In the future I’d rather see some better choreographed fight sequences shown in real time, rather than just slowed down yelling and CGI blood. They don’t ALL have to be this way, but maybe a few, so there is a real sense of danger when someone is in a battle, rather than a sense of boredom.

Despite these flaws, I was still thoroughly entertained by this season of “Spartacus”. McIntyre proved he is capable of carrying the show (though he needs to put on some muscle), and the characters were interesting enough to keep my attention throughout. The finale was another entertaining bloody romp and has enticed me to watch the next season as well, even if there are no more villains for Spartacus to face. I don’t think they’ll ever reach the level of “Blood and Sand” again, but I don’t mind settling for more “Vengeance”.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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