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Blood Flows Deep on Spartacus: Vengeance

Blood Flows Deep on Spartacus: Vengeance

Spartacus: Vengeance has just ended a ten episode run and has left me completely satisfied with my choice to get Starz On Demand. I thought the passing of Andy Whitfield, the original Spartacus from Blood and Sand might cast a shadow over this series. But Liam McIntyre came up with a great performance, which was no doubt aided by the returning cast of Peter Mensah, Manu Bennet, and in particular Katrina Law who flawlessly transitioned the love interest role from Blood And Sand into a full-fledged character. Liam had big shoes to fill since the role is bordering on iconic at this point because the series has been so epic and is only growing in infamy for its bloody portrayal of the most base aspects of human nature like jealousy, lust, rage, and power.

Through-out the course of watching Vengeance I became aware of the fact that I needed to not get attached to anyone because they will likely be killed or at the least horribly maimed both physically and emotionally. Like the first series there is an extensive plot involving alliances and double-crosses. But there is more urgency to this story and the tempo suits it now that the rebellious slaves led by Spartacus are on the run from Praetor Glaber, once again played masterfully by Craig Parker. Glaber’s descent into insanity caused by Spartacus’ evasion and the conspiring of his wife Ilithya to strip him of child and title is one of the highlights of the series. You almost feel bad for this dude. Almost. He even creates an Ultimate-Evil-Team-Up with resident gladiator school nuisance Assur played maniacally by Nick E. Tarabay.

These two characters highlight a central theme for the series, namely that the expectations of society can crush you whether you are on the top of the heap or the bottom. Although the bottom still sucks more. But the chances of going insane seem higher, the more upward you are or were. Lucy Lawless returns as Lucretia and highlights the fact it’s a long way down. She is recently widowed after the rebellion in Blood and Sand and is on the verge of losing her house, land, and title. Her performance is one of the greatest in both series. I have to admit I didn’t see the full evolution of her conspiracy coming. Wow. That’s quite a ways from Xena: Warrior Princess.

There are many great performances in Spartacus: Vengeance even though the vibe is different from Blood and Sand. The titles highlight this fact. The words blood and sand summon an image of toil and drudgery. As for vengeance, that means someone’s face will probably be cut off. And it was. The outcome of enslavement and murder is vengeance. But as we see by the end of this series, where can vengeance go? What comes after? It will be interesting to see if there is a new series, and I’m anxious to see this iteration. It’s unusual to have so many rich character interactions come to an end, and even more so when they are adversaries of the highest magnitude. You’ve never seen such intimate loathing and hate. The scale for the next series will likely be bigger because one thing is for sure, Spartacus’ merry little band is about to become a big target for the legions of Rome.

 

 

 

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