|A Place In This World|
|The Greater Good|
Taking a wider view, I'm still uncertain about the success of Vengeance sending half its cast out on the road. It had to take this step, of course, but there was something singularly fascinating about the politics of the once pivotal ludus. Taking the gladiators out of their training camp is akin to watching a series of Downton Abbey where the servants leave the house and visit London. It may be fun to watch that happen, but it doesn't quite sit right. However, "The Greater Good" was a more promising example of the show's new itinerant nature, with some great woodland battles (were those trees real or greenscreen?) and a brilliant climactic set-piece inside a mine between the fugitives and Roman soldiers. The latter being a particularly good sequence because of the unexpected moment when Crixus (Manu Bennett) was captured while saving his rescued lover from harm.
Overall, I'm happier with Vengeance after seeing "The Greater Good", but I was far much more invested in Gods Of The Arena at this third-hour. I was also wondering if it's possible we've become desensitised to Spartacus, so it's not such a visceral thrill? There was a time when a CGI-blade being jabbed through someone's throat made me wince and gawp at the audacity (for the small-screen), but now I hardly bat an eyelid. At least the show's more significant instances of violence remain tethered to emotional issues happening between the characters (e.g. Oenomaus being flogged by his former pupil Ashur), and haven't become something things the writers throw in to keep bloodthirsty teenage boys happy.
Now we're a third of the way into this latest adventure, what are your current thoughts on Vengeance? Is the show improving steadily, or do you believe Spartacus has lost its mojo—either because of too many unfortunate changes to the cast, or the fact the story felt more creative when it was largely taking place in a cliffside building?
written by Brent Fletcher (2.2) & Tracy Bellomo (2.3) / directed by Jesse Warn (2.2) & Brendan Maher (2.3) / 6 & 13 February 2012 / Sky1