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Spartacus: Vengeance forges ahead with an orgy of blood, sex and raw passion. Episode 4, Empty Hands, begins with Spartacus, and survivors from their raid on the mines, attempting to evade capture. They hide adjacent to the path a patrol of Roman soldiers are traveling on; their bodies hidden under leaves; Predator style. Just when it looks like their camouflage is going to do the trick, Naevia freaks out and takes off running. Right, because that’s a sound strategy that’ll surely deliver her to safety. A Roman solider readies himself to toss a spear through Naevia’s back, moving Spartacus to action. Spartacus tears the Roman solider a new one for his troubles. Another Roman soldier has given chase to Naevia and quickly catches up to her. He’s pissed at her for making him run. I’m sure he must have expected her to happily jump onto his sword. That being said, it makes a quite a bit more sense now why these soldiers are so easily hacked to pieces considering that they have the same level of fitness as a corpse. Mira literally leaps to Naevia’s aid; wrapping her legs around the waist of the Roman solider and stabbing him to death. Now I see why she’s become Spartacus’ main squeeze. Although they’re able to defeat the Roman soldiers, they don’t do so without suffering a loss of their own. A gladiator, whose name I forgot, is slain and I guess we’re supposed to feel bad.
Glaber’s father-in-law gives him yet another tongue lashing for not having his soldiers at the games and embarrassing his fellow Praetor, Varinius, to boot. I’m sure embarrassing Varinius was just icing on the cake for ole Glaber, icing that I’m most certain he thoroughly enjoyed. Rather than be a whipping post this time, Glaber stands up for himself and defends his actions; he argues that it was by the will of the Gods that he was able to locate Spartacus while Seppius has continued to come up completely empty handed. Albinius is somewhat placated and that’s about as good as it’s going to get for ole Glaber.
Ilithyia stumbles upon Seppia and Lucretia chit chatting about Seppia’s desire to marry Varinius. Ilithyia, of course, gets mad jelly. She doesn’t even have to say anything because her feelings are written all over her face. She can’t help but open her mouth though and she berates Seppia for having the audacity to think that she’s worthy of such a man as Varinius. After Seppia runs off crying or whatever, Ilithyia turns her aggression to Lucretia. She chides Lucretia, doubting her godly divinity and referring to her as Glaber’s favorite pet. I had thought that honor went to the goat from the previous episode but I stand corrected. Regardless, Lucretia couldn’t look less bothered instead, she embraces Ilithyia and proclaims that she only wishes to regain her trust. D’aww. And who wouldn’t trust Lucretia? Oh that’s right. Anyone who wishes to avoid certain death.
A handful of Glaber’s soldiers return from the mines and they’ve brought some goodies for Glaber. Glaber looks damn excited but his hopes are crushed when he learns that Spartacus is not among their captives; only Crixus and two other gladiators named… C’est la vie to Glaber’s Super Sweet Sixteen with honored guest Spartacus. Watching from the balcony are Ilythia and Lucretia who witness the captured gladiators be brought in. Ilythia continues to berate Lucretia, now mocking her about Crixus’s capture; Crixus got Lucretia preggo since her hubby, Baitius, could not. Ilythia then gives Lucretia the ultimate kick in the ovaries when she lets her know that her act is not fooling her and she suspects that it was Ashur who nursed her back to health. Not only that but she knows that it wasn’t divine powers which revealed that Naevia was in the mines, Lucretia knew because she was the one who sent her there. Ilythia then reminds Lucretia that they have unfinished business. I smell cat fight.
Having evaded the first of the Roman’s patrols and knowing that it would not be their last, Spartacus stands guard while the rest of the survivors sleep, not wanting to lose another life. Funny enough, just as Spartacus is explaining to Mira that he won’t sleep because he needs to be alert in case the Romans find them, they’re surprise attacked by the Romans. Way to go Spartacus. Might as well have enjoyed a nice cat nap. Naevia cries out as a Roman kills another of Spartacus’ men. Nasir catches a sword in the chest as he attempts to help Neavia, who had attempted to help him, I think?
Absent the late Quintus, The House of Batiatus is back in business. The celebration which Ilythia alluded to, honoring Varinius, is not unlike a cocktail party. That is, if you were attending a cocktail party where there was a raging orgy in the center of the room, serving as a piece of living art. Ilythia gives Varinius her come hither eyes as does Seppia towards Varinius to the jealous of her brother Seppius. Ew. Well, what can you say? When in Rome, right?
Glaber parades out Crixus, Onomenous and two other guys, whatever their names are. Glaber offers them to Varinius to say, “my bad” for not having his soldiers at his games. Glaber hands Varinius a sword so Varinius can do the dirty deed. Varinius is like, “Thanks, but no thanks, blood is notoriously difficult to get out of white robes.” Instead he suggests that it’d be much more entertaining to have them fight in his games; meeting their deaths upon the sands. Varinius one up’s Glaber yet again and all he can do is… absolutely. nothing. Quite honestly, I was going to be pretty pissed off if Onomenous and Crixus were simply going to be killed while bound and on their knees. If they’re to die at the very least they deserve a fighting chance.
It looks like being stabbed in the chest isn’t so fatal after all as Nasir has somehow survived. It doesn’t look like he’ll last much longer though because he’s bleeding out. One of the gladiators suggests that they leave him behind because his trail of blood will lead the Romans to them. And here I always believed that your own blood couldn’t kill you but, I stand corrected. One of the other gladiators, or maybe it was same one, I really don’t care to remember, they’re both “red shirts” anyway, suggests that they put Nasir out of his mystery. They don’t need Nasir’s blood drawing a map for the Romans. Spartacus shoots that idea down so the nameless gladiator takes things a step further and opens old wounds when he suggests that Spartacus kill Nasir just like he killed his bff, Varro. Not the smartest to say as Spartacus looks like he’s more than ready to add to his already swelling body count. But before he can add that guy’s head to his trophy case, Naevia chimes in and explains that Crixus has survived worse injuries and all they need to do is cauterize the wound. Spartacus sends the two naysayers off to rendezvous with Argon while he stays and plays doctor with Nasir. After those two skidaddle, Spartacus gives Nasir his frat brand which he happily accepts.
Seppius eyes Seppia flirting with Varinius and doesn’t take kindly to it at all. He enters the pissing match between Glaber and Varinius and makes it a three-way-dance. Seppius argues that it would be more fitting for the gladiators to die in the very house where their cousin, his and Seppia’s, Sextus did. Glaber, seeing an opening, chimes in, like, “Yeah! That’s right, let’s totally do that!” Ilythia goes to bat for Varinius, making it a fatal-four-way match, she reasons that it’d be a waste for them to die there instead, why not allow all Capua to see instead.
Varinius flexes his political prowess and suggests a compromise; he suggests that because Seppius lost his beloved cousin Sextus he should get to choose which one of the gladiators will die that day. Glaber, counters that Lucretia has suffered the most, having lost her home, nearly her life, and worst of all her husband and unborn child. So she wins on the tragedy scale and gets the number one draft pick. Varinius accepts Glaber’s suggestion and Glaber announces to all in attendance that Lucretia will pick who among them will be sacrificed for their vengeance and amusement. The obvious choice is Crixus, since he stabbed Lucretia and left her for dead. Lucretia instead chooses one of the nameless gladiators. She remarks to Crixus that she did not let him live as a show of mercy but because she wants to savor his death. Ironically, death in the arena would have been a lot more humane that what happens to the gladiator that Lucretia selected.
When Glaber presented Varinius with the opportunity to kill the captured Gladiators, I naively assumed they’d be pitted against an overwhelming amount of Roman soldiers to be slaughtered or simply be executed. But luck was not on the side of the gladiator who was chosen to die in the House of Batiatus. Instead, he was brutally tortured; literally being cut to pieces for the amusement of those watching; Seppius cut out his tongue and Cossutius slices off his left pec.
While the gladiator is being sliced like deli meat, Illithyia’s father Albinius, exclaims that Varinius has only been in town for a handful of days and has already outshone Glaber. Illithyia decides that this is the perfect opportunity to let him to know that she intends to dissolve her marriage and elope with Varinius instead. Albinius shoots her down, explaining that she’s Glaber’s baby mama so divorce is a no-go.
Varinius hands Seppia a sword tells her that it’s her turn to take a stab at him. Seppius watches with jealously glowing in his eyes; no one touches his sister like that but him! Seppia coyly explains that she’s never held a sword before because her brother would not allow it. Glaber, ever the opportunist, decides to rub salt in Seppius’ wounds. He taunts Seppius for siding with Varinius against him and tells him to sleep easy knowing that Varinius wants to do all the dirty things to his sister Seppia that Seppius could only dream about. Seppia wilts under the pressure and is unable to do any harm to the gladiator. Illythia gladly takes the sword from Seppia’s hands and shows to Varinius that she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, just ask Licinia. She quite literally puts the gladiator out of his misery, driving the sword through his stomach, and then hands the bloody sword back to Seppia like, “what now!?”. Seppia is washed with embarrassment while Varinius grins ear-to-ear; dully impressed with Illythia.
Having gotten his attention and successfully shoving Seppia from her path, Illythia makes her move on Varinius. She makes her proposal, arguing that their union would bring them tremendous wealth and power. He entertains her proposal while utilizing a tried and true negotiation tactic; let’s just say he lends her a hand. Varinius explains that he’s down for making her his bride but it’s up to her to get the wedding dissolved first. Until then she might want to clean up the mess that they made.
Illythia looks like she’s walking on sunshine (woh-oh) as she searches for her father, hoping that her second attempt to convince him to dissolve her marriage will be successful. Instead she finds a most unexpected sight; Lucretia in bed with her father. I’m sure it must have been horrific enough to walk in on her dad, but insult is only added to injury seeing him lie with Lucretia. I’m honestly surprised that Illythia didn’t throw herself off a cliff. A hard slap instead suffices once Illythia catches up to Lucretia afterwards. Illythia cradles Lucretia’s head and prepares to bash her brains in. Lucretia is able to stall her long enough to give her an explanation; she explains that she only did what she did so her father would agree to dissolve Illythia’s marriage. Lucretia is like, “For real? You’d do that for me? Let’s be bffs again!” Illythia accepts blame for ruining their friendship and they make amends with a nice soft kiss on the lips.
Back to Spartacus. As if morale weren’t low enough Spartacus and crew stumbleupon their fallen comrade, now hanging from the trees. They don’t even have to time to cut him down or do much of anything as the Romans ambush them. What’s his face is killed from behind by none other than the gift that keeps on giving, Ashur. At this point only Spartacus, Mira, Naevia, and a wounded Nasir remain. Spartacus makes me question why he even bothered to bring anyone else along as he absolutely destroys every Roman soldier in the area, all by himself. Ashur picks up the wounded Marcus and retreats to safety. Easily the smartest thing to do in the situation. 10 Roman soldiers against one Spartacus is hardly good odds for the Romans.
Ashur warns Marcus that they need to retreat and they’re no match for Spartacus. Marcus decides instead to call out to the remaining squads. Ashur tells him to shush. Marcus in turn tells Ashur that they’ll continue to fight until every drop of Roman blood is spilled. Ashur is like “Naw, I have a better idea” and he finishes Marcus off with a blade to the stomach, silencing him for good. What’s his name, who just got stabbed in the back, tells Spartacus to go on without him and then dies a few seconds later making the decision to leave him that much easier.
Empty Hands ends with Spartacus and Mira looking out at their destination as it appears hopeless out of reach; they’re still half a day away from reaching it. Spartacus tells Neavia to take care of Nasir and he’ll hold off the Romans for as long as he can. Mira tells Spartacus that she’s not leaving his side so the two of them square off awaiting what they expect to be certain death. They hear people coming, the Romans? No, they’re greeted by a welcome site, Argon and many of the rest of the gladiators.
write by Jason Wyman