A New Purpose, A New Destiny
Dishonored and disgraced, Oenomaus seeks to be punished for what he has become in the savage fighting Pits; a place where “base animals” with no honor meet an ugly end. In a flashback, we see that young Oenomaus was fierce and wild like a “rabid dog” in the fighting Pits many years ago. Recognizing the ferocity and strong survival instincts of the fighter, Titus Batiatus barters for young Oenomaus, proclaiming that “All men can be tamed no matter how wild. One must only find an ember of purpose and give it breath”.
At the ludus, Titus respectfully advises young Oenomaus that to be a champion fighter he must fight for something beyond survival and discover his own greater purpose which will lead him to his destiny. Later, young Oenomaus tells Titus, “Let’s not fight for the gods. I fight for you. That is my purpose, my life, to honor the House of Batiatus”. In present time, Oenomaus, fighting without purpose and feeling shamed for his role in the fall of House Batiatus, is badly beaten in the Pits, when a mysterious hooded person saves him from death at the last moment.
Freedom Ain’t What It Is
In the south, Spartacus, Crixus and the rebels invade a villa, brutally killing all the soldiers and freeing the slaves. Even Mira gets in on the action as she slices away at a solider’s face. Gathering the newly freed slaves in the courtyard, Spartacus gives them a choice that he once faced, “to submit forever to Roman cruelty or to take up arms and join in us in freedom”. A short time later, the Dominus of the villa is interrogated by Crixus and recalls a slave matching Naevia’s description but she was already sent to her next master. Incensed by the Dominus’ lack of value for human life Crixus beats him to death.
While ransacking the villa for weapons and food, a Gaul rebel imposes himself on the villa’s whore. Mira intercedes with a witty barb and the women bond, eventually leading to a discussion on her relationship with Spartacus. When Mira hesitates to say if the relationship is that of love, the whore deduces, “Of course, the hope of love to come. A danger in its own right”.
Agron, whose brother was slain in the revolt against Batiatus, questions Spartacus in giving false hope to Crixus’ desire of reuniting with his lover. Argon retorts that “Even if Naevia lives, she will not be the woman he [Crixus] holds to memory” which is ironic because the writers know there will be a new actress in the role this season. Argon also tells Spartacus that he does not believe in the worth of freeing house slaves when they could be liberating fighting men. “Every man has his worth” replies Spartacus as he walks towards a line up of slaves, removes the collar from one of the them and hands them swords.
In bed, Spartacus tactfully reaffirms his feelings for Mira when suddenly, she warns him of a house slave attacking from behind with a dagger. Spartacus easily disarms the attacker; the same slave that had his collar removed by Spartacus. Pinned to the ground, the newly freed slave tells him that he once had position and respect under the Dominus but Spartacus took that away from. Rather than killing the slave, Spartacus decides to train him to be a fighter. Spartacus explains to Crixus, “If we take his life what message would that send to those that wish to join our cause?”. Crixus replies, “If he makes attempt again, I will make sure he joins his f*cking Dominus” and smacks the boy slave across the face.
Later, Crixus disagrees with how Spartacus treats everyone as equals. Spartacus replies that “They join our cause of their own free will, such fire may yet prove more fierce”. During a celebration in the villa, Mira catches the whore having sex with the Gaul rebel and pulls him off of her. The whore surprises Mira by confessing that she choose to lay with the loathsome Gaul for position and that “freedom is not without costs”.
Crixus warns of a small scouting party approaching from the North. Spartacus devises of a better plan than heading out to fight because if one of the soldiers survive they could return with a larger force. Instead, they allow the soldiers to enter the villa and have the house slave explain that the Dominus is away. As the soldiers are about to leave, the slave tells them that they have come a long away from Capua and that he will give something to make the journey worthwhile. Believing that he has been betrayed, Spartacus and the rebels come out of hiding and fight the soldiers.
While Spartacus has his backed turned during the battle, the slave grabs a sword, rushes to Spartacus and saves him from being killed by a solider. The slave, whose name is Nasir and ethnicity is Syrian like the treacherous Ashur, says he did not allow the soldiers to leave because they noticed he was not wearing a collar and would have returned with more soldiers.
Blood & Sacrifice
Back in Capua, while taking a bath, Ilithyia fantasizes of the time she had sex with Spartacus. Becoming aroused, she carefully guides her bath servant’s hand towards her and moans with pleasure. Her husband, Gaius Glaber, interrupts and praises her for carrying his son before asking for a favor: to escort Lucretia in purchasing supplies needed for a ritual. Glaber explains that the people of the city believe Lucretia to be a prophet, touched by the gods having survived the massacre. At the marketplace, Lucretia tells Ilithyia, “You do not know what it means to find you within the walls of my house once again, filling with life and promise.” This alarms Ilithyia because it subtly suggests that Lucretia has been feigning memory loss and still remembers Ilithyia was present at her house during the massacre but somehow escaped unharmed. Lucretia embraces her role as an emissary, blessing the common people including a mysterious hooded person that gives her a secret note.
Meanwhile, Glaber tries to make common ground with Seppius in order to get more soldiers and to join forces to capture Spartacus. As Seppius cuts, squishes and devours a fig, symbolizing the emasculation of Glaber, he belittles Glaber and says his words are carefully chosen “for a man holding title as favor to his wife’s father”.
During the ritual sacrifice of a goat, Lucretia stares directly at Ilithyia and prays to the gods that deceitful people’s secrets will be brought to light. After the goat’s throat is slashed, Ilithyia secretly goes behind Lucretia with a knife but is interrupted by a servant advising men are approaching. Both Lucretia, who did not know she was almost killed, and Ilithyia join Glaber in the main hall to find Oenomaus and the mysterious hooded person who is revealed to be Ashur. Ashur offers the captured Oenomaus as a gift to Glaber to help bring down Spartacus.
” A Place In This World”, is another tightly written, action packed episode. Its focus is on characters trying to find meaning or purpose to their lives. In the past, Lucretia never worshiped the gods but is now cleverly embracing the role of a prophet to serve her own agenda. As Spartacus’ primary antagonist this season, Glaber needs more development and must show us another side to him to keep me interested in this character. I do look forward to how Glaber will use his “new prophet” to help gain more political power and influence. I also hope for more development on the twins, Seppia and Seppius, next episode because at this point they are under developed characters. Seems like their personalities were reversed this week, as Seppius was very obnoxious compared to Episode 1 and Seppia acted very demure in her meeting with Ilithyia, of course this could just be her scheming and trying to gain Ilithyia’s favor as much as Ilithyia was trying to bond with her.
The strength of this episode is in the Oenomaus scenes as we learn why he feels like an “animal” without honor because of the fall of Batiatus and will hopefully begin to see his greater purpose in this world. For now, he will just be a pawn in Glaber’s hunt for Spartacus. We are introduced to a newly freed slave named Nasir (who might be the brother of Ashur?). For the first time in his life, Nasir has a choice to make his own decisions which can be a very powerful and frightening thing as we see. Last week, Spartacus was reckless in trying to take down all of Glaber’s soldiers by himself; however, it’s nice to see he has already becoming a better leader. His decision to not kill Nasir ended up saving his own life. These are just some of my thoughts for this episode. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.