Spartacus: War of the Damned: Season 2, Episode 3

The Greater Good (10 Feb. 2012)
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" The Greater Good (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Action, Adventure, Biography
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To impress his influential father in law more then far more prestigious colleague-praetor Varinius, who is allowed to preside over the latest games, and local magnate Seppius, whose ... See full summary »

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Agron (as Dan Feuerriegel)
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Greg Ward ...
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Magistrate Gallienus (as Tim Raby)
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To impress his influential father in law more then far more prestigious colleague-praetor Varinius, who is allowed to preside over the latest games, and local magnate Seppius, whose privately recruited men are presently hunting Spartacus, general Glaber is desperate to catch the runaway gladiators, who pillage the region bloodily. Ashur promises to find them by torture-questioning Oenomaus, a daunting task give his pain tolerance, but finally outsmarts the disgraced instructor. Agron reports a captured Roman knew where Naevia died miserably, but his new Syrian protégé Nasir can't stand how that mentally wrecks Crixus and ends up revealing she's actually in the Lucanian mines, a slow death by sordid toil. Spartacus overrules Agron's refusal to risk the whole revolt for a single loved one, so they impersonate liberated fresh slaves and slain slavers to intrude the mine. Time runs out when Ashur arrives with Glaber's soldiers and quickly spots a few runaways, the others seem hopelessly ... Written by KGF Vissers

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10 February 2012 (USA)  »

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Cynthia Addai-Robinson replaced Lesley-Ann Brandt as Naevia. See more »

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Still the Best Series of All Time...but
22 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The most notable aspect of this, the third season of this series, is the absence of Andy Whitfield. Andy's Spartacus grew on me. I was not sure that he was correctly cast when Spartacus first came out. Still in my mind was the memorable portrayal of Spartacus by Kirk Douglas, five decades before. However, with each episode of the first season, Andy Whitfield claimed the role of Spartacus as his own. So it was with much trepidation that I watched this season, not because I doubted there would be the same unparalleled substance, but because I just didn't think anyone could fill Andy Whitfield's shoes.

So far, the verdict remains out on Liam McIntyre's portrayal and therefore replacement of Whitfield. The strong story lines are there. The super-human characters have returned. Rome depicted in all its hedonistic glory continues to dazzle us. Yet so far, something is missing and we know who it is.

What redeems this void is the impeccable dialogue, scenery, action, and acting of this unusual ensemble. The writers of this show have created dialogue that gives the feel Roman conversation must have been. It is almost like tweeting, leaving out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. The scenery carries you into an atmosphere that you are sure must have been Capua, Pompeii and Rome. Blood is still shed in the most unimaginable ways, validating the cruelty of the era.

When the series started, three seasons ago, I thought that Manu Bennett should have been cast as Spartacus, not Andy Whitfield. Over time, the casting of Bennett as Crixus has proved to be perfect casting. Bennett has turned Crixus into an equal hero with Spartacus, appropriate since the real Crixus and Spartacus shared such similar fates. Crixus, like Spartacus in the first season, developed over episodes to be what we see in this season and the evolution of his character is well done.

The other characters are equally perfectly cast: Doctore, Asher, Ilithyia (especially Ilithyia),Glaber and of course, Lucretia. This ensemble is dazzling. But a special mention must be made of Dustin Clare's portrayal of Gannicus. Gannicus appears as an interim character while the producers of this series struggled with either replacing Andy Whitfield or canceling the show. Dustin Clare's Gannicus deserves recognition for holding this series together by maintaining its high standards during a perilous time. Hopefully, Gannicus will remain in the series and his character will develop as well.

Which brings me back to Liam McIntyre's Spartacus. Although he resembles Andy, that is not enough. Granted, McIntyre task as Andy's replacement is a difficult one. Replacements always are. They either work or they do not. The cohesion of this series is nearly perfect and the imperfection, to date, is that Andy Whitfield is gone. That said, Spartacus,Vengeance is so near perfect that not only can one overlook this unavoidable flaw but since so few series, or movies for that matter, come this close, I'm rating it as excellent with confidence that McIntyre will ultimately make Spartacus his own.


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