Spartacus: Vengeance lulled us into a false sense of security about the violence it has been presenting thus far this season. No more. All the bloodshed that has come before has been positively civilized — dare we say, boring — compared to the heinousness that went down at the Roman house party.
But first, we catch up with Spartacus and his crew, who are on the run after a semi-successful Naevia rescue mission. Although the former gladiators kill more than their fair share of pursuing Romans, the rebels are eventually picked off one by one until all that's left are a fierce Mira, frightened Naevia, formidable Spartacus and seriously injured Nasir. They really should just jettison the Syrian, but Spartacus is all "no slave left behind" and follows Naevia's advice to cauterize his wound with fire. Just when it seems that new Romans have caught up to them, it turns out to be the other rebel faction led by Agron. Huzzah!
Meanwhile, prisoner Oenomaus greets his new cell mates that were captured from Spartacus' raid: Crixus, Rhaskos and... uh-oh, we don't know this third guy. If this were the world of Star Trek, he'd have a red shirt on. Since this is the world of Spartacus, he has little else on except for a loin cloth. At a party Gaius and Ilithyia hold for Varrenius, he is offered the chance to kill the slaves as party entertainment. At first he demurs, saying that their deaths would be better served in the arena where all of Capua can enjoy the spectacle, but then he allows one to be killed as an appetizer to appease Seppius, whose cousin Sextus had been murdered by Spartacus' men. The poor, unrecognizable fourth slave is chosen, and is tortured and bloodied throughout the evening. By the end of the night, we also learn that Ilithyia is scheming to get Varrenius as her new husband (if daddy will annul her marriage to Gaius), Lucretia is helping her scheme, and that Seppius and dear sister Seppia might be a little closer than siblings should be.
On to those "Ew!" moments:
The Blood - It's not a Sparty party unless someone gets humiliated, naked, killed... or all three. The nameless slave that we mentioned above is systematically sliced and diced as if he were a particularly prime piece of protein on Top Chef... a piece of protein that was still alive and human, that is. First, Seppius cut out the slave's tongue (Ouch!), then Cossutius sliced off a choice cutlet (breast). We're spared most of the other torture until Ilithiya steps in for a quailing Seppia and slowly, nonchalantly runs the guy through with the sword. We'd hate to see her next party trick. All the other spectacular violence in the episode — Mira stabbing a Roman repeatedly, multiple geysers of blood, a severed arm flying through the air — are nothing in comparison to Roman house party fun.
The Bodies - Gauis and Ilithyia's party also presented a feast of flesh, slave flesh of course, for the guests and viewers at home. There's the writhing, sex-filled tableau in the center of the house, the male servers in their full-frontal nude glory. And although they remained clothed, Varrenius feeling up Ilithiya's crotch while discussing her possibly divorcing her husband was a rather stomach-turning moment. Less arousing was Lucretia's mechanical mounting of the aging Albinius at the end of the episode. Oh, and we suppose we must mention Seppius kissing his sister Seppia here and hinting at losing themselves in each other's comforting embrace.
The Bites - How can Albinius munch away on a cookie (or whatever that snack was) while watching the slave's de-tongueing? Bad taste, that.
Which scenes unsettled you?