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6 Degrees Entertainment

Spartacus: Vengeance - The Complete Second Season
(Liam McIntyre, Katrina Law, Dustin Clare, Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2012 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Overview: 'Spartacus: Vengeance' is the 10-episode sequel to 'Spartacus: Blood & Sand.' On the heels of the bloody escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” the gladiator rebellion continues and begins to strike fear into the heart of the Roman Republic in “Spartacus: Vengeance.” Gaius Claudius Glaber and his Roman troops are sent to Capua to crush the growing band of freed slaves that Spartacus leads before it can inflict further damage.

DVD Verdict: I shall be succinct. Life is unfair! Case in point, Andy Whitfield. For two years he was the luckiest man in the world and then WHAM! he became the unluckiest man in the world and I say to that, LIFE IS UNFAIR. And there is no God because what God would do such a thing. To play such a cruel joke on this man is unfathomable to me.

I sometimes have trouble wrapping my head around it. Yes, I know I did not know the man personally, but damn, that doesn't mean I cannot feel for him. If you watch the early episodes of Blood & Sand you will see the Melanoma on Andy's upper chest and you just want to scream out for him to watch out! But alas, we cannot.

With that in mind, I shall say that Andy's replacement is acceptable. What I mean is, I would have rather not had to have him replaced at all, but if it was necessary then the new Spartacus is okay with me. Not that anybody is looking for my approval, but there it is anyway for you to read.

Moving on, and this second season was cut from the expected 13 episodes to 10 episodes. Which in my opinion, left it wanting. The writers were not able to develop new characters nor the complex story lines in such a short time frame. They integrated a backstory for Oenomaus with his fate right after the breakout, which was simply confusing and unnecessary in season 2. The intricate and complex relationship between Lucretia and Ilithyia was crammed in between murky battle scenes and never developed to the fullest.

The new codependent relationship between Lucretia and Ashur was "explained" with a 5 second flashback, which was of no use to anyone (most of us) who had already figured out that Ashur was the only one who could have possibly saved her. The two characters, Sepia and Sepius were so undeveloped that one kept going, "Who? What? Which one is which? Why are they there?" up to the point of their demise. An incestual relationship between them was hinted at, but was never developed nor explained.

In the last episode, deKnight killed off all of the delicious villains as well as some well-loved good guys, leaving his cast decimated (if I may use that word prior to Crassus being introduced). What we are left with is a rag-tag band of rebels, none of whom are terribly interesting as characters. It does not bode well for season 3, where I suspect the story will leave behind all the wonderful political and sexual intrigue and devolve to a bash and slash fest! That all said, yes, I was still very entertained by 'Spartacus: Vengeance.' I'm a fan, after all, but Andy in my opinion is sorely missed. But yes, I'll keep watching - for now! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• Starz Studios – Spartacus: Vengeance
• The Making Of Spartacus: Vengeance
• Behind The Camera: Directing The Rebellion
• On The Set With Liam McIntyre
• Burning Down The House: The VFX of Episode 205
• The Legend of Spartacus
• Famous Last Words
• Bloopers
• Spartacus: War of the Damned teaser