First off I've never saw this show as a history drama. I see it as entertainment. Am I entertained? Yes or no decides whether I watch it or not.
Most Awesome New Character: The Egyptian. The Terminator of ancient times. No lines, but he has a fearsome presence. Too bad he died.
Best New Couple: Agron and Nassir. These two are sooo cute!
Best Buddies: Agron and Spartacus. Love their humorous banter. Honorable mention to Crixus and Gannicus.
Best Jaw Dropping Death Scene: Seppia. The way it went down was as shocking as Licinia's death, and Titus' death
Most Epic Death Scene: Lucretia, Her goal all along along was to get that baby and deliver it to hubby. Her bloody actions right before, killing Ilithyia's slaves, cutting the baby out, and doing so with such calmness was spooky. Falling off the cliff seemed so fitting, given that Gaia had been thrown down there. She must have thought so too, since she threw the red wig down first.
Most Over-hyped Character: Saxa. Sorry. I like Ellen. Not so sure why on earth I should like Saxa. She really never had any important storyline or interactions. Not much lines either. She was just there. She could have not been there, and I would have never noticed. I'm on the fence with her. Hopefully better stuff for her next season.
Dumbest Scene: Mira killing Chadara. Why they shot it that way??.....I don't know! When Mira shouted out Spartacus' name right before she shot the arrow, why couldn't she add on "Chadara is the traitor" and they could have tackled her? Instead, she shoots to wound and kills the girl?? Without really knowing anything?? Too bad she didn't try shooting to wound Ilithyia! I'm just saying. Anyway, in my mind there was just no logic to the way it was shot, and Mira finding out after the kill, that Chadara just happened to have the money and the maps. Boo! To the pits with this scene!
Liam: He is Spartacus to me. I think Andy would have been proud.
Naevia: I'm loving new Naevia. Cynthia owns it now.
Spartacus' Speeches: Great leaders must give speeches. Often. To rally the crowd. It must be moving and eloquent. And they were. All gazillion of them.
What Happened to Crixus? He seems as lost as Oenomaus this season. I get his softness toward Naevia. I loved the look of concern on his face when he was watching Naevia fight Ashur. Kudos Manu. But the badass towards everything/everyone else was missing. The Egyptian got the best of the Undefeated Gaul? Really?
The story picks up weeks later and I find myself wondering "whadImiss" in those weeks?
-Crix and Sparty. They allied at the end of Blood and Sand, but these two men did not like each other. At all. Now they are "my brother" all the time? And how did it play out for lines that were drawn for leadership?
-Sparty and Mira are a regular item? They had a transaction. They didn't really like each other. When/how did it occur that they decided they were regular bedtime partners?
-Lucretia - we see how Ashur saved her but what the frack is going on? Where was she specifically? What convos took place between these two? Why didn't anyone notice the dominas' body was missing? She must have had time needed for recovering. Fevers, etc. Ashur nursed her back to health? Really?
-Oenomaus - don't tell me he was going around in that depressed state for all those weeks? Where did he sleep? Where did he get food?
-Ilithyia - wow it didn't take long for her to hook up with Varinius. But we never saw any lead up to this.
Lucretia's rape: Ok some may say karma. I say no one deserves to be raped. Ever. Perhaps no sympathy. Given what happened to Naevia and Diona. Or Crixus himself being Lucretia's victim. Ok, I can deal with that. We all get the abuse that took place with these characters as well.
The thing that bothered me was three times. An actual rape scene in one episode. Implied in the next episode. Another actual rape scene yet again in the next episode. Of the same character! By the same person! For me it was overkill. The writers wanted to enact karma on Lucretia, I get that, but went further then necessary to present it, imo. Got it the first time. Even the second, albeit implied. Were three scenes really necessary? Three episodes straight? It was offensive by the third. At least to me. And that's not an easy thing to say given that I'm a big supporter of this show, and love the grittiness of it all.
2 -The explanation of Lucretia's survival and the smile on her face with note in hand at end as Ashur returns with Oenomaus is priceless.
5 - The return of Gannicus was a major highlight to me. I've said it before, he is the most fun character whereas everyone and everything else is so gloomy. The fire in the arena and the subsequent collapsing of it was an awesome spectacle.
9 - Ilithyia killing Seppia, and her and Glaber getting it on in her blood was sooo operatic. The rebels fighting Varinius' and his men, made for another awesome spectacle.
10 - The deaths is actually what made this episode:
-Lucretia's(see most epic death scene above) goal of getting the baby to deliver it to her hubby was carried out. That was her plan all along. She was really was crazy with moments of cunning lucidity.
-Ashur dying at Naevia's hands. He shouldn't have taken that moment to gloat, because that's when she struck. Love that Lucretia played a role by telling Ilithyia of her impending marriage, whom then told Glaber that Ashur betrayed him. How ironic that Glaber chose to punish him for something he actually didn't do. Hmmm... remember Barca.
-Spartacus killing Glaber. We came full circle with flashbacks of his wife. This was a powerful scene that had to take place.
-Mira. I never warmed up to her. I was surprised, yet, her death ended up being ho hum to me.
-Ilithyia. After all the awful things this cold-blooded woman did, how fitting that Lucretia did something just as cold-blooded to her.Her crawling from all the way inside the Ludas to the edge of the cliff, was a sight to behold. She had a gruesome death. Baby getting cut out? Ouch! Eww!
-Oenomaus. His was the saddest. Forgiving Gannicus by calling him brother. Gulp.
Secrets that will never see the light of day: One of the things I love about this show is that the viewers know everything, whereas the characters don't. Which I suppose is why us fans can be so passionate about characters and storylines.
Secrets never to be revealed:
-Ilithyia's role in Varro's death. Her liason with Numerious. Her locking the doors. Lucretia knew that one, but oddly never brought it up.
-Lucretia's role in Titus' and Melitta's death.
-Ashur's role in Barca's death.
-Glaber's role in Albinius' death.
The answer to my opening question, was I entertained? All in all, the character interactions were very strong. The storylines very good. The action very well done. And the payoff in the finale, basically coming full circle in every storyline(save for the rebellion itself), was well worth it. So yes, I was entertained.
If I were to rate all three series out of 10:
Spartacus Blood and Sand 9.5
Spartacus Gods of the Arena 10
Spartacus Vengeance 8