The second installment of the new Starz series Black Sails picks up pretty much where the first left us – Eleanor is in bed with Max, and Captain Flint’s crew are celebrating the fact that they have information that will lead them to a huge payday. (And yes, the latter is definitely a bit assuming of them.)
What I find problematic with how II. begins is the fact that for much of the series premiere, Captain Flint & Co. were slack-jawed over the missing schedule page – yet within the first few minutes of this episode, they figure out that it must be in the possession of John Silver. Now, this could have been a way for II. to take off, even with them having to chase John Silver around Nassau. But instead a lengthy amount of time passes during which we see Eleanor try to conduct business with a newly arrived pirate and witness an argument of sorts between Captain Vane and that other young pirate whose name I still don’t know while Anne Bonny (yes, I figured her out!) hangs out and watches them. As for Captain Flint & Co.’s hunt for John Silver, well, for quite some time the only proof that it’s still happening are Billy Bones’ complaints that he’s the only one doing any actual looking.
Now, I’m a bit confused as to whether I was supposed to be surprised by Captain Flint’s reveal that he wants to create some sort of Pirate Nation, as I believe many of the events (along with several comments made by him) in I. made that fairly clear. I understand that those to whom he was revealing this plan wouldn’t have had prior access to the information, but it seems as if viewers are generally a lot more shocked about it than I am. If Starz was hoping to make this the ‘big surprise’ of episode two, I personally feel that it’s sadly lacking.
Additionally, while the amusing moments in last week’s Black Sails were fairly clever (no, I still haven’t gotten over ‘Blackbeard’), II. fell more than a little bit short on that front. John Silver’s belly flop into the bay was so predictable and ridiculous that even as it was happening I was thinking something along the lines of, “Oh, come on, they wouldn’t really…nope. Nope. They did. Ugh.” And later, when Silver is spying on Max’s dealings through a hole in the wall and realizes that his ‘partner’ is in trouble, he asks the whore who is with him for a weapon. I got the feeling that her handing him a machete was meant to elicit a chuckle, but to me this was just as contrived as Silver’s clumsy jump – of course, maybe I’m the only person who feels that a prostitute who is living and doing business in a place like pirate-ridden Nassau would obviously carry a legit weapon like that.
Though most of the events in II. obviously didn’t grab my attention, admittedly the show sucked me back in right at the very end. That Pirate Whose Name I Still Don’t Know (okay, I’ll not make this a running joke – I looked it up, he’s Rackham) gets frightened by what is either a person with a completely deformed, skeletal face or a person wearing a creepy mask, and falls off a cliff – and when he hits the water, he loses the pearls that were supposed to purchase the infamous schedule page. Billy Bones finally catches up with John Silver (justice at last!) – but Silver thought ahead by committing the schedule to memory and then burning the page. Max also appears to actually be leaving Nassau – and Eleanor – which is sad if only because those two women are the characters I like most in the entire show. And finally, Captain Flint leaves his raucously celebrating crew to sneak off, disguise and all, to the home of a mysterious piano-playing woman.
So while a lot of this episode was something of a let-down, in the last ten minutes or so of II., Black Sails had no problem tightening its mainsail. What are Captain Flint & Co. going to do with – or to – John Silver? Where is Max going to go (if she’s even able to leave at all)? And yes, I’m also curious about what that thing was that scared Rackham so badly. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to episode three.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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