Black Sails – XXI Review
"The Politics of Pirateszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
So it was bound to happen. After a solid start to this season of Black Sails, there had to be one episode just chock full of story progression. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good episode, it was just a lot slower than the first few and at one point had me pausing it to get up and make a pot of coffee. I guess it ties in perfectly with one of the subplots though, as after the crew of the Walrus fought off the storm of last episode they are now stuck in a part of the sea known as the doldrums. With no wind in their sails and the ship partially damaged from the ship-killer, the crew is running out of rations fast and I’m running out of patience waiting for this episode to go somewhere. Again, lots of plot building but I’m here less for the plot and more for the action.
Also the ship politics are popping up and, while I understand that while even pirates have rules, I really hate them talking about them. At one point Captain Flint shoots two crew members who were accusing each other of stealing the much needed rations while the ship is stranded in the middle of nowhere. John Silver and Billy seemed less than thrilled that it happened but personally I wasn’t. The ship was stranded and they stole food that needed to be rationed! Bang. End of story. I don’t blame Flint in the least, and the fact that there was even a questioning of this to me was un-needed and just dragged the episode on longer.
Back at Nassau we have Annie Bonny and Max learning of England’s fleet coming to reclaim the island. All seems lost until… YAY! Blackbeard! OK, so even Edward Teach was a little lackluster here as well as he admits to Captain Vane that in rather uncertain terms he either can’t have kids at all, or that the blessing of having a son has just eluded him during his nine marriages. His reasons for even coming back to Nassau seem to be more along the lines of wanting to have Charles Vane sail the seven seas with him than really anything else. I mean, I get it. He hasn’t had a son of his own so he wants to set sail with the only man that was ever like a son to him. The way he describes it though was more along the lines of a woman’s biological clock ticking to have a baby than the deadliest pirate ever, so I’m not really sure what to think now.
Also back at the Walrus, during John Silver and Flint’s little side trip to check out a dead whale carcass, we get a little tense moment where I wasn’t sure if Flint was going to shoot Silver for just admitting he stole the Urca gold out from under his nose or if he was going to congratulate him for being a damn good pirate. Instead Flint just starts rowing again and then they bond over catching and killing a shark. Pretty sure that shark was as big as the boat they were in too so I’m not sure how well that really would have played out.
All-in-all this was just a really slow episode for me. It worked only due to the fact that it was needed to keep the actual storyline of the season going, but it also didn’t work as the story was just as slow as the Walrus was with no wind. Maybe that was planned like that. Maybe it was to convey the drudgery or 21 days at sea with little to no rations and the crew all slowly starving to death. Either way the only one really starving was me waiting for something to pop off or a fight or a crazy ship chase or something. And just saying, I REALLY wanted something to pop off at the end when Captain Hornigold showed up at Nassau as the representative of England offering all the pirates on the island pardons and putting a 10,000 pieces of gold bounty on the head of Charles Vane. I feel like right there all the pirates should have killed and ate him. He’s a traitor to their cause and should have been made a pincushion of cutlasses. Instead they’re all joining him. And they call themselves pirates…