Black Sails 1.02: ‘II’ Review

black sails

The season premier of Starz’s new drama Black Sails drew mixed reactions from viewers. In my opinion, it was good enough to keep watching. Like most of the Starz TV series the story has the potential to be fantastic, but will the execution be there. Black Sails might require some patience and frustrate at times, but there’s potential here and it was easily demonstrated in the second episode “II”.

The start of the episode was somewhat of a Starz calling card. Max and Eleanor are a dysfunctional couple. We get it. However, it’s an important start to the episode, which is all about finding Silver’s stolen galleon schedule. Originally, the plan was for Silver and Max to bail after they sell the schedule, but that plan gets totally ruined when Eleanor demands the schedule from Max. This was the breaking point for Eleanor and Max. Max loves Eleanor, but Eleanor loves her kingdom and her ambition is too much.

While this is going on, probably the most fantastic character in the show Captain Vane is also spinning his ambitious wheels. His partner in crime Jack Rackham is willing to pay good money for the schedule and despite being urged against it – he acquires 5000 pesos of pearls for the schedule. Vane spends a lot of the episode looking threatening and trying to reposition himself with his former lover Eleanor, but that’s all a fail.

Eleanor is a pivotal character of the show and it’s pretty clear early on that she’s going to live in a state of crisis in an effort to advance herself for much of this show. Flint easily seduces her with a story about this treasure island of a ship and she’s locked in. Even against the advice of her trust ally Mr. Scott, Eleanor seems a bit too cavalier.

Billy is worrying he made the wrong decision when he told the crew the blank piece of paper was the schedule. He’s helped Flint win back his crew, but he’s not sure he made the right call. Within the first few minutes its clear Silver is the thief and the rest of the episode it positioning and finding Silver who escapes trouble. Vane and his scurvy crew are onto Silver as well, but he doesn’t go about his business as poetically as Flint and his crew.

The show concludes with the culmination of the pursuit of Silver and a scene that sets the tone for the entire episode. While being pursued by Flint, Gates, Billy, Vane, and Rackham – Silver pulls up in front of a fire – memorizes the galley’s schedule – then throws it in the fire making himself indispensable. Just like that the entire show has changed. Flint catches up with Silver who tells him what he has done. They can’t kill him. They need the information. Let the games begin!

I think Black Sails has the potential to be a strong show. The sets are a little too dodgey for me, but the storyline has the potential to be very strong. This episode has us curious as to what’s going to happen – exactly what the series needed after a slow start.

[Photo via Starz]

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