Black Sails Episode (1×08) Review – “VIII”



Black Sails Goes Out With a Bang, But Still Manages To Leave Its Audience Holding Their Hats

I think everyone can agree that Starz’ newest series, Black Sails, was a great idea but wasn’t always executed properly. Blame Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean if you will, but most people expect pirate action-adventure stories to be… well… full of pirates doing pirate like things. Instead, Black Sails interspersed many fantastic pirate scenes with political intrigues and murder, which is all well and good, but can at times be boring. Overall, a second season of this new drama is an exciting prospect, but one can’t help be disappointed that there wasn’t more action in season 1. However slow many of the episodes this season were, the finale went out with a bang as expected, and viewers got a major look at naval warfare in some of the most thrilling scenes of the season.

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“To a profitable venture and a partner slightly more pleasing to the eye.” Rackham’s venture to take over the brothel paid off this week as he allowed Max to give the place a French theme. This new partnership is intriguing for several reasons. For one, Max wound up as the new Madam of the brothel and now has a more prominent position in New Providence. For another, her burgeoning relationship with Rackham has caused more problems for him and Anne Bonny. What’s unclear at this time is whether Anne is upset because she feels threatened that Max may actually take Jack from her, or because she wants Max for herself. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next season to find out which it is.

Vane: Loyalty, Jack, is supposed to mean something. At least to me, anyways.

Black Sails Episode 1x08

While this story has yet to bear fruit, Vane’s arrival back to New Providence did tie up this season’s current storyline of how Anne betrayed Jack and killed Vane’s crew. As a Quartermaster, Rackham was supposed to look after the men, but instead he chose Anne over them and allowed them to be cheated and murdered. Now, Jack stands landlocked on Vane’s orders never to set foot aboard another ship and end the rest of his days as a pimp. How Jack manages to turn things around will be another thing we’ll have to wait to see next season, and it was a shame both Jack and Max were sidelined for the finale since they were two of the characters that seemed the strongest at the beginning. Now that they’ve joined forces, though, chances are they’ll both find a way to claw themselves higher than anyone would have anticipated.

“Ms. Guthrie, I think it’s time we talked.” Another fan favorite character got a little screen time when Capt. Vane returned to New Providence with a brand new crew and vengeance in his heart. Instead of jumping into the fray of the Urca hunt as was hoped, Vane stayed on land long enough to force his way into Hornigold’s spot on the council, and to force Eleanor to agree to this new deal. Now Eleanor is bound to Vane, and was stuck looking quite glum into the horizon. While it was interesting to learn more about their past, the New Providence power story took up too much of this season’s time in my book. Vane is meant to reek havoc on the high seas, not stay locked up in island power struggles in a boardroom. The only highlight of this thread was Eleanor getting her dream, only to realize how hollow it was without the person she loves by her side.

Eleanor: I’m fine. Believe it or not, this place didn’t collapse the moment you walked out.

Black Sails 2014

“Time and again he gambles with our lives, and only when he’s not taking them in cold blood.” The meat of the episode took place out at sea as Flint and his men continued to chase after the Urca de Lima. Of course they didn’t meet the ship at sea, but instead happened upon another Spanish Galleon, which kicked off the best battle scene on the show this season. But what made these scenes so thrilling wasn’t just the naval battle that commenced, but the treachery aboard the ships. Gates finally told Flint that the men knew of his transgressions against him and were planning to mutiny, which led to the Quartermaster’s death. Flint has proven that those who oppose him will meet their maker, but Gate’s death was still incredibly shocking. Not to let a good man’s death go to waste, Dufresne took the opportunity to reveal all to the rest of the crew. Thanks to John Silver’s meddling, the men were forced to fight the Galleon instead of deposing Flint as captain, but Flint’s hide was only temporarily saved. Having won against the Galleon, Flint and his men wound up stranded on a nearby island while they make ship repairs, and discovered the Urca also washed ashore.

Gates: There is no legacy in this life is there? No monuments, no history, just water.

Now that Flint’s greed has been rewarded with all the Urca’s gold littering the nearby beach, watching the men get ahold of the treasure will have to wait until season 2, along with Flint’s fate. Will the men forgive him now they’re rich, or will they kill him anyway? Greed is a dangerous motivator, which Flint has repeatedly proved throughout the season, and Gate’s death has shown us that even main characters can meet a grisly end. Though pretty spotty, Black Sails is still worth a watch, and now that we’ve spent all of season 1 getting to know these characters, hopefully next season will contain loads more action.

From the Captain’s Log…

  • Will Flint end up six feet under?
  • Can Rackham get back into Vane’s good graces?
  • Did Flint really kill Billy Bones, or will the handsome pirate resurface next season?
  • Now that Rackham is ruined, will Anne stay by his side, or throw him over for someone else?