Black Sails "III." Review: Pirate Sunglasses and Pirate Business Meetings
So this is what all those advanced reviews of Black Sails were yammering about! "III." was a tedious hour of pirates mopping up business affairs before setting sail for treasure, and it was as about as exciting as it sounds. At least "II." had some skullduggery and suspense going on while it was stuck on shore! But "III." was literally full of pirate negotiations. Negotiations! Like terms and agreements and offers and counteroffers and such! Even a rape was used as leverage for one side to renegotiate the terms of a deal. Black Sails probably could have done without this episode, if I'm being honest.
The big objective of "III." was to obtain a consort—or a "pirate partner," if you will—for Flint's Walrus, because taking down this treasure galleon is going to require the forces of more than one pirate captain. Some roundabout chatter had Quartermaster Gates stepping into the role, provided he could find a ship. But Gates is old in pirate years, and he feared that his crew wouldn't respect him the minute he broke his hip during the first round of cannonballing. So Gates came up with the crazy idea to have Captain Vane, Flint's chief rival, tag along. That's just asking to be stabbed in the back, in my opinion. And Vane's primary motive for agreeing to this nonsensical pairing was to make himself look better in Eleanor's eyes. That is some weak stuff, Vane. Grow a pair and find yourself a new wench. Be a damn pirate! Pirates don't fall in love! Pirates fall in hate!
But it doesn't really matter, because Vane's involvement was short-lived. It turned out that Max didn't make it off the island like we thought; nope, she was kidnapped and chained to a wall, naked, by Vane, who then threw her to his men for a gang rape. That didn't sit well with Max's ex Eleanor, and Eleanor promised to reward any of Vane's men who flipped over to Flint's side with riches, and to hit anyone who stayed with Vane with an embargo on pirate business. Naturally, they all jumped ship (haha, I am good) and now Vane has nobody except for hipster pirate Rackham and the horny assassin Anne Bonny.
And Max! Max pulled a pretty slick move by really driving the stake into Eleanor's heart when she decided to join Vane's team. Ouch! But Eleanor deserved it. That bitch really sold Max out in "II.," kicking off this whole chain of events. Good for you, Max!
Basically, "III." just went in circles with lots of humdrum negotiations, only to have all the men join Flint, with Gates becoming captain of the second ship. I don't know why we had to go through all that just to end up where we are now. I suppose Vane losing all his men is a big deal, but until we see how it shapes his arc, "III." was an hour mostly wasted.
However, there's one thing that made this episode amazing: Rackham's pirate sunglasses. I happen to be a sunglasses historian, so I know that they weren't even invented until 1752, yet here in 1715, Rackham was wearing a sweet pair of shades!
They even have peripheral vision shades so the sun can't get in from the side! That's four lenses on one pair of sunglasses! It's enough to make me wonder if Rackham is actually be a time-traveler from the future, because even we modern men don't have that kind of four-lens technology.
Okay, so we've got the treasure galleon's schedule, we know when it will be the most vulnerable during its journey, and we have two boats and a bunch of men. Is it time to finally hit the water? I know I had no complaints about staying on dry land in the first two episodes, and I still don't, on principle. But if Black Sails is going to remain ashore just to do more of the back room wheeling and dealing we saw in "III." then I'm hitting the water without it.
– This episode was directed by low-budget action master Neil Marshall, the same man who directed the series premiere and Game of Thrones' "Blackwater." Even he couldn't milk excitement out of a stale pirate negotiation.
– I was not into the Guthrie plot. Why are we spending so much time on him, and what's going on with Flint's ladyfriend who's watching over him?
– Eleanor is kind of an idiot, isn't she? Did she really need to go boink Vane? Did he only have to mind his manners for 30 minutes in order for her to change her mind about him?
– Randall's scream reminded me of Dumb and Dumber's "most annoying sound in the world." I like that guy.
– I thought the mutiny plot would cover the bulk of the episode, but it was solved rather easily, wasn't it? Maybe it will carry over into next week?
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