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Black Sails S01E03: "III."

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.



EXTRA PLANKS

– 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? 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/26/2016

Season 3 : Episode 10

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Sunglasses were invented in the 1200s by the Chinese.
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But bifocals were invented in 1783! What is actually a heck of a lot more annoying is the CNC machined frames that seem to be widespread. That is such an obvious flaw that it's incredible nobody on the entire set has reacted. Any metal accessory at the time was hand crafted and a looking glass was most likely held in a leather frame.
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I was waiting till the season ended before starting to watch. Three episodes in so far, one thing I can say that I absolutely love is that they give the most realistic depiction of pirate lifestyle I've ever seen for that time & place.
I'm nowhere near an expert, but I know more than enough to be irritated by the swashbuckling "Yarr" pirate stereotype that most people cling to by default.

The show definitely has its superficial flaws, but hey, every single other show does too. I'm willing to coast past alot of 'em 'cause so far, this show has it right in the places where it really counts
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I'm surprised the rape hasn't been been more of a focus in this episode. It was probably the most severe case I've seen depicted on TV, and that includes Spartacus, a show where a young virgin slave was selected for double penetration. Here Max was kidnapped and chained in a room, stripped, beaten, and apparently gang raped through the night by order of Vane. Later, after being let go, her rapists find her and once again begin raping her, this time in public while surrounded by a huge crowd of men who do nothing. Then Max makes the decision to turn herself over to the man who ordered the first gang rape.

That's pretty shocking, traumatic stuff, even for premium cable. Worthy of a lot of analyzing and conversation, IMO. But instead we're going on about SUNGLASSES and too much talking?
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I can't figure you out Tim. While this was certainly not a good episode, i gave it a generous 5.5 (barely watchable); you are very inconsistent in your reviews. On one hand you complain about Revolution's action oriented show with it's two dimensional characters. Then you'll complain about shows like Black Sails and The Walking Dead, for lack of action and focusing on character development. ?????
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I was just talking about this on the review for episode IV. I don't understand the logic. Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.
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I haven't seen IV yet, i'm a week behind. Unfortunately, Tim reviews a good percentage, of the shows i watch. He bashes them on a regular basis. Recently, he has caught the Helix fever, and stopped bashing it. Honestly, i don't believe that Tim likes Sci-Fi/ Horror/ Fantasy shows. Maybe he should review shows from genres more to his liking.
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Yeah there is a sense of disinterest that comes across in his reviews.
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Can someone tell me why it is max's fault that they are out 5000. He is the one that fell off the cliff and lost all the pearls
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Talking like lillte children, that's what pirates do in "Black Sails". That show should be renamed "Talking Chicks". Where is the action ? Where is the sea ?
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This were my thoughts after I saw this episode :
-Who knew Cap Flint was like a baby when Ms Barlow was removing the dressing ?
-Mr Gates has GOD sign in his head?
-I like Flint vs Vane
-I like Gates and sometimes John Silver
-Cap Vane looks like he's out of either Spartacus or Mad Max film.
-Anyone could read what was on the painting?
-Eleanor Guthrie ;you're easier than anyone could thought.
-As Vane's crew said "Make it right Jack (FLINT )QUICKLY"?
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The sunglasses killed this for me. 3 episodes in and it's already jumped the large toothy aquatic creature. Like this guy is saying "it's not cool enough being a PIRATE, I'm also rocking these totally awesome shades, soon to be available at a Sunglass Hut near you." Why not give him an iPhone as well?
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Come they're really not as anachronistic as everyone would make it seem. 30 years off from their invention is hardly worth this much whining.
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I wasn't whining about the fact he was wearing sunglasses, so much as the contemporary styling and finish, which seems far removed from what actual early sunglasses might have looked like. They have the look of a modern, mass produced, designer brand fashion accessory, rather than something that was hand-made in the 18th century to be purely functional.
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I was so hopeful for this show. What a disappointment the first episode already was. I can forgive the temporary Karl Lagerfeld insanity the costume department of this show is suffering from. However mixing the finesses of modern day 'corporate politics' and swashbuckling as if ithis show is a contemporary legal/political thriller is just ridiculous. Arrrrr... Time to scuttle this wreck me hearties.
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I am so ready for Flint's crew to set sail! I appreciate the deals and doublecrosses, but these pirates need to be on the water!
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Rackham's sunglasses remind me of someone... Is it Morpheus from the Matrix? I think so.
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Okay, so you clearly weren't paying attention, Tim. Vane ordered Jack to let Max go, but the crew members who were hounding Jack all episode over the pearls he lost decided to take Max as their compensation.
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I wasn't clear on that. At first it sounded like he was setting her free, but then it sounded like he was telling Rackham to "dispose" of her quietly at night. Either way, he didn't want a rape.
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Reading off of wikipedia does not make one a historian, nevertheless I did enjoy the fact that this episode seemed to be a major setup for next week but it was nothing more. It wasn't really good and I expected more but if they include some pirate action next week and advancements to the setups then I'll be fine!
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I found this episode much more interesting than the others. It brought a lot in terms of character's building and set up the political and romantic context of the plot. We begin to grasp how the different character behave and what's motivitating them.
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Sorry Tim, your knowledge of sunglasses history is obviously lacking, 1715 is nothing. Count Riario had them in the 1470s, with the side lenses! Or are you outrageously suggesting that Da Vincis Demons wasn't absolutely, completely historically accurate?
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Tim was obviously reading from Wikipedia's article on sunglasses, which specifies the 1752 date (not only dubious in its accuracy, but also contradicted by the rest of the text itself). As for side lenses, do a Google image search for "vintage side-lens sunglasses." So, fail on a couple of counts, "sunglasses expert." That said, the creators made a major misstep here. Though the glasses themselves aren't necessarily wrong, they feel wrong (hence all the discussion), and were a major distraction. I know they're trying to make Jack out to be a major d-bag (Jersey Shore mullet, thin facial hair line, now the glasses), but what's next, an orange spray tan?
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I'm gonna predict that the mutiny plot isn't dead yet but will resurface as the pirates get close to the treasure galleon AND it will be led by Billy. Boom.

Billy wasn't thrilled about lying to the crew for Flint, he was hearing that mutiny guy out, and, if my recollection of Muppet's Treasure Island is sound (it is), Billy ran afoul of his pirate buddies at one point. They gave him the Black Spot! Now, let's get on with some actual piracy please.
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Brilliant scenery and costumes, but I agree that it was not all that interesting an episode, and agree further that because of budget this show is mostly going to be like it was today. Hopefully it picks up soon.
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I want a pair of sunglasses like these.
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Oh, and never in my WILDEST dreams would I ever have guessed that any recap of any Black Sails episode would involve a Dwayne Wayne reset. Nice!
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I actually didn't have a huge problem with this episode mostly because events that unfolded needed to unfold before anybody thought of hit the high seas.

They needed another ship, and Gates stepping into the role of captain made sense...as did his reasons for being hesitant. Which prompted an aligance that otherwise NEVER could have happened. Flint needs another boat and Vane and Rackham needed to make right by their crew.

Eleanor getting her groove on with Vain, as far as I can tell, was a convenient plot device for the events to happen later. There was really no reason for them to get together other than provide her a reason to act on emotion when saving Max, fracture Vane's crew and get the double whammie when Max joined vain. Though pretty sure all that would have happened with or without their rendevous. So, I guess I got nothin'. The only question being did Vane send his crew or did they hear by other means that Max was going to be led off the island that night?

Mrs Whatsherface...I'm guessing she plays a pretty significant role, but I've got no clue what that might be.

A lot of chess pieces got moved around and they all needed moving. Though it all could have been done in about half the time. Pending what happens next episode will determine if the two could have been combined or if this episode, by itself, was necessary.
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Pirates don't fall in love! Pirates fall in hate!
Love that line - better than anything that happened during this episode.

Yes, Eleanor is an idiot, but I could have told you that last week. You know who else is an idiot: her father. I really don't understand what his gameplan is - shouldn't he be hustling like crazy right now to secure his empire before it falls, instead of fake-sleeping all day? Yeah, Flint's (I want to say wife?) is a mystery, just like the captain himself, but doesn't he have more important matters to deal with?
Max giving herself to Vane will ultimately hurt her more than her ex - I cannot see how any girl can be cool hanging with a couple of dudes who just raped her...
John Silver is boring. I was never a boring guy in Stevenson's TI. This annoys me.

Seriously, though, let's get back to mayhem on the sea. I'm so done with all that land-set melodrama. Attack that damn ship already!
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Unlike most of you, I loved this episode. I loved the drama and the politics! I also loved the surprises the show brings.

When Eleanor was going to make out with her ex-bf,they were interrupted. She then found out her ex-gf was being gang raped. She misunderstood that it was the evil ex-bf who did this and basically ask his crew to go mutiny on him! Her ex-gf still blames her and instead of thanking Eleanor, she went into the arms of the ex-bf ! Wow! I thought it was great ! Can anyone named me another show that ALL this could happen?

I thought it was interesting that

1) we get to see an old captain "guarding" the island.
2) Gates being a good number two but so lacking in self confidence to be a captain
3) Silver being a mole to get into the good graces of Billy
4) Billy totally protecting his Captain now.
5) Flint mysterious lover - I am betting she was probably the wife of one of his deceased man.

My favorite character since the show started had been Max. I am beginning to really like Jack Rackham and cannot wait to see how the show would depict him over throwing Captain Vane. I cannot wait to see more of Anne Bonny too.

I did not agree with some of the things Tim wrote.

1) My take is Captain Vane agree to his mostly because of the fortune maybe to a lesser extent to impress Eleanor.

2) He actually wanted to let Max go because he was certain she would escape the island without Eleanor and Eleanor hurt her. He sort of empathize with her as he himself was jilted by Eleanor once. He instructed Jack to take Max to an escape boat but somehow the men saw Max and wanted to rape her as a punishment.

3) Eleanor assume Max knew all about this and was also punishing Max for being her lover, she was wronged !

This is one of my favorite show now !

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It's interesting about the idea that Ms Barlow is a widow of a Flint's crew
I agree with you about Vane ,Max ,and Eleanor
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I know the year just started and all. But this may very well be the worst show of the year. It is boring, the writing is horrible, the characters are about as deep and a puddle and this the 4th episode and we still don't know anything about any of them. What we do know of them is that there isn't a redeemable and likable character among them.

The show makes B pirate movies look accurate. I would be ok with staying on the island and handling the mundanity of life if the freaking writing and acting was done well. And it isn't, so when you have that lack of quality, you usually get action from a show. But not this show, this show tosses in some breasts throws in a half assed sex scene and thinks that is going to be ok.

This isn't what I expect from Starz, I expect the violence of Spartacus with the interesting story and fun characters of Da Vicni's Demons. But this has none of that. And I still can't get over that everyone of them is in clean clothes and has white teeth. Didn't anyone want to toss them in some mud.

The sunglasses are the least of this shows problems. Unless they turn into time traveling pirates I am done. I would rather sit on a beach and watch the tide go in and out.
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When looking back on comments like this I'm always curious how the person feels about it now?
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Never watched the rest of it. I might give it a try considering the opinions on the recent seasons. It might be a stormy day viewing or a sick in bed kind of a thing.
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Thanks for the reply (although I suppose my curiosity must remain unsated for the time being). I would definitely suggest giving it another chance some time, although I should caution that it never becomes what many people seemed to think it should have been back in those early days (it has just been good enough to change folk's minds regarding what it is they want).
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3rd episode, not 4th.
Considering Spartacus started pretty awful, I'm going to be tolerant of this until the end of the season.
It's still pretty far of being the worst show of the year. Plus, Under the Dome is on the horizon and we know it's going to be up there on the crap scale.
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Yea but under the dome falls into that category that it is so stupid and the characters are so horrible that it then becomes entertaining. That, despite all of its fails, brings you back. Contrast that to this and there really isn't anything to bring you back. But you are right, I was wrong about the worst show. As long as The Following draws breath as a show, pretty much the rest get a free pass.
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I watched the pilot and was not impressed. I said I would keep watching, but I haven't been able to sit down and watch the second episode. Looks like I shouldn't. Oh well, at least Vikings is coming back soon.

Did you actually watch Spartacus? I loved that show.
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I watched the first two seasons and then got behind. So I haven't started the rest.
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While I won't agree that this "may be the worst show of the year", I do agree that this is definitely not something I'd expect from Starz. It is horribly boring and does not live up to what one would want of a pirate show. It's not that I need action all the time, I'm all for moments of smart dialogue, but this show doesn't even have that. Spartacus, while bloody and sometimes over the top macho, did have extensive scenes with deep discussions between the characters. The dialogue in Black Sails contains zero drama, it is completely underwhelming.

I seriously do not understand what the producers behind Black Sails are thinking about. How is it possible that they think this writing can be captivating? And this show has already been given a second season! The characters basically just walk around talking to each other. It feels like a soap opera set in a pirate world.

Nothing happens in this show. So far three episodes have gone by setting up...um...I'm not exactly sure, to be honest. An attack on a ship? That's all?! And the characters are really flat. That's the biggest problem I have with this show. I care for none of them. OK, maybe Anne Bonny, but that's because we haven't seen much of her so far, and I'm keeping my finger crossed for her to step up at some point and surprise me. Several of the actors are in my mind simply miscast. When there is only eight episodes in a season, why waste episodes on material like this? The excitement for what will happen next is just not there.
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OK worst might have been an over charge. But it just isn't good, at all. As for Bonny, I would said she is my favorite thus far as well. But that could be largely due to her not having to speak because the writing is kind of sub par.
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Bye bye !
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the sunglasses were really bothering me
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Sunglasses were invented by the Chinese in the 1200s.
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wikipedia says twelfth century; good job on quoting- too bad the 12th century was 1101 to 1200. so even then, you were wrong.

and whoever invented them, i don't care, buddy wearing them looked like he had downs syndrome and should have been wearing a helmet, let alone ever let on a boat
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Vane did not have Max gangraped. He told Rackham to put her on a boat and let her go, only the crew saw him sneaking her out and said they weren't done with her. vane didn't find out what was going on till Eleanor did
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When Eleanor found her that was the SECOND time she was gang raped, and no, it was not by Vane's order, but the first time was. Earlier in the episode he walks down to a cabin in his ship where she was naked, beaten, and chained, told her it had to be done, and then let her get up and get dressed. THEN he ordered her to be put on a ship so she could leave. When being transported to leave she is interrupted by her rapists who say they aren't done with her yet.
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You were watching the same show as me. I am not sure what Tim was watching.
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I kind of like Vane. Manely because he's freeeeeaking hot!
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ahah sunglasses ahahaha nice catch ehhehe
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The sunglasses were ridiculous! I did like this episode, though. I didn't find it boring, because I enjoy the politics. I think it's interesting to see this side of pirate life, it's something we hardly ever get to see. I think I could do with a little less Eleanor, I'm not impressed with how she's been written, I guess. Just seems kind of weird that a woman who has the mentality to control an island full of pirates would be so... whatever she is.

Can't wait to find out more about Miranda Barlow. I kept hoping they would reveal something about her when Guthrie was snooping around her house. I couldn't really tell what was in the painting he looked at. Also, I didn't get the significance of what the priest was saying to her at the end of their conversation. I guess they're being cryptic on purpose.
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first 3 episodes are have been slow and ive heard that the episode 4 continues in the same form....the show needs to pick up the pace more....a little less conversation a little more action please
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I love period Drama's, they need to get out to sea already and get into some battles though. I've been waiting for a pirate show for years and they have done a good job with this but they need to wrap up all of the introductions and get the show on the road. I believe once this gets rolling it will keep us wanting more but they need to get on the ocean sooner than later and get the action moving.
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Black Sails really is not my thing but reviews on TV.com meant I should at least check it out. My first real impression it is just not swashbuckling enough! This episode was to burocreatic. I could not believe pirates really being like that. There
Is also a clear gender split going on here. The men are all bastards and the women are really nice. Not that helps. The abuse of women both emotionally and physical is hard to stomach. There seems to be a good calibre of acting/actor but what can they do with a treasure hunt in the end? Not my field so checked the internet (give me something scientific then great) sunglasses if you call them that only were experimented with about 1752 so Black Sails is wrong but incredibly only about 40 years out. For this show I am not sure true accuracy really matters. I might watch again though I'd check reviews first.
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I've been bored since the pilot, I'll give it the four episode grace period but after next episode I'm almost certainly throwing this one back. Although next episode seems to actually have some interesting stuff happen, but it probably won't maintain it so I can't see it being enough to keep me on. I just don't care about any of the character, any one of them could get their throat cut and I wouldn't care, I wouldn't be happy about it and I wouldn't be sad, not only does this show have yet to make likable characters, but it also fails to make unlikable ones, there's just nothing to hang your hat on with this. Shame.
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T'was a slow 'un to be sure. Guthrie Snr. is still necessary to hold trade together. But WTF happened to the rest of the HMS Scarborough crew and indeed it itself after its Captain, Hume, and his landing party got whacked in farty pantaloons - Guthrie's - office? No pirates scuttled her. It all seems a bit odd as the Scarborough keeps getting mentioned and it's crew seem to have forgotten about their captain?
Guthrie looks to be playing the long game and is no doubt envisaging taking Flint's 'controller' - the magic 'voodoo' woman - hostage himself at some point.
Eleanor's character gets more unrealistic by each episode, along with the pirate crews and captains who take shit from her. As if Vayne would've let her speak like that in front of his men, take any possible earnings and allowed her and them to pick a side that wasn't his. Hilarious. Eleanor sounded like some spoilt brat and about as fearsome. At the very least, she would've been facing her girlfriend as she got gang raped at Vayne's order by his crew.
Rackham, apparently, either went to or knew of and traded with someone from China and got his shades that way - much like most us still do in some way today!
Black Sails could be much better if it didn't have absurd feminist musings in it. I'm all for strong female characters but this goes way too far. And then there's lines said in earnest by pirates about other pirates as not being thieves and/or trustworthy souls?! On too many occasions I find myself saying , who writes this shit and where the fuck is quality control for these writers?
Can't wait to tune into next week's WTF moments!
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Weird. I pretty much disagree with most of what you said(though to be honest it was a very sparse review).

The episode was slow, yes, and felt like it was building to something that never quite happened; The end of the episode I thought for sure Silver would backstab the mutineer that was being talked to by Billy Bones. Or that there would be some sort of climax to that end. Instead it sort of looked like maybe Bones was being convinced to not like Flint?

Anyways that was my only problem with the episode. I felt like the rest, all of the negotiations and banter made for an incredibly amusing episode. I really laughed harder than I expected to from such a show. The Flint/Vayne negotiations were terrific. The pacing and feel and acting all felt very spot on. Locations were beautiful, and I even dug the Mrs. Barlow side-plot, and am curious what the Mutineer dude is going to tell Billy Bones about her.

My only problem with this episode is how it ended. I too am anxious to get back on the Sea and see some action, but the plot and characters are easily good enough for this sort of episode for me. I was glad to see the "schedule" plot quickly ended and could feel the tension really building for this coming fight against the big ship. If this show has any sort of plans on being sustainable and long lasting I feel it absolutely needs episodes like this. Solid and well rounded.
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