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NBC (ended 2014)

Crossbones S01E05: "The Return"

Well me hearties, we’ve sailed past the halfway point of our journey into the sordid, mixed-up mind of one Edward Teach and his sociological experiment that is Santa Compana. The guy is a psychopath, a patriarch, a hoarder, a romantic, and a one-time seer of ghosts who's now just another run-of-the-mill victim of brain disease; in short, he's just one of many eccentrics who populated "The Return," a reasonably fun time chock full of twists, heroism, intrigue, and at least one bespectacled wild man. 

So by now we should all accept that the driving force in nearly all Crossbones plots is some item that needs to be retrieved for one reason or another. The chronometer, a map, a tool for drilling into skulls—deal with it, that’s just how this show flows. However, if you’re anything like me (and you probably aren't because I'm kind of kooky), you’re a little disappointed (though not surprised) that the beach ghost that's been haunting Teach’s days and nights is nary a ghost at all; last week’s "Antoinette" taught us that. Rather, she’s some figure from his past. Someone with whom a baby is involved and someone with whom he bears some form of regret or pain or doubt or whatever emotion makes you imagine you’re vomiting up water when really you’re just asleep on some cushions in your treasure.

Yikes don't eat the shellfish! Tom Lowe had the best story of the episode, manipulating his way to Jamaica under false pretenses. Just think, somewhere in those tropical streets was the great-great-great-great grandfather to Peter Tosh! Teach thought the surgeon confidant was off to pick up a trephine, but we knew otherwise. His boss Jagger had plucked eyeballs, conducted live burials, and drowned the snot out of anyone who might lead him to the location of Blackbeard. Obsess much? All this bloodshed in the name of mother England. Was this what the Queen Mum called justice? Certainly not, I should say! 

Anyway, fresh from smooching Kate and professing his dedication to her, Lowe made contact with his boss, who had big plans to turn the fair island nation of Santa Compana and its citizens inside out. Lowe was like, "Hey slow down, that’s crazy brutal" and Jagger was all, "I don’t even care because all I got is slaughter on the brain."

Then the two tussled up something fierce with Lowe and his Danny McBride hair coming out on top and allowing him to make his getaway. At this point my brain made me think about how white everyone’s teeth are on this show. What year is this again—1320 or something? I believe the profession of "dentist" didn’t start until 1993, so someone in the costume department has some explaining to do. Maybe the good folks of Crossbones' wardrobe team spent so much time wrangling fine tunics that there was no time to dirty up some teeth. And on that note, I’d say the crispest teeth belong to Nenna, the plotter:

Ooh, this lady was scheming up a storm isn’t she? Stealing jewels from prostitutes who were also maybe lovers, then setting up to buy some land from Mr. Tubbins. Eh, sure. Basically all of Crossbones' storylines that don’t involve Teach, Lowe, and Jagger are pretty boring. Like, everyone’s all serious all the time. Take Selima, for example: She's stoic as all get out. Even when she did the most interesting thing her character’s ever done—leave the indoors—her demeanor was that of an animatronic Pirates of the Caribbean bot. And everyone knew her condition well enough to have a meaningful reaction? Kate was like, "This fruit is on the house, you triumphant hermit," and Fletch was positively speechless. And the townsfolk parted out of respect for her journey like she was Jesus Christ herself. Uh, okay. Look, I don’t care why Selima is scared of the outdoors. I got no sympathy for shut-ins, there I said it. 

And so, with five episodes of Crossbones behind us, the time has come to make a choice. Do we side with Teach and his rogues gallery of freedom-seekers continue watching for the rest of the season, or cut bait and let the remaining episodes drift off to sea? Yeah, it's probably best to let this one sink to the bottom of Davey Jones’ locker. I've got to say, I was into Crossbones when it first started, but I'm trying to do a thing now where I don't enjoy things ironically no matter what, in favor of judging art on its own merits, and this puppy just doesn't cut it for me. Bye forever, Crossbones.

I am not the boss of you; will you keep watching Crossbones?

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