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Since we don't seem to have a staff review this week, I guess it's on with the motley to write one up myself. And we have a strange one with "Antoinette", which has the odd problem that it isn't named after anyone. Well, okay, it's named after the mysterious Woman in White, but she's only identified in the end credits. Nobody actually calls her Antoinette during the episode. And other than a ghostly visitation and a few-second cameo at the end, she really has nothing to do with the plot.

Also, somewhat confusingly, there are two Antoinettes, because there appear to be two actresses playing the role. There's Aimee Mullins, who played her in the first two episodes. And I wasn't aware the actress had both of her legs amputated below the knees. I'd have to go back and watch, but are they using that to some advantage in the series?

And Lauren Shaw, who played the WoW in the third episode. But... it was the ghost all three episodes, right? I could see them using one actress for the WoW and one for the "real" Antoinette hanging out in a cell in Jamaica. But why have them both play the WoW? Did they need Aimee sans legs in the first two episodes, but with them for the third episode? Ms. Mullins is quite capable of athletic feats on her own.



To Knee or Not to Knee; That is the Question

Anyhoo, "Antoinette" didn't really move the story along a whole lot. John Malkovitch seemed curiously subdued, for some reason. I guess because he didn't really have a lot to do this episode. He basically gets the Jim Phelps/Dan Briggs role by masterminding the equivalent of a super-spy Mission: Impossible plan to get the Cuban governor's map of a treasure. Which, he doesn't seem to need because Blackbeard then dons a goofy wig to sell the governor a fake Chronometer for a buttload of money. And figure out where the governor's treasure is, which not surprisingly in the governor's manor under heavy guard. So... Portacarrercarrercarrercarrero has another treasure? Or what?



Oh, I'm such a sly boots...

Tom gets roped into this scheme since he's the 18th century human equivalent of a photocopier. Blackbeard sends him off with Rider and Nenna, who are still nursing their respective subplots. Rider's is more important since he decides to kill Tom once the mission is complete because he doesn't like that the Englishman has stolen Daddy Blackbeard's affections. Although the brief bit about Rider and Selima's romance gets a mention. The lieutenant thinks Blackbeard wants him dead because he knows about the... affair? This is a bit muddled since well, yeah, Blackbeard would have Rider killed if he knew about it. But he doesn't have him killed, so he must not know. Or does he?

Nenna's subplot seems to involve her having a legitimate reason to steal from everyone, for some actual reason involving love, but not "the love of the man," rather than just being a kleptomaniac. This puts her into conflict with Rose the brothel madam. So it's not clear if Nenna is stealing for the love of a woman, although this certainly explains the lesbian overtones between her and Rose. Or the love of a child, which seems a bit unlikely since how does a pirate woman pursuing an active lifestyle stay non-obviously pregnant for nine months? Maybe the bit about Nelly last week who wasn't visibly pregnant until she delivered is foreshadowing the fact Nenna did the same.



Kiss me, you fool!

Tim gets his own subplot when Tom (Tim and Tom? Who named these two?) sends him off to find the Wildman that Tim must have mentioned to Tom in an off-screen chat. One wonders how that conversation went. "Hey, Tom, did I mention I was rowing a pregnant woman across the harbor last week and saw a guy with a bad haircut prowling through the woods?"). Anyhoo, Tom somehow concludes that the random scruffy guy on the island is important to Blackbeard's plans, because... Tom reads the end credits? I don't know. Henry Hereford is credited as the Wildman but I don't recall seeing him this week.

We also get the awkwardly named Begum Samsar, a Middle Eastern woman who apparently runs a mercenary camp in the Caribbean. The plot for this week is that Blackbeard needs enough money to hire trained mercenaries to protect Santa Campana ("an army to protect ourselves"). Rather than attack Jamaica when his plan is to attack Jamaica. That seems a little confusing, too, because why is he anticipating an attack on his island fortress that nobody knows the location of?

I'm also a little unclear on his selling a fake Chronometer, because wouldn't that give away that he arranged for Jagger to get a fake as well? Or at least raise the suspicion that he might be handing out more than one forgery?

But hey, the whole fake-Chronometer thing brings us to the highlight of the episode, which is Julian Sands reenacting his Warlock days by emoting to an eyeball. Yes, it's just as strange as it seems. Jagger isn't falling for Blackbeard's scheme, because he's just as sly a boots as Blackbeard is and marked the original Chronometer so that no one could slip a fast one by him. He also seems to have agents everywhere, since he's quite willing to have a pirate's family back in the UK killed if the guy doesn't cooperate with him. It's nice (and convenient) to have a ruthless pirate with a soft spot, and nicer still that Blackbeard didn't know that the guy he picked as the lynchpin of his plan had hostages to fortune.



I see, with my little eye, something that starts with "eye." Aye?

So Blackbeard is donning goofy disguises and distributing fake Chronometers all over the Caribbean. And Jagger has the one resource that can lead him to Blackbeard and lets her sit in a dungeon cell until everything else fails. Supposedly these are the two great intellects of the Caribbean, pitting their wits against each other. It feels more like the final match at the Special Olympics Chess Tournament.

Oh, there's also a subplot of James asking Tom to help him get over his leg problems and opium addiction. Which involves Tom becoming a Baptist preacher and floating James in water, which I assume is historically and medically accurate but still look goofy as all get-out. This leads to Tom and Kate breaking off their affair while walking on the beach in what looks like a tampon commercial. It's kind of like a serious version of the scene from the original Bedazzled where two people can't bear to have an affair any longer because the woman's husband is just too darn nice.



I say you are healed, brother, healed!

So overall, "Antoinette" was kind of a placeholder. Rather than action and adventure, this week was more of a soap opera as we learn the inner emotional workings of pirates, quartermasters, former noblemen, and spies.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Comments (15)
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oh hey, i wanted to thank you for reviewing, seeing as TV.com ONCE AGAIN got me all interested in a show and then BAILED on me.

I enjoy Crossbones for it's BSC tomofoolery of a plot; for Tom's perpetual bad hair day and Malkovich, well, Being Malkovic; but mostly, on a hot summer night with a little glass of rum it's splendid summer entertainment.
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It's Hydrotherapy, an asian (chinese i think) healing procedure. Nothing to do with christianity and faith healing.
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I didn't take the water thing as an "Amen Brother!"

But trying to get him into swimming and trying to use his legs. A common thing even today to try to exercise their muscles after prolonged atrophy.
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But he wasn't swimming. Tom was just holding him on his back and letting him float. Remove the putting the hand to the head and dunking them under, and it sure looks similar to me...




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LOL. "The Final match at the Special Olympics Chess Tournament". Great analogy.

I would think that the floating in the water was to get some unrestrained movement in his legs, to try and provoke some sensation in them. I'm pretty sure that kind of therapy is still used today with spinal-cord injury.
There is only one way to quit opiates, and that is cold-turkey.

It was a rather strange episode. But then, so were the first three. Par for the course, I'd say. ;-)
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wait - James wasn't asking Tom to help him with his addiction, but to help him to use his legs properly again. And the bride (the white lady) wasn't a ghost, because this show is not fantasy, but hallucination.
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Right, but the first step in helping him use his legs was to break his addiction to the opium. Or it was simultaneous with it. They didn't make it very clear how floating him in water would help him with the use of his legs, or breaking the addiction. I assume the former, but it wasn't clear.

Yes, I know technically the WoW isn't a ghost, but "ghost" is shorter than "screaming shrieking hallucination that makes you think she's trying to strangle you" :)
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I think this is some kind of water rehabilitation.
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You should stop complaining: compared to the "Under the Dome" this is gazillion times more entertaining, better acted and coherent (for a pirate TV show). And "Black Sails" was taking itself too serious to be fun to watch. "Crossbones" Ahoy!

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I prefer to take each show on its own merits. Just because Dome is a turkey doesn't mean that other shows can't be turkeys, too.
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I've got that sinking feeling after the 4 episode test. Seems pretty dull and unconvincing. I like pirates but Malkovich just doesn't cut it for me. Will stick with Black Sails methinks. Umm .... aaarrrggghhh!!!!
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For those of us who don't have pay-cable, I''m fine with Crossbones. :) As long as it has actual pirating stuff and intrigue. The soap opera and bare bones plot didn't really have much of either this week.
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I too lack pay cable - I suspect I might choose Black Sails over this if not.
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