As many times as I’ve watched Black Sails, I never skip the opening credits. It’s just too good. The music is wild, archaic, and exotic, and the images on screen have everything and nothing to do with what we will see during the coming show.
We have a new narrator, and her name is Abigale. Her memoir is another way the show takes good care to give us the exposition we need. Miranda’s reflections continue the service. She and Flint are back on the voyage they started together so many years ago, and their relationship is once again strong. How sweet. How un-pirate-like. I’m definitely on Team Vane in this matter.
There’s a lot of exposition here – not a bad thing. Black Sails has always excelled at it, and sometimes you need to speak exposition to move the story forward.
Flint’s exposition is the background of his relationships, the murders that are now explained, his plans for the future, and his actual arrival at Charles Town. He tells us Billy Bones’ history, accurate details of how press-gangs worked (although men captured by press-gang were supposed to be paid, just like other sailors. It’s just that the money to do so was often years late in coming). Flint also reflects on the nature of Abigail’s father, and reminds us that Vane is the fellow who made the deal to return Abigail.
Rackham’s exposition includes his musings on his relationship with the now-vanished Anne Bonny. He admits that he thought he understood her, but he may have been wrong – she may have always been so complex that he never grasped what’s going on in her mind. Good job, Jack! You men never figure us women out, but the day you realize this is the day you have the best understanding you ever will.
I also notice that, in the beginning of this scene, Max is wearing a dress that imitates the look of a captain’s coat, and Jack is coatless. He puts on his outer garment when he leaves for the fort.
I also appreciate the idea that gets thrown around to just bury the treasure. Of course, this is part of the story of Treasure Island – buried treasure, which is something that real pirates never did. Jack’s move on the fort is more logical, and very clearly explained by his second who asks, “Are we just going to walk up to the door, knock and ask to see Vane?” We’re given no chance to miss the point of the plan.
By the way, just for fun, I did the math on five million doubloons. The weight of the gold involved – just the gold, not including any chests needed to contain and carry it – is 172 tons. That’s tons, folks. To put it in perspective, the Queen Ann’s Revenge, one of the largest pirate ships to ever sail, was only rated at 100 tons. This means that the ship, fully loaded, would displace 100 tons of water.
So including food, water, cannons, men, equipment, and the weight of the ship itself, the pirates would be lucky to stuff 50 tons of gold into a single ship. I wonder if this will come up? Not likely, as TV gives us a million dollars in a briefcase, when a real million in 100 dollar bills is more like a pallet load.
Just remember, you learned it here first.
Silver gives us a slice of exposition when he repeats to his two fellow conspirators the lies he told Flint and sums up his plan to take the gold for himself. We also get to see how far these men will go for the millions in gold, as the talkative pirate is murdered by his shipmate.
Of course, the plan of cutting part way through a rope and trusting that it will part at exactly the right time is complete hogwash. There’s just no way to know it will work, and also a good chance that someone will notice the damaged rope. After all, these ropes are what hold the ship together, and they are all important.
In addition, single men did not go aloft to work the sails. There were very specific teams assigned to each sail, and they all worked together. After all, sails are heavy, and are by definition moving and trying to flap wildly.
One thing is very real in this show, though. Silver feels the blood that has been spattered onto his hands.
Eleanor Guthrie has another bad show. I was pleased to see the old Madame from the brothel, who did a lovely job of filling us in on Max and Silver, and what they have been up to. But all Eleanor seems to do is gape and say, “What?” The men just don’t write this character well. Even the loss of her father doesn’t elicit much.
Flint’s story ends with his foray into Charles Town to confront Ash, his old ally. We get a good look at the city, and at the governor’s mansion (One thing that annoyed the bejezus out of me was the nylon British flag on the rowboat. Just sayin’).
Abigail coming in on Flint’s side was an interesting addition, and I wonder where it may go.
And where do we end? With Vane, in the swamp, waiting for his move. Why his boat is still in the harbor I’m not quite sure, but Vane is a real pirate, and with or without a ship, he’ll keep the people of Nassau on course.