Black Sails: VI review

Black Sails episode 6 is dark and tense. Where are the fun pirates?

This week’s Black Sails is, dark, introspective and tense. Not really how I like my pirate adventures. I hope others like it better. If we’re lucky, all this will pay off big. We’ve only got two more shows in the season.

The situation on the Walrus and the Andromache continues to confuse me. How and why the Andromache’s crew managed to get all their cannons away from the gun ports (I assume they weren’t just hauling cannons around as cargo) and tucked into an impenetrable bunker, along with 38 slaves, I just don’t understand.

Furthermore, I have no idea why everyone is just standing around. I can think of 10 ways into the “bunker,” and I’m no pirate captain. Flint’s inaction does give Mr. Scot a chance to make an interesting new friend, and permits the viewers to learn a little of the philosophy of slavery. But letting the slave uprising kill the Andromache’s crew, while Flint stands by, unable to remember that the deck is made of wood and he can cut a hole through it, is highly unsatisfying.

What’s Mr. Scott going to do now?

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I’d really like to see the Scarborough, too. Flint’s got this huge ship,(look at eh size of it next to the Andromeche!) and extra cannons, and his crew is still terrified. Why is Flint putting the guns in the hold? If the Scarborough is so close, why doesn’t he set them up and use them? I’ll admit, the Scarborough must have an amazingly competent crew. They found Flint in the ocean at night, and managed some very impressive long-range shooting.

Flint’s apparent treachery with Billy Bones doesn’t sit well with me, either. Treasure Island fans know that Billy can’t be dead… He needs to be alive 20 years from now, to die in the Benbow Inn so that Jim Hawkins can find Flint’s old treasure map in his sea chest. (Sorry for the spoiler. I’m assuming all pirate fans have seen at least one Treasure Island movie.)

Anne Bonny’s decision to finally free Max is a relief, but I see a lot of other options for Anne. The writers seem to think that killing someone might be a problem. But dueling was perfectly legal, and socially approved. If Anne’s as good with her swords as they’ve portrayed her, she ought to call Hamund out and kill him. It would be hard for the other men, leaderless, to complain.

Instead, it’s all sneaking around in the dark and quiet conversations. Silver is the man who gets to shine now. He’s the most “true” character in this for me. He’s always working an angle, to two, or three. Eleanor Guthrie may think she’s forcing Silver to help Anne, but he’s working the long game, and I wager he’ll come out of this in a very nice position indeed.

I always want to see more of Anne. She stays true to character throughout. I love that she wants nothing to do with Max after saving her. But we don’t even get to see the ambush.

Anne’s closing conversation with Jack is one link in the chain that binds them together. But they seem so bloodless. All we have had until now is her line in the first show, “Let’s fuck.” Can we see some heat between these two? Why is Jack so very stuck on her?

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Historically, Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham were two people who never let anyone tell them what to do. They were so alike, their love was inevitable. The historic Jack was tough an fearless, maybe too fearless. Jack took control of Vane’s Ranger when Vane was afraid to attack a very large and well-armed French ship. The crew voted Vane out and Rackham in, and marooned Vane on an island.

Clearly the characters in this show aren’t those people. But I’d like to see a little more of who they are. A more mismatched pair could hardly be imagined, Anne a scowling ruffian, Jack an intellectual with delicate sensibilities. Come on, Starz, give us this story.

Instead, we get more of Miranda Barlow’s background. What she tells Pastor Lambrick of her previous life unfolds more intriguing twists and turns. Even though she’s so proper, Miranda is a very sexy woman. Her coupling with Lambrick is one of the more erotic moments on the show so far.

Is she telling the truth about Flint’s plans? Has Flint told Billy the truth? Or is it all just one nest of lies, with some other, completely unseen goal at the end of it? Why do I think Flint’s motivation is going to be the big “reveal” coming up?

Four good endings here. Max alone in the dark at the whorehouse. Anne and Jack. And the pirate burial (glad to see that. So often dead pirates just vanish. Merchant captains sometimes just threw bodies overboard. A proper ritual was one of the many things pirates were fighting for.)

And Vane meeting his friend. Blackbeard? Sure looks like it, and we know that Blackbeard exists in this world, he was mentioned in the first episode. So are they dragging this legend in? The historic Blackbeard and the historic Vane sailed together. But I don’t think it’s that simple here.

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Whatever it is, I’m coming back for more.

Den of Geek Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Stars

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3.5 out of 5