TV REVIEW: Black Sails Season 1, Episode 2 – “II”

After a season premiere that drew record ratings for Starz, the second episode of Black Sails needed to do a lot to keep that momentum going. Thankfully, it mostly did the trick.

Much of the action in this episode is focused around John Silver (played by Luke Arnold), who holds the key to finding the Urca de Lima, a Spanish ship full of treasure. Remember, in the first episode he stole a page from the Captain’s Log containing vital information about the ship’s whereabouts, and then attempted to sell it off with Max’s help. This week, that plan goes wrong – or right, depending on who you ask.

Flint, Gates, and Billy Bones spend the episode trying to track Silver down. But it’s not just them he has to worry about – Captain Charles Vane (played by Zach McGowan) is also on the trail, and by all accounts he is one ruthless dude. He’s joined by his quartermaster Rackham (played by Toby Schmitz), who often appears to be the brains of the operation. After some shenanigans, Silver does the smart thing and burns the page – but not before ensuring his own survival.

While there is plenty of action to be had on this show, this episode has solidified my hunch that it’s the relationships that are going to make this show. They’re complicated, to say the least, and it really heightens the tension and drives home the point that it’s nearly impossible to tell who can be trusted. We’ve already had one near-mutiny, and if they stick to history, another is coming on the horizon (watch out for that quartermaster, Vane!). Even the characters I am inclined to like – Billy Bones, for example – are morally dubious by way of their chosen profession.

So is there anything redeemable about these people? It’s hard to tell so far. Flint does mention that he wants a Spanish ship full of treasure so that he can build New Providence into a place where pirates can settle down. A nice thought, probably driven by something in his past that we’re yet to discover. That strikes a chord with Eleanor, who seems to have a great deal of faith in Flint, but who also used to be involved with Vane. Oh, and with Max. See what I mean by complicated? And where do her loyalties ultimately lie?

A strong second episode overall, straddling the line between moving the story forward while continuing to build the back story and the universe. Now that we’ve got a good handle on what we’re dealing with, I am hoping the pirate-y action will pick up a bit more going forward.

I mean, isn’t that what we all came here to see?


Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Mirjana

Catch up on Black Sails at Starz.

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