Black Sails Review: “II.” (Season 1, Episode 2)


Following along with Black Sails (you can read my series premiere review here), it has become increasingly apparent that my initial assessment of the show being more of a dialogue and character driven series (similar to Game of Thrones) is what you can expect across all eight episodes. If you tuned into Starz’s most recent period piece, Spartacus, for the testosterone filled cinematic sequences of exaggeratedly choreographed and graphic battle violence, then this just isn’t going to be the show for you. If you watched Spartacus for an abundance of explicit sexual content and nudity, however, well, that’s one crossover that exists. In fact, it’s actually how episode two of Black Sails kicks things off.

Eleanor and Max awaken from a steamy night of lesbian sex and enter into a rather longwinded scene of dialogue discussing Eleanor’s wishes and hopes for Nassau. That’s fine, but the whole lesbian relationship came out of left field last week without even feeling sincerely written. In other words, if you too wondered why a show about bloodthirsty pirates who want nothing more than to be rich decided to curveball into an unofficial sequel for Blue Is The Warmest Color, expect more out of place scenes. If this were set up properly and explored without the sensation that Starz thinks they’re creating bold television just because they have a lesbian romance going on, it could have been a fascinating addition.

As it stands, however, it’s awkward to buy into and feels shoehorned in for the network to meet some pointless arbitrary nudity quota. Spartacus tossed in nonstop and racy sexual content too, but they weren’t forcing odd plot points out of it, which is where the issue lies here. Towards the end of the episode though, there is an event that could salvage the plot thread into something more interesting, making the case that the writers are just awful at dealing with exposition.