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Black Sails Review “III.” (Season 1 Episode 3)

Another week of Black Sails, and another week not any closer than we were before to treasure, freedom and fame. At this point, the series' trailer and entire first episode feel like one deflating bait and switch. Isn’t it hilarious how nearly every advert for Black Sails – be it on Starz or any other channel – makes it a point to have the money shot showcase Captain Flint in episode one, trembling while rising up from his knees, blood smeared over his mouth? That’s the show people want to watch. But instead of a series featuring pirates plundering ships and seeking their claim to a legacy, what we get is a show where various characters get together and bond/plot behind each other’s backs about how they’re on the cusp of becoming Kings of the New World.


Shifting gears to John Silver, he expresses his wits and cunningness once more this week. As Captain Flint and Eleanor are watching over him transcribe the schedule – that he burned in episode two – he intentionally decides not to include the most crucial part of the schematic, which details when and where the ship carrying the treasurer will be at its most vulnerable.

It’s funny, because as I was watching this scene I thought to myself “why is John playing ball with them, the most likely scenario is that they’ll just kill him after they get what they want.” Thankfully, John realizes this too, otherwise we would have had a massive plothole. Captain Flint then brings up a good point; that he could just kill John Silver afterwards, to which he responds “by then we could be friends.” The dynamic between these two characters remains the highlight of the show and I’m definitely happy to see it continuing to be explored.

It’s also decided that to effectively haul back all the necessary spoils, it is going to take more than just Captain Flint’s crew. This means that they need partners, and because this is prime time television, not just any crew will do. Captain Flint and Captain Vane decide to set apart their differences and join forces.  It won’t be that easy though, as once again one of the most intriguing plot thread of the show involves John Silver, who is now sneakily planning to egg on anyone still thinking about a mutiny into overthrowing Captain Flint.

There is another twist ending this week that I won’t spoil, but it certainly changes up the roles of major players in ways that should keep the show worth tuning into next week. That’s also the single biggest problem with Black Sails though; it treads on way too much uninteresting dialogue and pointless conversations, leaving you simply bored throughout the majority of the fifty-five minute episodes. It is certainly interesting to see where all this is going, but outside of admiring the sights and production values, there is very little here to engage drama fans or pirate aficionados.

Every week, it seems that Captain Flint and company have a major breakthrough in the quest to obtain this highly valuable treasure, fairly often to a point that you come away telling yourself that next week is going to be full of action, twists, backstabbing and everything else the show promised. Yet every week, all we get is more dialogue and tedium.

Without spoiling things, even after the conclusion to this week’s episode it seems that we’re finally set up for some action on the high seas, but I’m not getting my hopes up just yet. Time will tell if the show can pick itself back up, but as of right now, Black Sails is in severe need of a spark to keep audiences hooked and anticipating next week’s episode, instead of wondering if we’ll ever see anything even remotely interesting happen.

About the author

Robert Kojder

I'm wheelchair bound and was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy Type 2 at an early age. This has resulted in plenty of free time throughout my life to feverishly experience and write about films, gaming, wrestling, and more.