TV Show Review

TV Review: BLACK SAILS: Season 2, Episode 5: XIII. [Starz]

Luke Arnold Toby Stephens Black Sails XIII

Starz‘s Black Sails XIII. TV Show Review. Black Sails: Season 2, Episode 5: XIII. was the best episode to date, narratively speaking, for the pirate series. It was impressive. It was like a great novel or film unfolding right before the viewers eyes. The viewer will think the episode was longer than it actually was because so much exposition was delivered and so much was revealed.

Like all great narratives, the viewer did not want it to end. It did though, in a brutal way, an end that could see the means of achieving Thomas Hamilton (Rupert Penry-Jones)’s dream destroyed.

This was an episode of truths and betrayals, both old and new. It was also the episode that showed the viewer why Miranda Barlow (Louise Barnes)’s character existed in the first place. She had only been glimpsed here and there in former episodes, but her importance had never been revealed until XIII. When she said previously that she was present at the birth of all of Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens)’s demons, she meant every word (and was afforded more screen time than she had ever previously been granted).

To the credit of the writers of this series and this episode (Robert Levine and Jonathan E. Steinberg), most viewers probably had no clue what those demons were. The episode and the reveals were masterfully done right up to the end. The viewer thought it was one thing and then the rug was pulled right out from under them. Example: an ignominious end for Thomas Hamilton in a “hospital” aka the “booby hatch,” a fate Captain Flint wanted to intercede in but was persuaded against, would be enough to drive most men to anger but Flint, it uncorked him (his face twitched with emotions).

The betrayal of Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) was unexpected but pragmatic on the part of the betrayer. The one thing that Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz) could always count on was Anne Bonny’s affection and loyalty. He threw both away to be Captain. Now Captain Rackham is alone but more importantly, Anne is alone. After losing Captain Vain’s trust, all she had left was Rackham. Now she’s lost her best friend, her long-term lover, and has no crew to call family.

Rackham acted out of past events and the perceived future coterminous. If he had betrayed Anne in the past, he would still be a member of Vane’s crew and its Quatermaster. Instead, he chose Anne and all the bad things that it brought upon him. Faced with choosing Anne again or gaining something he had never dreamed of, he made the opposite choice. His rational for the choice was sound but Anne only saw and felt the emotion of the moment i.e. betrayal. Reason was never Anne’s strong suit. She was not the thinker of the pair. That was Rachkam’s job. Anne was the brawn. Now Captain Rackham has an entire crew to fill that role.

I surmise that Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) had Idelle (Lise Slabber) tell her lover to include specific stipulations into the crew / Captain articles that would drive a wedge between Anne and Rackham. If true, it worked better than she could have ever dreamed.

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Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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