Starz‘s Black Sails XIX. TV Show Review. Black Sails: Season 3, Episode 1: XIX. introduced the viewer to a high-seas crew on the rampage. I was surprised that Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens) would risk his crew on land battles but the fear that he and his crew have created had emboldened him. The crew had adapted e.g. covering their faces but so had the people they were attacking.
What was baffling is that Flint’s crew was inciting anarchy in the colonies just to preserve pirate lives and the ‘occupation’ of piracy. Does Captain Flint really think that England will have no response to his activities (e.g. killing pirate killers)? That England won’t coalesce with other governments to stamp out the growing blight of pirates? Captain Flint is short-sight. Quartermaster John Silver (Luke Arnold), on the other hand, is not. He sees the situation clearly, at least through the lens of the available information that he has (chiefly the late Miranda Barlow and that death’s possible effect on the Captain).
Quartermaster Silver sees what Captain Flint is doing as a means to an end, that end being the protection of the Flint’s crew through fear and reputation. That is not what was motivating Captain Flint before though. That is Silver’s problem. He has no idea what is behind Flint, what is driving him. To Silver, Flint is an enigma that he calls Captain. That is the way Flint wants it. He is very aware of Silver’s influence with the crew and he does not want him to have the same influence over him. If Silver knew Flint’s past, knew his true identity, Silver could use that to his advantage, to leverage Flint. Flint will never let that happen.
The mystique of John Silver is already being built without Silver having to set foot off the deck of Flint’s ship. I understand this is all leading to the scenario found in the pages of Treasure Island and it is intriguing to see how that ground work is beginning to be laid out.
Quartermaster Silver adjusting to his new prosthetic leg is a problem that I see festering, literally. The viewer perfectly understands Silver not wanting to be seen as a cripple in the eyes of his men but rather, an equal. Not someone that deserved their pity but someone that deserved their respect at all times.
The decision to take the Walrus (I believe they were on the Walrus) into the “ship killer” storm was a family jewels move, though Flint was left with no other alternative after being so completely outmaneuvered by Captain Benjamin Hornigold (Patrick Lyster). Witnessing a sea tactic like the one Captain Hornigold was able to pull off on Captain Flint was wonderful seamanship to see. When it comes to sea maneuvers, Captain Flint may have met his match.
Captain Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz) showed an ability to calculate as great as Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy)’s in XIX. It is extremely curious that the two of them are not collaborating more closely on a regular basis. I was surprised Captain Vain (Zach McGowan) was not more angry with Rackham for being manipulated. Rackham’s reasoning was sound though and the trickery allowed for a deepening of Captain Vain’s character via glimpses of the mindset of what he went through when he was a slave. As a viewer, I hope this part of Captain Vain’s past is explored more, perhaps through a flashback episode like the viewer was given for Captain Flint.
Max is one of the only characters in Black Sails that sees what she is and her future prospects clearly. She is a thinker. That brain has now turned to the gold (her future) and the British returning to Nassau (her doom). If she can transfer the gold into a different form, she can leave Nassau with her share and start anew somewhere else. I am guessing that is her fall back plan since she has technically committed no crime (except colluding to steal the Urca gold) and has no bounty on her head. Her main plan is most-likely holding onto what she has now achieved on Nassau for as long as possible.
Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson)’s introduction in XIX was theatrical, innovatively using a mirror as he spoke to three individuals he kept his back to for 99% of their conversation. From the words he used, Blackbeard had been well-educated, possibly coming from a privileged background. Blackbeard is a man that can intimate with his words and self-confidence, two rare gifts. He was also as violently deliberate as Captain Flint. When they meet, I hope they become friends, for both of their sakes.
Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) being willing to make a deal for her life was to be expected. The fact that she got one was the surprise. Being a former kingpin comes with its privileges, one of which is knowing the ins and outs of everyone and everything regarding your former territory. When she is done betraying her former associates, what’s her plan, her end game? She doesn’t have one. Max does.
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