TV Show Review

TV Review: BLACK SAILS: Season 3, Episode 2: XX. [Starz]

Ray Stevenson Black Sails XX

Starzs Black Sails XX. TV Show Review. Black Sails: Season 3, Episode 2: XX. featured one of the most tremendous ship-in-storm sequences the viewer has ever seen. It was movie-grade, from the waves crashing down on the ship, to how the ship was twisted and turned (sailors dipped in and out of the ocean), to the wind and rain blowing. It was the most visually impressive moment of the episode.

The storm was the biggest ‘character’ during these scenes (but not the most important) and the viewer was constantly waiting for what form this ‘character’ would subsequently take, how this ‘character’ would interact with the crew of the Walrus, and what this ‘character’ would do next.

These storm scenes had two important segments: on the deck of the Walrus and below deck. Both were important and contained character moments but the bigger of the two character moments happened below deck. That character moment belonged to Quartermaster John Silver (Luke Arnold). As was mentioned in the XIX. review, Quartermaster Silver does not want to be seen as someone in need of help. That was made abundantly clear through his conversation with Muldoon (Richard Wright-Firth) in XX. Through Muldoon’s words, Silver realized that he was not the only one on the ship that feared and loathed the prospect of being looked-down upon. Silver was also made to realize that out of the two of them, Silver was different and would never be looked-down upon or pitied.

Throughout last season and this season, Silver was continuously surprised by the positive regard the crew of the Walrus had for him. The crew saw him and what he did for them, not what he lost in the process. His partially lost leg was an example of how far he would go for them. Every time the crew saw his partially amputated leg, they were reminded of that. Losing part of his leg, though continually painful, was the best thing that could have happened to Silver in regards to the crew of the Walrus, something even clever Randall would never have been able to conjure.

Through the tragedy below decks, Quartermaster Silver was brought a little bit closer to the crew of the Walrus. The person that died could have been Silver’s friend given enough time. That person’s words, as death slowly approached, did not fill Silver with the solace that the speaker probably intended. That person was trying to tell Silver that dying was not so bad but all Silver could see was a good man, a good crew-mate, perishing, and he was powerless to stop it.

What will Quartermaster Silver do when he can stop one of the crew-mates from dying, when he has that power? That I cannot wait to see. The death below deck in XX. was the birth of that future moment and those future actions.

The second major character moment during the storm belonged to Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens). He managed to maintain order during a disaster, passed no bucks, and stepped up when he had to, sacrificing the few for the many.  It was a hard moment and a hard choice but it was for the good of the remaining crew and they all knew it. His later decision to continuously captain the ship was dubious but if the ship was going down, he would be at its helm. That was a captain’s mentality that the viewer could understand.

The viewer could also understand the Miranda Barlow nightmares. Before she died, there was someone available to Captain Flint to confide in, that knew the true him, that saw the future as he saw it. Now there was no one. He was feeling that loss. During the first nightmare, the viewer could see the surprise and brief happiness on Flint’s face when Ms. Barlow appeared on the deck of the Walrus. The question is, through all of those sequences, what was it that Ms. Barlow was trying to tell him? It must have been some truth that he had forgotten.

Captain Charles Vane (Zach McGowan) working amongst the slaves as they labored to rebuild The Fort was an illustration that he saw himself as no better than the men and women that Captain Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz) had finagled into service. Captain Vane must have felt compelled to be out there with them. Vane needed them to do the work but he didn’t have to like it and he didn’t have to sit back idle either. I don’t believe Vane working beside the slaves was a “confusing” element but what the slaves were thinking and feeling was never examined, except through Vane.

Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson)’s subtle manipulation of Captain Vane, using nostalgia as his sword, was masterful. He truly knew whom he was talking to when he spoke of a “terrible fleet” that he wanted to create and the softness of the pirates that he was seeing around Nassau. If Vane does abandon his post of leading the ground defense of Nassau if it were attacked, who will take his place? Captain Rackham?

Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy)’s plan for the gold in The Fort was the smartest move possible for that treasure. Of all of the gold’s caretakers, it was Captain Rackham whom I knew would see the logic in Max’s plan, helped along by heavy-handed emotional leverage. How the two of them sell the gold’s transference to the other gold caretakers after it has been completed will be interesting. Some will surely see it as a betrayal or at least a step that should not have been taken without their consent and input.

Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) is a scar-faced enigma who is increasing presenting himself as someone that is as ruthless as those whose intelligence and skills he employs. He seems like a man who has adapted to the world that he is in and the realities presented to him.

Using abnormal people like Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) to accomplish your goals is one thing. Confronting someone like Captain Flint or Blackbeard is something different entirely.

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About the author

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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