Black Sails Episode X

Episode IX left me wondering: How will Flint take back his command? Will Vane blast him out of the water when he returns to New Providence? Whose lips will Ned Low remove? Why don’t they name each episode?

We got some answers to these pressing questions, but not to the show’s Roman numeral naming convention. A good name for episode X would have been Don’t Fuck the Dairy Goat. But more on that later. The pacing this season has been breath-stealing. Many major plot issues were resolved in this episode. I thought they’d make us wait until mid-season to see Billy Bones. Squee! But I suspect the pirates have many more heads to sever with a rusty cutlass and they really can’t waste time on trivial matters.

I was worried about Mr. Meeks. I didn’t think he was going to last the episode. I couldn’t tear my eyes from his lips. (See previous review with background on real life pirate, Edward Low)

Long John slithers his way out of yet another flogging or keelhauling. Silver suffered quite a bit while trying to make Flint’s former crew turn against each other, but he didn’t let a few well-thrown punches deter him. He learned in the orphanage that it’s not about getting others to like you, it’s reminding others how much they dislike each other. We also learned Silver didn’t want to be a pirate. Sadly, his destiny is set, and, as his Treasure Island future self said, “Them dat die ‘ill be the lucky ones”.

Number of Flint sneers. He was sneer-less, not even after giving the order to fire and stealing Dufresne’s thunder. In fact, I believe the British aristocrat officers in the London tavern scene threw a few sneers Flint’s way.

Flint is brilliant, delusional, or downright scaring the crap out of me. I loved the lines from Flint’s Commodore or Admiral in the London flashback. (Don’t really know what his commander’s rank was.) Anyway, after Flint kicked British Lord butt in the tavern scene, his commander told him: “That thing which arises in you when passions are aroused. Good sense escapes you. All men have it, but yours is different. Darker. Wilder. I imagine it’s what makes you so effective as an officer. But when exposed to extremes, I could not imagine what it is capable of.”

Dufresne knows what “it” is capable of. Dufresne, you about to get your butt whipped, and Flint, your manipulation is a wonder to behold. First, he stroked Dufresne’s ego, told him how he’d known the man of letters, Dufresne, would be a good addition to the crew. Then, for Dufresne’s own good, he gave him a piece of sage tactical advice. Don’t take the eastern route back to New Providence, and tempt the crew with a fat, merchant vessel out of Kingston. And, of course, what did Dufresne do? He sailed east and pursued a prize. Did Flint actually want Dufresne to not sail east to keep Dufresne from successfully capturing a prize, and look good in front of the crew? Or did he gamble on Dufresne not taking his advice, sailing east, taking a prize, and failing miserably? I say the latter. Flint, yer a canny bastard. Flint orchestrated the death and destruction of his own crew to get his captaincy back. Is it possible a man could do such a thing, asks Dufresne? Why yes. Just ask Flint’s former commander about his dark and wild thing. Oh, and Miranda too.

Wenches behaving bad-ass-ly. Eleanor is in quite the pickle. Many factions are closing in on her. The newly formed Rackham, Max, and Anne triumvirate or threesome for one. Wonder when we’ll see that, eh, Starz? Add to that, Low’s frightening obsession with her. And what will Vane do? Anne seems genuinely torn between her passion for Max and obligations/feelings for Rackham. In historical records, Anne did sail off with Captain Calico Jack Rackham, along with Mary Read. When Rackham’s drunken crew encountered a privateer, who was hunting Calico Jack, they were easily subdued. Most of the pirates fled for the hold while Anne and Mary joined the fight to repel the privateers. Read called on the pirates to “come up and fight like men.” (from Daniel Defoe’s A General History of the Pirates)

On deck shenanigans. Pirate articles covered everything from prohibitions on gambling, share of spoils, and health insurance. Not sure I’ve come across a prohibition on beastiality. Flint’s crew forgot that one as well. But me thinks they’re going to add it now. Forget stealing food or wiping one’s arse with one’s hand. People, don’t fuck the dairy goat…or piss off the cook.

Pirate history check. Not really, but I’d like to make an appeal to restore one 18th Century tradition of starting meetings with the “Account of Goings On”. Volume the first, on this first day of February, in the year Two-thousand and fifteen. Weather is quite pleasant. Stomp feet. John was playing Candy Crush on his work computer. Jane was dozing in the break room. I think much office gossip could be deflated if we just aired the scuttlebutt from the get go.

Episode MBP (most badass pirate). While simply uttering Vane’s name kept a pirate from getting arrested, and while Flint is a master manipulator, Low wins out for sheer, gut-wrenching brutality. Bringing him on the show was a stroke of genius. The dude is unhinged. I was clenching my blanky in all of his scenes, wondering when the axe murderer in him was going to break loose. Loved it. And the actor who plays him is doing a great job. I bet he’s a really nice guy in real life, like the kid who played Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Mr. Meeks, I knew you were not long for this world. Until Meeks’ head rolled, we didn’t see what Lowe was doing to him, but, oh, we heard it with sticky, wet, flesh-rending clarity.

Billy Bones, Billy Bones is our true hero. I knew it! Opening scene. But, why did they have to torture him? Pirates did some nasty things, oh no, that was the British Royal Navy, and the Spaniards, who came up with the foul technique employed by the Naval officer torturing our Billy. The Spaniards did concoct the Inquisition, after all. I’m pretty sure I’d take water boarding over being shrink-wrapped in leather and left on the beach to cook. I suppose the scenario was a combination of water boarding and death by leather.

Jack Rackham quotes. Jack was pretty subdued this episode. Actually he was pretty heart-breaking, as much as a pirate can be. So I have to hand over best quote to Randall, the cook. “I don’t like him.” Silver learned quite a bit from a man who barely speaks.

The first season got off to a slow start, spending the first few episodes establishing the characters. While the pacing was deliberate, it really paid off. Now, we have episode after episode of tense situations, and I’m invested in what will happen to each character, even the crazy bastards.

A full 10 out of 10 blow my scuttlebutts because, gosh darn it, Billy Bones is back! And for unmentionable acts with dairy goats.

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