Synopsis of (2×01): Flint tries to regain some sort of power over his crew. Nassau has a new, violent captain that faces off with the likes of Eleanor Gunthrie.
STARZ’s Black Sails kicked it into high gear in the season premiere tonight. There’s a new captain on the waters, and he is meaner than all the rest. Ned Low, played by Tadhg Murphy, saunters on screen with scarred face and a menacing countenance as he and his crew slaughter an entire ship for its cargo. But instead of sugar or tobacco, we find that it is a sleeping girl. Low makes reference to a mysterious Lord Ashe and their treasured find, but it’s the last we hear from her.
Low is a particular breed of psychotic, and seems to revel in bloodshed. As he tells Eleanor, most men kill out of necessity and it makes them look weak because of it. He kills for sport, as a past-time, for enjoyment. It makes him that much more of a wildcard for Eleanor and her new empire in Nassau.
Nothing seems to be quite working well for Eleanor. Her shaky truce with Vane after taking Hornigold’s position seems to be working outside of her favor, as he doesn’t turn up for their meetings and seems flippant about his seat in the council and enjoys his position in the fortress that he has taken control of. When Low’s man Meeks turns up in Nassau with the haul from the ship she had tipped to another captain, and with cargo covered in the blood of the ship’s men, she finds out that someone told Low her tip as well and benefitted from the spoils.
That someone would be Max. She’s come a long way since the end of season one, that left her broken and beaten in a seriously depressing turn of events for the ambitious girl. However, Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham took her in, and despite their own misfortune, she seems to have flourished by manning the helm of the brothel. She sold the information of the ship to Low for a good price and incites the anger of Eleanor, as well as Anne.
Jack finds himself at the bottom of the food chain for the first time in a long time, and spends his days being beat up by people in Nassau for being a traitor. He’s lost a lot of his way and seems to be stuck between Anne and Max, balancing the small amount of business and power he has left on the island. Meanwhile, despite the loss of Jack, Anne holds it together a lot better unless it comes to Max.
Anne is torn between frustration and attraction. I have to say I’m happy to see where this relationship between Max and Anne go. The two are far more interesting than Eleanor, who I have a hard time taking seriously seeing as she can barely get her guard dog, Vane, to get out of bed in the morning. And it seems she won’t be having an easier life any time soon, as Ned Low visits her with a thinly veiled warning about fencing his haul and tells her just how much he likes to murder.
Meanwhile Flint and Silver find themselves on the outs with the crew. Given their previous predicament in the finale of season one, things seem to turn around quite quickly for them. Flint, ever the charismatic and enigmatic speaker, convinces the crew to man the war ship while the Spanish are on the shore with the gold. The man of war is undermanned and could be disassembled by two men on the inside before hauling the rest of the crew on board to take it over.
In an attempt of good will (or careful planning) Flint volunteers himself and Silver, thinking it all a lie so they could escape, volunteers as well. It’s hilarious watching Silver and Flint interact, not only because Silver is weak and a slimier character than Flint, but also because he seems to be the only one smart enough to keep up with Flint.
Dufresne, the crew appointed leader, has a hardened heart to Flint, but seems to want to keep things honest. He tells Flint that the crew will have the ultimate decision on Flint’s fate, but no matter what, he will be forced to leave the ship. Well, sorry to say, but Dufresne, you might be in over your head.
Flashbacks to Flint’s past reveal his Christian name as James McGraw. He is identified by Miranda Barlow’s husband, Lord Hamilton, as a working-class man who is a rising star in the Royal Navy and well read despite having little education. Even a younger, cleanly-shaven Flint seems to have all of the charisma and charm of his older self, making smart quips back at Hamilton and seeing through the realities of what piracy means for England.
As Flint and Silver take the ship (hilariously so, since Silver seems way out of depth and yet smart enough to actually get by on a combination of sheer dumb luck and quick thinking), they are caught but managed just enough time for the ship to be overrun by the Walrus’ crew. Narrowly escaping return fire, they manage to make their successful getaway from the Spanish with their own man of war ship.
His actions turn the crew in his favor, and Flint is given a reprieve but still is told to leave the ship when they dock. Dufresne seems upset at the choice, though respects the crew’s decision. Unlike him, Silver knows there’s more to this than Flint simply getting back into the crew’s good graces. He correctly deduces that Flint wants not only to return to his position as captain, but to return back to the island and claim the treasure of the Urca for himself.
All in all, a great new episode of Black Sails. I can’t wait to see more of Flint and Silver and their plans to win back the crew, not to mention Max and Anne, also jury’s still out on Billy Bones. Haven’t seen him yet, so does this mean good old Billy has gone to Davy Jones? What do you think?