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Black Sails - Episode 1.01 - I - Review and Teasers

This started off as a preview of the episode, but as many people have now seen the preview that Starz have put up online I have tweaked it so that it now contains more spoilers, so please be aware if you are yet to see the episode yourself. I will still include teasers at the end as normal for my previews for any who want to jump ahead to that point though.

It’s 1715 and the Golden Age of Piracy. The port of New Providence is a lawless island deep in the Bahamas controlled by history's most notorious pirate captains and a war is brewing. The war is coming from the new Hanoverian King George and the upper classes of Britain against those who they feel are no longer a necessary tool in the political fight against her European neighbours, namely the pirate captains and buccaneers of the Caribbean.

I have to admit that I'm in two minds about the show after the first episode, it feels very much a show of two halves to me in some ways. I prefer the at sea side of things; the capture of the merchant ship at the start feels realistic, I love the cowardly John Silver hiding out and inadvertently stumbling upon the 'treasure map' so easily. The power struggle aboard Flint’s ship the Walrus helps to create a real sense of ruthlessness, though there’s also a strict code of honour at play among what is basically a band of thieves which binds the crew together against outsiders.

I’m not so keen on some of the on shore aspect part of the show though, I find Eleanor Guthrie a strange character and a little hard to believe for example. I get her motivations as the daughter of richest black marketer on the islands, but find her attitude and demeanour at odds considering her relationships with the ‘locals’, especially her past with Vane and how she seems to be so quickly manipulated by Max. I would expect a successful ‘middle man’ to be more adaptable to dealing with the rougher elements of Nassau, but instead her act comes over as a little too stuffy and venerable for someone who has been through what she has.

Overall I am looking forward to seeing where this adventure takes us, the pilot sets up some intriguing premises for our characters. What will turn John Silver from a pretty boy into the one man Flint ever feared in Treasure Island? What will it take for Flint to get the information he needs out of Richard Guthrie? How will Eleanor get revenge on Vane? I'm glad that the show already has a second season lined up as it will be interesting to see how these storylines play out over time.

Episode I airs on Starz at 9pm on Saturday 15th January, below are some dialogue teasers for those who haven’t yet seen the episode online.

“You have no control over them, how long before you’re the one tied to the mast!”

“Is it your future you wish to protect, or your friends?”

“If forced, your father will always choose profit over daughters”

“All the volumes from the prize are here unless the captain took it”

“All is well because you've discovered the information we can’t tell anyone that we’re looking for, exists on the page that we don’t have”

“The most important element of a healthy ship is trust, trust between men, trust between captain and crew, without it a ship is doomed”

“Flint’s got moral problems, what do you want me to do about it?”

“I'm not a coward I'm a cook, I've no quarters to man, what do you think the captain will do if he finds out that you've abandoned yours?”

“Know this; now that the fight is over, you have nothing more to fear from us today”

“Maybe Singleton is right, maybe it’s time we made a change”

About the Author - Sandi
Sandi is part of the Senior Staff at SpoilerTV having been a contributor from back in the Lost days of DarkUFO, and who now writes previews for Banshee, The Musketeers, Atlantis, and other BBC shows. She also enjoys watching and commenting on other shows such as Sons of Anarchy, Hannibal, Game of Thrones and Elementary.
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