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Black Sails - XI - Review: "Off With His Head"



Review Guide:
Episode 2.01 IX - Advance Preview
Episode 2.02 X - Advance Preview
Episode 2.03 XI - Review
Episode 2.04 XII - Advance Preview

Black Sails - XI - Review

After last episode "X" saw the return of Billy Bones, and Captain Flint regain his captaincy. This episode continues on with the use of flashbacks to tell Flint's back story about how he became Captain. We also see Vane come face to face with Low, which reminds us why he is biggest and baddest pirate there is.

"Mr Gates faith in the mission, his faith in me, was lost" - Flint

I continue to enjoy the use of flashbacks to tell Flint's back story from his transition from a noble officer to a pirate. This episode we saw a few flashbacks of Miranda Barlow and him. We learn Barlow is married to Hamilton. I continue to wonder what happened to Hamilton as he doesn't get mentioned in the present day by Miranda or Flint; it's something I'm hoping we will find out. We saw during the flashbacks the obvious chemistry between her and Flint, and she was very flirty toward him, and did finally make her move, in a carriage of all places. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of infidelity so to see Flint involved in it wasn't that great to see. I wonder if Hamilton might have eventually found out, and stripped Flint of his lieutenant ranking because of it or banished Miranda and Flint from England.

Back in the present day Flint returns to Nassau, and immediately wants to re-take the fort from Vane with help from Hornigold, as the thought of Vane being there, and having so much power sickens him. He speaks with Eleanor who isn't exactly sure whose side she is on, she refuses to commit to the idea of pushing Vane out, much to Flint's displeasure. I think hearing about Gates, and what Flint did to him must have influenced her decision slightly, Vane is the only one she seems to trust at the moment, most likely because he is the toughest one there, but I'm sure she will live to regret not re-taking the fort sooner rather than later.

Speaking of Eleanor, this episode she appeared extremely desperate. Her running back to Vane all the time is starting to become noticeable, and not for the right reasons. It is becoming an act of desperation more than anything else. This episode she again decides to have sex with him even though she continues to make it public knowledge that she despises him. We saw Vane this episode give into helping Eleanor once again even though last episode he mentioned how she should stand up for herself, on her own.

He deals with her greatest and biggest problem that is Ned Low. Firstly, Low came to Vane to offer a deal, well more like a mutual understanding about Eleanor, and Lows plans. Vane agrees, but then in a clever twist he plots behind Lows back to remove him from Nassau. He boards Low's ship in the middle of the night asking for a partnership between the two crews. Vane cleverly begins to tell a story, as his crew board the ship and take out Low's men. It was a perfectly executed plan. Just as Low thought Vane had no loyal men... I was extremely glad to see Vane deal with Low, as if them two were to partner it would be devastating for everyone on the island. I am actually a bit shocked though as I would have thought Vane would choose power over anything else, and what better way to have power than to partner with another deadly captain. They would then be unstoppable, but I guess Vane wants to be the only pirate on Nassau that everyone is afraid of.

When Low and Vane ended up fighting it produced one of the shows best fight scenes between the two captains. It was brilliantly choreographed. Vane gets the upper hand, and manages to kill Low by cutting of his head. Vane proved again that he is a force to be reckoned with, there is only one captain you should fear, and it's not Flint nor Low, it's Vane. I was expecting Low to be around for more than 3 episodes as the show needs a big bad pirate, but I guess that honour will return to Vane once again.

"Do you not see that your judgement is clouded by her" - Jack

Jack this episode is attempting to obtain a crew, but no one will join him since he is known as a crew killer. We do see his name reinstated by Vane after he had an agreement with Max, her help for Jack and Anne's names to return to what they were. People you feared. Vane shows Jack public affection so everyone knows they are back on good terms. I can see Jack now captaining his own ship and sailing around, but what he plans to do, where he plans to go is not yet decided by him.
Max is a puzzling person. I continue to distrust her, she seems to be playing a game, and I don't think she actually likes Anne. She is just manipulating her so she can be in a position of power, being with Anne benefits her. Now that Anne’s name has been reinstated by Vane she is at advantage if she is with her, as she will receive some of the spoils they collect whilst out at sea. Max is much smarter than she looks.

Anne this episode continues to struggle with her "relationship" with Max, the experience is new to her, and she doesn't know yet how she feels. This becomes painfully obvious when she invites Jack to join them. She loves Jack, but she also prefers the company of woman so is doing her best to please herself and Jack. Quite caring if you ask me.

Elsewhere, Silver became part of the crew, officially. They now show him respect. I have always said this, and will continue to stick by it, when will Silver become quartermaster? He is much more intelligent, and thinks on his feet. Whereas Dufrane used to be a coward, who has no clue what he is doing. I say get rid of Dufrane, and let Silver take his rightful place as Flint's number two.

Summary
It was another fantastic episode; the show continues to get better episode by episode. The writing on the show is fantastic, and the acting is even better. Definitely an improvement from Season 1. I enjoyed the flashbacks to Flint's past; I feel we are getting to know the real Flint which is good. The only down side I have to this episode was the killing of Low so early on, I don't know if Vane being the only bad pirate will be as thrilling since he was bad for most of Season 1, so we already know what he is like/what he can do.

As always, thank you for reading! Let me know in the comments what you thought of "XI". Be sure to check my preview out for episode "XII" coming later today!
About the Author - Robert Fruin
Robert is a sixth form student from the United Kingdom, who is currently studying IT, Media and Business Studies. Robert is a huge fan of the ended ABC series LOST, he has seen it many times over and has even visited some of the filming locations for it. Robert mainly watches drama series such as Game Of Thrones and Person of Interest, but has a soft spot for the comedy The Middle. Some other shows he watches are Grey's Anatomy, The Walking Dead and The 100. Some other interests include Cycling, Kayaking and Photography.Robert is currently reviewing Aquarius, Black Sails, Helix, Intruders and Z Nation. Feel free to connect with him on any of these social media sites.
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