Episode Title: “IV”

Writers: Robert Levine, Jonathan E. Steinberg, Brad Kane

Director: Sam Miller

Previously on “Black Sails”: 

Episode 1.03 “III”


The best thing about “Black Sail’s” fourth episode is that Rackham has ditched those ridiculous sunglasses. However, in a way that’s also the worst part because at least him wearing those sunglasses provided a island of entertainment amongst the sea of boredom we’ve been floating in these past two episodes. “IV” is only a tiny bit better than the previous episode, and mostly it’s because of one scene we’ll talk about later.

For a show about pirates, “Black Sails” has had an astounding lack of pirate shenanigans going on. This time we’re treated to a main plot of cleaning the ship and finding guns in preparation for the big sail to find the magical treasure galleon. Cleaning the ship? Really?! This is what you want these fearsome pirates doing for a whole episode? Sure, it’s only logical to have things nice and clean. A clean ship allows for greater speed and maneuverability explains Captain Flint, but is this something that we need to see? It’s like going to the bathroom: we assume that TV/movie characters have to go to the bathroom, but there’s no reason for us to see it. Similarly, a better show might skip this ship-cleaning so they can get to the exciting stuff. But not “Black Sails!”

During this episode we’re privy to one of the most awkward sex scenes I’ve ever been witness to. Miranda writhes joylessly atop Captain Flint, who lies, unmoving, with a similar lack of pleasure. Well, it looks like she’s not his sister after all! This horrible sex scene acts as a pretty good metaphor for Miranda/Flint’s awful relationship, which helps us better understand when she wants to leave with Papa Guthrie for Boston.

Miranda gets a pretty decent-sized highlight this week, and, as it turns out, she’s not that interesting. She was cheating on her husband with Flint, her husband killed himself, so they ran away from London in shame to hide on the island. Now she’s pondering running away with Mr. Guthrie. Considering her history, that shouldn’t really surprise Flint. But we’ll just have to see if she goes through with it. She seemed to have some hidden agendas for Flint, but they chat about it a little and it gets dropped. Ugg. Come on, “Black Sails”, stop flirting with murder and intrigue and just bring us some! We, the people, demand to know more about those people Flint supposedly killed for Miranda!

Eleanor’s main focus is to find the guns that Captain Flint needs to take over the magical treasure ship. Sound familiar? That’s because this was a plot point last episode as well. At least this time they get the guns, right? Wrong! After Eleanor spends a whole lot of time and effort to convince Captain Bryson to give up his guns, including lying to Mr. Scott and putting plans into place behind his back, Bryson willingly agrees to give up the firearms without a fuss.

Mr. Scott doesn’t appreciate being lied to, so he and Mr. Guthrie interfere with the transference of guns to “save [Eleanor] from herself.” At the end of the episode, Eleanor and Captain Flint still lack armaments, just like the beginning of the episode. This whole plot is like a fish out of water, flopping around trying to get back in the water, and at the end of the day…it’s still hopping around in the dirt, wasting time and energy.  Are we going to have to sit through yet another episode of Eleanor negotiating guns from another Captain?

“IV” isn’t a complete wash, though, since we get to see Smee (“Gates” as portrayed by Mark Ryan) get promoted to Captain Smee, and his first act as Captain is to make Billy Bones the Quarter master. Silver, meanwhile, takes up cooking for the crew. Unfortunately, his skills don’t seem to lie in the kitchen, since he cooks the pig poorly and gives many pirates a scurvy bout of the brown pants waves, which is pretty funny.

Silver tries to make Captain Flint question Billy’s loyalty, and tells him that he heard Billy talking with another guy about Mrs. Barlow, which leads to the best scene of the episode. The boat is up on its side, tied to palm trees when the wind picks up and the trees start to fall. Poor Randall gets his leg caught underneath the boat as it shifts, so Captain Flint and another guy rescue him by cutting his leg off with a hatchet. Yes! This is the kind of exciting, sanguine, pirate stuff we want to see more of- Captain Flint hacking away, blood splattering all over his face, racing against the clock to get the leg off before the boat comes down all the way to smash them. Yes! When do we get to see more of this?

At the pace of these last two episodes, it’ll take twenty more episodes before anyone actually sets sail and does anything piratey, and, honestly, the “Black Sails” team had better step it up soon, because if they keep it up with episodes like this one and the previous one, there won’t be any audience left to watch when things actually pick up. Also, as long as we’re clearing the air, when the hell is Bonny going to do something? At least she got to talk this week, but jeez! What’s her purpose? The amputation scene lets us know “Black Sails” is capable of much more, but will it deliver?