TV Recap

Black Sails Season 2 Episode 1 Review – IX

Flint and Silver face judgment before the crew.  Vane enjoys his new position on the island.  Max confronts Bonny.  Eleanor faces a new threat.

(Summary provided by


Season two is my favorite, and rewatching its first episode only reminded me of how right I was to think so!


Annoyed that Silver of all people volunteered to take the ship with him, Flint insults his only partner, takes off his shoes, and starts swimming to take the Man O’ War all by his goddamn self.  His insane determination is so charismatic, and no one can resist its pull.  Least of all Silver, who sighs and takes off his jacket to follow.


Silver!  The partnership between Flint and Silver that began in 108 is flourishing here.  They are SUCH a great team.  Despite being so different (or because of it), they work together incredibly well, filling in each other’s weak spots and pushing each other to do more and be better.  For MUCH more flailing about their scenes together, head down to the Fragmented Thoughts section.


This is such a funny episode!  The dynamic of Desperate Silver trying to win over No Fucks Left to Give Flint is constantly hilarious, culminating in the truly masterful scene in which both of them are caught by the Spanish crew.  Just minutes after assuring Flint that he has no reason to distrust him, Silver sells him out in exchange for gold and freedom.  Flint’s face goes gloriously twitchy as he chair-hops over to murder Silver with…his face?

Silver bails, and then RETURNS TO THE RESCUE!  Flint gives Silver a quick strategy lesson, at which point:

Silver:  So I actually have to fight him?
Flint:  Well, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?

Silver’s face, and Flint’s voice crack of exasperation KILL ME.  Like, mad cackling into my hands at these fools.  I love them so much.


We get our first flashbacks to Flint’s past, and I am here for it.  Finally, after a season of watching a man pursue a vision so fiercely that it compels him to murder his closest friend, we are starting to find out what led him here.

It is in these flashbacks that we see a very different Flint – in fact, in 1705 that’s not his name at all, but James McGraw.  He’s very cleaned up and VERY attractive, and in his conversations with Thomas Hamilton, we see his role reversed.  Thomas is the idealistic one with plans for redeeming Nassau, and James is the one declaring how impossible that plan is.

We also get our first glimpse at Civilization proper, a London of beautiful buildings, clean clothes, and nice manners.  As per the show’s theme, the ugly underbelly of this facade is quickly revealed when James takes Thomas to view a pirate hanging.  He knows that piracy flourishes because it benefits the British empire to create a monstrous enemy to fight against (“Civilization must have its monsters.”)  In order to eradicate piracy, the empire must change, and James doesn’t believe this is possible.

Their conversations reveal another theme: complementary partners.  Thomas is idealistic but with no experience (he’s never even been to a pirate hanging before, despite his deep interest in the pirates of Nassau).  James has a lot of experience, but no ideals.  Time will tell how this partnership will work out, as it will also address the success of the present-day complementary partnership between Flint and Silver.


  • Another season opener, another pirate boarding from the perspective of the boarded merchant vessel.  Contrasted with season 1, however, this one is very ominous and silent, since the merchant captain is prepared to surrender peacefully.  I love his assertion that pirates are “men, not monsters,” and in most cases he would be right.  But unfortunately this episode introduces us to Ned Lowe, a madman who terrifies me and slaughters everyone for the prize of a mysterious woman connected to “Lord Ashe.”
  • I love the look of annoyance on Flint’s face as he stares at the Man O’ War.  You can literally see him thinking, “Well, shit, I’ve just had a brilliant idea.  I guess I can’t let them kill me just yet.”

“Even if it weren’t for the soldiers, even if it weren’t for the guns, there’s a fucking warship watching over every inch of the bay.  A fucking warship that has already killed half your number, a fucking warship that would prevent any approach to that beach via the sea.  There’s simply no way of stealing that gold.  But there might be something else you can steal.  The fucking warship.”

  • Everyone HATES Flint, and it is amazing to watch them fight against how annoying it is that he is still so brilliant.
  • In our first flashback we get so much information about James McGraw/Flint!  He’s “a son of a carpenter.  No record of any formal schooling and yet, more literate than any three boys I knew at Eton.  You are a rising star with a bright future in the Admiralty.”  Our man James is meritocracy personified, fighting his way up the ranks through sheer brilliance.
  • Eleanor and Vane are still trying to prove who’s on top.  Vane’s line about “If your friends aren’t capable of protecting themselves, I’d argue that they aren’t worth protecting” is VERY essential to his character.  He’s attracted to strength, and has no time for weakness.
  • I’m less enamored with his constant attempts to make Eleanor see how similar they are.  While they definitely share strength and an attraction to it, he’s wrong about her priorities.  He wants her to be as in-the-moment and selfish as he is, but her desire for profit includes a desire for peace.  I love her outburst, “Stop telling me what you think I think!”  Yeah, girl.  Be your own self.
  • The scene between Flint and Silver alone on the beach is one of my all time favorites!  “You shit.”  “Um.  Beg pardon?”  LAUGHING FOREVER.  Silver’s genuine surprise that Flint intends to singlehandedly take a Spanish Man O’ War, and Flint’s genuine surprise that Silver is surprised.  I love them!
  • During the flashback to the pirate hanging, Flint gives his oft-quoted speech that ends with “in most cases a man trying to change the world fails for one simple and unavoidable reason: everyone else.”  Which makes me wonder:  SHOULD a person change the world if no one else wants it?  Who gets to determine which causes are worth changing the world for?
  • Poor Jack.  “I used my wits to build the name.  Jesus Christ, what’s become of my name?”  He’s being beaten, pissed on, and called “Jack Rackham, Crew Killer.”  Poor Jack.

Flint:  You almost got us killed!
Silver:  Almost.  Almost!

Silver:  You are truly amazing, you know that?  We’re both better off now than we were two minutes ago, yet you’re angry about it because it didn’t happen your way.  Might you consider for a fucking moment that your distrust of me is completely unwarranted?  I warned you about Billy.  Was I right?  I found you over Mr. Gates’s body, and did I do anything but defend you?  When you were sinking to the bottom of the sea, who do you imagine it was who dragged you onto that beach?  Brace yourself, but I’m the only person within a hundred miles of here who doesn’t want to see you dead.

  • Eleanor is such a good businesswoman, dealing with bloody cargo and unhappy quartermasters, confronting the brothel crew about leaked information.  Max super doesn’t care, and I think enjoys showing Eleanor how much power she now has.
  • Max is hella brave. She’s obviously genuinely afraid of Anne, but she trusts her instincts enough to know that Anne’s anger is rooted in something deeper than resentment.  The confidence it must take to kiss someone who has you at knifepoint on the assumption that they are secretly attracted to women is amazing.  It’s also super hot.
  • The FANTASTIC scene where Silver rescues Flint through being a coward!  And after they save each other back and forth, they barricade themselves with three pistols, Flint’s sword, and Silver’s…tiny knife.  Hahaha, this episode is seriously so funny!
  • And then the Walrus crew comes to their rescue!  Yay!  And they sail away in their fancy new Man O’ War.
  • Ugh, I hate that Ned Lowe is actually pretty charismatic.  AND TERRIFYING, YIKES, that speech about how he feels no remorse about the horrific things he does?  Yikes yikes yikes, I don’t like him.
  • Another flashback, and we see James meet Miranda for the first time!  They form the Thomas Appreciation Club while watching him give money to a poor mother and son.  Flint is still unsure whether Thomas’s amazingness is for real, but Miranda assures him it is.

“Great men aren’t made by politics, Lieutenant McGraw.  They aren’t made great by prudence or propriety.  They are, every last one of them, made great by one thing and one thing only: the relentless pursuit of a better world.  The great men don’t give up that pursuit.  They don’t know how.  And that is what makes them invincible.”

  • Flint is seeming pretty invincible in this episode, surviving a crew’s rage and taking over an enemy ship.  Does this mean he’s a great man?
  • The last scene between Flint and Silver is one of my favorite things that they do:  honestly tell each other their motivations and concerns about the other.  Silver tells Flint that he would have betrayed him had their interests not aligned.  He is clearly in awe of Flint, but he doesn’t pretend that this makes him a blind follower.  And I think Flint appreciates this, both the being known (hell yeah, he’s going to take back his captaincy) and the being honest.

Not done reliving the episode?  Listen to Daphne and Liz’s podcast at Fathoms Deep!

1 comment on “Black Sails Season 2 Episode 1 Review – IX

  1. Pingback: Watch black sails season 2 episode 1?

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