All that being said, when the curtain closed on “VIII.” and the first season, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued and satisfied with having spent eight hours with the show. If Black Sails hasn’t quite reached the notes a pirate series on the Spartacus network ought to, it has laid a great foundation that highlights a lot of potential going forward.
It’s amazing to see the differences between an exposition-heavy episode of Black Sails in its seventh episode and an exposition-heavy episode in its second or third. By now, most of the characters are fleshed out so that even if you might not be invested in them and their conflicts, their intentions are clear.
After an excellent episode last week, Black Sails picks up right where it left off. Following a beautifully-shot ship battle, Flint and his crew find themselves in a bit of a stalemate after boarding the ship they’ve attacked. Most of the action here takes place a night, giving the scenes an appropriately dark atmosphere as Gates tries to come up with some kind of plan to infiltrate the holding without getting his men killed.
Much of Black Sails’ first season has been methodical character-building, and while “V.” doesn’t let up on putting effort into constructing these people and their lives, its centerpiece is something the season has been needing since its opening moments – a battle on the open seas.
We’re now at the halfway point of Black Sails’ freshman season, and while certain characters and stories need better treatment, “IV.” is a great bounce-back episode in which the secondary figures of the series get to shine.
When Black Sails premiered, I welcomed its slow pace and narrative interest. Going the less obvious route, the series has – so far – avoided laying the action on too thick and, instead, has stuck close to its main characters. However, these characters have mostly been conniving and stressing out, wanting to kill certain people but being unable to for whatever reason
“II.” largely begins to address some of those concerns, and while there is still a lot of work to be done with central figures like John Silver and Charles Vane, the rest of the group is starting to become much more recognizable as characters and not just people who are on the screen.
How does one make a pirate narrative fit into an arc that could potentially span several years? What about the pirate world is worth immersing viewers in it for that long? These are questions that Black Sails has to deal with and tries to address in its pilot.
The high amount of quality programming currently on television has been the source of many discussions over the years. With numerous shows on the air, and several new and returning shows set to premiere over the next few months, the decision of what shows to dedicate one’s time to, particularly in the case of midseason …