“IV.” marks the halfway point of Black Sails first season, and things are moving a bit slowly, though hopefully, judging by the previews for next week’s episode, things should be picking up shortly. And while not a whole lot happened in this episode, a couple of plot points were moved forward and we got the reveal on Miranda Barlow’s true identity. Turns out Miranda is really Mrs. Hamilton, the wife of Lord Thomas Hamilton, who was the son of an earl back in London. Her secret was discovered by Richard, who let her know that he knew who she was, but that he wouldn’t reveal that information to anyone. Richard offers her a chance to escape to Boston and thus returning to civilization. Of course, Richard wants some help in return.
We get a flashback filling us in on the whole conversation between Morley and Billy and Mrs. Barlow. Seems she has a vengeful side as well, as Morley relays the tale of Flint chasing down a ship called the Elaine at Miranda’s request specifically to kill two passengers on-board. Morley says the incident caused them to lose men just for what turned out to be a personal vendetta instead of landing a valuable prize ship filled with jewels. We get a sense that Billy’s trust in the captain may be faltering a bit. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the upcoming episodes.
Also on the Billy/Morley front, they’ve been under observation by Silver, who goes to Flint to alert him as to what’s going on. Flint dismisses things at first, saying that he trusts Billy. But by the end of the episode, he wants to know more from Silver. We know Silver is motivated purely by keeping his own life intact, and with Billy being made quartermaster since Gates has become captain of the Ranger one has to wonder what Silver’s end game is, especially since Billy has been rather decent to him.
Speaking of the Ranger, her former captain looks to be not doing so well, much to Rackham’s displeasure. Rackham finds Vane beat up and strung out on opium. That doesn’t bode well for Rackham and Bonny’s plans to find some way to get their livelihood back. Vane also seems to be hallucinating a mystery man, who he follows at night with near disastrous consequences, as Noonan and a group of men jump him. Noonan wants Max back, who has chosen to remain in Vane’s service as well as servicing what remains of his crew. Things don’t end well for Noonan, however, as Vane turns the tide and kills him and his men. Who the mystery man is hasn’t been answered yet, but it may provide Vane with some sort of motivation to take back what Eleanor took from him. Vane even has a dream about Eleanor telling him that he knows what he must do to get what he lost back. It was another plot point from this episode that looks to have repercussions down the road.
As everything else unfolded, the crew beached the Walrus for careening- basically the maintenance of the hull of the ship- against the better wishes of Mr. de Groot, who feels that the beach chosen is the most suitable spot for the task. Flint makes it clear that he wants the hull tended to, as it might gain them an advantage in their pursuit of the Urca d’Lima. Unfortunately, a couple of crew members don’t heed Billy’s instructions, and the ropes holding the ship fast let loose, trapping Randall underneath the ship. Flint gets him loose by hacking his leg off. It seemed that the disaster was more built up than it actually turned out to be, with the focus on creaking and straining ropes led you to believe that the whole ship might go over on its side and suffer major damage. That didn’t quite happen, and as bad as it was for Randall, it felt like a bit of a let down. At least the kitty that Randall was trying to get when he became trapped got away safe.
Flint would end up with other troubles by the episode’s end. Captain Bryson arrives and it is from his ship that Eleanor wishes to secure the extra guns Flint needs for his own ship. To get the guns, Eleanor needs the help of her father, and Richard does manage to do just that, even though Eleanor had a back-up plan in place, much to Mr. Scott’s displeasure. She ends up lying to Scott, and it looks like that may be a breach that cannot be repaired. In the end, Mr. Scott does interfere, and Bryson sails away without unloading his guns. Flint vows to chase after him, to get the guns back. This all seems to be part of a plan hatched by Richard to save Eleanor from herself, and Richard looks like he wants to take things even further, as he assures Pastor Lambrick that the pirates will be cast out.
Things moved forward ever so slightly, but while the acting is done well and the characters well defined, this is after all a show about pirates, and as such one would hope to see more action upon the high seas. Next week’s episode seems to promise that, but we’ll see. Still a solid episode, hopefully the set-ups made here will all pay off in the end.
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