Black Sails Season 2 Premiere (“IX”) Review

by Matthew Thompson

Season 2 of Black Sails opens up right where it should: out on the high seas. But instead of checking in on some of the characters we’d grown familiar with last year, the first scene introduces us to a new one, Captain Ned Low. He and his crew are boarding a neighboring ship whose captain tries his best to reason with Low, but to no avail. Low shows us what he’s about by killing the crew, taking his plunder (including a woman sure to play a crucial role in the season going forward), and lighting the ship afire before sailing to Nassau.

Black Sails 2 2015

Here he gets mixed up with Eleanor Guthrie and Black Sails’ political side. Guthrie is trying her best to keep control of the port while dealing with the likes of Charles Vane who has taken over the city fort. Captain Low looks to be another stick in the spokes of her new plan. His no nonsense attitude is similar to Eleanor’s which should make him a good adversary while he is in town and his bloodthirsty nature means he will surely bring us some great action when his crew sets sail again. As for the other goings-on in Nassau, the story involving Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny and Max didn’t do much of anything for me. I hope the show can put those three characters to better use as the season continues.

The political maneuverings and commercial dealings on land have always been the weaker aspect of Black Sails though and that remains true in this latest episode where the standout moments happen with Captain Flint and company. Flint and his former crew are shipwrecked, but lucky for them their target the Urca de Lima is in the same situation, its treasure scattered across a neighboring beach. On the outs with his crew, Flint devises a plan to keep himself alive which results in a thrilling mission that sends him and John Silver to take out those aboard the ship defending the treasure. When things go awry, a sneaky start soon turns into an all-out battle for the ship and it is an absolute blast to watch. In the end, his former crew decides that Flint can keep his life, but he won’t be in control of the ship. While Flint acquiesces for the moment, he clearly has plans to get back in charge. Silver who stuck with him even when he had a chance to turn and run looks like he’ll be helping out and I look forward to seeing what these two will get up to next.

Black Sails 2 2015

The premiere also worked in a few flashback scenes featuring Flint when he was still in England. These seemed solid enough and ended with him meeting Miranda Barlow, so perhaps they will shed further light on their relationship going forward which would be welcome.

A few more things:

  • It seems everyone read Treasure Island back in school except me, so I’m unfamiliar with any of the connections this show has to it.
  • The sequence where Flint is still tied up and he is instructing Silver on how to handle the fight was really entertaining. There were many nice action moments in the premiere, but this particular one got a good laugh out of me too.
  • Billy Bones is clearly coming back since they didn’t show him die last year. Just a matter of when. No sign of him yet though.
  • Dufresne was recast. The new guy was fine. Still not a big fan of recasts in general though.

In the second half of Season 1, Black Sails finally became the rollicking pirate adventure we were all hoping for when we originally tuned in. While some aspects continue to work better than others, the second season premiere gives us more of the great pirate action that made the show so fun down the stretch last year and kicks off this new season in a strong manner.

Let me know your thoughts on the Black Sails Season 2 Premiere in the comments below. And thanks for reading!

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2 comments on “Black Sails Season 2 Premiere (“IX”) Review

  1. It was a good episode. The Dufresne recast threw me. I spent some time trying to figure out who that was. You’re right, that was a funny scene. Silver’s like the other guy is bigger and he’s near a pistol. Flint is like no this guy’s got scars on his face so he’s been in a lot of fights (and obviously won all of them). That was cool.

    I guess knowing Treasure Island could be considered a spoiler. Because several of these characters are either mentioned or in the book. So you know they survive if this is a faithful prequel. Prequels are weird that way. Which is why the show Hannibal can be kind of annoying at times because I already know the fate of those people. And Better Call Saul will be the same because you already know who survives because you know who’s alive in the next story. Boardwalk Empire (famous gangsters that we know their fate) is probably the most like Black Sails or HBO’s Rome or Deadwood. Because these and those are historic names of actual people mixed with fictional characters. But Black Sails has the trifecta; historic figures, fictional characters from another story and original characters. But because of that, I already know what happened to… . (Unless it’s more like Reign on the CW where it’s famous names but not their stories). So I don’t know but I think you may be better off not knowing Treasure Island.

    I like the politics on Black Sails. The pirate’s code. The fragile sense of honor among thieves. The black market. But it’s the politics within the ships that’s my favorite. How even the best captain has the most precarious hold on his crew.

    • Yeah, I really enjoyed Rome despite knowing what was going to happen, but there is a certain element of surprise missing in series like that that I love about TV shows or any fiction. I don’t even watch trailers or previews for new episodes because I like to go in knowing as little as possible. So prequels or history-based shows are kind of strange in that way, but I typically really enjoy stuff like Rome, Vikings, Spartacus or even Black Sails, because I enjoy these time periods/settings a lot.

      I don’t mind the politics. I was more using that term to describe the on-island happenings on the show. I generally just enjoy the stuff on the ships with the crews and captains more so than the stuff happening in Nassau. Though outside of the brothel plot at the moment, I’ve been enjoying that stuff too. Obviously it is all-connected too. I feel there is a much better balance between the two sides of the show now though than at the beginning of the series and it is better for it.

      Thanks for commenting Mel!

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