“Black Sails” recap (1.02): Rough waters


An appraiser arrives and goes upstairs to meet with Max and Mustachio, to make sure the pearls are real. Silver spies on the transaction through a hole in the wall in the next room, under the guise that he was being serviced by a prostitute. Said prostitute is hilarious and feisty and points out that she’s not being paid to watch him spy.

Max pays the appraiser, who stamps the bag with his wax seal, and Max tells Mustachio that her partner will deliver the page as soon as he receives the bag with the seal unbroken. When the appraiser leaves, Vane storms in and attacks Max, because the men downstairs told him that Singleton had the page, and that they saw Flint kill him for it, because they don’t know their captain is a big fat liar.

Next door, Silver asks the prostitute for something that can be used a weapon – a candlestick, a shoe, anything – and, in a moment of much-needed comic relief, she hands him a machete.

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Mustachio sees a pinned-to-the-wall Max motion towards the eyehole and figures out that her “partner” must be back there, and tries to stab him through the eye, sending him scampering. He uses his wit beyond measure to prove to Vane that it wasn’t Singleton who Max was working with, and he finally lets her go.

Downstairs, in Eleanor’s office, Flint tells her that he has taken her father as a fugitive. He tries to sell Eleanor on The Dream, post-Spanish ship. A nation of thieves. Freedom. She wonders if his men will really go for such a place, and he tells her that, “They’re not animals, just men starved of hope.” He’s a good salesman, I’ll give him that, and by the time he’s finished quoting The Odyssey, Eleanor has a bit of that dreamy look in her eye that Flint has had for a while now.

Gates enters her office then, and says they have a lead on the missing page. (To which Eleanor raises an eyebrow — Flint conveniently left that detail out when he was dream-weaving.) Gates says that “the cook” has been trying to sell the page and using one of the prostitutes as the face of the operation.

In another beautiful moment of cinematography, at those words, Eleanor’s heart rings in her ears, her vision blurs, and she (and thereby, we) can no longer hear what Gates or Flint say. Her thoughts are only of Max.

Eleanor goes to see Max, who is having her bruises tended to by a few women, and being scolded for said bruises by Mr. Noonan. She asks to be alone with Max.

Black Sails 102-6Those inches between them might as well be worlds.

Eleanor asks Max for the schedule. Max tells her that Vane will kill her if she doesn’t sell it to him, but Eleanor insists she can protect her. Max begs her to come with her, they can get away and start a life together. That morning, when Max was talking about buying Nassau and owning it together, Eleanor didn’t seem all that opposed. But to leave? That’s another story.

Eleanor spent her life building Nassau into what it is now, building the respect and reputation she has now. She can’t just walk away.

Max says, “This place is just sand, it cannot love you back.” She tells Eleanor that she’s no she’s afraid, she knows that everyone she has ever loved has left her, has let her down, but she promises that she’ll never leave her. Max tells Eleanor she loves her, and the look on Eleanor’s face is full of fear and sadness. Fear of the love Max has for her, fear of the way she feels in return. Fear of what it will come of it all when she does what she’s about to do.

There’s a knock on the door and Max makes one final plea. Come with me, set us both free.

Eleanor hesitates–whether she’s considering it or putting off the inevitable, I don’t know–then says “come in.” Flint, Billy and Gates enter the room and demand to know where John Silver and the page are.

Max tries to make Eleanor say that she will watch them beat the answer out of her if she doesn’t tell them, but Eleanor doesn’t dare speak, lest her voice betray her.

Max, crestfallen, tells the men where they’ll be able to find Silver tonight. Eleanor steps towards her, to assure her she can still protect her, but Max tells her to get the fuck out and Eleanor complies, albeit with tears in her eyes. When she’s alone, Max breaks down and cries. She really did love her, and Eleanor really was afraid to love her back.

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That scene was one of the most powerful things I’ve experienced so early on in a show before. The tension and emotions were palpable. I don’t think I breathed the entire time. I still feel an ache in my chest just talking about it.

That night, Vane and Mustachio go to the pre-arranged meeting place. An old man comes out of the cave; he’s to be the runner in this operation. Vane is having none of that and stabs the man. Before Silver can decide what to do, Billy sees him, and chases him through the caves and across the beach. He finds some people sitting around a campfire and dives under a cloak, hoping to blend in. Knowing his time is running out, Silver starts to read the page. I’m really hoping he has a photographic memory, otherwise we’re all screwed.

Mustachio sneaks up on someone he thinks is Silver but it ends up being a mask that would even give Alison DiLaurentis the heebie jeebies. It scares him right off a cliff, and all the pearls fall to the bottom of the ocean.

Flint finally catches up with Silver, who has decided to make himself invaluable by burning the page. Now the only copy is in his head, guaranteeing him survival for at least until they find the Spanish ship.

Inland, Max is packing a bag. The feisty prostitute tells her that she doesn’t have to go, that Eleanor kept her word and that there are plenty of guards. Max says simply that she cannot stay, and asks Feisty to help her sneak out. She agrees, but LadyPirate sees her go.

Black Sails 102-8Nooo, Max! Don’t go!

Eleanor tells Mr. Scott that she’s going to do what Flint wants, that she’s on the Dream Team now. She asks him to stay with her, and he agrees. Which is good because I like him and his deep, soothing voice.

The ending is a little weird, but I’m assuming it will make sense next week: While all the pirates drink and celebrate and skinny dip, Flint rides his pony to a little cabin where a woman plays piano. She seems nonplussed by his arrival, simply telling him to take off his boots, but he collapses in a heap at the door.

What did you think of Episode II? Do you feel like one of those dislodged pearls, being dragged to the bottom of the sea by the weight of your feelings? Do you think Max will ever come back for Eleanor?

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