Black Sails recap: It's Better to Die on a Pirate Ship than Under a Pirate Ship

The ship hits the fan. Or rather, the beach. Also, secrets are revealed secretly.
Ep. 04 | Aired Feb 15, 2014

ELEANOR: A ROSE SO SVELTE Until recently, she shared beds with the hottest guy AND the hottest gal on Pirate Island. Now she's all alone. It's hard out there for a black market entrepreneur.

Captain Beardsley arrived on Pirate Island and did not seem particularly excited about the whole "give your cannons to this well-known privateer" idea. Papa Guthrie asked to speak to him alone. Pradha Mitchell had promised her associate Scotty that, if the Captain refused to part with his cannons, she would let him go. Turns out she was lying: Outside of her office, there were several men with guns. Scotty felt betrayed. "I'm f---ing sorry!" said Pradha. "It was the only f---ing thing I could f---ing do, m----f----r! F---!"

Fortunately for her, Papa Guthrie appeared to be on her side: Captain Beardsley promised her the guns. But when Papa Guthrie was alone with Scotty, he revealed his true feelings. (Scotty used to be a houseboy for the elder Guthrie, until he rose to his current role as consigliere.) This whole plan was madness: "Attempt to steal treasure from one empire to finance war against another?" It would be like playing that old Pirates game and declaring war on the French, the English, the Spanish, and the Dutch. (You always gotta ally yourself with somebody.)

In the process, Papa Guthrie threw out something that might actually be the central idea of Black Sails. "She'll do anything to save this place," he said about his daughter. "A place where she matters. A place where you matter." In the show's perspective, Pirate Island is a place where anyone of any gender or race can rise to prominence -- the kind of place that existed barely anywhere in that time period. And in Papa Guthrie's perspective, it's the kind of place that isn't supposed to last. Civilization will arrive: To fight against it is madness.

Speaking of madness! Local man-child Randall had a rough day. Due to some poorly-tied knots, the Walrus fell down right on his leg. His Captain ran to his aid...but the only way to save Randall was to sever his limb beneath the knee. Presumably, Randall will just keep on losing limbs and brain cells over the course of the season. But the falling ship had a nice side effect for Flint: It fell right on top of the angry crewman who was filling Billy Biceps' head with talk about the Widow Barlow. (Or maybe Flint pushed that angry crewman?)

Speaking of the Widow! She was also having a rough day. A local child threw a rock at her face and called her a witch. She wasn't really feeling the whole "living on a Pirate Island as the unmarried mistress of a homicidal wannabe pirate-king" thing. And then Papa Guthrie started hitting her with truth bombs. He knew who she was: Mrs. Hamilton, wife of Lord Thomas Hamilton. He knew that, long ago, she had an affair with her husband's friend, a promising young sailor in the Navy; that the shame of the affair led her to flee. (Based on another flashback in the episode, it would appear that at some point Flint hunted down her husband -- or someone else connected to her? -- and killed them. All explanations TBD.)

Papa Guthrie promised to help her. He told her that Boston was much more forgiving than London. "And it has way more Irish pubs, too!" he said, while noting that on Fridays and Saturdays the social life goes way downhill, stupid college kids. By the end of the episode, she appeared to be on his side: She brought in her local Creepy Pastor. And Papa Guthrie promised to see that all pirates were cast out of Pirate Island. (Personally, I'm betting that the Widow is planning a double-reverse betrayal at some point.)

But I know what you're thinking: What's up with Captain Vane? The usual. Opium. Shirtlessness. Dream-visions of Pradha Mitchell, basically serving the same purpose as the Dream-Vision of Michael Rooker way back in season 2 of The Walking Dead. "You could take this whole f---ing island from me," said Dream-Pradha. So Captain Vane stood up and walked outside and was immediately attacked by the local pimp, who really wanted Max back in his den. The pimp's accomplice took aim at Vane, fired..and his gun misfired. Vane promptly killed everybody. So he's back in action now. This concludes your weekly update on Shirtless Captain Vane.

So again I say: Black Sails, whither the piracy? Good news on that front: At the end of the episode, Captain Beardsley and the Andromache took off from port, with the guns still onboard. Captain Flint gave a simple mission statement: "We need to get them back." Hopefully next week will be a big ship-to-ship chase battle, a la Master and Commander. Or maybe everyone will call a meeting about calling a meeting for planning a ship-to-ship chase battle.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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