Thursday, January 28, 2016

On “Black Sails,” the Seeds of “Treasure Island” Are Beginning to Grow

With little time to write this week, I wanted to pass on my thoughts about last week’s season premiere of Black Sails on Starz.

The premiere showed a ton of promise for season three. Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) is on his way to Nassau. Max, Jack, and Anne Bonny are worried about the damaged fortress, and more importantly the Urca gold stashed within its broken walls. Captain Hornigold and Mr. Dufrense have become traitors and now fly the British flag. Meanwhile, Eleanor Guthrie may have no choice but to aid her British captors. But the most intriguing part of the series premiere took place on The Walrus with Captain James Flint.

Flint, Long John Silver, and Billy Bones are the truly fictional pirates on Black Sails, each one being a character from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. (Most of the other characters, like Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, and Anne Bonny, are based on historical pirates.) Black Sails has always been a prequel of sorts to Treasure Island, and in the series premier, we saw the seeds of Treasure Island begin to grow.

It all begins with Flint. In Treasure Island, it’s no secret that Flint was despised by his crew, and by Silver most of all. The Flint of season three is a man obsessed, hellbent on revenge for what the British did to Miranda. Flint has always put his personal agenda before the lives of his crew, and was always a bit ruthless—just remember what he did to poor Mr. Gates! But now, it looks like Flint is going down an even darker path, and given the dark looks that Silver and Billy are giving him, I think we’re about to experience the rift that will forever lead to enmity between Flint and his crew. 

Which brings me to Silver. In the past two seasons, Silver was a charming rogue who, while thoroughly self-interested, always found himself siding with Flint. But by the end of last season, Silver lost his leg and took the first steps toward becoming the Long John Silver that Stevenson imagined. Silver, if you’ve ever read the book, was the most dangerous pirate of them all, and I would not be surprised if he ends up there by the end of season three. And if so, Black Sails is about to get really, really good!

** Top image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes; the rest, courtesy of Starz


Mark Watkins said...

Great post. I really got into the first episode this season. Flint has become dark, dark, dark. I'm really looking forward to how this works into the Treasure Island storyline....

Bill said...

Good exposition, Joe. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I found it a little hard to follow the first episode, and really didn't get the very beginning. Thanks for clearing that up. I find the set lighting and dialogue a challenge, but agree it shows promise.

Joseph Finley said...

Mark and Bill, thanks for the comments! Luke Arnold, who plays Long John Silver, retweeted a tweet of mine about this article, so I've had quite the day today on Twitter!

Liza Ellis said...

Toby Stephens is a classy actor and I am a huge fan of him. He is currently starring in his pirate drama series Black Sails and he has done a brilliant piece of acting in all seasons. He is seen wearing a black leather coat in 3rd season. This coat is available at Sky-Seller online shop. For details, visit the site.