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Black Sails Update: All's Fair in Love and Piracy

Black Sails Update: All's Fair in Love and Piracy

Black Sails Update: All's Fair in Love and Piracy

This week on Black Sails everything continues to go wrong for the unluckiest exes on the high seas


You may have noticed (though I’ll forgive you if you did not) that there was no update on everyone’s favorite/only pirate fiesta, Black Sails, last week. That’s because I barely even noticed I was watching the episode. To be fair, Black Sails is a very well-made show. The acting’s fun, the production quality is seriously impressive, and the story certainly offers some level of entertainment -- since I keep watching it and a lot of people on Twitter say it’s awesome. But damn, do they know how to drag out a not-very-interesting storyline that masks itself as interesting simply because all characters are badass pirates. These guys have literally been doing the same thing for five episodes (find the treasure map! Argue over who owns an island!). At least in this episode they finally have a fight on a ship as they search for treasure like the pirates that they are instead of just talking about it! So that’s something to look forward to. However, if you were looking forward to anything to do with the amazing (and amazingly short-lived and soul-crushing) relationship between Max and Eleanor, while you won’t be quite as disappointed as last week (One scene! Where Max got punched in the face!), Starz is not exactly on your side.

Indeed, this week Captain Flint and his ripped-to-shreds crew take on the high seas and foes in a lovely visually impressive battle that ends explosively, to say the least. I, however, find Team Vane to be a lot more fun, more specifically the swagger-tastic Jack and Bonny, who probably bond over their magnificent hair and sexy rugged dirtiness. This week, after Vane killed its last owner, they buy the local brothel and lay low while their crew mates rage over who gets command of the haywire island’s supplies.

Perhaps more than anyone, it is a stressful time for dear Eleanor, whose father has basically thrown all final pirate transactions and settlements on her after losing the island. She’s not super thrilled about this, nor are the pirates she trades with who aren’t too keen to depend on a young woman with really great hair for their livelihood. Eleanor decides she needs some pirate backers to help the island run smoothly. However, they’ll only support her if she rescinds her ban on Captain Vane. Eleanor, who clearly still has feelings for Max, is still furious at Vane for allowing Max’s abuse to happen and doesn’t want to take the ban off. John Silver yells at Eleanor that staying with Vane was Max’s own choice, and Eleanor’s got to move on with her life. Don’t move on Eleanor! Go save Max! Also, great idea for a drinking game: take a drink every time Eleanor swears and then promptly check yourself into a hospital for alcohol poisoning.

As for poor Max, she’s still literally locked into her deal with Vane, and her only scene revolves around a how-to on pirate abortion techniques. It’s not exactly the best time to be her. She does get a moment with Bonny (turns out she’s pretty efficient at old-fashioned abortions) but it’s not the “I will now save you” convo I was hoping for. Bonny mostly slithers at her for not accepting Eleanor’s help, then tells her the best way to make a point to the brutal men is castration. Max asks Bonny why she’s giving her advice when she’s the one who got her locked up to begin with, and Bonny tells her, “I only thought they’d kill you.” Basically, what we’ve learned from Max is that being a prostitute during pirate times could get pretty damn rough.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Black Sails. It’s a mostly entertaining little place holder for Game of Thrones, and the History Channel's Vikings- which returns this week!- has no queer ladies at all (yet...), so in terms of LGBT representation it does take most of the prize. A little bit of a bummer is Starz’s promotion of Max as a character, then ultimate treatment of her throughout what we’ve seen. Promos showed a lead role who was confident, saavy, in a queer relationship (onscreen...), and then took nearly everything away to beat her up, hide her away, and show her for a moment once an episode. Oh, Black Sails, I do hope you did not promote a lesbian relationship to hook viewers and then immediately did away with it once you felt they’d be engaged. I  hope this is all necessary story stuff, so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt for a while.

Perhaps I just care too much about this relationship, but it really was a nice, well-established queer couple that was ripped apart in moments and then barely dealt with (except when Eleanor remembers Max exists and feels bad for a couple minutes). I guess we’ll just have to wait for more development, but in the future all I'm saying is we better see more of Max than we do of Anne Bonny’s face.

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Preston Max Allen