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Black Sails - S02E03

Drama . Adventure

Flint returns to Nassau and encounters a dilemma; Eleanor turns to an unlikely source for help; Rackham works to restore his reputation; Vane gets an unexpected prize.

Episode Title: XI.
Airs: 2015-02-7 at urday
  • Tom Gliatto

    In its zeal to avoid Johnny Depp-style silliness, any sense of pirate fun is lost at sea. [3 Feb 2014, p.44]

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    What's mystifying is why Starz and the creators of Black Sails seem to think that, given the expanding array of options available to consumers, any content creators can get away with peddling fare that can't even manage to be consistently mediocre.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Sara Smith

    Black Sails is exactly like the 18th-century Caribbean pirates it brings to life: dirty, amoral and worth stomaching only when there are no women around.

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    This South Africa-lensed production might tempt adventure-seeking viewers to plunge into its crystal-blue waters, but despite some handsome aspects, the show ultimately proves as hollow as its CGI-rendered ships.

    Variety Full Review
  • Margaret Lyons

    Black Sails is rigidly unspectacular, and it comes at the worst possible time for a show like this not to be very good.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    At times Black Sails feels like it wants to be taken seriously as a complicated, premium cable drama (a la “Game of Thrones”). At other times, it feels more like cheesier, more niche material (a la “Spartacus”).

    Washington Post Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    [Viewers] figure there will be sex and nudity, blood and violence. Black Sails has most of that, but there isn't enough action in the first four episodes. If you give us a pirate series, we want to see ships going at it on the high seas.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    Black Sails is a handsome illusion at times, but it rarely finds its way beyond that.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Like most of [Starz's] shows, though, it's all flash and no substance, and the flash fades pretty quickly, no doubt right around the point the production accountant realized just how much it costs to film extended sequences with ships in water.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Mike Hale

    Much of the time in the early episodes is spent on the preparations for this mission [for one last big score] and on laying out a complicated network of alliances and animosities, and it gets to be a slog. Helping to keep us interested are Mark Ryan, providing a comic touch as a grizzled quartermaster, and Luke Arnold as a not-so-charming rogue named John Silver, not yet Long.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    The cast is stunning, the music enticing. Yet Black Sails lands too quickly on an island (shot in Cape Town) and the best parts of the spectacle--the open sea vistas and the claustrophobic shipboard scenes--run aground.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Black Sails opens promisingly enough with a sea battle, followed by threats of violent upheaval aboard the Walrus, captained by the arrogant, aloof Flint (Toby Stephens). Too soon, though, the action moves onto land. And while Starz staples like graphic sex and savagery are hardly uncommon occurrences in the bustling debauchery of New Providence Island, Sails becomes stubbornly becalmed by its landlocked third and fourth hours, as tiresome wheeling and dealing triggers a bout of Restless Sea Legs Syndrome in the impatient viewer.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    The scenery, the spectacle, the set design, the costuming, and the camera work are all winning, but the pacing of the series (which is planned for a second 10-episode season) is nettlesomely slow.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    The drama is nothing more than a video game, with a story secondary to the blood and sex.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Through its first two hours, Black Sails is entertaining enough but not nearly as addictive as "Spartacus" came to be through its first season; perhaps in time that will change.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Curt Wagner

    While its glimpses into the democratic world of piracy are interesting, Black Sails could cull a few plot barnacles and give viewers more action.

    RedEye Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Steinberg promises that Black Sails, with no parrots and no peg legs, will be pirate-cliché free. Unfortunately, the female characters don’t escape sexist stereotypes. And that keeps Black Sails from being as much fun as it might have been.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    The era is a rich vein to mine, and to their credit, the creators are light on pirate cliches--I do not believe one "aargh!" is uttered--but at the same time, there's a little too much emphasis on pirate economics and labor disputes than is necessary, and the sprawling cast and hierarchy a little hard to keep straight.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Better dense than dumb, however, and the move by Black Sails into something unexpected--better acted and better written than you might have guessed--is its own little treasure.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    While the series, which opens with a ship being boarded and taken, does have its moments of big, noisy action (see: Michael Bay, above), it spends a lot of time on land, as well, with the main characters taking care of business, making plans, laying traps and working on their surprisingly complicated personal relationships. There is also, tedious to relate, an abundance of female nudity.... Other than that, Black Sails' depiction of daily life among the pirates is plausibly authentic and workaday, and the Nassau through which they roam feels real and well-peopled.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Lori Rackl

    A winsome opportunist (Luke Arnold), a ruthless captain (Toby Stephens) and a tough-talking tavern owner (Hannah New) are just a few of the colorful characters involved in a brutal power grab in the 18th century Bahamas.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Diane Werts

    Bloody pirate battles? Check. Graphic sex scenes? Check. Shoreside conniving/intrigue? Intense.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Tom Long

    Alliances are made and broken, power shifts go this way and that, blood is spilled, and wenches keep wenching. It’s oddly addictive, and the cast--made up mostly of British, Australian and Canadian actors--is as sharp as you’d expect from pay cable.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Filmed in South Africa, Sails is awash in lush scenery, bloody expensive sets and brutal action. You’ve probably never seen a sword fight like the one that caps tonight’s episode.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    While it looked like a Starz show, with all the pretty, naked people and bursts of horrific violence, it also felt like a show for grownups.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    Not even a guilty pleasure, Black Sails is arrrrrr-estingly good. [24 Jan 2014, p.65]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Andrea Reiher

    Four episodes in, Black Sails is actually spinning a cleverly-crafted tale of intrigue, secrets and deceit surrounding a race for an enormous cache of gold in a Spanish galleon.

    Zap2it (Inside the Box) Full Review
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