[This is a review of Crossbones season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]
After taking a week off, Crossbones returns with another solid, albeit episodic adventure, entitled ‘The Man who Killed Blackbeard’. Edward Teach (Blackbeard), at times proves himself to be the frightening menace we know from legend, but his ruthlessness is nothing compared to that of William Jagger (Julian Sands).
Sands (Dexter), along with several other supporting cast members, has his moment to shine, proving that he’s a worthy foe for Blackbeard and his people. While both men are equally guilty in all manners of debauchery, Jagger appears to find joy in the torturing of his prisoners, especially women.
Blackbeard, on the other hand, contemplates philosophical paradoxes, like evil and the innocence of a new born baby. Writer/executive producer Neil Cross (Luther) continues to give Malkovich wonderful dialogue to chew on, as he and Tom Lowe debate the merits of morality in a world full of sin. Even with the NHL Playoffs taking center-stage last week on NBC, it’s a shame they chose not to air this episode on Father’s Day weekend, due to the family oriented themes. Are the cries of “father” from the Woman in White (Lauren Shaw) the sounds of Teach’s dead daughter, or some other mysterious apparition for us to piece together?
As Blackbeard’s visions become more visceral, the pirate begins to question his own life expectancy. Unfortunately, before we are made privy to what he is trying to accomplish, Kate get’s taken prisoner by Jagger and his minions. While Sands does a good job at making the Governor of Jamaica an interesting character, the rest of the supporting cast still struggles to find their footing.
One of the issues plaguing the rest of the cast is that they have noting of note to do, and when they do end up participating, their actions rarely make sense. Let’s take Charlie Rider (David Hoflin), for example. The brooding young pirate tells the lovely Selima (Yasmine Al Massri) that he’s tired of hearing bible stories from Blackbeard, like the one about the prodigal son. We then learn that Selima has a case of anthropophobia, which keeps her inside the confines of the commodore’s home. Then, out of nowhere, the two begin having intercourse? Both Selima and Charlie possess the potential to be engaging figures in this ensemble, but their reasoning behind their actions needs better development. To be fair, this is only the third episode, so perhaps Cross and company will provide us with more background on the less prominent characters?
Kate (Claire Foy) was another disappointment this week, as the fierce young woman was turned into another damsel in distress, who needed the help of men to come to her rescue. These men and women survive on an island run by the ruthless and cunning Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. Weaklings would not stand a chance in an environment such as that, so Kate should be given an episode where she finds a way to survive on her own. Is that too much to ask? Perhaps the previous statement was a bit harsh, but it can become tiresome watching the same old tropes being used, especially when it comes to women. Blackbeard is “the man,” but let’s see what Kate, Selima, and Nenna can do on their own.
Malkovich and Coyle are still reason enough to keep coming back each week to see what adventures await Blackbeard and his people. Crossbones is a good show, but it could be great, if only the supporting cast can match the prowess of its two leading men. William Jagger was a good addition, but will he be enough to keep this series from sinking? Stay tuned to find out.
Crossbones continues with ‘Antoinette’ next Friday @10pm on NBC.