Crossbones Recap: Episode 3 - The Man Who Killed Blackbeard

I can slowly see the light draining from John Malkovich's eyes as this series drags on. Seriously, someone just put him out of his misery.

The first episode of this saw something special happen on my television, with really interesting writing and characters, and I was absolutely underwhelmed with this episode.

We have the requisite foreshadowing of Kate's troubles -- she and Lowe are just chilling in bed and Lowe, the dummy, says "But the risk to you, if you'll be captured..." when he finds out she plans to make a routine journey to a trading post.

Kate, of course, replies with "I've done this a hundred times. I'll be fine." Kate, don't you know that's your death knell calling?

Blackbeard is still having visions that are supposed to be creepy, but the makeup department fails once again at making someone look anything other than a) perfectly put-together or b) sunburnt and dirty.

Interestingly enough, one of the prostitutes ends up having a baby, despite not increasing in girth and still getting her period regularly, if I'm interpreted Rose screaming "But she still bled!" correctly. I think I am.

We have our only humorous moment when Lowe is sent for to perform his duties as the island surgeon. The prostitute, Nelly, (played by Marise Sanchez) asks him if he has ever delivered a baby before.

He looks her straight in the eye and says, "No. But I've read about it in a book." When she is obviously disturbed by his answer he compounds her anxiety by saying earnestly, "It was a very good book."

Why the hell would anyone want you delivering their baby? Get out, dude.

The baby is apparently born healthy, as Blackbeard is crooning to her in French for some reason (and her mother is totally fine with this?) in the next scene. He goes on and on about the world being better for the baby by the time she is an adult, and I hate to be a pessimist but.

You try to leave this world better than you found it. That's not always something you can actually do. That said, it shouldn't stop you from trying.

We cut to Nenna slipping through the jungle-ish part of the island and digging up a box of treasure, only to drop a tiny gold thing in it.

Retirement plans before 401ks and Roth IRAs, I guess. Sign me up for a box of gold!

After some more dilly-dallying, we follow Kate to Adderly Cay.

She's having a grand old time sternly flirting with the weirdo who she trades with regularly when we find out that Branford, the wierdo, sold info on Kate to the British. Is she going to die?

Only time will tell!

As a side note: anyone else notice the British underling's wonky hair? Seriously - it's white streaked with black.

That is the craziest wig I've seen, and that includes the wig they had on Halle Berry as Storm in the first X-Men movie.

Kate is captured by the million British soldiers surrounding her, brought to a ship and tied so inefficiently - right across the boobs. Wow, that is not going to work for long. In the meantime her pirate coworkers sent a pigeon back to Santa Maria Island, which goes straight to her husband, James.

He works himself up into a lather and goes to tell Blackbeard, presumably, and on the way to do so tells Lowe. After Blackbeard makes plans to go rescue Kate, James ends up begging Lowe (who is sleeping with Kate and everyone knows it, including James) to go save Kate since he can't.

Wow. Way to totally emasculate one of the few interesting people left on this show.

Blackbeard takes off, and before he leaves, Nenna (Tracy Ifeachor) tells everyone to evacuate the island to safer grounds. Rose, the lead prostitute, also has her 401k of gold hidden in the ground.

She takes that with her, but not before Nenna steals a ruby off her and hides it in her boobs, for some reason.

Why? There's only so much space in a bra before it starts to chafe, this we all know

I swear, everybody on this island has boxes of treasure buried somewhere on their property. Next it'll turn out that the baby has a box buried under her crib.

Lowe stows away on Blackbeard's ship, and when he reveals himself Blackbeard gives the finest description of our main character I've heard yet: "And so yet again, I can't decide if you are the most cunning or the most beef-headed fellow I have ever met."

I'm voting for beef-headed.

Tim Fletch (played by Chris Perfetti), Lowe's slightly dweeby sidekick decides he's going to save Nelly's daughter's life and take them, as well as James, to a safe place somewhere on the island. They row off, and the way he sees what appears to be a caveman.

While the only thing Perfetti plays well is bewildered, that was the exact moment it paid off.

These characters are dropped entirely for the rest of the episode, so I've decided that they move to the other side of the island, set up another mini town, and are no longer submitted to torturous, stereotypical writing.

And they all live happily ever after.

We return to Kate, who has made it up the torture ladder to William Jagger, or if you remember the first episode, Lowe's boss, played by Julian Sands.

Jagger beats Kate up, caresses her menacingly, and there is definitely some rape implied as coming later.

Who thinks this kind of menacing of a woman makes good television? If I didn't have to watch this for work I would have turned this off immediately and never tuned in again.

Not only does this make me profoundly upset as a person, but as a writer I can't abide this kind of laziness standing in for truly frightening scenes.

Kate is next taken, blindfolded, to a random sandy spot in Jamaica, shoved into a coffin, and buried alive when she insists she doesn't know who Edward Teach is, truly. She screams an awful lot, something I could tell her not to do based upon my research of how to get out of a grave alive.

I wouldn't be able to actually get out alive, but I'd know a couple of the things not to do. Screaming is number one, since it uses up all your oxygen.

Cut back to Charles (Blackbeard's first mate, the guy with greasy blond hair and a kind of arrow-like tattoo on his pec). He has joined Selima, the Lady of the House, who we find out is agoraphobic.

Remember when she used to be the brains on the show, the woman who loved puzzles? Well, now she hardly shows up anymore and when she does is given disappointingly few lines.

Charles has been ordered to kill Selima if necessary, and she ends up stabbing him first. The coolest part of this episode is when Charles then cauterizes his wound by heating his own hatchet in the fire and holding it to his abs, but then they have the fastest, most confusing sex in the history of this show.

Neither of them look like they enjoyed it afterwards, and I was left with serious questions about Charles' internal bleeding. Sadly for him, the surgeon is away.

Speaking of Lowe, he and Blackbeard have a pretty cool sequence where they kill all the soldiers guarding Kate's grave as Nenna and the other pirates distract Jagger by firing a bunch of cannons at Jamaica. They get Kate out alive (yay!) and deliver her home to her husband.

Lowe has a moment of angsting over Kate hugging the man she married instead of him, and then goes off, presumably to sulk. We are left with more plotholes than plot threads, and more questions than necessary.

What happened to this show? What happened to the cool compass-oriented plot and why did everything turn so formulaic and blah? Malkovich is the one bright spot in this series, and if it doesn't get itself back on track, will be the biggest summer flop NBC ever sank money into.