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COME AT ME BRO! Crossbones: John Malkovich as Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)

Image Credit: Francisco Roman/NBC

Blackbeard battles British forces in 'Crossbones' two-hour finale

Season 1 | Episodes 8 & 9 | “Crossbones” & “Blackbeard” | Aired Aug 2, 2014

Crossbones met its end—the NBC series won’t be returning—in a two-hour finale, in which Santa Compana’s Commodore fully embraces his inner Blackbeard to face British forces led by sadistic and obsessed Jagger.

In the first episode of the evening, “Crossbones,” the Commodore’s forgiveness seemingly knows no bounds when it comes to his bromance with Tom Lowe: 1) Lowe is a British spy, 2) Lowe was working directly for psycho spymaster William Jagger, the Commodore’s archenemy who is responsible for the advanced-stage crazy the Commodore’s first wife Antoinette currently suffers from, and 3) Lowe filled the hole he drilled in the Commodore’s head with a silver crossbones symbol—like a scarlet letter, but metal embedded in his flesh, not simply embroidered on his bodice. (To be clear: At no time does Blackbeard wear a bodice in Crossbones—that we know of.)

Crossbones: Lowe, Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)Lowe reciprocates the man-crush by gleefully agreeing to take part in the Commodore’s wild and ambitious plan to sink a Spanish treasure fleet. Hoorays all around for dead Spaniards and sunken treasure, sayeth Lowe. They’ll be talking about Blackbeard’s sunken treasure for hundreds of years at least, and produce a short-run theatrical series starring a renowned American actor as the infamous pirate—once we create that country.

Crossbones: Selima, Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)In a flurry of conciliatory interactions, Selima finally agrees to marry the Commodore. When Lowe visits James and they agree to a clean slate, James sums up the ongoing love-fest: “An eye for an eye, and we’d all be blind.” And later, the Commodore poses to Charles, “Tell me why I love you,” and then gifts him a captain’s coat. These all sound ominously like last goodbyes in the face of a superior naval force (or imminent cancellation). Love you! Love you too! Don’t go dying! You either!

Slow Fletch is the only person reasonably wary of all of this—and agreeing with Slow Fletch is unsettling.

OK, so Kate’s a little skeptical as well: “Are you a physician, do you think, or an assassin?” she asks Lowe in their tentative reconciliation. Or perhaps “conditional” reconciliation, as this one has payment attached: She wants him to abort their love child she now carries in order to spare James further humiliation. Judging from Lowe’s initial response to news of her pregnancy, the price is quite high. He begs her to reconsider—James will be a great father. Her response is to visit the whorehouse seeking a solution, which Nelly provides in the form of a green liquid concoction.

Crossbones: Charles, Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)Once the jolly pirate party is at sea, Jagger kills the mood entirely with an ambush, forcing Blackbeard to emerge and start barking orders. Charles is no longer in charge. And when Charles challenges the Commodore, accusing him of making decisions based on his own rage and a personal vendetta against Jagger, the Commodore accuses him in return of mutiny. “I wanted to remind [Jagger] what I can do, Charlie, because I wanted him to know what you’ve forgotten … that I’m Blackbeard,” he says, shivving young Charles. Turns out the Commodore believes Charles tipped off Jagger. Did we suspect this? A quick mental review of the season … and … no, at no point did Charles give any indication that he might be in communication with Jagger. Blackbeard tips bleeding Charles overboard in recompense, then ditches a few barrels of his explosive brew into Jagger’s path and blows a hole in his ship.

When Kate inevitably poisons herself, James insists that Lowe save both mother and child after deducing there’s a baby on board—the response to news of Kate’s pregnancy that Lowe suspected James would have. Lowe’s only answer is a rudimentary blood transfusion. James: What’s that? Oh, some French guys invented it 50 or 60 years before. Crossing fingers that Lowe is type O. And something like that, because she recovers. (Wonder what the percentages are on the chance that a random, blind blood transfusion would be successful, because this seems to be a popular fictional scenario this year. Someone needs to do a storyline on the discovery of blood typing—maybe that will appear in Cinemax’s 1900-set The Knick.)

Lucky for him, Charles was plucked out of the ocean, because he’s now bleeding in a cell on Jagger’s burning ship—maybe not so lucky. The fire looks fierce enough, but for now seems contained to one section of the massive boat. As the first part of the finale ends, Jagger informs Charles that he will tell Jagger where Blackbeard is.


In the second hour of the finale, the aftermath of these botched reconciliations features Kate schooling Lowe on what love is. The doctor can’t say if the baby thrives, but he wants to be Kate’s in any case. She doesn’t believe he knows what it means to give yourself to another. Her deep connection to James colors the entire scene.

The Commodore returns with a Blackbeard swagger, but his crew looks vaguely mutinous, and it appears that clever Jagger has followed Blackbeard’s ship. Ironically, clever Jagger saves Blackbeard from the vaguely mutinous crew with a conveniently timed attack on the island—the irony and convenience of which depends upon your POV. Jagger betrayed incarcerated Charles, who bleats that Jagger promised not to hurt the people of the island, but only to pursue Blackbeard. Again, Jagger is a liar.

Crossbones: John Malkovich as Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)Blackbeard meets the subsequent British invasion of Santa Compana with a rousing speech to the island’s inhabitants denouncing despotism—using language that would not be out of place in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, Charles has freed himself aboard the ship by strangling one of his jailers. Selima and the Commodore are in for a nasty shock; their conversation before the attempted arrest of the Commodore divulged that the scene that landed Charles in the drink was really the result of Selima’s request that the Commodore fire Charles in a permanent way. Murder fail!

Crossbones: Selima (Francisco Roman/NBC)The battle that ensues ends with mostly the blood of British soldiers painting the ground red. Proving that Charles’ opinion of Lowe has changed dramatically, he saves the physician from an overwhelming force. Jagger plants crazed Antoinette on the island and goads her into tracking down Selima. Blackbeard and Jagger both stagger from bullet wounds during a one-on-one shootout. Jagger’s next shot glances off of Blackbeard’s metal skull piece—thank you, Lowe!—while Blackbeard’s next shot secures Jagger’s place in the legend of the infamous pirate by killing him. Selima’s shot strikes Antoinette in the shoulder, but the Terminator just keeps coming and slits Selima’s throat. The Commodore returns the favor by driving a sword through Antoinette that the madwoman embraces and even helps along when he hesitates.

Crossbones: Lowe battles Blackbeard (Francisco Roman/NBC)In the final confrontation between Lowe and the Commodore, Lowe accuses him of sacrificing those who died in this battle to satisfy his own need for revenge. The Commodore begs to differ: “What you saw today was not my revenge; it was a crucible—the birth of a nation.” Lowe: You’re insane. I’m taking your island. Commodore: Come at me, bro! He does. Lowe chooses the pugilist’s route, while Blackbeard chooses blade. In the end, however, Lowe resorts to a heavy silver scepter to finish the job.The Commodore’s last words, as he sits on his throne: “Clever fellow. Well done.” Then Lowe bashes his head in.

The island residents start picking up the pieces as Lowe takes over leadership. He makes a trip to Jamaica and gives Jagger’s replacement a head in a bag—the scalp has a piece of silver embedded in it—with a message to leave them alone.

Back on Santa Compana, Blackbeard stands on the beach, looking out at a passing ship, then wanders down the sand. The implication? To have survived the savage beating Lowe gave him, Blackbeard must surely be immortal.

Crossbones at NBC 

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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