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Crossbones - (S01E09)

Adventure . Drama

Fire rains down on Santa Campana as Blackbeard risks all against William Jagger's maniacal attack. Lowe must choose between saving the people he loves, the man he admires, or... the legacy Edward Teach has built.

Episode Title: Blackbeard
Airs: 2014-08-2 at 10:00 pm
  • Neil Genzlinger

    It’s sophisticated, well-acted television for a warm-weather series.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    An oddity with additional oddness in the form of Malkovich. But as summer diversions go, this looks to be a good one.

    Newsday Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    It is filled with adventure on the high seas and sex and intrigue on dry land. And, yes, above all, it's fun.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    You might not want to sign on for a summerlong journey right away, but Malkovich's theatrical pirate probably deserves an hour or two hosting this after-dinner cruise before you decide if NBC's gone completely overboard.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    By the time the three episodes available for review end, a plot is thickening suspensefully, Blackbeard is exhibiting still more interesting propensities, and nobody can possibly mind not being able to figure out which woman in the Commodore's court is doing what with whom.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    The plots that spin around the two main characters unfortunately suffer by comparison.... But in all honestly, Crossbones is all about Blackbeard being John Malkovich.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Sara Smith

    The series hits its stride a few episodes in, when Lowe and Blackbeard finally get on a boat together to fight a common enemy, knowing they’re each just waiting for the right moment to kill the other. Their dynamic evokes the tense partnership between Al Swearengen and Sheriff Bullock in "Deadwood."

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Crossbones rises and falls on Malkovich’s inspired delivery and is under­cut by the show’s joyless, convoluted plotting, especially in next week’s episode.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Everything around Malkovich is workmanlike and rather predictable, if competent.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    [John Malkovich] makes this cartoonish romp a lot more fun than Starz's Black Sails--which admittedly isn't saying much.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    As it threads through a maze of sometimes shaky plot turns, you could say the script gets tortured--along with most of the characters. But there is a payoff, in the high-stakes cat-and-mouse game between pirate Blackbeard (John Malkovich) and Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle), a British crown agent who represents law and order.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    All in all, Crossbones is about as believable as Casanova in a seminary. But there’s some fun to be had and some Malkovich to behold.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    While it's enjoyable enough watching Malkovich sneer and gloat and threaten torture, the overall adventure isn't as enticing as recent frontier/mob/dirty-cop outings.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    The show is worth watching once to sample what Malkovich is up to, but it ultimately suffers from not following his performance to its logical conclusion and making the whole series a completely bonkers Blackbeard experience.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Lori Rackl

    The only buoy that may keep you holding on week-to-week is the entertaining interplay between Blackbeard and honorable spy-surgeon Tom Lowe.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    Even this adventuresome idiosyncratic actor [Malkovich] doesn't seem to be having much fun. [2 Jun 2014, p.46]

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    At certain moments, when Coyle and Malkovich banter about god, the devil, and England, Crossbones is almost the kicky fun it was meant to be.... But a few sentences later, Blackbeard returns to growling clichés.

    Slate Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Crossbones doesn’t offer compelling enough drama to complement its banal brutality.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    Every time Crossbones threatens to completely disintegrate, Malkovich brings some of his talent to a show that doesn't really deserve it. Full Review
  • Tim Stack

    A bout of scurvy would be more entertaining. [30 May/6 Jun 2014, p.113]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Diane Garrett

    While [John Malkovich] does indeed dig into the pirate role with relish, it's not enough to save the show.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    Supplied by Cross with poetic, Shakespearean dialogue, Coyle and Malkovich play off each other brilliantly. It's clear they're having great fun on-set, and it is infectious. But their relationship can't quite save this aimless story.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Malkovich has always possessed a rare gift for conveying a still sort of menace, but the series is too lifeless to capitalize on those talents.

    Variety Full Review

  • period drama

  • pirate

  • outlaw

  • swashbuckler

  • blackbeard

  • 18th century

  • historical drama