Episode 6: A Hole in the Head
“Admit that you’re my accomplice, and let’s go drill a hole in my head and let the demons out.”
This quote is a perfect setup to begin the recap of the important events of this week’s episode. Blackbeard says this after Lowe’s kidnapping plan didn’t really work out all too well (he got his ass kicked pretty handily by the Commodore). But where do we begin this episode? How do we get to Lowe getting rocked by a partially disabled old man and then being forgiven at the hands of a rabid pirate horde? That’s a very specific question and it sounds like you’ve already watched the episode, but I’ll go ahead and recount all the fun parts of Episode 6: A Hole in the Head for you anyway. Strap in, though, this one is a doozy.
So, we start back on Santa Campana, Lowe and Nenna are triumphantly returning from Jamaica, trephine in hand. The aim of the game is to drill a hole in Blackbeard’s head. You know, to relieve the pressure on his brain that’s causing all of his visions and also his headaches? Shoddy medical science aside, the trephine is actually a real instrument used to bore holes in all sorts of bones, not just skulls! Well, that’s what Wikipedia told me during my 5 minutes of preliminary research for writing this recap, but the fascinating tool that may or may not actually help Blackbeard in curbing his visions of his wife-turned-specter Antoinette is not as vital to the plot of the show as I’m making it seem. It’s important, sure, but we have bigger fish to fry here!
Right, okay, back on Santa Campana, Lowe asks Fletch to steal another boat because they’re finally making a break for it. Lowe has really screwed the pooch here; he sold out all of the information that he has on Santa Campana to Jagger and then physically assaulted him, so I don’t think the sadistic governor would be too happy to welcome him back into the fold. But he squealed to Jagger and now everyone on the island might die, and it’s impossible to keep a secret from Blackbeard, so his days on Santa Campana are definitely numbered. Real rock and a hard place situation here for the good doctor. Thankfully, Lowe has the most ass-backwards and ridiculous plan that Santa Campana has ever seen, and they have a vagabond as their head of Research and Development of Special Weaponry (shoutsout Wildman).
Lowe’s plan, as I have come to understand it through sheer force of will, is to first admit that he was a spy to Kate Balfour. We haven’t seen her a lot this episode, so she’s definitely in for some good play during his confessional. Lowe reveals that he was the King’s Man on Santa Campana when he first got there, and that he has disclosed a huge amount of precious information to enemy of the state numero uno, Will Jagger. He comments on the fact that he could have killed Teach ages ago, and that he could’ve flown the coop, but his love for Kate was the only thing keeping him on the island, and the only thing keeping the Commodore alive. He then pleads with her to run away with him and Fletch, and leave the island that has become her home, along with her devoted husband and the life that she has made for herself on Santa Campana.
She reacts appropriately by literally spitting in his face. I mean come on, this dude is admitting that he’s been a double agent for the entire duration of knowing one another, not to mention the fact that they’re engaged in an extramarital affair, and now he wants her to drop everything and come with him? Did Lowe really think this would work? Thankfully, Kate makes it quite clear that she can’t bear to see Lowe anymore, and even clocks the dude with a jar of rice or something. Lowe chokes her out and leaves her in the safety of her own home, but not before James Balfour overhears a tidbit of the conversation and scurries off to inform the Council that Lowe is a spy. Now we’re getting somewhere!
The next facet of Lowe’s plan is to kidnap Blackbeard. It is WAY easier said than done, because as previously explained, this part of the plan ALSO fails. A quick scuffle in the gunpowder storage room leads to the pair dueling in the center of a ring of ravenous pirates, thirsty for the blood of the traitor. Blackbeard is able to disarm and disable Lowe rather easily, and the man was forced to use an unlit torch as a weapon against his would-be captor. The entire island is in the mood for a good old fashioned execution, but Blackbeard stays his hand. We talk about this a bit in the Podcast this week, but the capacity for mercy and humility that Blackbeard shows totally belies the legends of his ruthlessness and taste for death. The Commodore helps our good doctor to his feet because they both share the same love for this experiment that Blackbeard has hatched: Santa Campana. “Admit you are my accomplice and let’s go drill a hole in my head and let the demons out.”
Over the course of this episode, Lowe makes huge moves. He tries to kidnap the Commodore in order to sell him to the governor of Carolina in exchange for the freedom of all the inhabitants of Santa Campana. That’s a pretty far-fetched plan, even for the jack of all trades that is Thomas Lowe. And this probably goes without saying but, the procedure is 100% successful and Lowe’s world famous medical prowess succeeds once again. With the procedure done, and Blackbeard hopefully on his way to a quick recovery, only one question really remains- what happens tomorrow when Blackbeard wakes up again to a vision of his wife carrying a swaddled child into the ocean? He’s probably going to be pissed.