The episode opens with a low angle shot of the water’s edge. A folded boot slams into the sand followd by another as someone walks in from the surf. The camera moves up and back slowly revealing a man pulling a rope attached to a small dingy. Inside the dingy are three other people. Two are dressed in pirate garb. One is wearing a tri-corner hat while the other has only a bandanna for cover from the scorching sun. The third is wearing a tattered dress. She is bound and blindfolded. The pirate pulling the boat stops and falls to his knees exhausted. The pirate in the hat yells at the fallen man to either stand or start digging his grave right there. The tired man pauses to gather his strength and then stands back up. His arms and chest have several small bleeding wounds. His face is sunburned and one eye is swollen and black. The men exit the boat dragging the woman between them. She has no more struggle left in her. Bandanna grabs the rope and pulls the boat further onto the beach then unties it. He takes the rope and uses it to bind the tired man’s hands. There is no struggle left in him either.
Tri-corner barks and the quartet move up and away from the shore towards a higher spot at the edge of jungle. Bandanna ties the loose end of the rope around a palm tree and steps back to admire his work. Tri-corner addressees the meek pair in a flat tone. “You knew these waters were cursed. If it were yer plan to have the sea swallow me boat, you succeeded. If you thought to watch me sink with it, I be sorry fer telling ya’ this but I am not that easy to kill. ” He sweeps a gesture towards Bandanna.” Ya’ can thank Mr.Biggs for his loyalty and dedication to me. Were not for him, yer wishes would have come true!”
“Aye.” Mr.Biggs offers a broad near toothless smile. “I be the best swimmer on board! Cap’n fall in the brink. Biggs done git ’em out! Thankie to ya’ fer havin’ tha slip ready for us. Arrr.”
The tired man just stares at his own feet. The woman moans softly.
“Best be savin’ that for laters, Pet.” Tri-Corner sneers. “I want Yeoman Gil to hear every last breath you make whilst I mount ya’ like a two peckered stallion. But first is first…we gotta take stock and get our bearings. Mr.Biggs, search the perimeter and sees if ya’ can find some fresh water, food, and the makings for shelter. Oh, and firewood. Lots of that too.”
Mr. Biggs salutes and grunts a sty “Aye, aye, Skipper!” before treading off into the darkness of the surrounding foliage.
Yeoman Gil waits until Biggs is out of earshot before speaking. “Jasper…please…I didn’t know…” His voice is harsh and raspy from thirst.
Captain Jasper stops ogling the bound woman and rushes upon Yeoman Gil grabbing a handful of hair and yanking his head back forcibly. “Ya’ didna know what?!?! Twenty six good men are now chum for the bloody sharks because o’ you! I’d be savin’ that mouth of yours for when Biggs gets back. He’s taken quite a fancy to you, Gil.”
“The storm…it wasn’t right…”
“Oh, that I can believe. Seeing as how you damned us all by bringin’ the miss aboard. But it is only by virtue of my sense of honor, in gratitude, that I will have some fun before I die on this rock. For that, I have spared you this long.” He releases the man’s hair just as forcibly. “As is the custom, I will grant ye last request. Speak true and be quick. If I know Biggs, I may have to go after him soon. His mind ain’t as sharp as his blade and he gets distracted too oft by shiny things. You may yet gain a day of rest, Gil. Biggs ain’t partial to wherein he gains his carnal pleasures. Wouldn’t doubt he’s already soiled a coconut or two already.”
A deep laugh comes from Jasper. Gil shakes the pain away and tries to respond but his throat is ravaged by thirst and fatigue. Time passes seemingly slowly. Captain Jasper eventually gives his captives a much wanted drink of what little fresh water he had on him. It brings a moment of almost merciful reprieve from the cruelty. The stillness is broken by a very frightened Biggs emerging from the jungle except he’s not alone. He’s followed by a small band of grass skirt wearing tribesmen. Their faces are painted to look like skulls. They’re wearing necklaces adorned with dried ears and teeth. One of the tribesmen’s necklace incorporates finger bones as well. They poke and prod Biggs out onto the beach with impatience.
Finger-bone explains in very broken English that they, the castaways, are intruding on sacred ground. This beach is a holy place. It is where the shaman come to pray to the sea god. He further states that normally the tribesmen would have already killed the castaways but someone he only refers to as “The Blood-Stained One” wishes to see them. Captain jasper flashes a look at Biggs, notices the fear in his eyes, and agrees. It’s not really a choice he can afford to take. Biggs is strong and able but something has definitely spooked him. And, the only pistol is water-logged and wet powder won’t light.
During the journey inland, Jasper manages to get alongside Biggs and they have a whispered conversation. Biggs quickly explains that Finger-bone spared him because the mysterious Blood-Stained One had foretold of their arrival. Biggs isn’t the brightest bulb in the patch and has had his fill of odd occurrences and enigmas for one lifetime. Gil wasn’t wrong about the storm. It came up out of nowhere. Calm seas don’t just turn violent like that. Ever since the woman was brought on the ship all manner of things had gone sideways.
<Transition to a flashback>
The HMS Gilded Cage is moving along the Pacific at a swift clip. The wind is strong and the sails are full. Captain Jasper stands tall at the wheel. Biggs stands close by, always at his Captain’s side. The sky is a striking cloudless blue. Crewmen scurry about doing their assigned tasks. Deep in the bowels of the ship’s hold lies a small fortune in goods and pilfered valuables. Life is good. The raid had provided a bounty of treasure and all were happy. A happy crew lends itself to a happy ship. Captain Jasper knew all he had to do was make it to a friendly port, unload some of the misbegotten gain, and indulge in some carnal frolicking to maintain the loyalty of his shipmates. A lash serves itself in times of scratching and scraping but the Gilded Cage was fat with loot. Now was time for a gentler hand. The quiet was shattered by Yeoman Gil shouting from a spot forward and aft.
“Captain! Captain! There’s something in the water!” He called over his shoulder while looking through an extended spyglass.
“Aye,” Biggs shouts back, “Fish!” Everyone withing earshot laugh and snort at the rude retort.
Yeoman Gil persists. “Just there…a few degrees north by northwest!” He points as if anyone really cared to look.
Biggs fires off another shot. “Oh my! Lookie ‘er! The lad has spotted a mermaid! Guess he couldn’t wait till we reached shore!” Mockingly, he covers his eyes to shade them as if looking attentively at the object of Gil’s call. Jasper lets out a short gaff and pats Biggs on the shoulder.
“Go get that thing and see what all the busy is about…and, if it is a mermaid, captain’s privilege is in effect.” Both men smile at each other, then the First-mate waddles down the deck towards Gil’s position. He snatches the spyglass away and presents a rough scowl to the younger man. Biggs looks through the direction Gil points towards. There was indeed something bobbing in the surf. At first it appears to be just driftwood but then it starts flailing about. Biggs refocuses the lens and we see a young woman desperately trying to stay on a piece of debris. She is looking towards the direction of the ship. Biggs drops the spyglass, which is swiftly saved from a hard crash by Gil, and scurries back up to the wheelhouse arms flapping and his eyes wild. “Cap’n, it’s true! There be a mermaid among us!” His excitement ran through the crewmen like an electrical charge. A few abandoned their posts to gawk in the direction
Captain Jasper barks at the wayward men and they return to their positions. He walks slowly towards Gil. Biggs, of course, follows like an obedient dog at his heel. He snatches the spyglass much the same way Biggs had and looks for himself. “Well now,” he grins, “This day just got all the better.”
<Transition back to present>
The journey inland shows off some familiar sights and some new ones. The action is indeed taking place on the same island we’ve seen since season one. The headhunters lead their captives to a clearing. A small village has been constructed here. Observant viewers will notice this is the same as the one Giligan took Mary Ann to, sans the hidden hatch. A large bonfire is roaring at the village center. A very large cauldron filled with a boiling fluid sits atop the fire. Bones lie scattered about the perimeter of the fire. Off center behind the fire is a crude throne made of skulls and twine. A fancy dressed woman sits with one leg slung over an armrest. It is clear to all there is a large dried stain in her groin region. The color suggests blood.
Captain Jasper is the first to speak. Upon glancing at the seated woman he exclaims loudly, “Bloody Mary!”
The woman lets out a cackle. “Oh aye! Tessa McConner, at your pleasure!” She rises from the seat to bow and then approaches the new arrivals. She gives Jasper a quick kiss on the lips before moving to eyeball Gil. “A present? For me? Oh my. I be flattered at the thought of it.” She grabs Gil’s privates and gives them a squeeze. She moans a soft purr in his ear. “Don’t ya’ worry none, sweet meat. I always clean me nethers before making the beast with two backs.” She turns back to Jasper. “Call me that name again and I will eat your tongue while you watch me do it.” It is more of a growl than spoken.
Gil finds the strength to speak up. “We crashed off shore. There was a storm…”
“Silence, ya’ scurvy ridden dog!” Jasper manages before a headhunter jabs him in the belly with the blunt end of a spear. He doubles over but doesn’t fall to his knees. Hatred burns in his eyes.
Tessa gestures for Gil to continue. He takes a breath. “Calm skies and then all manner of Hell broke upon us. We had just saved this young woman from drowning and set sail when the wind grew wild. I tried to steer us clear but it was coming from all directions at once. And the lightning. Good God. It was so bright. Blinding.”
“Pah!” Biggs spouts audibly. “You brought a witch among us is what ya’ did! We shoulda left her to rot in Davy Jones’s Locker!”
Another headhunter moves to silence Biggs only to be gutted by a quick slash from Captain Jasper, who has loosened his bonds and pulled his knife. Chaos ensues. Jasper makes a move and manages to slash another foe. Tessa is quick on her feet and flanks Jasper. Biggs kicks at nearby targets and manages to fell one. Tessa and Jasper circle each other. She is unarmed.
“I had hoped we could parley before troubles grow.” Jasper quips to Tessa as they move to gain advantage over the other.
She responds quickly. “Put that pig-sticker away and we’ll see how things go.”
He thrusts. She sidesteps and he thrusts again. Another dodge. “I know all your moves, Jake. In and out of my bed” She taunts as she stays well away from his attacks. The others have settled to watch the deadly dance unfold. “I also know it was you who gave me that God-Foul nickname.”
“God help us, woman. Look at yourself! Those be the same trousers I last saw ya’ in! Can’t ya’ think to sit on a rag once an again?”
Tessa feints left then sweeps Jasper’s legs. He falls and throws the knife away in a wide arc. It lands out of sight. She pulls a knife from her belt, mounts the felled man’s chest, and holds the blade to his throat. “Gets in the way when I’m workin’.” She retorts through a Cheshire cat grin.
Biggs howls in protest and is immediately brought low by a succession of blows from multiple angles. The fight is over.
Gil and the young woman are fed and cared for with surprising mercy. There are no other women present. Tessa explains that this tribe fears the power females control. “They made me their ‘king’ cause I dress like i do. They think I’m some kind of god. What else bleeds for five days and doesn’t die?”
Jasper and Biggs are treated with a stiff hand and given very little attention or nourishment. They’re kept in an abandoned feces pit. Flies are their constant companions.
Gil inquires as to how Tessa came to be here. She explains that her ship also encountered a freakish storm. Her crew mutinied and left her tied to the wheel as they abandoned ship. She got free and swam blindly until coming shore here. The natives had found what was left of her crew and made swift work of them. She asks if the pair enjoyed their meals. The young woman turns green and runs out. She vomits not too far from the hut. Gil looks uneasy but holds it down. Food is food, he reasons. The conversation turns to the girl’s origins. Gil explains that since pulling her from the sea she hasn’t spoken a word. “Biggs thinks she a witch because the boat she was on sank and then ours. Your’s marks three.”
“Oh, laddie,” Tessa says shaking her head, “There be far more than that. This place is cursed. Hear me on that. But if you and the Miss behave, you can find a pleasant life here.” She softly pats his knee suggestively. “Tell me dearie, which of those crab-fuckers should we skin first?”
Close-up of an old typewriter. A slender pair of hands deftly work the keys. The last bit of dialogue is written across the paper. The camera pulls back to reveal a young girl. She is wearing ragged clothes. Her hair is matted and filthy. Her face is covered in grime. Shadows dance across her face from a series of lit candles flanking the typewriter. She reads back what she has written and smiles.