Black Sails S4E3 Review: XXXI

reviews, TV


Warning: Spoilers


Man, this episode was a bit brutal, wasn’t it? Things had to come to a head sooner rather than later, given the events of the last two episodes.  As usual, Black Sails is not afraid to keep the action and energy of the show up, instead of trying to drag things out unnecessarily.


Through a small flashback we find out that Berringer and Rogers changed plans on Eleanor–that he never meant to try and get to Port Royal, but to try and take Blackbeard. Berringer has given Rogers his best men. These are not ‘good’ men though, they are “dark men for dark things.” Which really is not good for our pirate friends. In the light of day we see Eleanor and her maidservant being told that their permission to depart has been suspended.


Things aren’t going so well for Max, either; someone saw her with Silver, and she’s being accused of treason despite her attempts to capture him. Berringer, really, just wants to use her and her knowledge of the spies to get at the pirates. I’m so glad that Max hates being threatened, because she refuses to cooperate. Eleanor, surprisingly, is the one who stops the interrogation from going any further, and it’s clear that these two are being pushed back into league with one another once more. Max does her best to remind her that Vane’s death only accomplished short-term goals, and that in the long term it has caused so many more problems. She knows that Berringer is playing Eleanor, and they all need to deal with the situation.


Meanwhile, Madi and Flint are trying to plan what to do. The slaves want to leave, but Flint wants to take Nassau regardless of the cost, and despite Billy and his men being their enemies. Surprisingly, Madi agrees with him, and says she’ll go to the tavern and try to gain information. There she’s told two important things: there is no appetite for rebellion any longer (and man has Madi really drunk the ‘Flint is great’ Kool-Aid now), and that Silver is alive. Guess which one she cares about?


Aboard Blackbeard’s ship, the decision is made for Anne and Blackbeard to go board Roger’s ship, with Rackham being left as secondary Captain. Anne expresses reservations; they will always have to stand next to giants, and never be on their own. After this, she wants them to walk away. I think it’s the best thing for them, too If they survive they can have adventures of their own with Mary Reed, their historical third party. Why am I worried about their survival?

Because Rogers has laid a trap upon his ship, and lures Blackbeard and Anne in, drawing them into a fight which they ultimately lose. Rackham, to keep them alive, raises the white flag. What else could he do, though? Nothing. I will say the entire scene felt very anticlimactic, and not as good as it could have been.


Regardless, all of Blackbeard’s men end up as prisoners, and Rogers is determined to give him a cruel death, to make an example of him. He is keelhauled, three times. If any of you don’t know why that is so brutal, it’s when a person is dragged along the underside of the ship, as close to the hull as possible so that the barnacles and other rough parts of the ship tear at their flesh. That, plus the lack of oxygen, usually kill a person through shock. The show did an excellent job of showing it, I’ll say that. Blackbeard manages to survive three goes of this, before Rogers is forced to kill him with a bullet. That is enough to keep him from doing the same to Rackham (thank god), and puts the rest in the hold as they head back to Nassau.


We also see Berringer’s men start to close in on Silver and Hands’ location. The show does a good job of using misdirection: while the men ransack the area, Silver and Hands are watching from afar. Apparently it wasn’t far enough off, though, as three men find them and hold them up–but Flint arrives in the nick of time to kill them. So Silver and Flint are reunited. I have a feeling this isn’t going to go as well as it used to between them. Just a hunch. Silver already doesn’t understand why Billy would want to kill Flint–showing that he has never truly understood the divisive nature of Flint.

Any more talk about that is forgotten, though, because Silver reunites with Madi in a sweet scene. It’s short, because Madi reveals that the prisoners will be executed that day–they don’t have much time to save them.


Back in Nassau, Eleanor seems to have taken Max’s words to heart, as she tries to talk Berringer out of the public hangings. It doesn’t work–Berringer is too stubborn, and really doesn’t seem interested in listening to any women. Eleanor, sensing what is coming, gathers up Max and the men she knows are loyal to her, and heads for the fort, ready to bunker down and protect herself.

Sure enough, Flint and Silver come barging into Nassau right after Berringer hangs three prisoners. The fight starts to turn against the pirates after some early gains, but surprisingly Billy comes riding in to save the day! He and Flint exchange a look, but make no mistake–Billy, regardless of hating Flint, is not one to abandon pirates to their deaths. That turns the tide and the episode ends with Israel Hands slitting Berringer’s throat.


So the overthrow of Nassau has begun in earnest–but with Rogers returning, who knows what is truly in store.


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