Black Sails S4E8 Review: XXXVI

reviews, TV


Warning: Spoilers


The episode starts in the dark with a rider on a horse. It’s Rogers, who apparently is looking for something in particular in a secret place underneath a building. What he finds there is Gates’ old diary. If you remember from previous seasons, Gates was Flint’s second in command, who was killed for disagreeing with him–and the person that Billy admired most. Rogers goes to speak to Billy about this, and again Billy states that it is only a matter of time before Flint and Silver turn on one another; it’s sad to hear how cynical he’s become. Still, Billy tells Rogers to lead them to this place in Gates’ diary, and that the pirates will no doubt follow.


Back on the ship, Silver and Flint talk. Some of the men have gone to Nassau already to find out where Madi is being held, and Silver asks what happens after all of this-if Flint’s plan works, and the war begins, what happens? Every time there has been a power vacuum in Nassau, things have been chaos and horror. Silver worries that horror is not a waypoint to the end, but the actual end. Who is to say he’s wrong, though? Not everything has been good, when the pirates have been involved. Flint, however, believes so much in his idea that he can’t see anything else–he thinks it will work, because there is no greater team than Silver and Madi. That’s an interesting development, really–that he said Madi, instead of putting his name in the ring. Perhaps Flint is learning, but I somehow doubt it.


Back in Nassau, we learn that people are losing faith in Rogers; his quest for revenge is close to causing his men to mutiny on him. After all–if what he wants comes to pass, he’ll be bringing the pirates back on Nassau, which is exactly what he is supposed to be avoiding. While all of this is going on, Mrs. Hudson finds Eleanor’s diary among her old things–and starts to plan something. What that is, of course, is her own escape. She goes to see Mrs. Mapleton (remember, the original owner of the brothel?), and says that if Mrs. Mapleton helps her get home to England, Mrs. Hudson will make sure that Mapleton gets back onto the Nassau Council–something she’s been cut out from for years. Agreeing, Mrs. Mapleton goes upstairs and we see that Rackham has made it to Nassau; he now knows where Flint is going to be.


The next morning, Silver and Flint awaken to find the men they sent out to retrieve Madi captured on a British Man of War–with Billy on the ship as well. While nothing is said, I have no doubt that they understand the betrayal that has just occurred–but then again, who betrayed whom, first? Rogers starts to execute the pirates, and puts a gun to Madi’s head. Of course, this leads Silver to bring the treasure up so that Rogers can see it–and Flint as well. Flint is clearly furious, but there is nothing he can do about it, now. They have no choice but to follow Rogers, whereever he may go, in order to try and get Madi back.


They have to head through a storm on the way to Skeleton Island. If any of you remember your “Treasure Island” plot, it is where the treasure is buried–the one that old Long John wants to retrieve. So…we are headed towards the end of one story, and the start of another. In the captain’s quarters, Flint and Silver are arguing; Flint is furious of course, but Silver rightfully points out that he has always done what Flint has asked, he has put his friends in the ground for this man, and he should offer him the same courtesy now. He demands support, and Flint, surprisingly, provides it. I really doubt he means, it, though. It’s frustrating to see how blind Silver is towards Flint; it’s not endearing, and it’s passing from  character flaw into annoying.


Back in Boston [Note: last episode I said it was Philadelphia. I apologize], Max is caring for Anne’s wounds. The meetings with Mrs. Guthrie have been going well, and she speaks as if nothing has really changed between them–which clearly rankles Anne. She says that there is nothing between them and Max needs to stop pretending. While it’s harsh, that’s what Anne does–she is blunt, and to the point. Frankly, it makes more sense than any sort of real forgiveness.  

While Max goes off to speak to Mrs. Guthrie again, Anne struggles to deal with her injuries. She can’t even hold a knife enough to cut a slice of bread, and it’s honestly one of the most heartbreaking things to see with her. She’s always been so strong, and she physically simply can’t be anymore. Idelle (who has been with the group the entire time), comes in to bring Anne a ship’s manifest, and tells her that she should give Max another chance–that Max deserves that chance. I’m not sure I agree with her, but given how many times Idelle’s life has been saved by Max, I can see why she would make that argument.


Max is continuing to try and get Mrs. Guthrie on her side, and it seems to be working. The woman asks if Eleanor was happy, in her last days, and that Max might not be Eleanor–but she is a good surrogate, in the end. Together they can do what she had hoped to do with her granddaughter. They are partners now–they will just need someone to lead Nassau, when they finally take it back. The trouble is that it has to be a man. Mrs. Guthrie openly admits that she would prefer that Max be in control, totally–but it would never be allowed. Instead, she needs to manipulate things behind the scenes by marrying someone who has money, but is dimwitted enough to be manipulated. It’s clear that Mrs. Guthrie adores Max and wants the best for her–she even makes it clear that Max would only be married in name, and could do what she likes outside of the marriage bed. Still, Max is torn, still hung up on Anne.

After the meeting with Mrs. Guthrie, Max goes to talk to Anne about everything, and explains that she said no to the arranged marriage. Anne doesn’t understand why, and Max says it’s because she never wants to ruin any chance she has of winning Anne back. She apologizes again for all she has done, heartbroken over it all. She seems genuine, and as Anne takes her hand, things seem to be better…but I just don’t know, guys. I love the show for having this sort of positive LGBT representation, but it has never felt as organic as Anne and Rackham to me–even if Rackham and Anne are just platonic soul mates. Still, I can’t deny these characters deserve a happy ending–if this is it, I’m okay with that.

Back on the pirate ship, Silver and Israel Hands are talking–Hands (rightfully) thinks that Flint needs to die. Things are getting out of hand, and are going to end badly for one of them–it should be Flint, over Silver. Silver, stupidly, thinks that this will all pass. …sure it will. Over someone’s dead body.

We cut to Flint, who is telling the story of the Avery, a ship that came to Skeleton Island once before. It was cursed, and the wreckage of the ship greets the pirates as Flint’s voiceover continues. It’s really atmospheric and haunting. Flint is using this tale of madness and woe to turn the crew against Silver, and it works. Flint manages to get enough people to help him steal the gold and get it onto the island, right under Silver’s nose. Hands watches it all, knowing that Silver needs to see the betrayal with his own eyes to fully understand that he was right about Flint. Hands was right, and once Silver sees it all, he heads to Roger’s boat and announces to him (and Billy, who demands the words be said), that he is going to kill Flint.


Leave a Reply