TV Recap

Black Sails Season 1 Episode 4 Review – IV

An undertaking by the Walrus crew ends in disaster.  Silver warns Flint about Billy.  Rackham and Bonny try to regain their livelihood.  Eleanor needs help from her father.  A figure from Vane’s past pays a visit.

(Summary provided by


Q:  What happens to Randall’s cat, Betsy?
A:  She is seen running away unsquished, so I choose to believe she found a new home in the Nassau interior and is being treated well there.  Sad that Randall doesn’t get to keep her, but honestly, having a cat on the ship would have stressed me out any time there was violence.


I love that he steps up as captain to risk being crushed in order to save his crew, but even more, I love his mini-speech to Eleanor.  Big picture, idealistic Flint is my favorite!

“Nobody will believe that it’s possible until we show them.  But when that day comes, you know what they’ll say?  They’ll say that it was inevitable.”

Oh Captain, my Captain!


Miranda!  I’ll talk more about her under “Well-Formed Thoughts,” but I love this passionate, sad woman that we are slowly getting to know.  Especially heartbreaking was her kindness toward a little boy who then threw rocks at her and called her a witch.  Dangerous era to be a woman with secrets.


Silver can’t cook a pig, must take lessons from pirate captain on the sly. ❤

Flint:  What the FUCK did you do to that?
Silver:  I…cooked it?
Flint:  You absolutely did not.


I really love the slow reveal of Miranda and Flint’s backstory, and it’s a testament to the show’s brilliance that it’s even more compelling on rewatch.  Let’s review some of the things we learned about them in this episode, shall we?

We know that Flint hunted the Maria Aleyne in order to murder two people, and that when he returned to Nassau, he told Miranda it was “done.”  We know that they have sex together, and that it is pretty spectacularly bad.  Flint is a non-participant, and when Miranda finishes and lays against him, his eyes are dead and hers are teary.  We know that after they are dressed, they show astounding vulnerability and intimacy toward each other.

Miranda:  That book is something I shared with Thomas.  I just – missed it.  Our life then, when he was alive.  I can feel myself forgetting it, and I don’t want to forget it.  This place, this life that we’ve been living here, it doesn’t feel like living anymore.  I can’t be alone in feeling this way.  Some part of you must feel it too.
*Flint holds her face*
Flint:  Things will get better here.  I promise you they will.
*Flint kisses her forehead*

These mixed relational signals are further confused when Mr. Guthrie confronts Miranda with his knowledge that she is not Mrs. Barlow but Mrs. Hamilton.  The mystery deepens!

“The portrait in your room depicts you alongside Lord Thomas Hamilton, son of Alfred Hamilton, the lord proprietor of these Bahama Islands…You see, I’ve had extensive dealings with the earl over the years, and so I’d long heard of the tragedy that befell his eldest son.  But Thomas’s wife, long rumored to be the cheating sort, had begun a torrid affair with her husband’s closest friend, a promising young officer in His Majesty’s Navy.  Upon discovering the affair, Thomas went mad with grief.  His despair was so great, even the asylum couldn’t protect him from himself.  As for Thomas’s wife, she’s said to have fled London along with her lover, partly out of shame, partly to escape retribution.  Given the facts at hand, I am forced to assume that the lover is none other than our friend Captain Flint.”


  • Gates and Billy are two of the only non-ambitious characters in this show, and they both receive promotions in this episode with the blessing of the crew.  This contrasts quite nicely with John Silver and Captain Flint, both of whom have to scheme and lie in order to find/keep power.
  • I do not enjoy the “fuck tent,” and I’m happy that this is the last time we ever have something like that.
  • In a similar but even worse circumstance, we find Max making the best of a horrible situation.  I love that she uses her captivity to try to teach pirates the joy of good, consensual, gentle sex, but Asshole Pirate ruins everything by being an Asshole.  Anne has Feelings about this, but she is not yet a character that says or does much.
  • Eleanor’s actions in taking away Vane’s ship and crew are starting to have significant repercussions re: her power in Nassau.  The other pirates are resenting her and even calling her “Queen Eleanor” – a dangerous title in a democratic pirate republic.
  • Mr. Scott is trying to be the voice of reason, but both Eleanor and Mr. Guthrie are using him.  I liked that they finally addressed the fact that Mr. Scott is the Guthrie’s slave – this serves to make their relationships even more twisted, and his power and gravitas even more impressive.
  • Also, Mr. Guthrie’s wig is hella awful.
  • “Trust me.  I am purely in this for myself and you know this.  I have no reason to tell you anything other than the truth.  Both our futures depend on this.”  Flint doesn’t want to be won over by Silver, but he can’t help but listen!
  • Jack is so impotent this season, and he’s far from the joy he will become, but this exchange with Noonan was a DELIGHT.
    “Then I believe we are at an impasse.”
    *blank stare*
    “A disagreement without prospect of resolution.”
    “Fuck you, Jack.”
  • Vane’s having a trippy episode, high on opium and envisioning Eleanor and a Mysterious Bearded Man.  His dream of Eleanor is especially revealing of his inner world, something we needed to see.  I’m impressed by his knowledge of Eleanor and her ambition, as well as the revelation that this is exactly what attracted him to her.  It’s also a joy to see him vulnerable, weeping, grieving, and fearful.  He’s a human now!
  • RIP Morley
  • RIP Noonan, no wait, you can rest in agony for making a living off abused women.

“You know that she will stop at nothing to save this place.  A place where she matters.  A place where you matter.  Except that in your heart, you know the truth – places like this aren’t meant to last.”


  • Why is the Guthrie family repeatedly said to live in Boston when later they are said to live in Philadelphia?
Someone befriend this woman!  No, not you, Mr. Guthrie.

Not done reliving the episode?  Listen to Daphne and Liz’s podcast at Fathoms Deep!

2 comments on “Black Sails Season 1 Episode 4 Review – IV

  1. Randall’s cat looks so much like one of my sister’s cats. So dainty and cute!

    The Flint/Silver exchanges are hilarious, esp Flint’s constant exasperation w/pretty much everything Silver says or does.

    Me: OMG don’t eat undercooked pork! Trich risk! In fact the one dude who complains to Silver might already have been infected b/c diarrhea is a classic early symptom.

    I have MANY Miranda thoughts, but nearly all are actually more appropriate to hold for later episodes. This rewatch has clarified somewhat in my mind that Miranda is in fact loosely connected to the local community in the sense that she knows names/families, so presumably must have attended church occasionally and possibly any ‘neighborhood meetings’, but it’s unclear whether she has any friends or is even received at anyone’s house. It makes me really sad.

    I love Max in this episode, and this makes me really wonder what she would have been like with a top-notch education and opportunities in ‘polite’ society. AWESOME, I’m sure.

    This ep shows us one of the reasons Flint likely got the crew’s confidence in the early days of his captaincy, as he risks his life for one of the least useful members of the crew. It’s a nice reminder of another aspect of his leadership beyond his secrecy and conniving. It’s also ironic that Billy, who has been waffling around on his feelings about supporting vs. standing up to Flint for several episodes, decides he’s afraid of Flint NOW.
    Also, is this the first hint of selflessness or bravery that Silver has shown? Running into danger to offer the cleaver? I’d forgotten about the leg chopping, too. Ugh.

    I agree with you…I’m glad they clarified Mr. Scott’s slave status b/c it lent undercurrents to all his interactions in this ep, and I really hate it when Mr. Scott and Eleanor are at odds. I also thought it was important that they showed Mr. Scott’s physical, almost familial, intimacy with Eleanor, approaching very close and straightening her collar for her. Meanwhile, at this stage, it’s difficult to tell whether Mr. Guthrie really cares about Eleanor’s welfare or not, and if so whether any of that care is actually paternal love.

    I quite enjoy Vane wallowing around in useless, mind-altered, self-pity over how mean Eleanor is to him, and I share Jack’s exasperation with him. The show cleverly undercuts Vane’s badassity in comparison with Flint. They both have relationship problems and crew problems, but Vane’s behavior is so passive and self-pitying compared with Flint, which effectively sets Vane up to pull himself out of his funk and have a Big Power Resurgence.



    • I never understood why people loved vane straight off the jump for exactly this reason! His external “manliness” masks cruelty and insecurity. I didn’t grow on him until season 2.


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