TV Recap

Black Sails Season 1 Episode 8 Review – VIII


The hunt for the Urca is on.  Everything changes for Eleanor.  Bonny and Rackham’s sins come back to haunt them.

(Summary provided by


This episode is FANTASTIC, and my notes while rewatching it become increasingly caps lock-y, culminating in a brief mental breakdown because of my love for Flint.



Literally every scene with Flint in this episode is Top Notch, but I’ll highlight one in particular:

After aligning the ship to fire on the Spanish Man O’ War, Dufresne accuses Flint of “tyrannical crimes” against his crew.  When no one will obey Flint’s orders to fire, he strides down the stairs to light a cannon himself.  Dufresne SHOOTS HIM, at which point he CRAWLS along the deck to light the cannon.  Even though the fuse is taken from him, it does not stop this from being the sexiest display of determination I have ever seen.


Silver!  I suppose it is fitting that in Gates’ last episode (RIP), we see Silver stepping up to be Flint’s right hand man.  Their partnership is the show’s central relationship, and I think this is really the first time we see how powerful they are when acting together.

It’s just one thing after another:  When Silver walks in on Flint after he’s just murdered Gates, he immediately sides with Flint, no questions asked about what has just happened.  Then Flint hides and tells Silver what to say to the Spanish ship.  Silver later tries to talk Dufresne into being calm, and when that is unsuccessful (leading to the aforementioned Flint being shot and unable to light a cannon), it is SILVER who shoots at the Man O’ War and makes the fight inevitable.  Finally, when Flint allows himself to sink, it is Silver who pulls him out and makes sure his wound is bandaged (this is explicitly addressed in episode 1 of season 2, but it’s implied here).

In the previous episode, we saw how desperately Flint needed an ally that shared his vision.  Although Silver shares this vision only so far as it pertains to him acquiring some gold, they are undeniably a good match.  Both smart men who can create new plans in an instant, they are formidable when working together.


Jack’s finally got the brothel in order thanks to Max, and Mrs. Mapleton is unhappy to see her profits decreasing.  When she threatens to expose his past misdeeds, Jack pauses before saying, “Well, Mrs. Mapleton, that sounds like gross insubordination to me.  That, coupled with the graft you’ve been responsible for, leaves me with no choice but to terminate your employment here.”  And later, when he and Max are basking in their victory, he says, “Please don’t judge me, but I really enjoyed that.”


We’ve got to talk about Flint murdering Gates, yeah?  WOW, is that not any easier to watch, even knowing it’s coming.  This is mostly because the previous scene between Flint and Gates, in which they share a drink and laugh about old Craig who drank a bottle of piss, is so much weightier when you know what’s about to happen.  I love the ambiguity of the scene:  does Flint think things are okay between him and Gates?  Is he hoping a boy’s night drinking will MAKE things better?  Or do they both just truly realize that they might die the next day, so they may as well set politics aside and have a good time?

But it’s not enough.  When Gates sees that the Urca isn’t where they thought it would be, he’s done.  Flint is mad, thinking that Gates means to see him hung as a pirate.  But he is FURIOUS when he realizes that Gates wants something worse for him:  to be sent with Miranda to Boston.  This is DEVASTATING to me, because in his attempt to do something “better” for Flint, it shows just how little Gates understood him.

As Daphne and Liz always say in their podcast Fathoms Deep, this is the scene in  which people really get sold on Black Sails, because how can a show present us with a scene of a man murdering someone he called friend…and we’re left pitying the murderer??  God, Toby Stephens is amazing, and the writing is just gut-wrenching.  “Please, please don’t do this.”  “This is not what I wanted, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”  And after it’s done, he is so protective of Gates against Silver, and even strokes his cheek!


All this, and we’re left wondering, “What could POSSIBLY be fueling this man to do such heinous things that even HE obviously finds heinous?”  Hehehe, we’ll have to get there in season two!


  • Just in time for the season finale, we’ve got a ton of boobies again. I guess this is meant to show us that Jack is running the business well again?
  • I want more scenes of Silver as Caretaker for a curmudgeonly Randall.
  • After Silver successfully tells Flint the final piece of the schedule, he says:
    Silver:  Now that I’ve fulfilled my end of our bargain, I’m just wondering where you and I stand.
    Flint:  Keep wondering.
    Silver leaves, and then FLINT GRINS.  I am so in love with this Flint who enjoys messing with his crew (see also: “Billy, who?” which I think I have successfully proven had to have been a joke).
  • Eleanor is still surrounded by men, but instead of them fighting against her, they’re all on her side.  It’s very cool to see her varying reactions to their praise:  With Hornigold, she couldn’t care less.  With Vane, she is mildly impressed by his observations (but not fully – I think his assertion that she doesn’t want fathers telling her what to do should be enlarged to include MEN telling her what to do, which includes you, Vane!).  But with Mr. Scott?  She’s genuinely touched.  And that’s because Mr. Scott knows her and validates her.  That scene between them is entirely lovely.
  • “There are no legacies in this life, are there?  No monuments.  No history.  Just the water.  It pays us, and it claims us.  Swallows us whole, as if we’d never been here at all.” This is a gorgeous observation by Gates, though it unfortunately only highlights how different his perspective is from Flint’s.  While Gates lives in the here and now and expects nothing different, Flint is determined to live bigger and bring about change for himself and everyone else.
  • Runner up for the LOL segment:  Jack and Anne saying, “Fuck you, Jack” in tandem.  Poor Anne has caught FEELINGS for Max and doesn’t even know what they are yet. I can’t wait to find out with her!!
  • Flint’s inspirational speech is so great, and when they see the empty bay, the disappointment is heart-wrenching.
  • During this rewatch, I’ve been able to be more objective about my feelings for Flint (this might not be obvious, but trust me).  Honestly, I can see why people are terrified of him.  Beloved, powerful people keep dying around him.  I mean, Dufresne and DeGroot were scared Gates would betray them, but then Flint CLEARLY murders him and carries on as though nothing has happened, and they’re left believing that no one is sacred to that man.  They don’t know Flint’s history or plans.  I get why they want him gone.
  • HOWEVER, Dufresne really has the most appalling timing.
  • I think his decision to read Gates’ letter is half sincerity, half annoyance that Flint took his information (don’t say tobacco from St. Augustine) and twists it to his own purposes.
  • Vane is a selfish bastard.  The loyalty he extols (poor Jack and Anne!) is very small – it doesn’t extend to anyone beyond his crew even while the rest of Nassau is learning to band together.
  • I do love the ambiguity of why he took the fort.  Is it to prove his power?  Is it to piss off his enemies?  Or is it to give Eleanor the defense she needs to run Nassau effectively?  Because this is Black Sails and our characters are wonderfully complex, I think it’s all three.
  • Dufresne is an idiot!! It is physically painful to watch him make decisions too slowly.
  • OH SHIT, that is the only reaction to watching the Man O’ War turn and open her gunports, and OH SHIT OH SHIT that is carnage like we have never yet seen.
  • Oh my GOD, the sadness of Flint watching his ship and his crew be destroyed, slowing fixing his hair, letting himself be blasted overboard and then sinking, sinking, sinking.
  • Max and Eleanor finally have a real conversation, and it is so sad.

Max:  You have nothing to be sorry about.  I was standing between you and your dreams for this place.  You did what you had to do.
Eleanor:  I thought you said this place was just sand.
Max:  Sand has its virtues.  On sand, nothing is fixed.  Nothing is permanent.  Fates change so quickly.

  • And then we get Flint, alive and shirtless, wondering why this is so.  It’s because the Urca crashed in a storm the night before, and everyone is at least smart enough to realize that FLINT IS THE BEST and they need him if they’re going to get their gold.
  • He is looking SO GOOD standing there in his tight black pants, billowing shirt, and loose hair.  Toby Stephens has ruined me.
  • That’s the end of the first season!  Shaky at first, steadily better, and ending with SUCH a great twisty finale!  Can’t wait to keep going – season 2 is my favorite!
I MEAN.  I am HERE for this outfit,


  • What happened to Gates’ body?  😦  I hope they went back to the Walrus to find him and give him to the sea.

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

5 comments on “Black Sails Season 1 Episode 8 Review – VIII

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  4. Did u seriously say the sexiest display of determination u have ever seen?? He like crawled a couple inches n he was only shot n the shoulder..u must not watch much tv lol bc that what the lamest display of determination ive ever seen..he moved an inch n still didnt light it lmao wth..its a good show but like did u write this bc ur in love w flint or something?? Hes a snake..should b dead already..not sexy n not determined just a lying snake


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