Flint faces a dilemma upon his return to Nassau. Eleanor needs help from an unlikely source. Rackham seeks to repair his reputation. Vane uncovers an unexpected prize.
(Summary provided by starz.com)
I’m starting to slow down in my rewatches, because even though the show gets better and better, there are so many betrayals and heartbreaks to watch again, and my heart hurts in anticipation! I’m actually missing the days of season 1 when we were too busy being introduced to characters to kill them off (mostly).
BEST FLINT MOMENT
Just, every look he gives Miranda while flirting and realizes she sees beneath his proper exterior is. so. hot.
TODAY’S RUNNER UP
Eleanor! This is such a good episode between her and her father figures. The scene when Flint arrives, and she rushes to him with a genuine smile on her face in order to publicly embrace him? MY HEART. Even when she realizes he doesn’t have the gold, she says, “I’m so very glad you’re alive.” Later, she sneaks a message to Mr. Scott so that they can talk, and for a few lines they are genuinely happy to see each other and catch up.
As lovely as it is to see Eleanor happy, she earned her spot here for how she stands up to Flint. Lesser men and women would cower beneath his fury, but she defends her actions in giving up the fort to Vane. When Flint realizes she’s strong enough to oppose his strength, he switches tactics and goes for vulnerability. Kudos to him for being honest about killing Gates (“What did you do?” “What was necessary.”), but it doesn’t work. He wants her to make the same decision, to kill someone she loves for the sake of their mission.
But the person he wants her to kill is doing a lot toward showing his own love for her…but more on Eleanor and Vane in the Fragmented Thoughts section.
This episode starts with a joke, when Thomas shows James a pamphlet about piracy and says the problem in Nassau is “a problem most insidious.” James looks for a moment, then suggests, “Illiteracy?” I love these boys and their shared subtle humor!
Miranda: In my experience, there is an inverse relationship between the degree of one’s happiness and the concern one suffers for what the neighbors think.
Miranda: I think you’re someone who’s very good at managing how you’re perceived, and perhaps getting what you want without anyone knowing how you did it, or perhaps if it ever happened at all. Perhaps–
James: Don’t tell me propriety has worked its evils on you too, now.
Miranda: I was going to say that perhaps you’re more concerned with whether or not people talk about what you and I may be doing behind closed doors more than with what we actually are doing.
Thomas and Miranda offer James a world in which one can take the things that make one happy without worrying if it is the “proper” thing to do. At that time (and this time, honestly) an open marriage was something to be feared, scorned, or punished. Yet Miranda knows James well enough to see that he isn’t as interested in social conventions as his naval uprightness implies. She sees some of the “darkness” and “wildness” that was shown to us in the last episode. But where those qualities were condemned by Hennessey, Miranda encourages them. She invites him to leave propriety behind and take what will make him happy. The fact that we see them so unhappy together in the present day makes us ask all sorts of questions that I cannot wait to see answered.
- I’m still in love with Thomas’s confidence that the problem in Nassau is not the pirates but the corrupt governors. His idealism is so sexy!
- James’s realism is also sexy, but that’s because James is still looking so good in these flashbacks.
James: Put a man on an island, give him power over other men, and it won’t be long before he realizes the limits of that power are nowhere to be seen.
- Silver is officially popular! The scene where Dooley insists that they return to Nassau despite the incredible danger of sailing into harbor in a Spanish ship seems to imply that the democratic pirate government is flawed. A popular vote, after all, allows dumb men to make potentially devastating decisions. If their captain were anyone but Flint, I think I’d be suspicious of this. As it is, I’m all for Flint as Pirate King…it’s a little unnerving how much I’ve drunk from his Koolaid.
- Vane’s men need better wigs.
- I loved seeing Miranda and Eleanor together! It must be weird for Eleanor to see evidence of Flint’s domesticity and to hear him called “James.” She’s SUPER suspicious of the power Miranda seems to hold over Flint, and while that’s warranted, I’m still annoyed at how rude she was to imply Miranda is unremarkable.
Miranda: Every man has his torments, demons born of past wrongs that hound and harass him. You perceive the effects of Captain Flint’s demons, echoes of their voices. But I know their names. I was there when they were born. I know the things they whisper to him at night. So you can believe me when I tell you that within his chorus of torments none of them look or sound like me.
- The scene between Max and Vane is beautiful. Her suppressed fear of him is so sad considering the last night she saw him, he was letting his men abuse and assault her. Max seems to be implying that it is weak of Vane to want to protect Eleanor from Ned Lowe, but like, Ned is a brutal psychopath? I don’t think you have to still be hopelessly in love with someone to not want to see them raped and tortured (though…he totally is). “I found a way to stop caring about her. Would you like to know how?” “No.”
- ❤ Eme and the other former slaves are working and finding places in Nassau!
- UM, I too would invite myself into James’s apartment if he answered the door shirtless and with messy hair. This is a painful scene in some ways, though, as the power dynamic between James and the Hamiltons is driven home. He is so obviously pained at her attempts to compliment his small and undecorated room. Later, we see class rearing its head again when he says the Hamiltons are wealthy and secure enough to scorn propriety – James doesn’t have that luxury.
- They are SUPER good at flirting. Wow, their faces!
- Fandom seems very married to the idea that Vane is Loyalty Personified, but I don’t really see it. In this episode, he restores Jack and Anne to influence, abandoning loyalty to the crew they murdered, and NOT because of loyalty to them, but because he got what he wanted from Max. Which! I love! Because I like my Black Sails characters morally complex. But why is fandom so determined to see a Vane that I cannot?
- As Flint remembers his past with Miranda, it inspires him to make a gesture of reconciliation by bringing La Galatea to her. But when he arrives at her house and sees her giving piano lessons, it’s clear that there is no place for him there. He leaves the book instead, and my heart breaks because he cannot have everything that he wants.
- Ned Lowe is DEAD, and I rejoice! Vane is such a badass, and I was very impressed by his subtle dig implying that Ned not only will submit to Vane (“you know your place”), but that he’s one of the only captains that will do so. This scene plays out so beautifully, leading us to assume that Ned has the upper hand, but Vane was playing him all along! I’m so impressed that this show had the balls to kill off such a charismatic, terrifying character after just three episodes. It shows that they know how strong their central characters truly are.
- After seeing Ned’s head on a stick, Eleanor goes to Vane to reward him with sex. Half of me is annoyed by this trope, but the other half of me is genuinely touched. This is the most intimate they’ve been during and after sex, and the fact that Vane watches her sleep does things to my heart. I am NOT a believer in their relationship as something healthy, but there’s just enough good there to convince us why they would keep returning to each other.
- Speaking of surprisingly lovely sex scenes, Anne’s mostly unspoken invitation for Jack to join her and Max is really sweet. Despite Max wanting to get between Anne and Jack (“did he see you come up?”), Anne refuses to play these power games and asks for everything she wants. And in asking for everything, she gives up everything, disrobing for the first time. It’s a vulnerable moment for anyone, but especially for Anne, who lets Max (and us) see her back full of scars for the first time.
- Flint’s final speech resonates VERY hard after knowing some things that are going to happen to him in the near future: “I know how you must feel, how desperate you must be to go home and be embraced by Nassau again. But I’m here to tell you, that place no longer exists. It has been taken from us by a madman, held hostage by threat of force that no one on the island seems able to resist…Nassau was unable to resist him, but we have yet to have our say.”
Not done reliving the episode? Listen to Daphne and Liz’s podcast at Fathoms Deep!