TV Recap

Black Sails Season 2 Episode 9 Review – XVII

Flint and Miranda confront their past.  Bonny declares her intents to Rackham.  Vane takes a massive prize.  Eleanor declares war.

(Summary provided by


This is another excellent Flint episode where literally everything he does is phenomenal, but the scene that always stands out to me is when he agrees to Peter’s plan and consents to being publicly humiliated for the sake of Nassau/Thomas’s dream.

Peter:  There are men in Whitehall who could potentially find a proposal such as yours to be plausible…but there are other men who will oppose it categorically for the same reason all men refuse to do the things they should.  Pride.
James:  You think they’re too proud to put pardons on the table?
Peter:  I think they fear you.  And to capitulate to something one fears is a humiliation that powerful men cannot accept.  If we are to persuade them to ally with you, then we have to completely redefine their understanding of who you are, what you are.
James:  How do you propose we do that?
Peter:  With the truth…You will stand up, and you will tell your story…You will reveal everything.  And when you do, Captain Flint will be unmasked, the monster slain.  And in his place will stand before all the world a flawed man, a man that England can relate to and offer its forgiveness.

We KNOW that Flint cares desperately about how people view him.  And we KNOW that Flint wants England to apologize to him, that he finds the idea of apologizing to England intolerable.  So when Peter suggests that he publicly expose himself, his love for Thomas, his murders and great deeds, that he apologize for everything to men who want to see him look small…it is astounding that he agrees.  It is astounding that as he stands to think, he smiles before agreeing.  What is going on through his mind?  Is it ironic, because he was prepared for a battle, but he got this instead?  Is it relief, because he will finally tell the full truth?  Or is it simply joy, knowing that at the end of a long road, he has finally found a solution that will bring Thomas’s dream into reality?

WHATEVER IT IS, I LOVE HIM.  He’s so brave in this moment.  Braver even than when he’s fighting.


Miranda!  Oh, God, Miranda.  She is phenomenal in this episode.  She notices the clock and fears what it means, but she keeps it inside because she doesn’t want to disturb the plan.  When it becomes clear that the man who betrayed them is asking Flint to humiliate himself without the decency of offering the humiliation of his own sins in turn, she is DONE.  Her disgust, her utter contempt for him is astounding.  We’ve seen her become angry with Flint before, but this is her whole inner world being revealed.  All the pain and fury and unfairness that she’s kept locked up…she’s finally letting it out.  And they kill her for it.

Miranda:  You destroyed our lives!  You caused our exile!  Thomas died in a cold, dark place–
Peter:  What more do you want from me?
Miranda:  What do I want?  I want to see this whole goddamn city, this city that you purchased with our misery, burn!  I want to see you hanged on the very gallows you’ve used to hang men for crimes far slighter than this.  I want to see that noose around your neck and I want to pull the fucking lever with my own two hands!

RIP Miranda.  I loved you!


“When I first met Mr. Gates and he asked me my name, I feared the man I was about to create.  I feared that someone born of such dark things would consume me were I not careful, and I was determined only to wear him for a while and then dispose of him when his purpose was complete.  Am I ready to let him go?  Truth is every day I’ve worn that name I’ve hated him a little more. I’ve been ready to return him to the sea for a long time.”

The cognitive dissonance that is being James McGraw/James Flint.  This revelation, that he hated being Captain Flint, is a gut-punch, even though we saw the first hints of it in his conversation with Silver about whether he was viewed as a villain.  But this depth of self-hatred?  WOW, it is horrible.

It must be agonizing to feed the darkest parts of yourself (we know James McGraw had a violence in him that was “darker and wilder” than other men’s), to intentionally develop that darkness when every other part of you wants to stop.  It must be confusing to fear being consumed by that darkness while also loving what that darkness makes you capable of doing, to hate yourself for loving it.

James McGraw:  the most tragic figure in all existence, about to become even more tragic.


  • Poor Eleanor.  It must be awful to grieve a confusing loss AND put up with people who are Performing Grief in order to impress you or size up your strength.  Even more awful when the woman you used to love pretends to understand, but she’s just sizing you up too.
  • How unbelievably sexy is it that Flint became captain of a pirate crew in less than four months?  How perfect it is that he became captain by “being someone worth listening to”?
  • How unbelievably weird is it to see Flint as the calming influence?? His hand on Miranda’s back.  

“We were angry.  We allowed that anger to drive us to a dark deed.  But I ask you not to judge me by that one deed.  Judge me by the ends that I have come here in service of.”

  • James’s acceptance of his sins but request to be viewed as more than them reminds me of Eleanor’s statement in 208: “I have done what I’ve done and I will live with it.  But do not for a moment believe that that defines me.”  They really are so similar.
  • Billy saying “You’re all good people” to his crew is HILARIOUS (but no LOL section for this episode because NO ONE DESERVES TO LAUGH after Miranda’s murder.
  • The hope that shines in Flint’s eyes when Peter first entertains their plan – OH it’s painful now.
  • RIP Randall.    This is the second time the Ranger crew has boarded a ship by water just this season.  Someone really should be keeping better tabs on them.
  • BILLY VS. VANE, wow!!
  • Silver is so good at producing solutions out of impossible situations.  When Vincent asks if Silver is saving the two of them or the whole crew, Silver doesn’t answer.  He doesn’t know either.
  • Eleanor’s emphatic assertion that she’s not a pirate felt jarring to me at first. But Vane confirmed her worst fears that pirates, no matter how much they say they love you, will murder your father if you take something valuable from them.  BRB CRYING FOREVER.  Of course she wants to eradicate piracy with a vengeance.
  • Anne comes back just in the nick of time, because Jack and Featherstone would literally be dead without her.  Her reunion with Jack is lovely.  She apologizes, and he looks so scared to approach her too quickly, unsure of who she is and where he stands with her.
  • It’s very satisfying that as Max, Jack, and Featherstone hesitate, Anne is the one to set their pursuit of the Urca gold in motion.  She’s found herself, and therefore her confidence.
  • The conversation between Vane and Billy is lovely.  Shockingly sad to hear him call Billy “Mr. Gates’s boy,” and shockingly perfect to hear that Vane recognizes Billy’s “proper pirate”ness and has long wanted him on his own crew.
  • Silver is helping Flint’s crew survive, Billy is convincing Vane to help Flint.  We might as well rename the show Black Sails: the Story of a Bunch of People Who Hate Flint But Find Themselves Helping Him Regardless
  • It’s ironic that the story Peter wants Flint to tell Whitehall, the true story, is one that made us as viewers see him as Bigger and More, but it’s a story that will make Asshole London think of him as small.
  • Am I reading too much into the fact that an angry woman gets killed for speaking her mind in a world that values submissive, supportive women?  Feels a little on the nose to me.  I see what you’re doing, showrunners!
  • I don’t like Peter, but I do think his plan is genuine.  I think he regrets his past actions and has convinced himself that it was his only choice (“a hard choice”).  I think he does still want the redemption of Nassau and will work with James and Miranda to accomplish it, even if his plan keeps himself above questioning while submitting James to humiliation.  The Turning Point when he becomes a villain is when Miranda is murdered and his solution to this is to publicly try and hang Flint.

“You wish to return to civilization, THAT is what civilization is.”

  • Major props to Vane for seeing the bigger picture so quickly.  He trusted Billy’s experience, and when it was substantiated, he realized that his only option is to do a 180 and rescue Flint.  This Vane is so much more interesting than selfish “show me my future in this room” Vane.

“Nassau is strongest when she is feared.  And if what promises to happen here tomorrow actually happens, a trophy made of one of her most notorious captains, she may never be feared again.  So I suggest we do something about this.  I suggest we get him the hell out of there.”

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

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