TV Recap

Black Sails Season 3 Episode 1 Review – XIX

Flint and his crew wage war against the world.  Eleanor receives an offer of clemency.  Vane objects to Rackham’s methods.  One of Nassau’s most notorious returns.

(Summary provided by


“There will be no battle today.  Our disadvantage is too great.  But what price surrender? To beg forgiveness from a thing that took my woman from me?  My friend?  Murdered her, displayed her body for their amusement.  I can walk away from this fight if I just sign my name beneath a solemn oath never again to do violence against it.

No.  Not after all it has taken from me.  Not after all it has taken from you.  I will do great violence against that thing.  They say they will pardon us all, but I say to offer to pardon something one fears is the act of a coward.  To offer them in volume suggests that their fear of us is becoming unmanageable, that we have shown them what we are capable of and it terrifies them.

Do any of you want to surrender to men who fear you?  Lay down arms in a battle that we are winning?  Neither do I.  Fuck Benjamin Hornigold, his king, and their pardons.  This war isn’t nearly over.”

In an episode dominated by Flint’s lack of emotion, here we see his disgust for England and “civilization” in full (the first time he shows an emotion is when he says ‘took my woman from me” and my heart died).  This is Flint at his most magnetic, convincing men to scorn pardons when just weeks (months?) earlier, Silver gave a speech convincing them that pardons were their best option.  And although Flint says this is for “all it has taken from you,” it is very clear that he’s rallying these men to fight for his revenge, his grief.  And they do.  Because he frames them as winners, and winners have no reason to forfeit.  He’s given them a vision of themselves that they want to hold on to.


Honestly, this episode felt very much like Flint & Everybody Else.  But amidst those clamoring for second billing, Silver probably wins out.  He’s both better and worse than we’ve ever seen him before.

He’s settled into his role as quartermaster, comfortable offering Flint advice, conveying Flint’s orders with a positive spin (as he does with Dobbs), and shouting ship-speak to the crew.  But he’s also deeply possessed by a fear of other people’s perception of him.  This is because he now has a position he fears losing, but more than that, this is because he desperately doesn’t want to be known for his crippled leg.  He isn’t cleaning it properly, and he’s avoiding using crutches despite being told this might lead to his having more of his leg cut off.  The poor man is on a mission to prove that he’s more than his limitations, and this is a VERY different turn from the guy we first met who was happy to let you think he was more limited than he actually was.


Anne sits beside Max in a bath and, after listening to the sounds of sex from the next room, dryly comments:

“We got all the money in the world.  Maybe we could find a room that ain’t in the middle of a whorehouse.”


Flint’s got a death wish.  He’s always been recklessly violent, but he is no longer careful in the slightest.  In his first scene of the season, Flint strides into the city he’s sacking, walking directly at a man who tries to shoot him.  Flint doesn’t duck or pause; the only thing that saves him is pure dumb luck that the gun misfires and Flint can cut the man down.  Later, when he lists all the reasons they shouldn’t go onto the Bait Ship, he lets the wrong decision be made instead of sticking to his opinion.  And when Silver tries to send someone else before Flint for safety, Flint crosses over first with zero fucks as to what happens.

When they find the marooned captain’s log scrawled with “we die alone” over and over again and it’s mentioned that he must have gone mad, it’s easy to draw a comparison to Flint.  This comparison is solidified when DeGroot says the storm Flint wants to sail into is a ship killer, and Flint replies, “Then he’d be mad to follow us in there,” (AKA I’m mad for going in there).

Losing Miranda and losing his last connection to Thomas (in the form of his dream of a colonized Nassau) has utterly undone Flint.  He has a new purpose now – to take down England and see Nassau free of its influence – but he cares very little whether or not he lives to see it happen.

Poor Silver has a big job ahead, saving Flint from himself.


  • We meet Blackbeard for the first time!  He’s very composed, erudite, and ruthless.  But not ruthless like Ned Lowe in season 2, so I am HERE for it!

“There is no forever.  Everything moves toward its end.”

  • This feels especially prescient now that we’ve passed the halfway point of the show.  In this episode, it really FEELS like everything is moving toward its end.  Eep!
  • Ninja!Flint OMG ❤
  • Yikes, Ninja!Flint has no emotions in his mission to avenge hanged pirates.  This particular magistrate is banking on the fact that Flint is a good man.  We know he is, so we expect him to either mete out a lesser punishment or at least show remorse for murdering him.  Nope!  This empty Flint murders both the magistrate and his wife, and when he hallucinates Miranda’s corpse as his victim instead, he just leaves the room, blank-faced as ever.
  • Billy is not very perceptive in this episode.  Silver can see that Flint has changed, but Billy is just like, “nah, it’s a mood.”  And later when on Ship Bait, Billy is all “why would they maroon their captain on a boat rather than an island?” while Flint is figuring everything out.  Billy, my man, step up!
  • It feels very odd to see Vane as Featherstone’s captain.  But I love this side of Vane, who both 1) refuses to let slaves die and 2) refuses to let the slaver ship escape.  Very clever move on his part to use the launches!
  • I really dislike Max in this episode.  The fake Eleanor trial is in poor taste, and it highlights the fact that Max panders to people rather than inspiring them.  She is okay with the status quo, so long as herself and those closest to her are treated well by it.  And later, when she says the iconic “In another time, another place, they would call me a queen,” I couldn’t help but notice that everything she lists as evidence are Eleanor’s accomplishments.  I wonder how much of this is something she realizes and fears?

Mr. Scott:  You wanted to replace Eleanor.  She was the one Nassau relied upon to solve those problems no one else could or would.  I hope for all our sakes you are up to the task.

  • Anne is caught between Jack and Max.  Jack calls Max Anne’s “husband” and later Anne warns Max that she’s getting close to the one thing she promised never to do – make Anne choose between the two.
  • I ADORE the scene when Silver walks in on Flint while he’s asleep.  It belies the intimacy they now share, though Flint is very much keeping up some walls.  When Silver tries to use the power of emotional speechifying against Flint, he is Shut Down (for being a little too correct).  Silver is trying to step into his role as a partner, but Flint doesn’t want anyone that close after losing Miranda.

Silver:  I understand this is all incredibly personal to you after the loss of Mrs. Barlow.
Flint:  Now, wait a minute –
Silver:  And I understand the burden of playing the role you currently play must be taking a toll even you cannot fully comprehend.
Flint:  Stop.  Now you have wormed your way into the heads of the men out there, and they’ve granted you authority over them because of it.  But in my head, you are not welcome.

  • I REALLY wish we’d seen the meeting between Flint, Vane, and Jack right after season 2.
  • Vane is pissed at Jack for sending him after slaves to use in the fort.  I am baffled by this plotline?  After quite eloquently explaining how awful slavery is, Vane just…agrees?  Is the point of this supposed to be that our heroes can use slave labor so long as they feel badly about it?  Why not use the power of their names and start working themselves and inspiring their crews to join them?  I buy Jack thinking of this plan because he’s got enough white man privilege to blind himself to what he’s doing, but Vane?
  • Flint wants to avoid the ship bait, but Silver is in favor.  They’re in need of resupplying and there’s a storm coming.  Silver is annoyed that Flint thinks he made the wrong call and says, “How would you have argued [it]?” leading to another excellent Flint speech!

“These days any man who can sew a black flag and get ten fools to follow him can take a prize.  They can take it because of the fear that I and men like me have instilled in their prey.  But they can’t do what I can do.  They’re not built for it.  And sooner or later, they’ll be exposed.  Any fool who followed Hallendale deserves whatever end they got in his company.  You were right – the war is getting more dangerous.  The strong among us must stand together and face it.  But the fools and the pretenders, they were were never truly among us to being with.  As their quartermaster, it’s your decision.  But that’s how I might’ve argued it to my men to avoid unnecessary delay.

  • UM, am I reading too much into Silver’s look when Flint says “the fools and pretenders were never truly among us to begin with”?  Does Silver feel like a pretender and fear that Flint sees him that way too?
  • Flint’s realization as to the purpose of the Bait Ship and his plan to evade capture is SUCH FAST THINKING.  Oh Captain, my captain.
  • Max wants to be a queen, and she knows that “when civilization returns, do you know what they will call me then?  The whore that lost everything.”  Her rags-to-riches story only exists outside of civilization and their status quo.

Billy:  Whoever that is out there, he has us.
Silver:  Bullshit.  That man [Flint] has a goddamned answer for everything.  He’s working on an answer for this.

  • Ooooh Silver, remember when you said, “I’m certain I won’t make the mistake you both [Billy and Gates] made.  I don’t believe in him.  To me, he is the means to securing a very valuable prize, no more, no less.”  Sure sounds like you believe in him now!
  • Ugh, Hornigold and Dufresne.  I hate them, but it’s not even an interesting kind of hate.  They just suck.
  • Just wanna draw attention to the fact that I already quoted Flint’s amazing anti-pardon speech at the very beginning of this post, and it’s worth reading again in the flow of the episode!  One thing I didn’t mention there – after calling Miranda his “woman,” he adds that she was his “friend.”  One term is for his men to understand, the other is his truth.  I love that he needs to say out loud who she was to him.
  • Woodes Rogers appears!  I like his introduction, mostly because he admires the way Eleanor gave her testimony in court.  And I like his honesty about his selfishness, how he wants to use her story to bolster his own.
  • My love for Eleanor only grows when Rogers tries to comfort her emotionally, and she’s all, “yeah, yeah, yeah, but let’s get down to practicalities” and then immediately tells him the one name he needs to worry about.
  • The first time I watched the series, I hated Eleanor and was so confused by her season 3 arc.  But we left her in season 2 with Vane confirming all her worst fears of pirates by murdering her father.  Last she heard, her plan with Flint was to partner with England to restore Nassau, so aligning herself with Rogers against the Dangerous Pirates (Vane) in order to restore a proper governor to New Providence Island is exactly in character for her.
  • So many soldiers!  So many ships!  oh no!

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

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