TV Recap

Black Sails Season 3 Episode 4 Review – XXII

Civilization returns to Nassau, and sets its sights on Vane.  Flint, Silver, and Billy encounter a new enemy.  Rackham takes a stand against his crew.  Scott finds his place in the new regime.

(Summary provided by


Silver questions why Flint is even entertaining Billy’s plan to escape into the trap-laden jungle, to which Flint replies, “It gives him focus.  Keeps his mind off the fact that there might not be a better plan.  Why would we want to take that away from him?”

Flint’s kindness is always a delightful surprise, as is the revelation that his role as captain extends in so many nuanced and exhausting directions.


Teach!  He is such a good Pirate Daddy for Vane.  Without even knowing that Vane hopes to flee with him, Teach appears in the middle of Vane’s escape fight, and together they are so amazing!!  Teach in particular is a graceful and deadly fighter, which is very cool to see.

He accepts Vane onto his ship, and even gives him one last look (test?) at Eleanor.  He wants to know if his Pirate Son will betray him for her once more, either by abandoning their dangerous plan for fear of hurting her or by betraying Teach to save her.  When Teach realizes that Vane can think beyond his emotions, he is so proud.

It’s really nice to see such a loving relationship between two male pirates.

(Although…I guess Vane and Jack have something similar?  How does Vane uniquely inspire such non-sexual male love??)


“Godspeed, Charles.”
“Fuck you, Jack.”


Okay, this is maybe not as Laugh Out Loud as I intended, but it is surprising and cute before the sadness sets in.


Let’s talk about Flint and his relationship to vulnerability.

In this episode, Silver makes two gestures of vulnerability to Flint.  First, he allows Flint to sit beside him while he cleans his stump with his prosthetic off, even though he has isolated himself from the crew to do so.  Second, after falling in the woods, he uses Flint’s shoulder as a crutch during the hike.  This is not necessarily surprising, since in the last episode Silver established a precedent of vulnerability with Flint in a bid for his partnership (by both admitting his role in stealing the Urca gold and in admitting his dependency upon the Walrus crew for purpose).

What is especially interesting to me is how Flint reacts to this.  Instead of using Silver’s vulnerability against him, Flint responds with vulnerability of his own.  In the dark of their cage, Flint tells Silver his past: about Miranda and “her husband,” Peter Ashe, and their goal of obtaining a universal pardon to introduce to Nassau in order to establish colonial rule.  This is something he’s told no one else (I don’t think Gates even knew this).  I do think this is partly because he thinks they will all die on that island, but even so, he wouldn’t have shared that with anyone but a Silver who had previously opened up to him.

What I’m saying is, Flint is desperate to love and be loved, to know and be known.  His role as a pirate captain has necessitated that he close himself off from all emotions save greed and anger.  Miranda was his one outlet, but even his relationship with her was guarded and abrupt until very recently.  Now there is a person in his pirate captain life who interacts with him as an equal to be trusted and relied upon, and it is no surprise that our secretly tender-hearted Flint blossoms under such attention.  He wants a safe place to be vulnerable, and for now, he has found it in Silver.


  • When Silver lets Flint in on his revelation about the bigger picture about the pardons, he says it is “the opening move in [the] attack.”  As things get murky and even Flint finds himself wondering why they’re fighting against what seems to be his original goal, it’s important to notice Silver’s choice of words.  The pardons they are being offered are an “attack” while the pardons Thomas envisioned were forgiveness.  TBD as the series continues.

“For whatever reason, when you and I speak with one voice, we seem to be able to compel them to any end.”

  • Why is Flint/Silver as the unstoppable dream team SO SEXY?  Full confession:  I did not ship Flint and Silver the first time I watched through the series.  I didn’t even think of it as an option until I finished and saw that fandom was all about them.  I remain a diehard James/Thomas fangirl, but I SEE IT, OKAY.  I see it.
  • Woodes Rogers has a very accurate summation of Eleanor:  “Because you’re smart without needing anyone to explain to you how to be.  And because you’re not afraid of being thought to be wrong when you know that you’re right.”  Later, when she admits the worst of herself to him via the opinions of those in Nassau (“That I’m untrustworthy, that I would turn on anyone at any time, no matter how close they were to me.  No matter who it hurt or how severely.”), he takes it in and then continues to use her as his senior counselor.  I’m not emotionally attached to this relationship, but I can totally see why Eleanor would feel seen and valued.
  • Jack the badass!  The way he opened the fort’s door, shot a guy in the head, and shut the door again??  UM.
  • Anne is very smart in this episode.  I think everyone in the show overlooks her, but she’s the one questioning why Vane is singled out as unforgiveable, and later she’s the one telling Jack that they’ve won.  They have an enormous treasure, and they can go learn French and live in Brussels.  Anne, honey, you deserve to be listened to.
  • I LOVE our introduction to Maroon Island.  The men and women who have escaped slavery are initially presented to fit into our historical narrative as “savages” covered in paint.  But they are immediately shown to be smart and prepared (littering their forest with traps) and civilized (in the good sense).  They have built a stunning city considering they started from nothing about fifteen years ago, and they have a system of government fun by the ineffably elegant QUEEN.  “She is everything here: priestess, governess, warlord.”
  • I love that the Black Sails writers thought, you know what we need?  Another strong female leader!  No wait, TWO.
  • I love them.
  • When the Queen asks who their captain is, Flint immediately assumes responsibility.  When she asks for the quartermaster, Silver pauses before doing the same.  Since this season is all about Silver learning how to be a leader, this is very indicative of his progress.
  • Treasure Island alert!  Ben Gunn joins the Walrus crew.
  • The only thing this show could do to make me like Hornigold for even a second is to have him warmly greet Mr. Scott and show him special attention.  Augh, fine!  You get ten seconds of my goodwill!
  • Mr. Scott, however, is being very problematic by offering to find the escaped slaves and return them.  Of course, we later learn that he actually found them and is helping them escape to Maroon Island!
  • Speaking of escaped slaves, we learn that Jack left their prison unlocked when the fort exploded, which…okay, that’s nice.  I’m glad he didn’t leave them there.  But this is framed as something practical more than moral, since by letting them escape, he prevents the English from using slave labor to rebuild the fort quickly.  This whole plot line (now ended?) has been very frustrating for me, but I suppose I appreciate that the show refused to make our heroes anachronistically heroic.
  • Hallucination alert!!  It’s a short one but a good one!

Miranda:  You’re curious again.  Ready to follow me through a door that is somehow less frightening knowing I await you on the other side.
Flint:  I miss you.
Miranda:  I miss you, too.
Flint:  When we arrive out there, I am to leave you behind?
Miranda:  Yes.
Flint:  What if I were to stay?

  • Flint’s death wish is now fueled by sadness rather than rage.  He’s moving through the stages of grief quite nicely.
  • Silver goes on a field trip to meet Madi!  This is when the show steps up a notch.  So far it has been a story of oppression of white people by white people.  But instead of letting that be an analogy for people of color to see themselves in, Black Sails says, no.  We’re bring African men and women who were enslaved to the table and letting them speak about their oppression for themselves.  IT IS SO GREAT.

“There are one thousand men and women here.  Among them there is no shortage of anger or hate or fear.  Perhaps you have noticed.  They have suffered cruelties you cannot possibly imagine.  Sisters separated from brothers.  Husbands from their wives.  Mothers from their sons.  No one has greater cause to swear England an enemy and desire vengeance against her as we do.”

  • Mrs. Hudson is being nosy, and we don’t know why.
  • FIRE SHIP!  This is definitely one of the coolest naval strategies they’ve done so far.  The pirate fleet escapes, and England is down one ship.
  • Silver is confused as to why Flint is not plotting.  His knowledge of Flint’s psyche is revealed by this telling question: “Where are you?”  Flint is in 1705, which he tells Silver about in a stunning display of vulnerability (discussed in more depth in the Best Flint Moment above).

“Peter Ashe, Miranda, her husband, and I, we worked to obtain a universal pardon and introduce it to Nassau to eliminate piracy and restore colonial rule there.  I moved away from those things.  Inch by inch, I forgot it all.  And now, in this cage, in the belly of this thing that has swallowed us whole, I wonder if the civilization of Nassau isn’t exactly what I tried to achieve all those years ago.  If resisting it doesn’t set me in opposition to everything I once understood to be good and right.  To forgive.  To make order of chaos.  I wonder if the pardons are the victory, and that the most enlightened thing that I can do is sit still.  Accept what appears to be inevitable, and let this be the end of Captain Flint.”

  • I assume anyone watching the show knows that Captain Flint will not just sit still, but technically saying so spoils the next episode.  Whatever.  This is Flint’s dark night of the soul; he’s tired of fighting, he’s confused, he misses Miranda, and he wants it all to be over.  But I’m reminded of what Miranda herself once said about Thomas:  “Great men…are made by one thing and one thing only: the relentless pursuit of a better world.  The great men don’t give up that pursuit.  They don’t know how to.  And that is what makes them invincible.”
  • In the midst of his grief, Flint makes some Very Astute character assessments.  Billy’s lie is that he will fight his way out, and Silver’s lie is that he will talk his way past.  Flint is usually a combination of both fighting and talking, but now…he says he has no more lies within him.
  • Which is very FITTING, because when Madi confronts her mother, the Queen says she doesn’t trust “lying pirates.”
  • Madi is too trusting because she did not experience life as a slave.  The Queen is not trusting enough because she did.
  • Oh, and REVEAL.  Mr. Scott is Madi’s father and the Queen’s husband, which makes him a KING.  Our man is finally given the role he deserves.

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

0 comments on “Black Sails Season 3 Episode 4 Review – XXII

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: