TV Recap

Black Sails Season 3 Episode 9 Review – XXVII

Eleanor puts everything on the line to save Rogers.  Billy recruits allies.  Flint and Silver prepare for war.

(Summary provided by


Flint parallel parks a ship incredibly close to shore by delivering calm orders to fearful men, then stares down Hornigold with the most badass “you could never” look.



RIP Vane.

Although he went from selfish bastard to martyr for the cause, Vane never lost who he truly is:  a badass.  Who else would say, “Get on with it, motherfucker,” and then walk off the cart to hang himself faster, insisting on being executed on his own terms.

Oh, Vane.  I didn’t always love you, but when I did, I loved you DEEPLY.


Flint and Silver are officially old marrieds.

Silver:  If you have something to add, you should just fucking say it.
Flint:  That’s not why you did it.
Silver:  Really?  Would you like to tell me why I did it, then?


We’ve been circling themes of leadership and darkness this whole season (and series, honestly), and in Flint’s warning/welcome to Silver, we are explicitly told the connection between the two.

Flint:  I’d hazard the guess that you learned of what had happened, told him how fucking stupid he was, and in that moment, he gave you a look that amounted to something less than contrite.  And in that moment, you felt it.
Silver:  Felt what?
Flint:  Darkness.  Hate.  Showing indifference to the authority that you sacrificed so much to acquire, disdain for refusing to acknowledge that his actions, had you not intervened, would have led to an outcome that he would have held you responsible for reversing.  Pride.  Questioning what kind of man you are if you don’t seek retribution for the offense.

This sounds a lot like Madi’s analogy of the heavy crown.  Flint knows about the crown, but in contrast to Madi, who has been supported by family and community, Flint knows what it is to bear that crown alone.  He knows what it is to carry an enormous weight, and to resent everyone around him for not seeing it, respecting it, acknowledging it.  And he knows that in his worst moments, he can act out of that resentment.

Flint believes that the darkness isn’t inherently wrong, but he knows that one must have control over it, and not the other way around.  This is where Madi’s analogy of the tether is so important.  In order to endure the darkness, it is essential to have someone with you, supporting you, aware of the heavy crown and its costs.

This whole show is about the power of partnerships, huh?  God, it’s so beautiful.



“It is not the treasure that concerns me most.  Charles Vane’s sacrifice is in that box.  If your man is unsuccessful in seeing to his rescue, Charles Vane’s death is inside that box.  Along with my good name.  Along with her lost love. Along with your late quartermaster’s life.  All the awful sacrifices made to assemble that box are now part of its contents, and those things are sacred things that I trust in no man’s hands.”

  • The weight of what they’ve all done is settling in on everyone, and that’s before one of our major characters is executed.
  • The scene between Eleanor and Vane is so good because these two know exactly how best to hurt each other.  Eleanor calls Vane a coward, and Vane tells Eleanor she isn’t loved.  As has always been the case, they’re simultaneously so wrong and so right.  They see some things about each other so clearly, but they are utterly blind to other things.  As they began, so they end:  as a tragedy.
  • Eleanor’s speech to Vane is the perfect summation of how civilization justifies their demeaning hatred of pirates.

“You’re not a man.  You’re deformed.  Unformed.  Flesh, bone, and bile, and missing all that which takes shape through a mother’s love.  You cannot comprehend what you took from me or why it was good, because there is no goodness in you.  There is no humanity in you, no capacity for compromise, nor instinct toward repair, nor progress, nor forgiveness.  You are an animal.”

  • Woodes Rogers is bedridden with the Nassau disease that is taking down his soldiers, which is a very reminder that even the island itself is trying to expel the English.
  • Eleanor is motivated by revenge, but I believe she also genuinely wants to move beyond both Vane and her hatred of him.  “There is no leaving it behind, but I’m ready to move forward.”
  • Featherstone and Idelle riding in a carriage together makes me very happy.
  • Billy’s job is to make people give a shit, but am I alone in thinking this is a very weird job for him to latch onto?  He’s never been good at convincing anyone of anything, as Flint and Silver consistently and effectively walk all over his concerns.  Am I not giving our tall boy enough credit?
  • I LOVE seeing the reunion of families on Maroon Island.  It’s no wonder Flint regained his desire to live and fight after meeting them – this is the homeland he’s so long envisioned creating.

Madi:  I stood in Nassau, and I realized when this war begins, it will have many different meanings.  But to you this war is a civil war between two cities you held together for so long with unseen bonds.  You will have people on both sides of it.  You will have daughters on both sides of it.  And I want you to know–
Mr. Scott:  Only you.

  • This is SO SWEET and makes me cry, but I can’t help but feel sorry for Eleanor.  Vane’s accusations of no one really loving her are not untrue.  She’s never felt secure in anyone’s love, because everyone who has loved her has had multiple obligations.  But I’m making this lovely scene into a white woman’s pain.  More importantly:  How wonderful for Madi to have her father’s full support, and for them to have this moment together before he died.
  • Mrs. Mapleton tells Max that Idelle is the spy, but she won’t tell Eleanor because she believes Eleanor is self-destructive, implying Max is not.  “Some people can only understand themselves through the eyes of those who hate them.”  God, this episode is really making me feel sad for Eleanor.
  • Eleanor says she doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her except for Woodes Rogers, which begs the question: why him?  She barely knows him.  But I think that’s exactly the reason.  She has idealized him to the point that she subconsciously believes he represents everything:  civilization, stability, hope.  If she can earn his approval, then she will feel that everything she has done has been worth it.

Flint:  The more you deny its [darkness] presence, the more powerful it gets, and the more likely it is to consume you entirely without you ever even knowing it was there.  Now, if you and I are to lead these men together, you must learn to know its presence well so that you may use it rather than it use you.
Silver:  You have some experience with this, I imagine, living in fear of such a thing within you?
Flint:  Yeah, I do.
Silver:  I can’t tell if this was a warning or a welcome.

  • It’s BOTH, because that’s what a partnership is:  Thank God there’s someone here with me, now let’s help each other get out.
  • Silver comforting Madi after Mr. Scott’s death is very sweet.
  • Max tries very hard to caution Eleanor that the people of Nassau tolerate England’s presence because they’re given security and order.  The second she takes away that order, people will question why they should keep England around.  But Eleanor just wants this all DONE, blinding herself to the possible consequences.
  • Lambrick visits Vane, which will be an entire post for my theology section soon!
  • Vane refuses to be enslaved, even to fear of death.

“These men who brought me here today do not fear me.  They brought me here today because they fear you.  Because they know that my voice, a voice that refuses to be enslaved, once lived in you.  And may yet still.  They brought me here today to show you death and use it to frighten you into ignoring that voice.  But know this:  We are many.  They are few.  To fear death is a choice, and they can’t hang us all.  Get on with it, motherfucker.”

  • Wow.  Just, wow.  I hate that Vane died, but what a way to die.
  • Vane looks into Eleanor’s eyes and walks off the cart to his death.  Even in death, they are playing a game of who wins, and clearly Eleanor’s “victory” doesn’t feel very sweet.
  • Mr. Scott also dies, though in contrast to Vane, he is surrounded by people who love and honor him.  …Also Jack, who takes the opportunity to further his ambitions by requesting command of the ship Vane would have led in the upcoming battle.
  • Flint snarkily saying, “All struggles are uphill, that’s why they’re called struggles” gives me life!
  • Other people talking about Flint’s brilliance is my kink.

“He wants the force you bring to bear, he wants it.  I know this enemy, Commodore.  I know his mind.  He took that cache with the express purpose of compelling us to commit your force to a battlefield of his choosing.  Your force is factored into his thinking.  He has planned for it.  And I assure, you, if you allow him to dictate the terms of battle, you court a disastrous outcome.”

  • My heart continues to break at shots of Eleanor and Flint staring across the sea at each other, enemies now instead of partners.
  • And then Teach finds out that Vane is dead, and my heart officially shatters.

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

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