TV Recap

Black Sails Season 4 Episode 1 Review – XXIX

The invasion of Nassau meets with catastrophe.  Teach and Rackham seek revenge for the death of Charles Vane.  Eleanor adjusts to her new role.

(Summary provided by


Flint prepares for battle by ruminating on Scripture and the nature of man.  Reader, I LOVE HIM.


Anne!  She is the voice of reason in an increasingly emotional cast, standing up to both Teach and Jack when she thinks they’re acting irrationally.  She is just astoundingly grounded in this episode, confident in who she is and what she should do, and she seems flabbergasted that no one else is as evolved as she is.



There are two excellent moments at the beginning of the episode before all hell breaks loose, and I refuse to choose just one.

Flint:  Here I sit at the head of an army of men, each of whom, present company included, has probably at some point considered killing the man he now fights alongside.  Each of whom, present company included, has certainly considered killing me.
Silver:  If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t considered killing you in months.
Flint:  A little bit.

AND the tiny moment after Jack goes on and on when Teach looks back at Anne and says, “It’s no wonder you don’t say much.”



bs401_0091If season three was about leadership and darkness, season four is about friendship and revenge.

Flint and Silver (and Madi) will be the main friendship pairing to watch this season, as already a lot happened that we didn’t see.  Post-coitus, Madi tries to remind Silver that he once feared being close to Flint, but Silver is unconcerned now, insisting things are different.  They are now secure in their friendship and the power they wield together, no matter Madi’s warning, “When a man first needs you and thereafter calls you a friend, a little suspicion is a healthy thing.”

Silver is presumed dead, but we must wait and see whether or not the “loss” of their friendship will compel Flint toward revenge, which is what we see literally everyone else doing.

Jack and Teach are making rash decisions (personally, for Jack, and communally, for Teach) to seek vengeance for Vane’s death.  Berringer commits treason to stay in Nassau and kill pirates to seek vengeance for the death of his comrades at arms.  It would seem that intimate relationships would equal a thirst for vengeance…were it not for Anne, who calls bullshit on the whole thing.

“Fuck Charles Vane.  I know how you felt about him.  I felt the same way, and you know it.  But he’s dead, and I can’t see what fucking sense it makes to keep trying to make him happy.  All it’s actually gonna lead to is you joining him.”

She sees past the cycle of vengeance, giving us a glimpse of a friendship that can end with grief but not violence.


  • Flint quoting the Genesis passage about warring twins, the younger of which will defeat the older, seems to be about his hope of a new pirate nation conquering the English empire.  But he’s talking to Silver, and it’s hard not to remember Silver’s speech about successors from the season 3 finale.

Flint:  We’re so close.  So very close.  If we can just hold this alliance together just a little longer, if we can just will it forward just a little more…
Silver:  Nothing will ever be the same for anyone ever again.  You and I have willed our men through unthinkable things to get this far.  Why not one more?  To call Nassau home again.

  • Silver saying, “our men” is ruining my heart.
  • Silver has convinced Flint and, more importantly, himselfthat they share the same goal.  But when has Silver ever called Nassau home?
  • #TriumverateWatch:  Madi doesn’t trust Flint despite Silver’s persuasion.
  • Jack understands the power of speeches:  “We are emotional beings, after all, and rhetoric is the fuel that feeds the fire.”
  • Flint has A+ instincts, but the glorious assault ends before it can begin.  I seriously hate England being smart, but I love Flint being smarter.  When he orders the sails moved so that the ship can tilt at just the right angle to fire at the fort, providing enough cover for some of them to escape??  SO GOOD.
  • #TriumverateWatch:  It is no coincidence that when Silver falls in the water, we cut between Madi and Flint’s horrified faces and helpless reactions.

Eleanor:  The world is changing so rapidly and we with it.
Max:  We are who we are.  Nothing so important changes so quickly.

  • Eleanor is moving up in the world now that she’s married to Woodes Rogers, but “moving up” means that she’s hidden from battle, embroidering.  When she reunites with Rogers, I got the feeling that the underwater barricade was her idea, but she is willing to give up her power and status in order to boost Rogers’.  It is VERY disheartening, but she says “fuck” a couple times, so I know her ferocity is still in there somewhere.

Flint:  Here I must be careful.  I have well over two hundred men unaccounted for.  Those who remain, it will be very hard to explain to them why, with all I have to attend to, I choose to stand here hanging onto the fate of just one of them.  I know that you and he had been working closely together of late, become friends even.  I don’t know what I’m trying to say.  Perhaps just that he is my friend, too.

  • #TriumverateWatch:  Flint and Madi bond, both over their love for Silver and, more importantly, over their shared understanding of the heavy crowns they wear that prevent them from mourning the man they love in the way they would prefer.
  • The RAGE with which Flint greets Billy is 100% more vicious because he thinks Silver is dead.
  • Billy has spent his time on New Providence Island perfecting a wardrobe that shows off his arms to best effect.
  • Now that Billy must wrestle with the fact that the pirate king he created to supplant Flint is seemingly dead, we flashback to Silver learning of his new role, worrying how it will affect his relationship with Flint.
  • Despite that, Silver is VERY turned on by Madi calling him a pirate king.

Anne:  It ain’t fear to want to do a hard thing smart.

  • Even though we later find out Jack’s motivation, in the moment of his fighting and looking to Teach for guidance/approval, it definitely feels like he’s just discovered a male role model and realized that men can be good fighters too.
  • A small hope:  no one in Nassau is willing to help England any more.
  • Rogers understands that this is a war against civilization itself.  He will later insist that civilization is courts and fair trials, but right now, civilization is a ruthless monster who, when its power is threatened, will abandon all morals and values.  Rogers won’t directly approve of Berringer cutting off DeGroot’s ear (RIP DeGroot’s ear), but he’s definitely not stopping it.  THE TWO WORST SIDES OF CIVILIZATION, I see you, overwhelming force and silent complicity.
  • Flint seems perturbed by Billy going dark and hanging traitors, and honestly, if you make FLINT uncomfortable?  Yikes.
  • Miranda’s house is a war room, and my heart is soooooo sad.
  • Flint started his journey hoping for domesticity for all where shovels replace oars.  As he picks up a shattered teacup, you can see him wondering if he has destroyed the thing he sought in a vain effort to attain it.
  • Max is both pissed and scared when she realizes that the English are just as ruthless as the pirates.  I would feel bad except I’m still mad that she sided with them in the first place.  (I GET IT, but I’m still mad.)
  • In Silver’s absence, Billy is making a play for power.  Madi is having none of his pissing contest with Flint, insisting that there will be no pirate king (without Silver).
  • Flint is not power hungry.  He doesn’t care about power in its own right.  But he IS control hungry.  He doesn’t trust anyone else to accomplish his goal.

Anne:  I came here cause we all agreed we had a chance to take Nassau back, have a place of our own.  I ain’t here to prove anything!  I ain’t here to figure out who I am.  And I sure as shit ain’t here to pretend a dead man might think better of me for it.

  • Anne is on another level from literally every other character.  Flint almost matches her in those first two assertions, but he is DEFINITELY trying to get a dead man’s approval.  Anne is the queen, all hail the queen.  Speaking of queens, maybe Madi matches her?  No, even if it’s healthy, Madi is trying to prove she can be the leader her people need.

Eleanor:  I did all of it, contorted myself into the role, mutilated myself so that it would fit because I believed as long as you believed I was your partner, it didn’t matter what anyone else believed.

  • Um, Eleanor?  I’m worried about you.
  • “You are not a compromise to me.”  UGH, please stop making me like Eleanor/Rogers.  I DON’T WANT TO.
  • Poor Silver.  He escapes the ladder and finds air in the ship.  Then the ship sinks and he has to struggle to find another pocket of air.  Then he crawls onto shore only to find someone rummaging through the bodies to kill any survivors!  A literal nightmare.

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

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