TV Recap

Black Sails Season 4 Episode 4 Review – XXXII

Violence engulfs Nassau.  Silver demands answers from Billy.  Eleanor comes to Max’s aid.  Bonny and Rackham endure hell.

(Summary provided by


This episode gives us two of my favorite Flints:  Grumpy Flint (“Is there a point you’re trying to make?” to Israel Hands) and Enigmatic Flint (“Trust me.”)  I continue to love him, even when the episode is not focused upon him.


Silver!  Poor guy is feeling the burden of leadership, playing the growly pirate theater and throwing his weight around.  But everywhere he goes there is complication, and he does not seem comfortable with it in the way that Flint is.  This is also the episode that reveals most fully Silver’s emotionalism.  Until now he’s been very rational, choosing partners based upon what is best for him.  With the recent events threatening Flint and especially Madi, Silver’s logic is unraveling fast.  At this point, he’s secure enough to see it for the liability that it is, but should something more drastic occur…who knows what he will do?



Billy, after being chastised for his very bad actions:  “Is everyone feeling better?”


If ever there were an episode that wanted to drive home the theme about the futility of a cycle of vengeance, this would be it.  The fact that this show is not interested in glorying in revenge is most obviously shown in how we see the retaking of Nassau.  Instead of something glorious, it is a violent and chaotic scene, shot in such a way that we as viewers are emotionally distanced from it.

From there we get example after example of how futile revenge is.  We open on a horrific scene of a plantation owner beating a slave woman for the actions of slaves on another plantation…but his actions are soon answered by Julius’s slave revolt.  The guy Rogers leaves in charge of Rackham’s crew has one job: to deliver the captured pirates to Port Royal.  Unable to resist the allure of revenge, he instead makes them fight to the death, a choice that ultimately leads to his death and the death of his remaining men.

Billy wants to make a public example of Max in the same way that public examples were made of Charles Vane and other pirates.  He fails to see that this act will fail in the same way that their acts failed:  vengeance (even coded as “justice”) only leads to more violence.  Silver highlights the limitations of this idea by pointing out that there is no definitive action that can end the totality of what has been done.

Billy:  One would think we could go a long way towards soothing all that chaos out there, and the anger driving it, if we could draw everyone together to see justice done to the one responsible for all of it.
Silver:  All of it?
Billy:  Enough of it.

It’s fitting that they are discussing Max, since she is the one who has so often spoken against the cycle of vengeance.  And it seems as though Eleanor is beginning to see things in a similar light, especially now that she is pregnant and must reconcile her life with what is best for a new generation.  She knows she is drawn to Nassau and its unending power struggle, but for the first time, she sees how her actions might place her child in the same position she was in as a child: “amongst all this brutality.”

In a bid to end the cycle of vengeance and leave all parties satisfied, Eleanor summons Flint and Silver to discuss an exchange:  the pirates can have Nassau, and she will leave with the British and the cache.  Future episodes will reveal if she will be successful.


  • Listening to a white man verbally chastise kneeling slaves while a woman shrieks in pain behind him is suuuuuuper disgusting.  In a show that asks us to sympathize with multiple viewpoints, I’m very glad that we are meant to see this as a completely evil act.
  • Eleanor’s escape to the fort is very badass.  I especially love that she is leaning over the other passengers to protect them, immediately followed by her barging up to a crowd of men and telling them what to do.  She is regaining a lot of her agency, and I am reminded of why I love her so much!
  • Flint reforms a system of land-based pirate crews, which is a stroke of brilliance that shows how flexible his strategies are.

“The more they realize there is no daylight between you and I, the more they will learn to accept our shared authority.”

  • I love so much Flint and Silver’s unified public front (“You heard him.”) that still allows space for Silver to privately challenge Flint.
  • Flint is very confused about why Eleanor wants Max, and it made me wonder:  does he know about their former relationship?  Was he too busy pursuing the Urca gold to keep track of his partner’s love life?  I kind of love the idea that he notices everything except for this.
  • #TriumverateWatch:  Flint and Silver fawn over Madi.  “A wise woman recently told me…”  “Sounds like good advice.”  SHE DESERVES ALL THE COMPLIMENTS.
  • The standoff between our #Triumverate and Billy is VERY satisfying.  It feels very much like three parents chastising an errant child, and Billy only regains a sliver of power because he knows he has something they want.

“Of course Billy would never violate the trust I place in him as a brother, as a friend, to allow harm to come to those closest to me.  For if Billy were to do something as disloyal as that, he knows I’d stop at nothing to see that offense repaid against him.”

  • Wow, does Silver know exactly what to say to shame Billy.
  • Of course, Billy knows exactly what to say to push Silver’s buttons too.  When appealing to their former fear of Flint upon them doesn’t work, he shifts the object of Flint’s consumption to Madi, and Silver is shook.

“How long ago was it that the two of us agreed that Flint threatened to be the end of us all?  That he would find ways of driving us over and over again into that storm till there was nothing left of us?  We survived him, you and I.  And now you want to follow him into what?  A massive slave revolt?  A war against the British Empire?  How is this not just the next storm in a very long line of them?”

  • The Awful British Guy forces Jack to pick who will fight to the death, which echoes how the plantation owner forced slave women to hold down the woman being beaten.  As if violence weren’t enough, Civilization makes things even worse by forcing the oppressed to feel responsible for the violence themselves.
  • Israel Hands says he knows Flint was at the previous rebellion, though he was British Navy at the time.  Does…everyone know Flint’s past?

“I am right back where I started.  Every fight I have ever won, every death I have escaped, every sacrifice I have had bled out of me, it will all have to be repeated just to get things back to where they were a few hours ago.”

  • I cannot help but imagine Flint, ten years ago fleeing London, thinking the exact same thing.  He rebuilt himself into something even more formidable.  Eleanor, on the other hand, seems to want to take this opportunity to get out.  What’s the difference?  Eleanor still has a husband and future child to cling to.  Flint lost the lover/partner that made getting out seem possible.
  • Mrs. Hudson says she is fond of Eleanor and wants to protect her, and my heart is dead!!  Has anyone ever truly wanted to take care of Eleanor in a way that was this unselfish?  I think this is the closest Eleanor has ever been to a mother’s love.
  • Anne’s fight!!!  Oh my God, it’s awful to watch, but wow, is she the very epitome of tenacity.  There is no way she should win this fight, but she’s smart and determined and holy shit.  Honorable mention goes to Jack who fears very much for her but chooses to trust that she is capable.
  • Max brings up “a reform-minded man” who takes prisoners from wealthy families in England and puts them to comfortable work out of sight, out of mind.  Silver perks up, and SO DO I.
  • The whole scene between Flint and Silver watching the prisoner exchange is SO GOOD.  Silver, against all my assumptions, confesses to Flint what Billy said about Madi.  Their emotional honesty with each other is truly beautiful.

Silver:  If we assume that we are on the verge of some impossible victory here, a truly significant thing, if we assume that is real and here for the taking, wouldn’t you trade it all to have Thomas Hamilton back again?
Flint:  I think it he knew how close we were to the victory he gave his life to achieve he wouldn’t want me to.
Silver:  I see.  Though, that wasn’t really what I asked, was it?  Assume his father was just as dark as you say, but was unable to murder his own son.  Assume he found a way to secret Thomas away from London –
Flint:  He didn’t.
Silver:  Would you trade this war to make it so?  It is some kind of hell to be forced to choose one irreplaceable thing over another.

  • Flint’s eyes and mouth get all twitchy talking about Thomas, and I AM DEAD.
  • I love Partners Flint and Silver a lot, but I love a little bit of manipulation between them even more.  I can’t help but feel like Silver is bringing Thomas up mostly as a way to even the emotional playing field between them.  He feels weakened by the revelation of Madi being his vulnerability, and he wants to remind Flint that he has a vulnerability too.
  • Love the eye contact between Flint and Eleanor, and her deep nod as the fort’s door closes.

“Reprisals were visited upon our loved ones on the Edwards estate.  Reprisals of the cruelest kind intended to instill fear, break spirits, reassert control.  It did not have the intended effect.”

  • We learn that Julius’s plantation revolt was successful!  I really love that we got to see slaves fighting back on their own, instead of always relying upon the help of predominantly white pirates (although I think I’ve already made my love for this partnership clear).
  • Madi is advised by the former slave from the Underhill estate (anyone know her name??) to “find a place you can protect, build a wall, and save who you can” like her mother.  Everyone’s motivations and desires are becoming muddier!  I both love it and hate it.
  • Max is pissed because everything she feared would happen HAS happened.  When apologizing, Eleanor goes all the way back to episode two, apologizing for not leaving with Max when she offered.  I love that she knows that this is the apology Max needs to hear most.
  • Woodes Rogers returns on The Revenge (thematic much?), and I feel nothing for his and Eleanor’s distant reunion.
  • Eleanor comes faces to face with Flint, and I feel EVERYTHING for their reunion.
  • Silver has come a long way in this show, but in this final scene, he is desperate and flailing where Flint and Eleanor are powerful and calm.  As much as he wants to be a big dog, he has still not yet matched the major players of Nassau.
  • Flint says, “Trust me” to Silver.  Will their partnership survive this disagreement?
Flint:  Trust me.  Me:  OKAY.

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

0 comments on “Black Sails Season 4 Episode 4 Review – XXXII

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: