Two forces of nature hit Black Sails this week, testing the mettle of Flint and his crew as well as Nassau’s endurance to continue on its current path to utopia.
Last week, Captain Hornigold granted Flint and his crew full pardons if they surrendered. Flint refused and made a strategic, albeit mad, retreat into an oncoming hurricane. This is actually the first time we’ve seen any of the pirates on Black Sails battle the most dangerous forces of the sea, Mother Nature. It made for pretty impressive television. Flint is yet again faced with the cruel decision to sacrifice a few members of his crew to save everyone else. He must cut loose loose the topmost part of the mast in order to save the entire ship from being dragged down by the stormy winds. But in doing so, he loses at least three men who had climbed up there to try to tie up the sails. Once the ship finally settled down a bit (as much a ship can in a storm), Flint has the crew take shelter below deck while he ties himself to the wheel for the most dangerous part of their journey.
Watching Billy watch Flint get his hands dirty such a way somehow adds layers to the captain’s cold-yet-necessary decisions. Billy knows first-hand what lengths Flint will go to accomplish certain goals. Being able to see him make similar calls maybe adds perspective not only for Billy himself, but for us as well.
In the bowels of the ship, while everyone else was still on deck, John Silver and another crew member were trying their best to keep the sea water out. We see lot’s of random, non-essential crew members meet their demise without so much as a proper goodbye. Muldoon, a character who has popped up here and there, stole the scene in this episode. Here we have two men facing another life-threatening situation in so many days, and Muldoon would like nothing more than for Silver to take a rest while he do the rest of the work. Then he dies. But man, what it was a good death. The entire, bittersweet exchange between the two of them is very well done, and will more than likely shape Silver to become the type of sly character we come to know in Treasure Island.
The storm finally passes, but there are no winds to help them get to the nearest port or island. They’re marooned in the middle of nowhere with no fresh water and very little food. No doubt that the crew’s loyalty will, once again, become strained. Just how many times can a crew forgive their captain after so many risks and failures? What will Billy and Silver do? As for Flint, he’s also dealing with haunting dreams starring Miranda trying (unsuccessfully) to send him a message. And then there’s this whole mysterious black figure stalking him.
Back on Nassau, Blackbeard introduces himself to the island’s new order. We discover through Eleanor, currently on a ship back to Nassau, that she was the one who gained enough power to exile Blackbeard. Young Eleanor’s final blow was convincing Charles Vane, who was Blackbeard’s protégé at the time, to side with her. Now armed with this insight, we are able to understand the gravity of Blackbeard’s return. Blackbeard is back to turn Nassau back into what it was: an island full of men privy to strife, and island that is feared and commands respect. As it is now, it’s stale and full of fortunate men who don’t know strife. Back in his day, men had to beat each other up just to join a crew of repute. Now all they do is say “please.”
We know Blackbeard has the ability to throw down like a beast, but right now he’s playing the role of the disapproving old veteran criticizing the new guard. Still, his presence is enough to convince Jack to take as much gold as they can and exchange them for lighter, easier-to-hide materials and goods of equal value.
- Flint’s crew ends up somewhere in the Sargasso Sea. Guess what’s in the Sargasso? That’s right, kiddos, the Bermuda Triangle.
- Hornigold, Dufresne, Eleanor, and Woodes Rogers all think Flint is now dead based on some “definitive” debris that washed up after the storm. In other words, all they found was Flint’s flag and assumed the worst.
- Billy’s already swolled arm muscles look extra beefy when he has to hang on for dear life while the ship repeatedly dips him into crashing waves.
- Vane is caught off guard when Blackbeard greets him like an old chum despite how they parted ways. He seems to be accepting his old mentor’s return, but at the same time, he’s staying cautious.