How to properly describe this week’s episode of Black Sails — Squeeee! Our favorite pirate show gave us a not one but two delectable events from which I’m still nerding out. First Flint and Blackbeard finally face off in a fierce duel for Nassau’s future, and then we’re treated with a curveball thrown by Jack Rackham when he refuses to cough up his and Anne’s share of the cache owed to the Spanish empire.
Last week, we found out that the Spanish plan to invade Nassau if Woodes Rogers didn’t recover all of the valuables that had been converted from the Urca gold within a certain time frame. Rogers received Max’s share with no problem, but Jack and Anne were going to be difficult since no one knew where they went after the fort was taken over. Meanwhile, Jack decided to turn back to get his pardon, believing their travels toward a new life would be easier if one of them were legitimate. We saw this coming: Jack getting apprehended as soon as he entered the town and then questioned on the whereabouts of Anne and their cache. What comes next is truly act befitting only of Jack Rackham.
Woodes appraises Jack of the situation, that Spain would lay waste of the British operation in Nassau if they didn’t get their gold back. No one wants to see Nassau burn to the ground again, not after the last massacre that occurred some years back. No one except maybe Jack. The meeting with Woodes was as civil as one could imagine with a character like Jack. One assumes the intellectual pirate would follow reason: give the cache to Woodes, save Nassau, be celebrated as a hero. For as long as we’ve known Jack, he’s always wanted to make a name for himself and live a kind of “civil” life he imagines nobles do. But name is what concerns him the most.
Towards the end of the episode, he explains to Max that if he had truly done what Woodes asked him to do, his story of saving Nassau would fade as quickly as his giving up his wealth to Woodes. The more lasting version would be if Jack Rackham let the Spanish raze the island so that another pirate paradise can rise from its ashes. And that’s exactly what Jack sets into motion when he sends a coded message to Anne from within the letter Woodes makes him write. Truly amazing twist. I almost thought for sure that he would make Anne give herself up. Kudos, writers. You went against the grain and made it feel earned and grounded. [slow clap]
Where Woodes is desperate to find her and the gems, Flint and Charles Vane must also find Anne so they can use her fortune to fund their all-out war against the British. Vane relays to Flint that he and Blackbeard found intel on the Spanish ship they raided last week regarding the missing cache. And so the race against time to find Anne begins. Spain’s forces are looming as this season’s ultimate big bad; they’re just waiting to strike from Havana.
Now let’s talk about the duel of fates between Flint and Blackbeard. I won’t lie. I’ve been waiting for this moment since Blackbeard first show his face six weeks ago.
Flint needs Charles Vane to help build forces for the impending war. Plus, if all goes well, he might even get Blackbeard and his fleet to help. Blackbeard is unconvinced that Nassau needs saving, and he is unwilling to let Vane go on a fool’s errand. Since neither can come to terms, Flint and Blackbeard decide to settle this the only way they can: a duel with pistols and swords.
This whole fight was amazing. Black Sails has been killing it with the action sequences this season. The added drama with Vane ultimately betraying his mentor again to help Flint is icing on the cake. Oh, and did I forget to mention that this all happens on the legendary Ocracoke Island? ‘Cuz it does. Excuse me while I nerd out again. Flint almost shoots Blackbeard with his pistol, but only manages to graze him on the temple. Then they clash swords. Flint put up a good fight, but was eventually pushed down due to Blackbeard’s considerable size and brute strength. But Vane manages to step in just before the killing blow. Flint may not be as strong of a fighter as Blackbeard, but he sure knows how to talk people into doing things against their better judgment. That’s what happens here with Vane. Just before the duel, Flint entreaties Vane’s sense of self-worth (forget obligation) and allows him to stew in it while fighting for the future of Nassau, their home.
Flint’s charisma is a conundrum, a testament to which Billy Bones would agree. For as much as he wants to see Flint die, there are just as many moments where he wouldn’t want to see him go just yet. I don’t doubt that Billy full-on hates Flint at this point; however, it’s almost like he needs to see what reckless thing Flint will do next.
- Silver stays behind on the Maroon island and bonds with Madi, the Queen’s daughter. The wound on his leg is covered in sores, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better. He refuses treatment at first because he cannot seem weak in front of anyone if he expects to be an effective leader to his men or gain respect from Madi’s people. Madi, the wise woman that she is, convinces Silver that it does not make him weak or vulnerable to seek for help from those willing to give it.
- Flint and Vane are back together and are of one mind, for once.
- Mr. Scott: “The villain makes the story. So to manage our current partners, we must ensure that we all agree at all times who our common villain is.”