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Black Sails Ep. 406 Recap & Review - 'XXXIV'


Nassau is delivered. Silver makes a painful amends. Flint and Madi are separated. Rogers searches for Eleanor. MAJOR SPOILERS.

The Spanish are coming! By sea! By sea! Word gets around quickly throughout most of Nassau about the impending invasion of the Spanish Navy, a force more terrifying than the British. With good reason. It’s almost easy to forget that Spain and England are currently at war with each other. It’s one thing for a revolting territory to be invaded by their own country, but it’s something else entirely to be invaded by said country’s mortal enemy. As soon as Spanish boots land, nowhere on the island is safe. Except the fort, which is where Rogers foolishly assumes his wife is still residing. Idiot.

Word doesn’t get around quickly enough as some parties don’t hear about it until nearly halfway through the episode. Silver is with the majority of the newly freed slave community trying to make amends and forge a new alliance, especially with Julius’ army. While he can’t truly make up for what has happened to the slaves’ family members on the other plantations when Underhill was attacked, Silver can at least deliver to them the man responsible for their recent suffering: Billy. But one of the conditions is that they leave him alive. Silver still hopes to use him later on.

Once the slaves have had their pound of flesh, Silver comes to speak with Billy alone. Despite everything that has been done, he still considers Billy a friend. But the vendetta against Flint needs to be over with. If Billy agrees to stop making Silver choose between him and Flint, Billy’s torment will end. “You chose,” Billy sputtered, “You live with it.” Because Silver did already choose sides, didn’t he? He’s still going along with Flint’s ultimate plan: to join forces with the slaves and create an even bigger army to fight against the British. Giving Billy to the slaves and having him secluded and chained up effectively takes him out of the picture. This gets pointed out by Julius himself when he questions the loyalty of pirates.

Silver may consider Billy, his friend, a necessary sacrifice for the greater good, but it’s understandable that others looking from the outside in question Silver’s integrity. How long before they themselves will be “sacrificed” for another greater good?

Those concerns are washed away for now once word finally comes that the Spanish have arrived and are marching through the island. Instead of retreating, Silver decides to entrench themselves and wait for their arrival — better to organize now and have a chance at fighting off the Spanish than to separate and be overrun later.

At Nassau, it looks at though Rogers is beginning to regret his alliance with the Spanish once he witnesses their raping, pillaging, and indiscriminate killing first hand. He definitely starts to regret it when he discovers that Eleanor is out there and neither he nor Governor Raja are able to ensure her protection. Even if the order could be given, Raja explains, no one would heed it. The Spanish soldiers have been set loose. “What has begun here, there’s no altering it now.” In other words, Rogers told the Spanish to raze the island (expect inside the fort) however they saw fit and opened the gates. Now he has to live with that. Live with your mistakes, bruh.


Max, who leaves the fort just before the Spanish began firing upon Nassau Town, goes to Eleanor’s last known location to look for her. Instead she finds Jack, his band of pirates, and the Walrus just off the coast (Featherstone and other pirates in Nassau Town were smart enough to pick up and leave before the Spanish arrived). Even though Jack is still angry about Max’s betrayal, he still doesn’t want her out there all alone while an invasion is going on. They form a truce and return to Jack’s ship to meet the Walrus.

They meet with Featherstone whose plan is to just ship off and wait it out until the Spanish leave. Jack isn’t too keen on that idea and opts to at least wait for anyone who survives the day before escaping. In the meantime, Max visits Anne, who is recovering from her injuries below deck. She tries to make peace with Anne, but the broken pirate wants none of it.

On another part of the island, Madi, Flint, and Eleanor are holed up in an empty house after almost running into a band of Spanish soldiers on their way back to the fort. Eleanor doesn’t believe Rogers would resort to such a desperate act despite Flint telling her so. Regardless, they need to set up a defensive position as well as send out scouts to determine the size of their force. It’s an all hands on deck situation, including his which at the moment are still chained up.

A small band of Spaniards approach the house. An unshackled Flint and company wait for just the right moment to attack. They kill everyone except three more who lagged behind. Upon seeing the situation, the three soldiers flee to retrieve reinforcements. Flint and all the others give chase before they can do so, leaving only two bodyguards behind to watch the house.

While the men were out, Eleanor and Madi finally have a chance to talk. Eleanor reflects on how hard if must have been for Madi to live in relative isolation, away from her father. She confesses that she, at some point, found herself thinking about walking away from Nassau, from England, and from civilization. A life of isolation and uncertainty as long as it is lived with someone you love who loves you back. “One can be happy that way, can they?” she asks Madi.

I can’t help but think Madi is lying to Eleanor when she says that living in isolation with the one you love is possible. After all, Madi herself hasn’t exactly lived alone with her mother. They had an entire community of their own hidden away, one that was constantly supplied by someone who had been living in what Eleanor would consider actual civilization. Furthermore, Madi and her people had been longing for the day they could actually live openly and freely no matter where they were. Madi is fighting for that kind of freedom as we speak. If you watch Madi carefully, her head shakes a little before giving her answer. It’s obvious that Eleanor so badly wants to leave this chaos to raise a family of her own, that she wants is trying her best to resolve the mistakes she made as quickly and cleanly impossible. It’s entirely possible that Madi saw this in Eleanor and wanted to allow her just a little shred of hope.

It seems that Madi and Eleanor are now quietly making amends with each other. Unbeknownst to them, however, one of the Spaniards who was thought to be dead has already killed the two bodyguards standing outside. He sneaks up behind Eleanor and knocks her down. He moves to Madi and severely knocks her out. Judging by the gash on her head, she’s thoroughly unconscious, or the wound is a fatal one. He and Eleanor brawl throughout the house. She manages to get a gunshot in but only wounds his shoulder. He then gravely wounds Eleanor by slashing his sword across her stomach. They continue to fight while she bleeds out — she smashes an oil flash over his head and then sets him on fire.


Flint and company return from their hunt to find the house completely on fire. Only Eleanor managed to escape; she was unable to save Madi. Flint comes to Eleanor’s side and holds her up. Having lost way too much blood, Eleanor is dying. She asks whether or not Rogers is with the Spanish. Flint, knowing full-well that Rogers is the cause of this, says the opposite to Eleanor. He and Eleanor have been at odds with one another about as many times as they have been on the same side since this series began, give or take. Despite all they’ve put each other through, Flint still has enough respect for Eleanor to do her this kindness. If he had told her the truth, Eleanor would die sad, angry, and betrayed. The truth at this point would just be too cruel.

Back at Silver’s headquarters, the firefight with the Spanish is already underway. Ben Gunn, who has been at Billy’s second in command throughout their entire resistance campaign, sneaks into the barn where Billy is being kept. Gunn may be committed to this fight with Silver, but he at least wants to give Billy a fighting chance by letting him escape in case their overrun.

Meanwhile, the Spanish cavalry has the pirates flanked, forcing a retreat into one of the buildings. All hope of winning seemed lost until Julius (who left previously to retrieve his army) and his men launched a surprise attack on the Spanish. With renewed vigor, the pirates joined forces with Julius’ men and force the surviving soldiers to retreat.

Flint then arrives sometime after with news that Madi is dead. Silver is too distraught to give any more orders, leaving Flint in command. He takes everyone (including the injured) to the beach where Jack and Featherstone are waiting just offshore. They plan to head South back to Maroon Island where they can regroup and refit.

Max, however, has something else in mind. Angry over Eleanor’s death and Anne’s near death, she convinces Jack to split from Flint’s crew and head north to pay Eleanor Guthrie’s grandfather a visit where she hopes he will give them the funds as well as the men to rid Nassau of the Spanish and Woodes Rogers once and for all.

Once Flint and Silver make it to Maroon Island, they discover that maroons from other camps and pirates from as far as Massachusetts have come to aid in the revolution to retake Nassau. Flint has been talking about setting an example to the rest of the colonies that they don’t have to be ruled by the British anymore. I wonder if he knew this idea would ever take a life of its own and on this big of a scale?


  • I talk to Hannah New about Eleanor’s big death scene. Be on the look out for my interview with her this week.
  • Max and Jack left for Philadelphia without telling Silver or Flint of their plans. Already, the latter two are feeling abandoned.
  • Silver telling Flint that what happened to Madi isn’t his fault, it sounds very much like he’s blaming Flint anyway. At the very least, he could be mulling over Billy’s words again — that Flint’s war would eventually consume Madi in the end.

About author View all posts

Christina E. Janke

Christina is the co-host of “Intro to Geek” on Shauncastic and Editor-in-Chief at Agents of Geek. Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Gail Simone. She hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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