This Black Sails Season 3 finale review contains spoilers.
Black Sails Seeason 3 Episode 10
The Black Sails Season 3 finale begins in Shakespearean darkness… Two men speak, Flint and Silver imagine the battle before them, speak of strategy, examine their souls. Like Prince Hal before the Battle of Agincourt, they lead us from place to place, revealing the outcome of battle, of life and death.
John Silver, once the feckless rogue, as eager to betray as to rob, is revealed as the soul of the new army. Yes, to both feared and loved sets a man apart, makes more possible. Perhaps even the unimagined could come to be.
Described by John’s silver tongue, Flint’s tragic life reveals its form. As Flint loves, so Flint destroys, Thomas, Gates, Miranda. His passions, always his master, seem to become the forces that wreck their will on others, either by storm or doldrums.
Of course, as Silver reminds us, the mind that conceived this magical congruence had been without food or water for several days.
On screen, the battle on the beach is well-conceived and presented. I wondered only why the warships did not simply pound everything on the beach to rubble. And why did they need mortars, which are traditionally used to reach foes a mile away. The answer being that this is fiction, not reality, and a ship’s battery pounding sand is no fun at all to watch.
For once, and probably under Silver’s guidance, the pirate’s forces are used as they should be. Pirates break the rules, that’s what they do. Sixty years before the American Revolution, the British Army gets introduced to guerilla warfare the hard way. The Maroons are doing what they do best, using their terrain, using terror and knives to defeat an army with superior weaponry. Terror is the best weapon of all.
In between battles, Silver and Eme consult about the Maroon’s future leadership. Just as Silver has learned to be the true leader of the pirates, so Eme is facing the fact that, as times change, her mother’s rule must necessarily come to an end. These are two who understand each other. The irony of Silver being the only trustworthy one is not lost, even on the participants in his story.
Darkness, rum, strategy.
In the light of day, Rackham learns of Charles Vane’s death from Blackbeard himself. Vane was the one who saw something in Rackham. Now he must prove himself, and so he does. Jack is still good for comic relief, too. But who wouldn‘t stutter with the eye of Blackbeard himself glaring down.
Jack is the brains. He may flinch when the firing begins, but he still stands his ground, and he’s stalwart enough to stick to the plan, even when the plan seems to doom him. When hope arises in the form of Chalres Vane’s foster-father, he recognizes the situation for what it is. “Charles was his foster-son, and in our way Charles and I were brothers. I do not know what that makes us to him, but we are something.”
Anne Bonny may use some wits to ponder such considerations, but her job is as muscle. She leads the assault on the British flagship, and has the presence of mind to immediately set the stern-chasers to firing on the rest of the British fleet.
The Navy turns to run, but I wouldn’t like to get away, with a shore on one side and Blackbeard on the other. Still someone must carry world of the rout back to Nassau. As Flint calls after the last, retreating redcoat, “Tell the Governor we’re coming.”
And, at last, in Nassau, Rogers and Eleanor pledge their love, over the rotting corpse of Charles Vane. A body hung for three days in the tropical sun would be enough to clear a couple of streets. Here, it is enough to feed the fires of Billy Bones’ imagination.
First the Black Spot. Is it a myth? However the tale started, the man the Spot was served to in dead enough now. Once again, Pirates don’t play fair. Throckmorton’s dangling body, placed so similarly to that of Vane, sends the clearest message possible. Death walks the streets of Nassau, and it is not under the reign of the Governor.
I struggle with the image of Max readings ultimatums to men. Thank God, in the 21st century we can’t imagine the lowly position of women in the 18th. But her placement in the story leaves Max where she has suddenly realized she needs to be – unallied, which is suddenly much more secure than being allied with the wrong side.
I fear for what will happen to Eleanor. The pirates are not gentle with their female captives, and Eleanor has caused them immeasurable embarrassment, trouble, and grief. Even Jack, normally a man who abhors violence, might do anything.
At the last, we are left with the beginnings of the Brethren Courty, pirates around the table. Before them is war. And the Legend of Long John Silver.
See you next year for more Black Sails!