This Black Sails review contains some spoilers.
Flint’s return to Nassau on the latest episode of Black Sails gives a good reason to re-hash the events of the last 24 hours in-show. Eleanor describes her effective actions, and Flint keeps his mouth shut about the fact it took him 8 hours to think of chopping through a wooden deck.
Silver gets a chance to show off, too. After a couple of episodes in the background, poor one-legged Randal is awake and asserting his place in the crew. “You’re a thief!” can cause a lot of conflict in a pirate crew, and since Silver really is a thief, he’s got a lot to lose. His desperate maneuvering is a delight to watch, and Randal’s stubborn refusal to back down from his accusation is both in character and a perfect foil for the waterfall of Silver’s words.
The fact that Randal now has one leg, and wants to be a sea-cook echoes Silver’s own future. In twenty years, he’ll have a crutch of his own, and be a very fine cook indeed.
Vane’s story finally starts to make some sense here, too. It seems his past is slavery, chains, and if we can believe actor Zach McGowan’s elegant, subtle sneer, degrading abuse. This explains why he needs to be beaten into the ground before he fights at his maximum. I enjoy a good fist fight, and this one was a lot of fun to watch. Watching Vane come back from the ground he was buried in was icing on the cake.
I should note here that the “logwood cutters” were a thing back in the 1700’s. Most of these men were runaway bond servants – in effect, white slaves – who banded together along the coast of modern-day Belize, harvesting a particular type of timber that was exported to Europe where it was burned for its pleasant odor.
Some pirates stopped here and lived for a time. And when the Spanish came in to chase them off (they were mostly English, squatting on land that was claimed by Spain) they obtained boats and raided up and down the coastland in revenge.
Men like this gave us the word “buccaneer,” as they fed themselves mostly by killing wild pigs and smoking the meat to make “boucan” or bacon. (Bacon and pirates. Yum.) Their 18th century English dialect still lives in the accent of the people of Belize. Go there on vacation and you’ll hear people speaking the way real pirates did 300 years ago.
I enjoyed all the scheming done by the crew of the Walrus. DeGroot doesn’t like Silver, and wants to prove him guilty of theft, but everyone knows that they need Flint and Silver to catch the Urca and all its gold. Dufresne is developing as a real character. From the moment when the camera homes in on him during the attack on the Andromache, showing the viewers exactly how it feels to take part in your first pirate attack, to this episode, when he takes off his glasses and stops being just a clerk, it’s all logical, smart and true. Just goes to show that chewing through a man’s throat with your teeth really changes a person.
Flint’s words to Billy, “I am your king!” are coming home to roost. We’ve always known what he wants… A pirate nation with himself as king. The problem is, that’s not what the pirates want. Billy didn’t want it, Gates doesn’t want it. “We call no man our master, no lord and no king,” says the pirate song. Flint’s done some bad stuff to his crew, and they plan to kill him for it. And for Billy. Flint can’t die, but we’ll see what happens to everyone else.
Love the explanation for why he and Eleanor don’t hook up. I’ve been wondering. The fatherly kiss says it all.
And lastly, the comedy. I asked for it and Starz delivered…. Not exactly heat between Rackham and Anne Bonny, but something. It worked for me. I’ve wanted to know what was going on in their relationship, and this takes me forward just the way I wanted. It’s a special relationship where the woman is the muscle, and it takes a certain kind of man to let her be. Apparently, in this case, it also means a guy who has trouble keeping it up. Don’t get me wrong, I respect a man who can follow when a woman wants to be in charge. And I don’t mind seeing this relationship unfolding the way it is. Anne has the street smarts and Rackham schemes for the long run. But he’s no killer. His assertion to the whores that he has slit a man’s throat and slept well that very night just makes me certain he’s never done any such thing.
So Anne likes Rackham because he lets her lead, and because she can depend on him to always choose her, even though she might wander. And Rackham likes Anne because she’ll take care of the gory details, and keep coming back in spite of his “disabilities.” This looks like a functioning couple.