TV Show Review

TV Review: BLACK SAILS: Season 3, Episode 4: XXII. [Starz]

Toby Stephens Luke Arnold Tom Hopper Black Sails XXII

Starzs Black Sails XXII. TV Show Review. Black Sails: Season 3, Episode 4: XXII. gave the viewer a societal view of the island’s inhabitants. The inhabitants of the island were not what the viewer had been expecting e.g. savages and barbarians. What Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens) and his crew found was even worse. They found a pragmatic, cold-blooded, mirror image of Captain Flint. The conduct of the island leader, in many ways, were Flint’s would-be actions if he were in the same position, especially with the ‘questioning.’

Flint always had the weight of his men’s lives and their welfare on his shoulders. The island leader did as well, and like Flint, made a decision in the islanders best interest.

In an introspective moment, in the aftermath of a Miranda Barlow (Louise Barnes) vision, Flint reflected on this very fact, telling the hard truth to Quartermaster John Silver (Luke Arnold)’s face. This moment illustrated that Flint was beginning to open up about what he was thinking and feeling to Silver.

When Captain Flint indicated that he didn’t have the strength to continue lying to himself, responsibility shifted. It was palpable. It was now upon Silver to stay optimistic about the crew’s prospects and to get them out of death’s jaws. What Silver didn’t want to believe or couldn’t allow himself to believe was that the Captain was right. They were doomed.

Flint had a firm understanding of his crew (and their capabilities) before they landed on the island’s beach, including his Quartermaster, who believed he could talk his way out of precarious situations. It would have been more accurate to say that Silver believed that he could think his way out of perilous situations, his mouth simply being his brain’s best communication device. When Silver saw and attempted to cultivate a third option for the Captain and the crew (the first being an in-vain jungle trek and the second death), he proved it.

Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) evolving into a new role in British ruled-Nassau had been slow but it was inevitable. Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) needed her, her insight, and her counsel. After the transition for lawlessness to law is complete with British soldiers patrolling the streets, stationed strategically throughout the town, what then for Guthrie? Her death sentence will be lifted but then what? Surely she is thinking ahead, as any good chess player would, to the day after and its infinity scenarios. Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) now owns Guthrie’s legitimate business interests and her illegitimate ones as well. When the dust settles, Guthrie will have no source of income. She will only have her wits and the good favor of the new Governor. That is more than Max had when Max began her ascent into prosperity. Will Gutherie be as fortunate or as opportunistic?

Blackbeard’s escape strategy was brilliant. It reminded the viewer of the Blackwater sea battle in Game of Thrones but better in one respect. In Blackwater, The Imp’s strategy was to destroy as many ships and men as possible before they made their landing. In XXII., the actions take by Blackbeard were meant as a diversion. Only one person saw part of Blackbeard’s strategy for what it was in XXII. and that person was obeyed too late to be 100% effective.

In Blackwater, the viewer knew what was coming because of what was leaking from the boat. In XXII., the viewer had no idea what the bonfire meant until its implementation, making that aspect of Blackbeard’s trick somewhat better than The Imp’s. Captain Charles Vain (Zach McGowan) delivering that ‘surprise’ made it that much better.

One question that wasn’t addressed during XXII. was where were all of Captain Vain’s men, the men that he secured the allegiance and obedience of when he killed the Slave Master on the island last season? All of Vain’s men, the men with the dreadlocks, weren’t killed by Flint’s crew last season. Where were they in XXII.? Where were they when the other inhabitants of The Fort wanted Vain thrown out? Where were they when he made his escape?

My answer, not the one found in the episode: if those loyal killers had been in The Fort with Vain, they would have been enough opposition to stop Vain from being thrown out. Then the resultant scenes would not have occurred.

The only explanation that I can think of is that those men were manning the Spanish ship in the bay Captain Flint captured last season.

I hope the answer to this question, if an explanation is presented in the next episode, is a satisfying one.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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