TV Show Review

TV Review: BLACK SAILS: Season 3, Episode 7: XXV. [Starz]

Toby Stephens Winston Chong Calvin Hayward

Starzs Black Sails XXV. TV Show Review. Black Sails: Season 3, Episode 7: XXV. was an episode that featured a let-down and many surprises. Some had speculated that the explanation for Captain Charles Vane (Zach McGowan)’s intelligence about Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) – how he knew she was being hunted by Great Britain, somehow, while living isolated on Blackbeard’s island – would be disclosed in this episode. They were wrong. It was not explained.

I suppose that someone could have told him that information that had just come from Nassau but the time-frame for that was incongruous. For a show striving for consistency and logic, this was an unfortunate narrative misstep.

XXV. featured two scenes where one person spoke with another person’s authority. Both had different dynamics at play but one scene was far stronger than the other.

The lesser of the two scenes was when Madi (Zethu Dlomo) was imbued with The Maroon Queen (Moshidi Motshegwa)’s authority. During all of her scenes, Madi carried herself as if she were a patrician going about the work of her class. The viewer could see the authority and confidence in her face, movements, and words. As Madi had said previously, she had been taught to lead since she was very young. Through her poise in XXV., she showed that she was more than capable of bearing the responsibility given to her. Like her mother, Madi was a student of human nature. She realized that if she projected authority, she would be respected and spoken to as an authority figure.

Quartermaster John Silver (Luke Arnold) knew this as well. XXV. was another transformative moment for Quartermaster Silver as he spoke with Captain Flint’s authority outside the confines of the Walrus for the first time. When Dufresne (Roland Reed) challenged Silver’s authority and thus Flint’s authority, Silver had to act as he did for two reasons: 1.) he hated being referred to or seen as an invalid, and 2.) he could not let a verbal insult in front of Flint’s crew go unanswered or let his or Flint’s authority be challenged. Silver needed to set a tone in front of Flint’s crew and the gathered audience. Silver accomplished that and then some.

As a fan of Black Sails, I had been waiting for this moment, for John Silver to act with Captain Flint’s authority, since the series began. When the trailer for this season showed Silver unrepentantly killing someone, I knew this was the season where it was going to happen.

The set up for the eventually scene was well-orchestrated with the crew materializing like apparitions out of the darkness, led by Silver, in the direction of the tavern. The scene ended in the same way but the John Silver that exited the tavern was not the one that entered it. The John Silver that exited the tavern was a killer and a force to be reckoned with.

Through his actions, Quartermaster Silver had successful begun the creation of his own mystique while enhancing the mystique, name recognition, and fear of Captain Flint. Silver had Billy Bones (Tom Hopper) to thank for that opportunity. Billy saw an opening for Silver to advance himself and he advocated for it masterfully. Does Billy want Silver to become Captain or was it simply a power play, to put more authority and trust into the hands of Silver? I think it was the latter but it could have easily been both. Billy is beginning to prove himself to be a willy individual. I have not read all of Treasure Island, only the beginning, but it seems that through his actions, Billy might position himself to be third if not second-in-command of the Walrus one day.

Anne Bonny’s conscience manipulation was to be expected (I did, in large part anyway) and by the numbers in XXV. except for how it was resolved. Captain Vane’s gambit was clever and well-thought out. Not only will Captain Flint possibly obtain Anne and Jack’s Urca gold, he might obtain all of it. If he can pull that off, Spain will raise Nassau to the ground, doing Flint’s work against Governor Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) for him. Then Flint can either use the gold for his own agenda or return the gold to Spain in exchange for them pulling their fleet and their ground forces from Nassau.

Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New)’s lack of sense and self-control may bring down Governor Rogers and everything that he was trying to accomplish on Nassau. Guthrie never seemed like someone without good sense. Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) told Eleanor Guthrie about the dangers of her relationship with married Rogers and instead of breaking off the relationship, the selfless, rational move, Guthrie deepened it. The viewer knew why she did it. Rogers is all that Guthrie had left. If she gave him up, she would have nothing. Even a doomed relationship filled with passion, lust, and mutually trust is better than no relationship.

When everything is settled in Nassau, Rogers will send for his wife (and his children, if he has any) to come and join him on Nassau. When that reunion occurs, Guthrie and Rogers’ relationship will be over or Guthrie will become his mistress, though she technically is already serving in that capacity.

Mrs. Mapleton (Fiona Ramsay)’s advice to Max was the same advice that began Eleanor Guthrie and Max’s relationship years ago. I am not challenging that advice, just pointing out its cyclical nature. Drowning your conscience in drink and vagina is something that I have not seen Captain Flint nor Quartermaster Silver do yet they are far more powerful, like Max, than they were when the series began. Why does Max need solace, a distraction, while Flint and Silver do not require it? It true that Captain Flint had Miranda Barlow, an external conscience that stymied his darkness, but he also dealt with his conscience internally, always wearing a stern mask while in front of his men. The only people with the perception to see behind that act was the aforementioned Ms. Barlow and Quartermaster Silver.

Perhaps the reason that Flint and Silver do not need those distractions is because they are building a relationship where they get what they need from each other instead – two monsters in the forge of creation, on a path of destruction.

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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

  • blondcaliforniagirl

    Both Captain Vane and Governor Woodes Rogers (as well as Blackbeard and quite a few other pirate characters) were real people, and so far the series seems to be following the historical record regarding their storylines.

    For instance, Governor Woodes Rogers actually did write a book that made his fortune, did lose his brother and suffered a disfiguring injury in the process, and a few other things that make some of your speculation about Ms. Guthrie’s future less likely to happen (spoiler alert? who knows).

    To me, the fact that these little historical tidbits have been salted into Black Sails actually make the tension of seeing how the show progresses MORE enthralling rather than less so.

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