Black Sails XXXV. Review
Starz‘s Black Sails: Season 4, Episode 7: XXXV. was an episode of new alliances and the fraying and destruction of bonds between brothers-in-arms. Trust, loyalty, and the future were at the center of the actions for XXXV.‘s key characters, none more so than Captain James Flint (Toby Stephens), Quartermaster “Long” John Silver (Luke Arnold), William “Billy Bones” Manderly (Tom Hopper), Captain Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz), and The Maroon Queen (Moshidi Motshegwa).
The most profound decision in XXXV. was made by Captain Rackham at the behest of Eleanor Guthrie’s grandmother, played by Harriet Walter. When one considers Rackham’s history with Captain Charles Vane and Captain Flint, it was surprising that Rackham went along with it. Perhaps Rackham saw the futility of Flint’s war, like Billy Bones and Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) had, and decided to cash out. Almost losing Anne Bonny (Clara Paget), the love of his life, to Flint’s crusade most-likely played a part in Rackham’s decision.
In the end, it was smart, long-term thinking on Rachkam and Grandmother Guthrie’s part. Like Rackham said, if their situations were reversed, Flint would do the exact same thing to him if it meant achieving his goal. Truer words may never have been spoken by Rackham (Flint systematically killed off part of his own crew, including his former Quartermaster, to get his way and achieve his goals during the first season of Black Sails).
Warfare for years against the civilized world or peace, prosperity, and revenge against Governor Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts)? There was really no choice, not for a sane, clear-minded person like Jack Rackham. Since Captain Charles Vane’s death, Rackham had been fighting for Captain Vane’ cause and his memory. During the meeting with Grandmother Guthrie, Captain Rackham decided to fight for something else – Anne Bonnie and his future with her.
Billy Bones’ future is in doubt since there is the distinct possibility that he is a double agent. Either Billy Bones and Quartermaster Silver came to an understanding (off-screen) in the barn during XXXIV. or Silver was a fool to let a knowledgeable and willy threat like Billy live. Loyalty and friendship are one thing but not adequately guarding (or eliminating) someone with intimate knowledge of you and your operation is another.
The result of that catastrophic lapse in judgement sat in front of Governor Rogers during a scene that never should have been allowed to happen. If Bones was as smart as he seemed in that moment, he worked in a pardon (off-screen) into his deal for his extensive crimes against the royal governor and New Providence island.
Governor Woodes Rogers and Billy Bone’s alliance, coupled with the intelligence that Billy provides, might just be strong enough to defeat Captain Flint and Quartermaster Silver. Then again, Roger might have fallen victim to one of Long John Silver’s greatest tactical moves.
When a particular character turned up alive in XXXV. that everyone thought was dead, including the late Eleanor Guthrie, it positively affected (i.e. created conflict within) the narrative of Quartermaster John Silver, Captain Flint, and The Maroon Queen from that moment on. As was shown in XXII., The Maroon Queen was as pragmatic and as cold-blooded as Captain Flint. In XXXV., that pragmatism even extended to her own blood. It could be argued that was surprising, to see such a fanatical, Fremen-like response to warfare. From everything that the viewer had seen of The Maroon Queen and her past decision-making capacity, however, it was perfectly in-line with that. In emotionless decision-making, Flint and The Maroon Queen were equal. They both wanted the big victory, the long-lasting victory. If that meant sacrificing one person, they were both willing to do so.
Long John Silver was not. Just like Captain Flint had been ready to burn down the world for his revenge against the society that had taken Thomas Hamilton away from him, that murdered Miranda Barlow, so to was Quartermaster Silver ready to destroy everything to secure his goal and his ambition i.e. Madi. It was surprising that Flint could not detect that same undeniable will in Silver that resided so firmly within his own chest. As was previously mentioned, Captain Flint had killed members of his own crew to see his goals realized. In the concluding moments of XXXV., that shoe began to slip from one foot to the other.
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