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Black Sails - "XXX" - Review: "Divided"



Black Sails Season 4 Episode Guide:
4.01 XXIX. - Review!
4.02 XXX. - Review!
4.03 XXXI. - Airs February 12
4.04 XXXII. - Airs February 19
4.05 XXXIII. - Airs February 26
4.06 XXXIV. - Airs March 6
4.07 XXXV. - Airs March 12
4.08 XXXVI. - Airs March 19
4.09 XXXVII. - Airs March 26
4.10 XXXVIII. - Airs April 2

Black Sails 4.02 "XXX." - Review:
Directed by Alik Sakharov & Written by Jonathan E. Steinberg & Dan Shotz

Black Sails is now two episodes into its endgame and is continuing to remain an incredibly excellent series that's easily one of the best of the year so far. Here XXX saw the tensions between Billy and Flint come to a head, as well as divisions between various people situated in the three main storylines, those inside the walls of Nassau and those outside of it, blockading the island port from outside. It's certainly an interesting episode that does a pretty great job at further making the series incredibly unpredictable, and now aside from the characters who we know are going to survive for the events of Treasure Island to happen, anybody is essentially fair game in this series at this point.

The entire resistance movement on Nassau took a massive blow this week once the raid on the Plantations lead to nothing aside from new stocks rather than the reinforcements they had been promised. In order to prevent against rebellion from the slaves, the British had kept Plantation workers separated from their families on different parts of the island meaning that if one group revolted, the other would be punished. Billy and Flint crossed swords over this approach as whilst Flint believed the best possible option was to engage in a tactical retreat and go directly for Nassau itself encouraging the slaves to all rebell simultaneously, Billy didn't want to leave without his prize having lost men in the attempt to take the Plantation. With alarm bells ringing and the militia approaching both Billy and Flint's factions found themselves at each other's throats, locked in a battle. It certainly made for an interesting development that I wasn't expecting to see happen so soon and the brawl between Flint and Billy was a pretty effective one to say the least. It remains to be seen what larger consequences their division will have for the future of Nassau, but it certainly made sure that taking it back is not going to be a walk in the park, especially given that Rogers and Eleanor are planning a dual bid to gather reinforcements.

Eleanor decides that despite her father's turn to piracy she still has the wealth of her grandfather and believes that they are the best chance to clear Rogers' debt and provide the reinforcements needed to save Nassau. They learn that Teach will leave Nassau if Eleanor, the woman who he believes responsible for Vane's death, is handed over to him, but this is something that both of them clearly aren't willing to do at least at this stage. Rogers has a plan to get reinforcements of his own and bait Teach into following him, relying on speed over strength against Teach's ship. He reasons that if both he and Eleanor leave at the same time, there's no way that Teach will be able to follow them both and at least one of them will be able to get to their destination if not both. This was very much the set-up stage that put the pieces in place for Captain Berringer to take command of Nassau in their absence. Berringer of course is developing a reputation for being a hardline, ruthless leader who isn't afraid to hold anything back. He's made things even more complicated for Max as he suspects that she isn't doing enough to help his cause, and without the Governor or Eleanor in the picture he will be free to do what he wants to Max unless she helps him out. Max herself isn't doing herself any favours to earn Berringer's trust, turning Billy's spies into her own and running off in the dead of night to meet Silver.

And that was certainly an exciting reunion to say the least as we got our first proper introduction to Israel Hands after last week's cameo. Hands himself is another Treasure Island veteran and possibly the last one that we'll get on this show, so to see Silver use his knowledge of Hands' hatred of Teach for picking Vane as his heir over Hands to earn Hands' alliance was certainly a fascinating development. With Silver currently being the unknown element in this war for Nassau it's interesting to see that there could potentially now be three, maybe four different factions trying to reclaim Nassau through their own methods. You have Teach in the harbor, Billy and his men, Flint and his men, and now Silver, who has the whole legend behind his name going for him. Max however didn't look too worried about Silver's legend because she was more than able to stand up to him, at least until Hands resisted, forcing Max to retreat. The odds are increasingly looking stacked against Max now especially with Captain Berringer given free reign of Nassau. No doubt these next few episodes will play a big role in determining whether or not she sees out the season alive.

It's also worth noting Rackham and Teach's role in this episode. Although they didn't get involved in the action at least on the scale of Flint and Bones, they did however end up debating what Vane truly would have wanted. Rackham makes a case that there's no point going after Eleanor because Vane would have wanted to put their attention on the bigger prize in the form of the Governor, knowing that they could potentially end the siege by capturing him. It's exactly what Rogers had in mind when he planned on leaving, and tomorrow night's episode could stand out as a big one for many characters. So even though XXX may have been a great episode in its own right, I just have that feeling that it's only the calm before the storm...

What did you think of "XXX."? Let me know in the comments section below and check out the next episode of Black Sails tonight at 9pm on Starz.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, The Magicians, Narcos, Preacher, Star Trek Discovery, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV. He also occasionaly writes book reviews at his own site, The Fictional Hangout and ontributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 250 favourite movies here.
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