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Black Sails - XXXII. & XXXIII. - Double Review: "The Calm Before the Storm"



Black Sails Season 4 Episode Guide:
4.01 XXIX. - Review
4.02 XXX. - Review
4.03 XXXI. - Review
4.04 XXXII. - Review
4.05 XXXIII. - Review
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 4.04 XXXII. - Review:
Directed by Marc Jobst & Written by Peter Ocko & Michael Russell Gunn

First off I'd like to apologise for the delay in getting these two episodes written, I've been fairly busy with other stuff lately but now I should be able to keep on top of things going forward until the end of the season. This episode in particular certainly shifted things in a different direction as Eleanor looked for a way to get out of the impossible scenario that she found herself in, having lost Nassau but maintained access of the Fort as well as a small portion of British troops. The Fort is crucial to holding Nassau however and with Woodes Rogers on his way back, things are no doubt going to be very interesting indeed.

Flint is doing his best to calm down the agitated people of the newly liberated Nassau. However they know that things are bad out there with multiple slave rebellions and especially considering that the slaves themselves don't always hold the pirates in the most positive of lights, this isn't exactly a scenario that favours the pirates despite the fact that Captain Berringer is dead. Flint however expects it not to be easy, and warns Silver not to let his personal feelings get in the way in regards to Billy, who despite helping them liberate Nassau, isn't on the best of terms with the pirates having held them at gunpoint not too long ago. Something that is more interesting to Silver however is that Billy has a prisoner, in the form of Max, who has played both sides of the war in the past and now it appears time has run out for her. Both Billy and Flint have different thoughts on what to do with Max. Billy also works out that the love that Madi and Silver share is putting Madi in danger from Flint, and as a result, he knows that Silver is worried and is doing his best to undermine the alliance between him and Flint that looked so strong in the previous episode. To make matters worse Hands decides to give Flint a warning that Silver will eventually decide that he can do better than Flint, and Flint will have to wait for that day to come.

Out at sea, Rogers meanwhile gets the news that Nassau has been overrun in his absence and worried that Eleanor is in danger decides to come up with a plan to save his wife. In the chambers below Rogers' sloop, the captive prisoners are currently getting the beating of their life from Mr. Milton, an overweight man who is crushing them to death one by one. To make matters worse Rackham is the one that has to pick the victim for Mr. Milton to take care of, and one by one, he's slowly
losing crewmembers and it will only be a matter of time before he is next. Anne however has an idea to get out of the situation, but she needs Jack to nominate her, something that he's reluctant to do. Eventually Jack decides to put his trust in Anne and after a brutal, bloody battle where Anne is almost beaten to a pulp, she is finally able to get the upper hand by using glass in one of the goriest scenes of the episode to help free herself and the remainder of the pirate crew. This was Anne's moment of awesomeness and it was great to see her unleashed in close quarters against Mr. Milton, and eventually overcoming him despite the fact that he has a sledgehammer. Unfortunately in the process this has left Anne in a condition that doesn't exactly look good for her chances of survival.

Meanwhile, Max and Silver have a talk. Silver asks Max why she didn't kill him when she could have done, and Max admits that she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she did. Max also brings up the prospect that - in an entirely unlikely but somewhat plausible that Thomas Hamilton, Flint's deceased lover - albeit indirectly, might have survived after all this time and this presents an interesting gamechanger of a question when Silver asks Flint "Wouldn’t you trade it all to have Thomas Hamilton back again?" This also acts nicely to serve as a warning to Flint in the process as well, and if he hurts Madi in any way then there will be hell to pay.

Madi meanwhile is having doubts of her own and she might soon be forced to choose between the loyalty to Silver or the loyalty to her own people, as Julius' revolt is continuing to spread around the island and it's only a matter of time before the slaves attack the town. Madi isn't the only one beginning to question her choices, as Eleanor too revealed to Max just how close she was to running away with Max and leaving everything behind in the past. She also revealed that she even considered suicide, but apologies for Max who has by this point lost everything thanks in no small part to her decisions.

To make matters worse Edward Teach's ship is being spotted in the bay and it looks as though he has returned without Rogers anywhere in sight. At least, until Rogers raises the Governor's banner and there is a great cause for relief among the British. This means that Teach has been taken care of, and as the pirates and Rogers prepare for a bloodbath to follow, Eleanor comes up with a solution that might spell trouble not only for her union with Rogers, but also for the alliance of Flint and Silver. She offers Flint a get out cause - he can have the Fort, without resistance, which he desperately needs to ensure Nassau's safety, in exchange for the chest of Urqa gold and safe passage out of Nassau. Silver is understandably annoyed at this approach, especially when Flint takes up the offer knowing that he'll have to be used as a hostage in the process to make sure that the Urqa gold is safely delivered intact.

Aside from the action with Anne and Jack this episode may not have been the most exciting episode of Black Sails ever but it was certainly an interesting one, that lead to an excellent cliffhanger, something that this show has been fantastic at lately. The idea that Eleanor might be willing to behind her husband's back presents a new addition to the various players of this game and further makes things all the more complicated going forward.

Black Sails 4.05: "XXXIII." - Review:
Directed by Alik Sakharov & Written by Jonathan E. Steinberg & Dan Shotz

The fifth episode of the season marks the halfway point of Black Sails and what an episode it was. Flint spent most of the time under Eleanor's captivity whilst Billy further attempted to divide Silver and Flint's alliance. Meanwhile Rogers sought out the Spanish in Havana, knowing that the British wouldn't help him, as everything all led up to a very tantalising cliffhanger indeed.

It seems nobody can hold alliances for long in this show with lots of infighting going on between the various pirate forces, but the plan to retrieve the gold between Eleanor and Flint actually failed because she wasn't able to convince Rogers to wait in Port Royal. In fact, Rogers instead decided to make an alliance with the Spanish in Havana, and the final shot of the episode doesn't bode well at all for the pirates of Nassau, who are now severely outgunned and outnumbered, and by the looks of things, won't get the support from Nassau's fort, unless of course Eleanor decides to change her mind. It was very interesting to watch things play out especially when Flint eventually managed to be convinced by the returning Rackham that there was no way Rogers was going to go quietly into the night and abandon Nassau, not after dealing with Edward Teach in the way that he did despite being heavily outnumbered on his own. Could things have turned out differently if Eleanor had told Rogers she was pregnant? Maybe, but now Rogers is determined not to let anything go.

The Urqa gold has been the main mcguffin of the show since season one and whilst we know it's more than likely going to end up buried for the events of Treasure Island to take place, it remains a driving point for much of the characters and we don't know how many times it's going to switch hands before then. Just about everyone could do with the money - the Spanish would like it back, Eleanor and her husband need it to pay off Rogers' debts, and the pirates need it to finance Nassau and their new free pirate colony. However the dream of a pirate utopia is looking less and less likely by the week.

Billy is starting to become more and more annoyed at Flint and wants Silver to take his side because he knows that Silver is a well-organized, well-intentioned man who commands the respect of the island. However Silver is less than willing to do so as in the process this means turning his back on both Madi and Flint, and placing his trust in Billy who essentially wants to become a Flint 2.0, doing everything on his own terms and not letting Silver do anything without his approval. This all inevitably led up to a showdown between Billy, Hands and Silver and this is part of where I wish I didn't know the fate of the characters in Treasure Island, because the fight between Hands and Billy was so tense and bloody that I wondered for a second whether they'd actually end up killing Billy off for good or not. However Silver stepped in at the last moment, ordering him to be taken away to the Plantation, beaten almost as badly as Anne was in the previous episode. Bones' removal from the scene comes at a great time for the pirates who need to be united now more than ever, to deal with the impending attack of the Spanish and Rogers.

One thing that annoyed me about this episode though was that they didn't answer Anne's fate immediately. Judging by the fact that she wasn't on the boat with Rackham at the end it doesn't look good, but hopefully we'll get a more concrete resolution on her fate in the next episode. As long as we don't see her dead body she could still be alive, and it will no doubt be interesting to see how the show continues to handle her, Rackham, and the various other real-life pirates given that there are still big question marks concerning their fates. How true will the show stay to their stories? It remains to be seen, but for now, anything could happen.

It's hard to believe that despite everything that's happened in these previous two episodes this feels like only the calm before the storm as with the arrival of the Spanish, things are only about to get more intense going forward and I can't wait to see how this plays out in tomorrow's episode. There's certainly a lot of potential for the show to get even better before the end as well, as we've already had plenty of great moments so far this season and if you'll remember, the show saved the best for last on the previous seasons as well so it will be very interesting to see how the writers can wrap things up and just how much of Treasure Island set up we'll get in the final season.

What Did You Think of XXXII. & XXXIII? Let me know in the comments section below and check out the next episode of Black Sails tomorrow at 9pm on Starz!

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, The Magicians, Preacher, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Jack Ryan, Snowfall,Succession, Star Trek Discovery and Tales From The Crypt. He also contributes 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 300 favourite movies here.
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