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Black Sails - XXI - Review: "Arriving On Treasure Island"

Black Sails Season 3 Episode Guide
3.01. XIX - Review
3.02. XX - Review
3.03. XXI - Review
3.04. XXII - Review Coming Soon

Black Sails 3.03. XXI

Wow, wow, wow! What an episode. Black Sails is already making a case for one of the best series of 2016 this early into the year with a stunning run of consistency over the past three episodes and things have just gotten better in XXI, which showed Vane, Rackham and Blackbeard trying to mount a defence of Nassau facing the prospect of an English Invasion two weeks away. The Pardon scene was easily one of the biggest moments of the series so far as well, when Hornigold faced down the rest of the pirates who had gathered there as a show of force against the English, and with Vane, and it allowed for an interesting standoff, but I'll get to that later.

This was a pretty intense episode both in Nassau and with Flint and his crew being absent. Had Flint been on Nassau he might have been able to organize a resistance but with Rogers believing him dead, and the crew stranded in deep water in the middle of nowhere, a resistance could not be organized. That said, it would have been interesting to see how Flint would have coped with the offer of the Pardon and the threat of the invasion. Regardless though, taking Flint out of the game was instrumental for Rogers' success as not even Blackbeard could have the same power as controlling the Island through fear. Flint meanwhile, facing problems of lost rations in the storm, divides the crew into a list of people who should be fed and who shouldn't be, showing just how cold the Captain can be towards his crewmates. He's killing his men and is slowly losing his mind whilst hallucinating at the same time, seeing the Ghost of Miranda.

Meanwhile, it's Silver's turn to step up to the forefront in the situation as his transformation into a true pirate from a backstabbing man only concentrated on self-survival is almost complete. He spots a rotting whale and notices that underneath the whale there are sharks, which naturally mean, for desperate pirates, food.

Back on Nassau, Blackbeard wants Vane to be his protégé so is willing to defend Nassau for him, even if he doesn't plan to stick around for long. It's Rackham who ends up stepping up and declaring that Nassau should remain a place for free men and is willing to do anything to defend Nassau from an invasion. However, Rogers is under greater pressure than previously revealed when he confesses to Eleanor that the Spanish helped finance this expedition and have given Rogers a chance provided he completes it on a limited timeline and is able to hand over the captured Spanish Gold back to Nassau within an eight week period, something that even Eleanor is sceptical about succeeding. Eventually though, Eleanor understands why Rogers wants to only resort to minimal bloodshed, and heeds her suggestion about sending Hornigold, a former pirate who was one of Nassau's founders, to deliver the offer of a Pardon to the pirates on the beach. It's a pretty powerful moment that really works, and you can see Rackham & Vane's hopes of mounting a defence fade when the first Pirate Captain hands over his weapons to Hornigold, with the rest following in a domino effect. For all the build up to a massive battle, Black Sails sure has a way of surprising the audience. It was a perfect plan to send Hornigold across to speak to the pirates, because after all, like Eleanor said, she has too many enemies there that won't listen to her. Hornigold is a respected figure, and it's no doubt going to set out an interesting conflict for when Flint inevitably returns to Nassau.

But right now Flint is somewhere else entirely, with Silver. They've found an Island, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, seemingly abandoned (although there is the matter of the approaching local natives who have spotted their ship), and it doesn't take a genius to work out that this Island is the same Island as Treasure Island from Robert Louis Stevenson's creation. It's a pretty neat reveal and I really hope that for the series' final season, the series' writers will find a way of adapting the work somehow, because based on the quality of the series that we've seen so far, it's going to be really interesting to see how they tackle it. This series has been an incredibly fun ride so far, and I can't wait to see what they tackle in the future as there's plenty of potential here for some great storylines to be told.

And to think this is only the third episode of the season. This could have easily been a season finale from any other show, so there's plenty of storyline left to tell for sure. In the meantime, what did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to check out the next episode of Black Sails this Saturday on Starz, and remember, if you're following The Shannara Chronicles, be sure to keep an eye out for my review of the series' seventh episode which will go up by Friday at the latest, so stay tuned for that.

Overall Episode Verdict: A+
+Hornigold's Pardon.
+Discovery of Treasure Island.
+Silver + Flint.
+Toby Stephens' Acting.

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, Class, Hell on Wheels, The Knick, Murder in the First, Narcos, The Shannara Chronicles and Veep for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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