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Black Sails - XXII - Review: "A Wanted Man"

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

3.04. "XXII"

And to think that this is only episode four. Again I have nothing but praise for this episode, which was a pretty awesome one, introducing us to another Treasure Island character in the form of Ben Gunn as the show dealt with Vane's newfound notoriety as the most wanted pirate in Nassau. There were several good things to talk about and that's even before we got to Blackbeard's attempt at breaking Rogers' blockade, so without further ado, let's get into another action packed episode of the series. This review is also split into two parts, with the first focusing on the events at Nassau, whilst the second focuses on Flint and his crew.

It only took one episode for things to go sideways for the pirates who are no longer on a united front against Rogers and now are purely invested in their own survival. Jack Rackham holds the fort but doesn't have the numbers or the support from inside to keep it out of British and Pirate hands for long, because although he doesn't want to give up Vane, he's one of the few pirates who actually do. Vane and Rackham are joined by Anne Bonny in the fort and people are slowly gathering outside, demanding Rackham to open the door and hand over Vane. In one of the most badass scenes of the episode that shows once again just how much Jack's grown as a character, he opens the door, and shoots the man just to prove a point. The door is promptly closed again, but that doesn't stop the demands for it to be opened. The demands and protests are now coming from within the Fort as well as Featherstone informs Rackham that the crew now want Vane turned over as well, in the vain hope that Rogers would allow them to keep the fort and gold (don't they know that there's a Spanish fleet coming for it?). This is what makes Rackham finally accept that the defence of Nassau is over, but he doesn't want Rogers to have the fort which they have recently been rebuilding. Rather than see it in the hands of the English he decides to create a distraction for Vane, blowing it up so the wanted Captain can escape without going out the front door. This also allows for one of the best exchanges in the series, with Rackham wishing Vane godspeed, only for Vane to say, "Fuck you, Jack," in response. Rackham then reveals that he's put aside a portion of the gold for himself and Bonny, but he wants to stay and forge a new path for himself.

After hearing the explosion Hornigold and Dufranse who are outside the Fort recognise that Vane is using the distraction to escape and Hornigold tells Dufresne to worn the others that he is at large. It isn't long before Vane is surrounded and as a result we get to see one of the best fight sequences of the series so far in a bloody, ruthless battle that sees a heavily outnumbered Vane take care of several pirates before being rescued by Blackbeard, who brings in multiple firearms to make short work of the attackers. Blackbeard takes Vane to his ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge which is still trapped in the bay, with Rogers preferring to wait them out rather than cause a direct conflict that would mean the loss of lives. As Blackbeard and Vane come up with a plan to fight their way out of the blockade, Vane also spots Eleanor on the deck of the enemy's ship.

Back on Nassau we see Hornigold and Dufranse who are watching the pirates handing over their pardons and Hornigold instantly recognises Mr. Scott, who has come to take the pardon. Mr. Scott knows Hornigold and tells him that he will attempt to round up Rackham's escaped slaves that he used to build the fort, believing that a familiar face will make them want to return. However, Mr. Scott has other plans for them, and it isn't until later that we see what they are.

Blackbeard and Vane meanwhile have come up with an ambitious plan to escape the blockade. They put forward a ship and send it into the blockade on fire in an attempt to take out as many vessels as possible, but Rogers spots a trap and does his best to try and stop it from reaching the blockade, however, in the carnage, one ship is lost, providing room for Blackbeard and Vane to escape.

One thing that the show has to deal with if it wants to remain as close to historically accurate as possible is the treatment of Flint and Silver and how the Treasure Island characters come into play. The writers came up with a way of avoiding that dilemma by putting them literally on Treasure Island itself whilst the battle was taking place, and keeping them there under lock and key. Because the Crew of the Walrus had been captured by a group of freed slaves, who had carved out a life for themselves. Silver says to Flint that they could have taken the pardons and fears that an attack on Nassau is likely. However, Flint in turn argues that if there were a battle for Nassau it would likely be already over by now. Before they can leave and return to find out though the whole crew is captured by the islanders and are taken to a large town that holds plenty of men and women, and their leader is shocked to know that they have captured Flint and have him in their captivity. Silver reveals himself as the ship's Quatermaster, and eventually the leader, an elderly woman, finds out that they are alone and nobody knows where they are. She decides to start torturing the crew to see if their stories are true, and whilst one is taken the rest are imprisoned in cages.

Silver himself manages to find himself drawn into a possible struggle for power within the leading family when he's taken to meet the leader's daughter, Madi, hoping to find a weakness that he can exploit. He learns from Madi that they have a common enemy, the English. Flint, who is still having visions of Miranda, makes his own revelation, the plan to civilize Nassau that Rogers is currently undertaking was of his own making. And on top of that, the Island also introduces us to Ben Gunn, who is another character from Treasure Island and the captured slave trader is now currently another prisoner. Gunn explains what will happen to Flint and his crew as it's exactly what happened to his crew, and their chances of survival now are looking increasingly bleak with multiple plans, each looking more and more difficult, are divisive. Do the group run for it and risk the guards and the traps in an attempt to get back to the Walrus? Or does Silver attempt to convince Madi to align with the pirates and help them convince her mother that setting them free is the best course of action? There's so much potential for this storyline to develop which made it just as interesting as the more action packed drama happening back on Nassau this week.

And then on top of that, after being teased the identity of Madi's father throughout the episode, we get the final revelation that Mr. Scott is the connection that the Island has with Nassau - someone who Flint knows. Mr. Scott doesn't know that Flint is captured and it will be interesting to see what happens if he does find out, and he's already witnessed the killing of English soldiers in an attempt to free the slaves, who are presumably headed to Treasure Island - and will be headed there with tales of Nassau's occupation by the English.

So it's an interesting scenario that should no doubt make next week's episode a pretty good one. Even if it's as half as good as XXII, it will no doubt still be entertaining, because this season has so far, knocked it out of the park in pretty much every corner and it's great to see that it's showing no signs of slowing down. Who'd have thought that a show with Michael Bay's involvement would be this good? It's certainly by far and away the best thing he's been involved in, even if his involvement in this show may not be a big one. If only Black Sails had as much attention as the Transformers franchise though - because for me, this show is really at the top of its game right now.

Catch the next episode of Black Sails at 9pm this Saturday on Starz, and be sure to let me know what you think of the episode in the comments section below!

Overall Episode Verdict: A+
+Vane/Blackbeard Fight.
+Rackham shooting the pirate, helping Vane escape.
+Unleashing the Fire Ship.
+Revelation of Madi's father.
+Ben Gunn.

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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