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Black Sails - XXXIV. - Review: "Eleanor"

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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. - Review
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 4.06 XXXIV - Review:
Directed by Steve Boyum & Written by Jonathan E. Steinberg & Robert Levine

With the arrival of the Spanish on Nassau it didn't take long for all hell to break loose as pirates were butchered left right and centre, apart from those locked up in the fort. Rogers, not realising that Eleanor had disobeyed his orders and left the fort with Flint to participate in an exchange to attempt to stop the bloodshed, had decreed that everyone inside the fort was not to be harmed, and therefore everyone outside of it was fair game. Which unfortunately for Rogers, despite his best intentions to get his wife to safety, meant that Eleanor was now in harms way.

It was a pretty traumatic episode to say the least, and although Eleanor may not have always been the most liked character on the show, the writers actually managed to pull off her death in a way that will make most people feel sorry for her. Whether you like her character or not she was a woman who was trying to do the best she could out of what she had and had always been a well developed, flawed and human character who made plenty of incorrect decisions as well as at the same time ones that turned out well for her. Unfortunately it was her decision to attempt to stop the fighting before it could start that ultimately led to her downfall. The interesting decision as well to have Flint and Madi team up with the British in the interests of their own survival was fair game as well, because the Spanish of course were not above targeting people in uniform in the process. It would have probably been easier for Rogers to tell the Spanish not to attack anyone in uniform rather than just leave the fort alone and that way they could have avoided attention, but realistically, there was no way of keeping the soldiers in check once they were released upon the island as everything went to hell.

Eleanor's connection to Flint came full circle this season as well. Flint mentioned to Eleanor that there was a time not too long ago when she was as invested as Madi was in keeping him alive, as both parties recognize how important he is to the pirate rebellion. His death would no doubt send everything into chaos. I loved how he was ordering the British soldiers around in the protection of the house and demonstrating his practical experience over them - holding off shooting until all the soldiers were in range rather than firing earlier. Unfortunately they let some Spaniards escape and as a result didn't have enough time to check the bodies of the corpses that they'd left behind. It was an interesting decision as well to see that Eleanor was killed not by a main character but by a random Spanish soldier, as it could have just as easily been Rackham taking her out and avenging Vane's death in the process. It also showed as well that despite her best intentions she could not have oversight over all of Nassau when she controlled it, and as a result, she died. I liked that she did get some closure in her storyline in regards to Flint and Madi as well, doing her best to save Madi in the process even if she apparently failed.

The addition of Julius to the series has certainly brought up an interesting new approach to the show. It's rare that this late in the game we get important characters such as him introduced but he's been the third major one this season, as we've already had Captain Berringer and Israel Hands enter the show. His late inclusion turned out to be a vital one as only thanks to the help of him and his men was the few remaining pirates able to escape the initial Spanish assault, and his inclusion certainly adds another interesting development for the show to take going forward.

We also got the long awaited reunion between Jack and Max this week and although it was overshadowed with everything else going on it was a great way to see them reunited. Both Anne and Jack clearly loathe her after her betrayal of them both, but Jack recognises that Max hasn't gotten where she is without merit and was apparently vital in deciding to keep her alive following the evacuation of Nassau which he helped in. Max has information that might be helpful to Jack too, in the form of Eleanor's grandfather, who was part of Eleanor's initial plans to reclaim Nassau in the first place. Max and Jack have decided to head to request his aid in reclaiming Nassau from the Spanish, which sounds like a bad move on paper and it'll be interesting to see if they end up actually recruiting the grandfather or not, because at this point their fate is all up for grabs and if the show decides to follow history I wouldn't be surprised to see at least Jack's death in the next few episodes, or at least by the end of the season. Either way, I have a nagging feeling that Eleanor and Captain Berringer won't be the only major casualties by the season's end. I hope not though - I'd love to see Jack make it out alive, along with Max and Anne for that matter.

There is a big question mark concerning Madi's fate as well. Flint believes that she's dead and by the looks of things, so does Silver, who took it hard - but doesn't blame Flint for not protecting her, which would have been an easy way to create further conflict between the two but it's great to see that the writers didn't follow this approach. Hopefully we can find out what happened to Madi sooner rather than later and get some confirmation on whether she's coming back or not at all. For now though, the revolution that Flint had promised Madi's mother on the Maroon Island has begun as following the defeat at Nassau plenty of pirates flocked to their cause, boosting their numbers for a potential second assault of Nassau, especially if the British reinforcements that Max and Jack are looking for are there as well. Seeing Flint and Silver work with this new force will no doubt be an interesting one, as will presumably be the consequences of Madi's death which we'll find out more in the next episode. One thing's for sure is that this show is certainly blowing through a lot of plot and it has arguably gone through a season's worth of content already - I haven't even mentioned Billy Bones and the fact that he was able to escape getting killed by the Spanish thanks to a pirate who didn't want to see him killed whilst chained - and there's no doubt plenty of content for the show left to cover in the remaining four episodes.

On the whole there was a lot to cover here, and the show addressed it incredibly well. Having Rogers pay for the price of his actions was a decision that was seemingly inevitable from the moment that Eleanor left the fort before the Spanish attack, and how he deals with his loss will no doubt grip him going forward, especially when he considered the weight of what he's just done in practically handing Nassau to the Spanish. History shows that unfortunately he doesn't get killed by a pirate so if the show takes the historical approach - again, a big if, he's going to end up in jail for his debt. But for now he's going to have to live with the consequences, which include a Spanish occupied Nassau.

What did you think of Black Sails' XXXIV? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to check out the next episode tomorrow on Starz at 9pm.

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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