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Black Sails - XXXV. - Review: "Notoriety"

15 Mar 2017

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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. - Review
4.08 XXXVI. - Airs March 19
4.09 XXXVII. - Airs March 26
4.10 XXXVIII. - Airs April 2

Black Sails 4.07 XXXV. - Review:
Directed by Lukas Ettlin & Written by Robert Levine & Brad Caleb Kane

Whilst not necessarily as action packed as previous installments have been, the seventh episode of Black Sails' final season was a really good one regardless. One thing that has been trying to happen all season is the divide in the alliance of Captain Flint and Long John Silver, because it's something that should be clear to anyone that if their alliance separates then the pirates' already fragile partnership will implode around them as divisions are drawn. It turns out that Billy was of course able to survive the Spanish assault and in the process manage to find an audience with Woodes Rogers, bringing forth a proposed vision that they can use Madi, who was left behind following her supposed death in the last episode, in order to create a divide between them.

The ultimatum was simple, leaving Flint and Silver to decide between either the chest of gold that they could use to finance their war effort or Madi herself. It's clear that Flint believes that they can rescue Madi and keep the gold but Silver on the other hand doesn't underestimate the British and in fact brings the gold with him on the ship in the very case that the exchange goes wrong. It's a very interesting dilemma that will no doubt be something that Flint will inevitably find out about and I have to say, the odds don't look good for his character at this point. He's got enemies coming in from all sides, because as well as Silver and Flint, he also has to deal with a new enemy and a former friend from the unlikeliest of sources in the form of Jack Rackham, who headed to meet with Eleanor's grandfather in order to request some aid in the previous chapter.

It turns out that her grandfather however isn't necessarily the brains behind The Guthrie enterprise, as he rejects the offer to not only get revenge for his daughter's life but also put Rogers out of business in the process by capitalising on his debts and taking Nassau for himself. His wife is more considerate about this and is able to get an audience with Jack and Max who has journeyed with them. After a conversation where Max explains her origins about how she came from a background of slavery and would not wish to see anyone suffer as she has suffered when it would be cheaper to employ slave labour, Eleanor's grandmother is on board with the plan to help reclaim Nassau for the British and take it away from Rogers' possession. This does however mean killing Captain Flint and essentially ending any chance at a pirate resistance throughout the new world, both actions of which will see Rackham regarded as a traitor. There was a great moment in this episode where Jack got to meet with a young girl who was awed at him being from Nassau, asking him what he knew about pirates and not realising that she was talking to Jack Rackham himself. It's always interesting to see what other characters even minor ones perceive of the big players of the game, and especially hearing Rackham's views on Silver and Flint's alliance was an interesting one. Now that both are interested in taking Flint out of the game could we eventually see Silver/Rackham alliance? It would certainly be a fascinating prospect that would open up lots of potential. I don't think Rackham has it in him to take out Flint especially after what we've seen of the character so far, but that doesn't mean that Anne couldn't do the job for him, but Silver at this point looks much more likely to be the one to deliver the killing blow. Assuming of course, Flint ends up dying by the end of the series at all. But like I said, the odds don't look good for him.

The storyline on the mainland following Jack was easily my favourite part of this week's episode. It's rare that we get to see a change of scenery and visit new places so it was great to see it pay off. Jack himself has always been more diplomatic than most of the pirates that we've had on display here and with Max in tow with him, it was no wonder that they were able to convince Eleanor's grandmother. The main twist that it was Eleanor's grandmother being the mastermind of operations was a welcome one as well, and the writers handled it effectively enough.

It's also important not to ignore Rogers' reaction to Eleanor's corpse here. It was really powerful and really showed that just because he may have taken back control of Nassau it really was a pyrrhic victory for him as not only has he lost his wife but also his unborn child. The show does a good job at making you sympathise with its antagonists even when they're doing their best to kill the characters you love, and this was a great example of that. Rogers has really been one of the best villains that the show has had to offer and I can't wait to see how well he factors into the series going forward, and whether the writers plan to stick to historical events or change things a bit to give him a messier ending. If given the preference, having Max kill him would be how I'd see that storyline play out. But no matter what the writers do I'm sure it will be handled well.

In conclusion then, XXXV. was a fantastic episode that proved the show doesn't always have to be action heavy to be awesome, continuing to tell fascinating storylines that have us gripped no matter what happens. There's only three episodes left to tell of this epic tale, and next Sunday can't come quickly enough.

What did you think of Black Sails' XXXV? 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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