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Black Sails - XXXVI. - Review: "Skeleton Island"

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

Black Sails 4.08 XXXVI. - Review:
Directed by Uta Briesewitz, Story by Jenniffer Castillo & Jillian Molin & Teleplay by Tyler Van Patten

The end of the dynamic partnership between Flint and Silver was key to breaking up the pirate forces and splitting them in two and this was something that this season has been building towards since the beginning, testing their bonds of friendship and what it will take for these two allies to turn against each other. The tension was consistently high throughout the episode as you kept wondering how long it would take for the division to come or whether they would somehow progress united despite this, and when Flint's mutiny eventually hit, it was with a hammerblow that really worked and left a distinct impact on Silver, who now knows what needs to be done. The question remains however, like the one facing Jack Rackham, will he be able to carry it out in person?

It's interesting to note that ultimately it looks like Billy Bones may have been the one with all the cards and Silver's decision to abandon him and leave him for dead after humiliating him may have been his mistake, as Billy's understanding of what it would take to break up the Silver/Flint partnership was finally put into practice with a harrowing opening as Flint and Silver may have initially believed that they were sneaking up on Nassau, only to later find out that Woodes Rogers was already there and waiting for them. Billy showed up on deck on the opposite ship, and Rogers began executing pirate captives in a bid to make Silver and Flint turn over the treasure, that Silver took with him against his wishes. In taking the treasure Silver has almost certainly lost the flimsy trust built up in the pirate rebellion by Julius, the leader of the slave rebellion, and Flint is understandably annoyed at Silver for going behind his back. However, as Rogers starts executing pirates one-by-one and with Madi next, Silver realises that there is no other option than to hand over the treasure if he wants to keep her alive. This was it, the moment that the power shift took place, and it's clear that Silver has the upper hand now in negotiations, and from this moment it seemed like a question of when, not if, Flint was removed from the picture.

Meanwhile, Max faced a big choice this week in one of my favourite moments of the episode. The season has been building her 'rags to riches' approach that has followed her journey from a slave to freedom, and if she had accepted the new deal then she would have been in a position of power and status unlike before, as long as she agreed to marry a man who would much like Eleanor's grandfather, serve as a puppet to her administration. In doing this she potentially jeopardised Jack, who is still heading to kill Flint even though she is no longer going ahead with the operation, in order to return to Anne who still doesn't hold her in the best of light. The speech between them was a real highlight and incredibly touching, so much so that I ended up choosing it as a scene of the week. It certainly left an impact and as it stands, these two have the best odds of getting out of the series alive at this point. Of course the real Anne Bonney spent a long time in captivity in prison with her fate remaining unknown, but with such little time left on the show I don't know how it would deal with this in the remaining two episodes available. But that said, Black Sails can go through plot points quicker than Barry Allen can screw up the timeline, so it'll be interesting to see where Anne and Max's story goes from here.

The rift between Flint and Silver was the main talking point of this episode and it seems that their division is actually a legitimate one and not an attempt at deceiving Rogers. The decision to hold the exchange on Skeleton Island really signified a turning point for the show as it properly enters the end-game, and it will no doubt be interesting to see what happens in the next two episodes as the show comes to a conclusion. Presumably this is where the Spanish Gold will remain buried in order for the events of Treasure Island to happen, but the myth built up concerning the checkered history of Skeleton Island and the connection with Avery was an effective one that allowed Flint to once again use his manipulation tactics to steal the Treasure and head off with it onto the island, whilst building superstition among Silver's crew. Hands almost came close to ending Flint there and then but couldn't due to his obligation to Silver, instead using it as proof that Flint must be dealt with once and for all. Silver himself then arrived on Rogers' ship to tell Rogers that he knows what he needs to do, and that's take care of Flint once and for all, with Billy's plan finally having paid off.

It looks like Hands will get his wish after all, and it's safe to say the odds do not look in Flint's favour. The ending to the episode really left a mark - this show has always been good at cliffhangers, and the stakes couldn't possibly be higher going into tonight's episode. What's interesting to note is that Rogers might not necessarily come out on the best of terms as well as he too is being outmaneuvered back on Nassau during his absence, so it won't be too long before things could go even further south for him as well. The observation that Billy and Rogers' fates are linked could no doubt lead to both sharing a similiar fate for both and it's going to be interesting to see what happens to Billy going forward as well. Either way there are a lot of elements to address in the remaining two episodes and hopefully they will all play a part in bringing this excellent show to what should be a terrific finale.

What did you think of Black Sails' XXXVI? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to check out the next episode tonight 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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