Black Sails XXXVIII (Starz 2 Apr 2017, with Luke Arnold)

Black Sails XXXVIII,

And so it comes to this, Black Sails XXXVIII, the very last episode of Black Sails. The episode begins with a pre-credit sequence in which pirate captain Tom Morgan pays a visit to a certain plantation in Savannah which is used by the wealthy to keep their troublesome or troubled family members under lock and key. He is very keen to know if a certain, at this stage unnamed, person is being held there.

Meanwhile back on Skeleton Island Flint and Silver attempt to get as many survivors onto the beach as possible. Under heavy fire from Rogers’ men. Rogers has stipulated that the only survivor he wants is Flint, after all he is the only man who knows where the treasure is buried. Just when all looks lost Jack Rackham and his men finally arrive. Rogers stages a retreat into open water.

Flint and co make it back on the Rackham’s boat the Eurydice, Flint makes it plain he intends to take charge of the attack on Rogers, only he has the experience necesssary. Rogers intends to not give them the chance to open fire and aims to ram his ship the Lion into the Eurydice instead. In the ensuing brutal battle Flint not only fights Billy (high in the rigging as Flint attempt to bring down one of the Lion’s sails) and sends him plunging into the water, he also joins forces with Rackham to finally bring down Rogers. Rather than killing him though he is taken prisoner, a key act that will allow Marion Guthrie (and Max) to take control of Nassau.

Silver meanwhile has headed into the hold to rescue Madi (and in a nice echo of the very first episode meets a crewman cowering below decks. The man though is “just the cook” – just like Silver claimed to be originally. Silver makes the crewman take him to Madi.

Now that Madi is rescued Flint agrees to take Silver and some of the crew to pick up the cache, however before they can get too far Flint insists on clearing the air with Silver and it quickly becomes plain that Silver has no intention of working with Flint to use the cache to continue the war. He admits he sees it as a senseless waste and that the whole war is all because of Flint and the fact that he has nothing left to lose.

Flint tells Silver that some day, if he doesn’t back the war he will be sorry for the hollow life that he will end up leading. So much of the dialogue in the series is superb and these scenes are no exception. Silver though makes it plain that the war is over and almost begs Flint to give up the fight willing….

The action then switches to Jack’s return to Philadelphia and his reunion with Anne and Max and we fear Silver has killed Flint. At a meeting with Marion Guthrie Rackham tells her that Flint is now of no concern to them. He’s not dead, just retired. Marion agrees to put the rest of the plan into action, Max stipulates that she has exactly the right person in mind for Governor, one who can be tightly controlled by her.

Back on Maroon Madi is devastated at the death of Flint and what she sees as a betrayal to the war. Silver tells her that Flint is not dead but that he has been transported to the Savannah plantation for a reunion with Thomas Hamilton and a resumption of his old self James McGraw. Truthfully, given the nature of the scenes of Flint’s reunion with Thomas are presented it’s hard to tell if that is what really happened or is just another tale by Silver to appease Madi. However given the pre-credit scene of Morgan visiting the Savannah (and the fact that Flint is talked of as dying in Savannah in Treasure Island) we choose to believe it’s true and if there is anyone that Flint would give up everything for it’s Thomas. It’s a supremely emotional moment.

Several months later Nassau is back to being a flourishing port. In the tavern Rackham is talking to a young acolyte who is keen to know about pirate history and whether it still goes on. Featherstone is now governor and Max is the real power on the island.

In the final scene Rackham invites his new young friend Mark Read (who is clearly a young woman, and is really another real life pirate and Rackham cohort Mary Read) and we see Rackham’s new banner The Skull and Cross Swords being unveiled.

A truly superb end to what has been an incredibly series.

classic quote
“You must know this. You’re too smart not to know this. They paint the world full of shadows and then tell their children to stay close to the light. Their light. Their reasons, their judgments. Because in the darkness, there be dragons. But it isn’t true. We can prove that it isn’t true. In the dark, there is discovery, there is possibility, there is freedom.” – Flint trying to persuade Silver to continue the fight.

production details
USA / Starz / 1×70 minute episode / Broadcast 2 April 2017

Writers: Jonathan E Steinberg, Robert Levine / Director: Jonathan E. Steinberg

Series: Black Sails Season 4 Episode 10

Toby Stephens as Captain Flint
Luke Arnold as John Silver
Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max
Tom Hopper as Billy Bones
Toby Schmitz as Rackham
Clara Paget as Anne Bonny
Luke Roberts as Woodes Rogers
David Wilmot as Israel Hands
Harriet Walter as Marion Guthrie
Rupert Penry-Jones as Thomas Hamilton
Zethu Dlomo as Madi
Craig Jackson as Featherstone
Lise Slabber as Idelle
Chris Fisher as Ben Gunn
Anna-Louise Plowman as Mrs. Hudson
Cara Roberts as Mark Read
Fiona Ramsay as Mrs. Mapleton
Dale Jackson as Lieutenant Utley
Wilson Carpenter as Ellers
Anton Dekker as Tom Morgan
Robert Fridjhon as Oglethorpe
Moshidi Motshegwa as The Maroon Queen
Luke Tyler as Cook
Tony Kgoroge as Julius
Sizo Mahlangu as Obi
Tinah Mnumzana as Ruth
Theo Landey as First Mate Molin
David Butler as Frasier
Adam Neill … Mr. Soames
Jose Domingos as Mr. Oliver
Mpho Osei-Tutu as Footman

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