Black Sails Episode (1×07) Review – “VII”

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Black-Sails-Review

“One of Us” in this episode of Black Sails

Leading into the season finale, this week’s episode of Black Sails tied up some loose ends, and prepares viewers for a major showdown in next week’s season finale. Last week, Charles Vane rowed ashore to a mysterious island to visit a man who supposedly holds the key to Eleanor’s downfall. Jack Rackham found his life in danger after it was discovered that Anne and Eleanor, along with John Silver, were in cahoots to kill Mr. Hamund for brutalizing Max. Not only that, but it turns out the crew’s pearls weren’t so lost after all. Anne had stolen them from her beau Rackham so they had enough money to stay afloat. Meanwhile, Flint and his men managed to get control of the Andromache after Mr. Scott led a slave rebellion below decks, and Billy Bones went to a watery grave at the hands of Flint after he discovered a letter Mrs. Barlow sent Capt. Bryson. This week’s episode was an exciting hour of television, so let’s jump aboard and discuss “VII.”

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“I’m terribly sorry if I’ve ruined your morning.” This week we got more of Rackham and Anne’s tumultuous relationship when an irritated Anne left Jack tied to the bed after he failed to “perform” his morning duties. To Jack’s credit, he was just betrayed by his lady love and marched off to the rocks at sword point a few hours before, so it’s not too surprising that he’d have performance anxiety. What made this scene so interesting was that for most of the season Jack seemed to be in control of their twosome, but this scene solidified that it’s Anne who truly runs things in their household. Whatever magic she worked on the poor soul has kept him at his mercy, and she’s not alone. Jack spent the majority of the episode getting metaphorically kicked in the teeth by the women in his life. If it wasn’t Anne telling him off and leaving him tied naked to their bed, it was the whores stealing him blind so that the brothel couldn’t turn a profit, or Max cursing him out for being too softhearted where the prostitutes are concerned. Jack Rackham has had it rough these past few episodes, but now that Vane is on his way back to New Providence, maybe Jack will get his bullocks back and stand up for himself.

Max: Get your fucking house in order!

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To Sir, With Love… After all the talk Mr. Scott did aboard the Andromache these past two weeks, I have to admit it was very surprising how he decided to leave Eleanor to join up with Capt. Hornigold. Despite his desperation to return to New Providence, Scott’s viewpoint that Eleanor is walking into a mess she won’t be able  to get out of by teaming up with Flint hasn’t changed one iota. Instead of standing by while she makes this disastrous decision, Scott would rather turn pirate. This was a huge decision for several reasons. Not only was Scott leaving Eleanor, but it turned out he wasn’t as free a man as he always appeared. In truth, Mr. Scott was owned by the Guthrie’s, and his desire to return wasn’t just to be reunited with Eleanor, but so he wouldn’t be branded a runaway slave. The mere fact Eleanor consented to Scott’s new plan confirms how much like a father Eleanor considers Scott, because as his owner, Eleanor could have made sure Scott never left her side. As understandable as Mr. Scott’s feelings may be, however, he may have just propelled Eleanor further down the road he hoped she’d avoid by leaving her surrounded by people she doesn’t truly trust.

Scott: Where would I go, chattel property of the Guthrie estate?

Eleanor: You know I’ve never thought of you that way.

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Like Father, Like Son… If Flint thought Gates would take Billy’s demise lying down, he was dead wrong. For years Gates has been loyal to Flint, and turned a blind eye to Flint’s less scrupulous deeds, but no longer. Flint killing Billy was the last straw, for Gates thought of Bones as a son. Not only has Flint repeatedly lied to the crew, but now he’s killed another one of them to keep his lies secret. Since Gates has always relented and let Flint run things the way he wants, Flint undoubtedly is clueless of Gates plan to help the crew kill Flint once they’ve caught and plundered the Urca. With Mrs. Barlow and Gates betrayals, Flint now finds himself thrust in the middle of enemies on all sides, and it will be interesting to see how he survives this season.

Gates: He was a son to me.

Flint: Well, maybe you should have acted as a better father to him.

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“This ends when I grant them my forgiveness.” Gates and the crew aren’t the only ones who’ve stabbed Flint in the back recently. Mrs. Barlow’s letter resulted in Billy’s death, and also revealed Flint’s motivations. Up until now, It always appeared that Flint wanted to catch the Urca to buy his freedom from England so he and Mrs. Barlow could ride off into the sunset together
 and build a good life somewhere else. Wrong! Flint is out for revenge. As far as he sees pit, England ruined their lives after they were branded adulterers and forced them into piracy to survive. Flint didn’t betray his country. He betrayed his best friend, and because of that he and Miranda were ruined. Flint is right to a degree. Their affair should have only cost Flint his position in the Royal Navy for dishonorable conduct, but they shouldn’t have had to flee their homeland. Unfortunately for them, that was the time they lived in. They both knew what they were doing was wrong and what the consequences of their actions would be, and yet they still had an affair. While the punishment didn’t fit the crime, it’s not like they were unaware of what would happen to them. What is sad about this whole situation, and I’ve said it before, is that they both threw their lives away for a moments pleasure, and now have discovered it was never worth it. After all these years there’s no love left between them, and Flint’s on a course that will only lead to his death. Miranda may have betrayed Flint with the best of intentions, yet all she managed to do was make the situation worse. Now that Flint is at sea with no one he can trust to watch his back, Miranda may end up all alone and at the mercy of those who know of her role in Flint’s treachery.

“When all this is over, Flint dies. No argument.”

“Not from me.”

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“Go on! Take these men. Make me rich.” The identity of Vane’s mystery man was never said in the episode and was only revealed to you if you know your pirates. Blackbeard’s his name, and he and Vane apparently go way back. On the show, Vane grew up on Blackbeard’s island, which is why he knew where to find it. Since Eleanor took his crew from him, Vane hoped Blackbeard would give him his men in exchange for a percentage of the profit. Blackbeard relented, only to discover Vane planned to take the men for himself. These scenes were expertly done, because the writers assumed the audience knows their history, and didn’t spoon-feed it to us by revealing Blackbeard’s name. Even though the show’s version of Vane and Blackbeard’s history was fictionalized, Vane did actually try to convince Blackbeard to take control of Nassau  but failed, and didn’t have a hand in Blackbeard’s death, it kept us on our toes wondering how close to the truth Black Sails would get. Now armed with ships and a crew, Vane is prepared to go after the Urca himself.

Eleanor (to Flint): I believe in this place and I believe that if there’s anyone who can make it into something better it’s you.

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Next week is the season finale, and I can’t wait to see how everything pans out. Flint is surrounded by enemies, John Silver has joined the mutiny to over throw Flint as captain, Vane now is capable of getting back into the game, and Eleanor has lost everyone she loves. Love. Murder. Betrayal. Intrigue. Black Sails has taken its audience on a tumultuous journey into the lives of pirates that has been both powerful and disturbing. While most of the episodes have some witty humor, “VII” provided a few comical situations via Rackham, but never let up on the mounting tension that will carry us into the finale. With so many intrigues and murderous plots afoot, it’s anyone’s guess who will survive into the next season. Now that Blackbeard has met a bloody end at Vane’s hands, the show has proved that history can be rewritten as far as the historical characters portrayed are concerned, and so none of them are safe from the chopping block. Who do you think will be the next to walk the plank?