Has Woodes Rogers lost the plot? The Governor is hanging on Billy’s every word, seemingly to carry out the deal Eleanor set in motion. But it feels a lot more like Rogers has given up on Nassau and now only seeks revenge. Not only is he done wasting time, but he swiftly kills the shore party that Flint and Silver sent out to find Madi. So long, Kofi! You’ve been a faithful protector and journeyman for this cause. But he and three other men are shot, without pomp and circumstance, as Rogers waits for the cache of jewels to be produced.
This sequence is confusing because it certainly did not seem like Flint had a real plan. Rogers did have the upper hand by capturing Flint’s crew before they could accomplish their task, but surely Flint had a contingency? It’s a very good thing Silver brought the cache, because it looks like that carrot was the only thing that saved Madi’s life. Though she was spared, just in the nick of time, why is this trade taking place on Skeleton Island? It feels like Rogers is becoming more and more unhinged, and is less sure of what he actually wants.
We’ve finally made it to the actual location where Treasure Island takes place; and we (are sure to) see how the island got its infamous name. But what was Rogers’ play by sailing all the way to this forsaken place? Was he hoping to make the exchange without a fight and hope that the pirates would be happy with the terms he asked Madi to deliver? Even if Flint hadn’t crossed Silver and run off with the chest, it wouldn’t have, couldn’t have been that easy.
Flint and Silver appear to have finally hit the impasse and Israel Hands is going to get the blood he’s been in Silver’s ear about. Having pulled Dooley in to a deeper role as his right hand, Flint grabs the cache and makes a run for land. Silver sends his henchmen after Flint to retrieve the treasure and kill the Captain. But is that really the plan? I only ask because we didn’t see what Silver actually told Hands; and if Black Sails has taught us anything that if we didn’t see it with our own eyes, we can’t trust it. At least that’s what I choose to hold on to. In reality, however, Hands may have been right all along — There’s no room for two at the top.
While the men are double crossing each other in the middle of the sea, Max, Ann, and Idelle are still in Pennsylvania. Max is just a smidgen away from securing this deal between Marion Guthrie and Nassau, giving her the chance to earn some of her capital back. What a powerhouse team Grandma Guthrie and Max would be. Two intelligent, business minded women, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in order to secure wealth and their future. Their dynamic feels like Max is looking into the future at the woman she could become given the right opportunity.
But when handed her dreams of success and prosperity on a platter (having fully earned the status), Max turns it down. It was an unexpected admission because Marion had wrapped everything up neatly and all that was left to do was nod her head. Yet, much like Eleanor’s sentiment to Flint before she died, Max had decided that she’d sacrificed enough of herself for the sake of men. Despite the money, the backing of a powerful family, and the prospect of great success, Max chose love over money.
Sitting on the bench, in the cold snow of Philadelphia, pouring her heart out to Anne was one of the most stunning shots this series has produced. The oceans that lie between these two women are filled with lies, deceit, betrayal, and above all else, love. It’s a complicated relationship that has never been trite or just flesh fodder for the fans. Max and Anne have the kind of love that crawls beneath the surface of the skin, making it impossible to forget and painful to remember. The beautiful moment they share on that bench is heartwarming and uplifting. Everything that Max has worked for may have been thrown out the window, but she will not be heading back to Nassau empty handed.
Black Sails is excellent at slowing down the pace without slowing the story. “XXXVI” pits desperate people against each other, forcing characters to evolve along unexpected paths.
The penultimate episode of Black Sails, “XXXVII,” airs Sunday, March 26th, at 9/8c on Starz.