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Stuck in the Doldrums, Black Sails “XXI” 

Stuck in the Doldrums, Black Sails “XXI”
Photo credit: Starz
Photo credit: Starz

Good news, most of the Walrus crew survived the storm! Bad news, they’re now stuck in the doldrums with very little food and water left. Even the uneducated men can do the math — odds of making it to land are slim. And Captain Flint doesn’t make it any easier for them. He eliminates rations for the non-essential crew, and keeps giving fresh water only to those necessary to sail the ship. Harsh? Absolutely. And given his lack of moral compass of late, it’s the smartest play he has.

Practical or not, Flint appears beyond reason and the crew need their Quartermaster, John Silver, to make sure things are done in their best interest. Yet Sliver is stuck in some sort of hell in his own mind. He may have internally come to grips with his new place as Quartermaster, but he has not fully accepted the mantle. With seas as unforgiving as they sail, he’s running out of time to get a hold of himself. After Flint kills two accused thieves in cold blood, Billy (who now appears to be First Mate?) tells him that things are getting out of control and that it is Silver’s job to stand between Flint and the crew.

Flint and Silver have been in a tug-o-war match from the series premiere. Through three seasons, we’re still deadlocked in a battle between the ultimate tactician and the ultimate con man. Though it may seem Flint always has the upper hand, Silver’s got an ace up his sleeve that just might be the ticket to earning Flint’s respect. When he tells his Captain about having stolen the Urca gold and divided it up amongst the powers that be in Nassau, Flint is deadly silent.

After intense silence, Silver can breathe a sigh of relief when Flint asks why he’s telling him. While his words may seem harsh, he makes it quite clear that he is not just another deckhand. And that if Flint expected to survive with this new revelation, then he’d better stop underestimating Silver’s abilities. Then, in true manly man fashion, these two men catch a great white shark with a spear and a hook. Ah, bonding.

I honestly didn’t think Silver had the stones to stand up to Flint the way he did! And while I’m sure he’s still wary of Flint’s leniency, he’s got to feel a lot lighter having lifted the weight of that secret off his shoulders. BUT, what happens when the Walrus crew find out they’re penniless?

Photo credit: Starz
Photo credit: Starz

One person who is taking their potential wealth seriously is Max. She may be an opportunist, but that doesn’t mean she has no plan. Spain and the British are both looking for the Urca gold. Having convinced Jack to exchange the gold for things that are easier to move, it is now time to divide their shares evenly.

Because when things go bad on the island, of which Max is certain, she wants it to be easy for her, Jack and Anne to get their fortune and move along. So in the bowels of Nassau caves, Max and Anne come to a most heart-wrenching conclusion: their time together is at an end. Surprisingly, Anne is devastated by the realization. It’s not that they don’t love each other, but they are just traveling on different paths.

When Max brings Anne to tears, I felt myself wanting to reach out and hug Anne. For the first time, Anne doesn’t let her anger win out over the pain. She is 100% vulnerable in that moment, and Max knows that she has lost her. Are these women ever going to find the happiness they seek?!

While Max and Anne come to terms with their lives, Eleanor is using everything at her disposal to get back to Nassau. When Woodes Rodgers and his 8 ship fleet get close enough to a line of ships ready to defend the bay, he’s got to to go back to the drawing board.

Like a true politician, he’s got a speech written for when he lands upon the shores of Nassau. In his mind, he believes that the pirates there will listen to his words and see reason. Thankfully Eleanor is there to laugh in his face. Sure, pirates can be reasoned with… But what reason do they have to listen to a man like Rodgers?

Photo credit: Starz
Photo credit: Starz

When she suggests Captain Hornigold row out instead, I wanted to throw something at my TV. My ire for Hornigold has done nothing but build and build since last season! Though I cannot tell if I am more upset that Eleanor suggested it, or that it worked.

Even Blackbeard has to respect a former pirate making way under the white flag. Curse these pirates and their codes! I want Hornigold out of the picture. I want him and Dufresne to go away and never return. Yet they are a petulant thorn in Nassau’s side.

With scores of pirates laying down their weapons and accepting the pardons that Hornigold offers (on behalf of the British Navy), where does that leave Charles Vane? His name was in the letter as the one and only pirate for whom the pardon does not apply. With a $10,000 bounty on his head, dead or alive, I have a feeling Nassau is about to become an even more unsavory place.

One of my lingering questions is where does Blackbeard fit into all of this?! Even he showed a bit of sentiment when he practically called Vane the son he never had. He came back for Vane after eight years (and nine wives, lest we forget) and I hardly think he’ll stand by and let these “poor excuses of pirates” take away what he sees as his legacy.

With sufficient character building and everyone’s cards on the table, we should be heading into the fun part of Black Sails. The part where are the wheeling and underhanded dealing begins to take place. Let the chaos begin!

What are you hoping to see as Black Sails progresses? Catch the next episode on Saturday, 9/8c on Starz.

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