The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information being doled out. And I loved every minute of it!
Nowhere is this more prevalent than when Max and Eleanor come face to face for the first time since Eleanor was taken, by force, off the island.
Max: When weeks went by with no news of your sentence having being carried out, I assumed an arrangement had been reached to carry it out privately. Or a deal had been brokered to commute your execution to a long prison stay. I suppose I should have seen this… That somehow, your grip on this place would be too strong to be denied by a King, his laws, or even your death.
Eleanor: In the winter, the sun drives hard through those windows. You’ll be blinded there unless you keep them shuttered all day long. I had the desk where it was for reason. Though I suppose you haven’t been here long enough to know how to sit in that chair.
Talk about throwing shade! Not even an acknowledgement of what Max had just said before Eleanor attempts to put Max in her place. Yet I call it an attempt because after another terse exchange about the Governor’s plans for a council, these two, with their long and storied history, try to make amends as only they can. But Max just has to have the last word, and when she ignores Eleanor’s advice and sees the Governor herself, it is her turn to shine. There can be no Nassau without her; no council without her input because SHE is Nassau.
Governor Rodgers: What exactly would you want in exchange for this investment?
Max: And end to this conversation. An end to questions about my past, and a new beginning in which we all agree there is no history in this place anymore. Only a future. In which you and I are truly friends.
I am not entirely convinced that Max didn’t play right into Eleanor’s hands, which begs the question: Who is really the Queen of Nassau? Fierce women — just one more thing to love about Black Sails.
How can there be any talk of fierce women without mention of Anne Bonny? She’s been through a lot herself, and now that she and Jack finally have a means AND a way out, she isn’t so quick to hold on to old sentiments.
Jack: It would take us half a day, if that. We walk into the tavern, sign our names, and then not only are we square with the law, our money is too.
Anne: We did it. We beat the f—ing game! Walk another half mile, we get in that boat, and we win. And you want to go back?
Sometimes you’ve got to know when the game is up and that it’s best to cut your losses and move on. Jack Rackham is so fixated on fame that he can’t see freedom staring him right in the face. He’d rather keep his name and whatever sense of power he feels he has accrued than to take the money and run. Even though Anne puts up a compelling argument, he doesn’t listen. And now I fear it won’t end well for these two; how could it?! They aren’t on the same page and Rackham’s ambition is going to cost them both.
Though there are plenty of strong willed men on Black Sails as well, there are none nearly as charismatic and compelling as Captain Flint. Trapped as a prisoner on an uncharted island and he still finds a way to come out ahead of the game! Of course, he did get a confidence boost when Silver tells Flint that if he could convince him to care about the men on this crew, then Flint could convince anyone to do anything.
The subtle pep-talk was just enough of a reminder that Flint found his voice when speaking to the Queen. And what a masterful orator Flint is.
Queen of the Maroons: …Governor Woodes Rodgers holds Nassau Town with a company of British Regulars. He holds the harbor with a small navy. He holds the men on the streets with his pardons.
Flint: Woodes Rodgers has an inoperative fort, responsibility for an administrative nightmare that isn’t going away just because he wants it to, and an island full of hunters that may be placated for now but could be awoken. That I could awaken.
Queen: How do you propose to do that?
Flint: They pledged to follow me when they thought I was alive. They turned when they thought I was gone. So I will come back from the dead and lay claim to what I am owed.
This entire sequence is Flint at his best. His resolve is indomitable, his demeanor is calm yet deadly, and he knows just which buttons to press to make you think everything he says is in your best interest. Where do I sign up?! Not only does he secure freedom for himself and his men, but he convinces the Queen to provide some of her own men to help retake Nassau. I don’t know about you, but if I were ever in a bind, I’d definitely want Flint in my corner!
What a treat “XXIII” was! The snakes have come out of the grass, seeds of doubt and hope have been sewn, and most importantly, a fuse has been lit. Nassau is teetering on the bring, and I hope we get to see Flint, “bring it all down.”
Next week’s Black Sails is not to be missed. Tune in next Saturday at 9/8c, only on Starz.
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