When the Spanish ships appeared on the horizon, we knew there would be a great loss to the pirates. They were divided, there was in-fighting among their leaders, and their numbers had already been greatly reduced after a disastrous attempt to take back Nassau Town. However, nothing could have prepared me for the great loss of life suffered in this sixth episode of the final season. What follows is a eulogy for one of the most complex and underrated characters on Black Sails. Once the tears have stopped falling, we’ll move on to anger and what happens next.
Eleanor Guthrie-Rogers was a woman hated by many; yet for those few who loved her, they did so in spite of themselves and unconditionally. Having risen to power by toppling her father’s power and influence, Eleanor gained the necessary clout to build a prosperous racketeering enterprise. She used Pirates as the tip of her spear, promising that if everyone played along, they’d all be making money hand over fist.
And even when an army brought an invasion, she didn’t let that stop her ambition. Captured and imprisoned, Eleanor still managed the presence of mind to turn captivity to her favor. She adapted to the new conditions, and used her previous knowledge of criminal enterprise to posit new strategy for the usurpers. Having proven, yet again, that she had no intention of playing second fiddle.
But change is difficult and the path was fraught with treachery. Somewhere along the way when the lines began to blur, others could no longer discern which side she was fighting for despite all indications pointing to the truth: Eleanor was always going to do what was best for Eleanor. Did she betray friends? Absolutely. Did she lie in order to craft exactly what she needed? Yes, and to great effect. She’s been called all manner of ugly names, but Eleanor Guthrie-Rogers was consistently a bad ass.
Forward thinking, she surrounded herself with powerful and influential people as well. Though it seemed a ruse at first, Eleanor truly did fall for the Governor and was ready to swallow her pride (and his) to make the deal with Flint to take the money and run. What was one island if they could live their lives debt free on their own terms elsewhere? How lucky we’ve been to have witnessed such an ambitious rise and fall.
Eleanor’s luck has finally run out, and because her husband didn’t trust her plan, he’s lost her and their unborn child. She died as she lived — with a fighting spirit and burning everything around her to the ground. There was no disgraceful begging for her child’s life, or pleading that she should be spared because she was the Governor’s wife. Eleanor had been told, from birth, that Nassau was violent and untamable, and that it was no place for her or any child to be raised. That kill or be killed spirit that permeates the island was especially strong in her. While her death will not give rise to a revolution, it will spur Max on, as she continues to fight for a Nassau that she would like to call home.
Eleanor Guthrie-Rogers: Season 4 Episode 6 – She nearly made it to the end.
Now, about Madi… I am going to be absolutely insolent and just refuse to believe that she died that way. A knock on the head and left to burn to death in a house fire? No. That would be unforgivably wrong and a total disservice to her character. How could it end like this? She was instrumental in getting Silver et al. to this point in the first place. She and her mother are what drove Mr. Scott to build Maroon Island into the place it is today. Madi’s upbringing and status are what secured small victories along the way for Flint and Silver. Without her, there would not be an island full of pirates from all over the world ready to fight for Nassau.
If she is truly gone, then Billy’s words from “XXXII” sting even more when he warned Silver that she was most susceptible to the consequences of Flint’s actions. In truth, Flint didn’t have anything to do with Eleanor or Madi’s deaths, unless he’s faulted for leaving them in the house while he took a scout team to catch the Spanish soldiers who ran away. But Silver can’t know that, how could he when he was knee-deep in his own battle at the Underhill estate. Yet I believe Billy’s words will fester and will be the tipping point to sour the relationship once and for all between Flint and Silver.
“It’s not your fault,” he said to Flint after the Captain apologized. What’s left unsaid is Silver admitting that her death (if it’s real) is his own fault. Will he then blame himself for not taking Billy’s most recent advice? Or will he go back even further and blame himself for falling in so deep with Flint in the first place. If they’d never gone to the island, then they’d never have met her and she’d still be alive. It’s not a stretch for someone as distraught as he, but were he to do that it would just be placing blame where there is none to had.
If Madi is really dead, this one hurts just as bad as when Miranda Barlow was so suddenly sent from this world. For a woman to have been so influential to a lead male character, it pains me to see them dispatched of so easily. Both Miranda and Madi were full blow characters, with backstories all their own and strategic minds that were just as calculating as their male lovers. They were more than just arm candy, and it’s painful to see them reduced to such frivolous deaths. After Miranda was killed, Flint went on a murderous rampage. What will Silver’s next course of action be?
“How could we all have sacrificed so much and none of us has anything to show for it?”
Max’s tearful words sum up this entire episode. Anne will not speak to her, Eleanor is dead, and Max is surrounded by people who believe her to be mostly to blame for everything that has transpired. Nevertheless, she persisted. Nassau may have lost Eleanor, but Max is still alive and has the potential to drag this island and its inhabitants, kicking and screaming, to victory against Woodes Rogers and his forces. She has lost everything, again, and refuses to be tossed aside and ignored. With all the time she spent with the Governor and Eleanor, who better to know how to bring down this regime?
At this stage, it’s hard to be sympathetic toward Woodes, but if Mrs. Hudson tells him that he lost his baby with his wife, I believe he’s going to ballistic on the Spanish out of sheer rage. He’ll be upset that they killed his wife, but more-so at himself for allowing them to walk in and do so.
Four episodes remain, and this fight for Nassau has every intention of stomping on our hearts the rest of the way.
Black Sails continues with another massive episode in “XXXV;” which airs on Sunday, March 12, at 9/8c on Starz.
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