This second to last episode of the series feels like the writers have wound up a spring loaded sling shot and are just a breath away from letting it loose. It is hard not to get swept up in the momentum of “XXXVII” as we trudge through dense jungle after the chest and Flint while also waiting for Rogers’s trap to spring. We’re given poignant dialogue, explosive action, and largest culling this fandom has ever seen. Woodes Rogers’ descent into madness and uncertainty is a pleasure to watch, and it’s even more gratifying to watch Madi gracefully and defiantly stand between him and the thing he wants most. In a supremely satisfying episode, we’ve narrowed it down to three absolute stand-out moments of goodness.
The locations in Black Sails have always been spectacular, but there’s something special about Skeleton Island. The show spent its four season filming on location in and around Cape Town, South Africa. Bright blue water, lush green jungles, and bright, sandy beaches have been just as much a character to this series as the actors themselves. The mist and fog of the mysterious Skeleton Island further intensifies the mind games it plays with those who visit. Whether the VFX team has a hand in what makes the final cut, or even if some parts (like ship interiors) are filmed on a set/sound stage, the framing of these scenes are stunning.
As the mist rolls off the mountains and down over the water, visibility is greatly reduced, which provides the cover necessary for Rogers’ men to sabotage the Walrus. Flint and Dooley have to fight the land itself as they cut through the brush to find a safe place to store their chest. Watching Flint take on three armed men through a tangle of leaves and vines, there’s something voyeuristic about the way some of the jungle sequences were shot, but it adds to the tension of the scenes.
From the breathtaking cliff views when Flint and Silver are training in the flashbacks to the tight shots in ships’ interiors, every angle provides depth and adds another layer of emotion to already tense scenes. Would there be the same sense of dread without mist coming in and out of frame? Would the flashbacks still have the feeling of being profoundly important without the vast, open ocean full of possibilities as their backdrop? Cinematographer Gavin Struthers has really outdone himself with what is quite possibly, the most beautifully shot episode of Black Sails we’ve seen.
OK, I’ll be honest, this was awfully heart-wrenching. Mr. DeGroot and Joji have been with this series as long as Flint and Silver. For them to have made it so far then be ripped away was painful. Winston Chong has played Joji’s silent but deadly persona flawlessly. He’s been an avid Flint supporter since before the mutiny that Singleton lead in the first season. Which is why it was so surprising to see him take Silver’s side in “XXXVI” when they set off in pursuit of Flint and Dooley after they took the treasure chest. Other than the wayward grunt, Joji doesn’t even speak to Flint with his last breath. Who but Flint could have brought down Joji?
This death was reminiscent of Gates’s death at Flint’s hands. Longevity doesn’t matter to the unshakeable captain. When it comes time for Flint or them, it’s always going to be Flint. Even for the man who risked everything to step up as Flint’s new second, Dooley made the mistake of moving against Flint and paid for his error with his life.
Mr. DeGroot’s death was infuriating. In the chaos of the ambush, it’s impossible to be certain that Billy is the one who killed his former brother, but it’s not a stretch to believe it to be true. There was something deep inside that kept wanting to give Billy the benefit of the doubt, but to see him at the head of the longboat shooting defenseless men in the water was despicable. Not even sparing Ben Gunn was enough to stop the hate that roiled inside for the completely 180 that Billy has taken this season. The only other character in this series that has garnered so much ire from me is Dufrense; but I fear that Billy will not get the punishment he deserves.
Flashbacks of Flint and Silver’s True Friendship
The episode starts with and ends on a flashback, but these are not the poorly done and lazy kind of flashbacks that cheat the viewer by filling in gaps in the story. These flashbacks to Flint teaching Silver how to be a better swordsman are quite literally a peak into this oddly strong relationship they have. At this point, viewers have spent thirty-seven episodes getting to know these characters and watching them grow and change with the world around them. Through that natural progression, there is no question that their friendship, though inexplicable to others, is deep; we didn’t need a flashback to tell us that. What we learned through them was this trek, that has brought them together, actually forged something much deeper. What that something is cannot be explained with a simple relationship status.
The one moment in the flashbacks that jumped out most was when Flint calls Silver on his lie and follows it with, “I’m not angry.” It’s as if he’s saying, “I know you’re lying to me, I don’t understand why you’d feel the need to do so at this point, but I just want you to know I’ve left it all out on the table.” Thomas, Miranda, his time in the Royal Navy… Silver knows Flint as if he were an open book. He admits his true loyalty to Flint in a conversation with Madi, but I believe it is implied that he and Flint know where they stand without Silver needing to be explicit in his intentions.
These two men are masterful orators who are often at odds but never too far apart. The dynamic is interesting, especially since Israel Hands has been in Silver’s ear lately bluntly telling him what he’s refused to admit. Even after Flint has stolen the chest, and killed five great men (six including killing his own ally, Dooley), yet Silver still has reason to pause in their duel. Yes, there is gunfire which causes a distraction; but anyone who really wanted Flint out of the way would have used such a moment to his advantage. Instead, Silver and Flint make their way to a lookout and see that Rogers has completely disregarded their deal and attacked their crew. They have a complex history, yet despite everything actually has come between them, Flint and Silver hold steadfast to the fact that they are better together than they are apart.
“Can’t you see it? It isn’t utility that’s behind his investment in me. Nor necessity, nor dependency. I understand you fear a false motive, but this much is clear to me now. I have earned his respect. After all the tragedies that man has suffered? The loss of Thomas, the events of Charlestown… I have earned his trust. I have his true friendship, so he is going to have mine. And as long as that is true, I cannot imagine what is possible.”
But with only one episode left to close out the series, is that how history will remember the infamous pairing of Captain Flint and Long John Silver?
Black Sails ends a four year run next Sunday, April 2nd, with the series finale at 9/8c on Starz.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
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…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…