There are few words that can describe the feeling watching this weeks Black Sails. There was joy, there was action, but also pain, blood, and death. The episode begins in darkness and a sense of foreboding. “It’s time for dark men to do dark things” says Berringer to Rogers.
After learning of Silver’s meeting the night before, dark things are afoot as Berringer arrests Max and threatens her with death if she doesn’t give up her contacts. Max refuses and meets Berringer’s gaze with equal resolve. With the threat of being revealed looming closer, Featherstone panics and it is Idelle who holds strong. We know who wears the pants in that relationship (or whatever you call it). John Silver and Israel Hands ponder what to do next, as Berringer’s men hunt them down among the wrecks. Cornered, it’s Flint, Dooley and JoJi who save them.
At sea, Blackbeard, Rackham and Bonny close in on Governor Rogers ship and rifle it with cannon fire. Content, Blackbeard and Bonny lead the boarding party. Without a doubt, Blackbeard wants to look Rogers in the eyes when he ends his life. Leaving Jack to Captain The Revenge, they make their way in the long-boat. Once boarding, something doesn’t feel right and with good reason. Rogers springs his trap and a full battle ensues. With Jack and the crew aboard The Revenge helpless to do anything, the unthinkable happens, Edward Teach, Blackbeard, is captured.What follows is a scene so graphic and disturbing that I found that I need to look away at subsequent viewings. If The Passion Of The Christ had been done via Keelhauling then you may understand what I mean. Blackbeard falls at the hands of Rogers who has become more evil and cold than you could have guessed. With Jack and Anne hostage, he sets sail back to Nassau.
John, now reunited with Flint and Madi, takes their band of pirates into Nassau to take it back. Long John Silver aboard his horse strolling through town like Jesus on Palm Sunday. An interesting visual that hails the return like a messiah to the promised land. The parallels are obvious and yet under the direction of Roel Reiné, they flow smoothly. Berringer stands ready with his men as Long John rides in with his. The battle is intense when it looks like the redcoats have Silver and the pirates down, Billy Bones and his men show up! The episode ending with the death of Berringer and Eleanor and Max fleeing to the fort. Black Sails is a show that surprises at every turn without betraying history.
This episode stands out as the best in all four seasons thus far and also the most heartbreaking. To see a man of Blackbeard’s stature and force of will destroyed was a hard watch. Historians and enthusiasts may have known death was coming, but the manner of which it came was new and will haunt the dreams of Blackbeard loyalists. Ray Stevenson was remarkable in the role and I raise a glass to him.
Black Sails is a show about the end of an era more than anything. Yes it is the origin of Long John Silver, the fictional anti-hero from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, but it is also the story of the end of the golden age of piracy. We know the outcome for many of the characters and yet, week after week we sit at the edge of our seats. This is a talent very few have, the art of story telling. Black Sails is a show that has always topped its previous season. But in this season, each new Black Sails episode tops the last. We will not soon forget this episode of Black Sails. The day a giant fell at the hands of lesser men. At the beginning of the battle between Woodes Rogers and Blackbeards crew, Jack Rackham says to Anne Bonny, “The end is about to begin” Little did he know how right he was.