To Deal With The Devil – BLACK SAILS XXXV

Last week when we left Flint and Silver, they had returned to the maroon island to find pirates and slaves alike showing up from all over the West Indies and the Americas, to join the cause. To free the new world from British rule. This would be a promising start if not for the fact that Silver must inform the maroon Queen that her daughter, Madi, is dead. For the first time since meeting her, the maroon Queen has softened towards the pirates and she and Silver have a truly nice moment.

When he rejoins the others, he finds that the ambition/madness that possesses Flint, has spread. They now talk of sacking Boston. Though most are gung ho, Julius, the leader of the slave revolt, opposes the plan. He sees only a tragic end.

Aboard ship, Jack tends to Anne as they head up river to Philadelphia. Bedridden Anne notices that Max hasn’t returned to try and see her and realizes that Jack has told her to stay away. There is nothing worse than having too much time to think and that is all Anne has had. She is torn on the subject of Max and I’m sure that Jack would prefer to keep things simple in these trying times.

On Nassau, the aftermath of the Spanish invasion finally hits home. Woodes Rogers sits alone awaiting Mrs. Hudson with interesting news. Upon squaring thing with the Cuban Governor, he learned that the surrender of Jack Rackham was NEVER a condition. His look says it all. How much was lost on both sides because of that lie? Before she can defend herself, he learns a more painful truth that demands his attention… Eleanor was pregnant. There is a poetry to the idea that he believes that Eleanor would have never betrayed him without being coerced. Much as Eleanor believed that he would have never betrayed her by siding with the Spanish. Both in love with an ideal rather the actual person.

In Philadelphia, Jack and company arrive in the winter. It is amazing to see them in cold weather. A simple shift but visually satisfying. His plan, to speak with the senior Guthrie and win him as a partner in revitalizing Nassau while imprisoning Woodes for causing the death of his granddaughter. While waiting for Guthrie in the great room, Jack is greeted by a young woman who is for lack of a better phrase, a “pirate groupie”. She asks Jack if he knew all the “giants” like Blackbeard and, wait for it, Jack Rackham.

Before he can truly soak it in though, she asks if he knew Charles Vane. “Charles Vane was my closest friend in the world.” It is a touching moment that also serves to justify the portrayal of these men on the show. We hear the things that the newspapers are printing. Animalistic things about Vane. That he was a cannibal and psychopath. It is a great scene that reminds us that we have only really heard one side of the story for centuries and the things we have read about these men could be far from the truth. It’s a masterful scene that in a way, sums up the show. Mr. Guthrie has no love for his dead granddaughter but Mrs. Guthrie meets Jack outside and states that she is but will need convincing.

Back on Nassau, Rogers is informed of someone turning himself in…Billy! This week Billy Bones becomes the Billy Bones of Treasure Island. The man who will grow to live in fear. But that is in the future, right now he’s angry. He wants to make a deal with Rogers. He wants the pirates to pay for betraying him and he reveals his ace…Madi is alive and in a cell. Billy’s take is that Rogers should use her to divide Flint and Silver.

Back at the Guthrie’s, Jack and Max sit and make their case. With the help of Max’s ledger, they convince her…but there is a catch. Jack Rackham must kill Flint because he will just continue to destroy everything.

On the Maroon Island, the Queen receives a letter from Rogers. It’s a simple deal. The cache for Madi. John says yes, Flint says no. This is the first real tension between the two and Long John Silver is a new man with commitment. Flint has a plan to save Madi without giving up the cache. He wants it left in the ground. The episode ends with Flint and Silver sailing to Nassau and Israel Hands talking with Silver about Flint. The reveal is that if Flint’s plan fails, Silver dug up the cache as back up. No honor among thieves.

This episode is remarkable. There is no combat in this episode yet it is just as riveting as any of the previous ones. The big set piece this episode was of course Philadelphia. To see Jack and Max in polite society was a real treat. Jack and Anne also carried the heart of this weeks episode. The contained fear he conveys to her without stating so is beautiful.

On the Flint/Silver side of things, this episode showcased the moments when flint almost seemed afraid of Silver. A man no longer afraid of anything or anyone.

Lastly, Woodes seemed like a human being for a moment before turning back into a monster with Madi. He is absolutely evil as he informs her that if she refuses to play by his rules, he will sell every man, woman, and child across the globe until they are alone in the world. Such an evil man.

Next week promises to be even more intense. As we get down to the wire, this series continues to raise the bar for dramatic television. Until next week, maintain your sanity and try to stay sober.

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