As we settled down for the final episode of BLACK SAILS, there were many questions as to where it will end. Who would make it out alive? I must admit, I didn’t see how that was going to happen. The show had reached that point where the darkness shone brighter than the light and I could see no way out for our small band of pirates.
My predictions were grim and were as follows. Flint would somehow find his way to the place where the rich hide their troublesome family members. He would learn that Thomas was there, but had died recently. We would last see Flint, overcome with grief, descending into drink. John I believed would make it out with Madi and we would last see him telling stories at his Inn. Billy would be wondering towns looking over his shoulder. A sad and paranoid shadow of his former self.
As for Jack and Anne, I feared the worst. I feared Jack would kill Rogers, and be taken into custody along with Anne and Featherstone under the new Madam Guthrie run regime. Jack and Featherstone would hang, with Idelle watching in the crowd. Max would show up and buy Anne’s freedom. And lastly, most of the maroons would last be seen being sold back into slavery. Yes, It didn’t look good for anyone.
The show starts with Tom Morgan, one of Nassau’s Captains, sits with a society man at what appears to be a plantation of sorts. Morgan is asking if they have a particular person there. After the owner refuses to divulge any info, Morgan informs him that he is from Nassau and an agent of Long John Silver. Attitudes change. Cut to credits.
We then pick up with the long boats in the water shooting the survivors of The Walrus crew as they swim to shore. Rogers leads them with one objective…capture Flint alive. Things look bad but then he is signaled back to the ship…Rackham has arrived! Jack picks up the survivors as Rogers heads out to sea. As our pirates pursue, the first big confrontation takes place.
Rackham, Silver and Flint – Flint demands to know where Rackham has been since he didn’t follow them. Rackham tells them of his meeting with the Guthries in Philly but leaves out the details and focuses on the situation at hand, Woodes Rogers. Flint forces his way into command (though it is necessary) and Rackham walks away in disgust.
What follows is a boarding like nothing we’ve seen before! Full force with Silver Flint and Rackham on board. Billy in the rigging and Rogers taking point against them. Flint and Billy do battle in the rigging, where their true rift began way back in episode VIII. The fight is brutal and Billy falls once again into the sea.
Through the mass of men fighting on deck, Rackham spots Rogers. They do battle and as Rogers get the upper hand, Flint arrives and the two of them defeat Rogers. Jack then informs him that he will not kill him, but has something else in mind. Below decks, Silver finds Madi and the two of them surface.
With Rogers defeated, they move to deal with the chest. With all the blood and guts, it comes down to a simple conversation between Flint and Silver. One where Silver reveals that the maroon war will not happen. That it is all over. Flint does not reveal the location of the chest.
The show ends with a montage that shows that the Maroon camp agreeing to terms that protect their freedom, Silver and Madi among them. The biggest surprise though is Flint. What to do with a man who will never stop? Well the rich family that makes people disappear finally come into play. They do take in Flint, but instead of tragedy, he finds happiness. Flint and Thomas are reunited! It is a beautiful moment where Flint can rest easy and stop fighting. For Thomas, the initial look on his face is one of incredible joy for he likely hasn’t seen a familiar face in a decade or more. That is where we say goodbye to them.
So what of Nassau and its core? Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny? Max, Idelle and Featherstone? This is where the show ends on its happiest note. Jack in the tavern recounting the story of how we got to this point to a young listener. Max watching with a smile from the balcony. The new Governor? Augustus Featherstone, at his side is Idelle. Anne on ship as Rackham and the kid board. Yes there is a surprise there but I won’t spoil it. The final shot? Rackham’s flag, proper. It is a fitting end that wraps it all up and leaves the door open to the future.
There are many recurring themes on the show but chief among them, is that what Flint gets close to, becomes taken over by him. What we see in the end is that Madi was too taken by him. Sucked into his dream. She dresses like him, and the look on her face when she sees him alive on deck is one of pure joy. Though we see happiness on her face, its John Silver’s face that puts it into perspective. She has been beguiled by him.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Billy Bones. A man whose hatred of Flint drove him to become just like him. Possessed of rage so deep that he failed to see straight. It is a sad end for a character that we all loved. A straight shooter who wanted the best for everyone and ended up killing his own. We could go on and on about who is responsible for that at its core. Is it Silver for giving the order? Is it Madi for her stance on the subject? Hands for being the devil on his shoulder? Or Flint for simply driving it all? Something to ponder.
All good things must end, that is how they stay good things. BLACK SAILS, the show that dared to be the first and only true tale of the golden age of Piracy has come to its end and yet manages to be a new beginning as well. “To be underestimated is an incredible gift” Jack Rackham once said, that is the gift this show had. No one thought it would be so well written, so gripping, and with every week it surprised people, its fan base growing. It filled a gap in popular entertainment and enthusiast who had longed to see this world brought to life in a realistic way were given something that far exceeded expectations. Hats off to creators Jonathan Steinberg, Robert Levine, Dan Shotz and the rest of the crew who did such an unforgettable job creating the world of Nassau and its Flying Gang. To them all, I tip my hat and raise a glass. If I have one final question, it is simply this…What comes next?