Episode 208 – XVI

Flint and Miranda prepare for the worst.  Silver has his eyes opened.  Eleanor discovers Max’s secret.  Vane makes his move.

(Summary provided by starz.com)

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BEST FLINT MOMENT

It is so lovely to see Flint confiding in Miranda, being vulnerable with her and admitting that 1) his decade-long plan might have served to make him into a man that cannot pull off his new plan, and 2) he has done unforgivable things along the way.  Watching them talk about who they were, who they have become, and reassuring each other that they love each other still IS SO GREAT.  They see each other and are seen!!

Miranda:  It’s like some sort of clock that’s finally struck its chime and woken me from this dream we’ve been living, reminded me how many years separate me from a world I still think of as home.  How unrecognizable the woman I am now would be to the woman I was then.
Flint:  I recognize you.  Do you recognize me?
Miranda:  Yes.
Flint:  So that’s in our favor.

JAMES AND MIRANDA (WITH THE GHOST OF THOMAS’S DREAM) AGAINST THE WORLD!!

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TODAY’S RUNNER UP

Silver!  Our boy is getting his first taste of power.  Mr. Scott sees his ability to tell a story as a power that possibly equals Flint’s, but later we see his power goes beyond that.  Vincent kills his partner at a Look from Silver, though he (and other Walrus men) won’t obey Flint until Silver explains why.  When pressed, Vincent says he thinks Silver gives a shit about his interests, which is funny because we know he definitely does not.

Silver is thrown by this admission, and it’s hard to see what he’s thinking.  Does this realization mean that Silver sees power in pretending to care for a crew (it’s possible to be liked and feared), or does being treated as a caring person inspire him to become caring?

His character arc is going to be thrown for a major loop in a couple episodes, but it’s fascinating to think where he might have gone had that not happened.  Based on this episode, I think he might have gone quite dark.

LOL MOMENT

Featherstone:  We leave the bulk of the coin in the trench, keep the location secret, and rotate men in watches to keep it under guard.
Max:  Your answer as where to secure five million pieces of eight is to dig a hole?

That’s a nice little dig at pirate mythology.  😀

WELL-FORMED THOUGHTS

Thanks to Abigail’s voiceovers, we get quite a lot of philosophy to chew on.  I’m especially interested in her view of pirates as performers, especially her initial view of Flint as the puppet master of this theater/illusion.

“My father told me about these men, about their natures, so I know that any appearance of civility from them is but a glimpse of the men they once were.  A ghost that shows itself only while the darker things that now govern their souls lays dormant.  Though I’m forced to wonder if this illusion is no accident at all, but theater for my benefit, orchestrated by someone so awful, even monsters such as these have no choice but to dance to the tune he plays for them.  Which leads me to the one thought I find most frightening and most difficult to dismiss.  What happens if that man decides the theater no longer serves his purposes and lets the monsters loose?”

It is ironic that while Abigail fears these are monsters masquerading as good men, Flint is talking with Miranda, worried that him being a good man masquerading as a monster will be his undoing.

The truth is more complicated than that, which Flint’s conversations with Miranda bear out.  James is a good man, and he has done monstrous things.  Miranda is the woman she always was, and she encouraged the murderous impulses of her friend to arrange the murder of two people.  Billy is cute, sympathetic, and righteous, and we learn that he’s a murderer.  The very thing that convinces Abigail that these are normal men (the death of their brother) was actually murder.

This is my favorite thing about this show – the unwavering assertion that humans are simultaneously good and monstrous.  We are all sinners and saints.  We are good and we are ruthless, we create illusions of ourselves, we play up one side of ourself in a certain situation and another side at a different time.  Certain people bring out certain aspects of ourselves that we might never have expected.  We are complex creatures, and like Abigail, Black Sails encourages us to see beyond a black and white view of humanity.

FRAGMENTED THOUGHTS

  • It’s honestly amazing that Abigail’s opinion of pirates changes at all, considering the stories she was raised on and the fact that her first experience of pirates was of Ned Lowe.  Her willingness to be open-minded and challenge her assumptions is so praiseworthy.
  • I love that Flint is proud of Abigail for enduring what she’s gone through.  One of his best qualities is his ability to see the strength of the women around him.
  • On the other hand, Jack is really rather sexist in this episode.  He’s worried for Vane and blaming it on Eleanor, he’s mad about the situation with Anne, but I don’t care.  I don’t like the two comments he makes.  You’re better than this, Jack!

“For so many years, I knew her.  Perhaps the only one who truly knew her. But for weeks, with everything we’ve been through, everything she’s done, she’s a fucking mystery to me.  So now I realize two things are possible: one, something has changed within her, something so significant that she’s turned into someone I barely recognize.  Or two, it was a fantasy that I ever knew her at all.”

  • I like the show’s acknowledgment that when one person (Anne) goes through an identity crisis, everyone around them must readjust to the new person before them.
  • Miss Mapleton is spying on Max for Eleanor!  It’s interesting that she supports the plan to make Nassau reputable.  I think of that as the Good Guy plan, and Miss Mapleton as a Bad Guy.  But of course this show is more complicated than that!
  • Silver is making up stories about his past – “five years ago I worked on a merchant ship” – but Billy and Mr. Scott acknowledge that the power lies in the telling of the story, not in the truth of the story.  THAT’S going to continue to be relevant.
  • Silver is pissed to be working with incompetents, and he sounds legitimately scary when confronting Nicholas.  I’m not surprised Vincent thought it within the realm of possibility that Silver would want him to kill his brother.
  • Billy and Abigail make eyes at each other, and I’m pretty sure this is the only time we get any kind of hint as to Billy’s sexuality (though let’s be honest, while her looks were Interested, he mostly seemed confused).
  • It’s heartbreaking to watch Flint realize that he spent the last decade preparing for a battle, not diplomacy.  He’s worried that he became Flint for nothing, that the furious pirate captain he became to save Nassau will now be an impediment to his goals.  The doubt and potential guilt he must feel, retracing every decision he made over the past TEN YEARS is overwhelming.  Especially when on top of his fear of Peter Ashes’s judgment is the fact that he judges himself for some of his actions.

Flint:  Something else lies at the end of this road: judgment.  Not of Nassau, but of me and the man that I’ve become.  This entire endeavor hangs in the balance of that judgment.
Miranda:  You can defend that man.  There are good arguments in defense of him.
Flint:  For some of his deeds, perhaps for most of them.  But there are some things that Captain Flint has done that cannot be defended.

  • Good show writing, that just as Flint is confronting the reality of his persona and the actions he does to protect it, Silver finds himself in a similar position (while wearing black, uh oh).
  • Eleanor is anti-Urca gold if Max is in position of it.  I’m not sure what the difference is between this vs. Flint’s crew bringing it in?  It was already established that forming a Pirate Bank was going to be a tough sell if possible at all.

“I have done what I’ve done and I will live with it.  But do not for a moment believe that that defines me.”

  • Eleanor’s quote above strikes me as a much more mature variation of Silver’s season 1 advice (to her!) that “Guilt is natural.  It also goes away if you let it.”
  • The Maria Aleyne mystery is solved!  WOW, do I love Miranda insisting that she is just as guilty, if not more, of the murder of Alfred Hamilton and his wife.  “If you’re going to face judgment behind those walls, then so should I.”  They are both so brave, owning up to their past actions and willing to face whatever consequences might result.  And I get that this is, like, catering to the lowest standard, but I really admire Flint for letting Miranda join him and carry her own responsibility alongside him.  None of this “I’ll save you even if you don’t want me to” nonsense.

“He made these people unafraid.  Everyone realized, the moment you stop fearing it, it loses all it’s power.”

  • Whoops, Colonel Rhett, I think you put an idea in Flint’s mind!
  • When Flint is getting beat, he doesn’t fight back (“what happens if they shoot at us?” “duck”).  Abigail lies, saying she remembers James in order to protect him. That girl!  I like her so much!
  • The fact that Peter admits Flint and Miranda into his house after the shock of realizing that Flint is James shows that someone who knows James’s backstory would go, “Okay, that’s reasonable” about his actions as a pirate captain.
  • Vane killed Daddy Guthrie.  Not just killed, but crucified.  😦  Ugh, Vane, there are better ways to deal with your heartbreak.  And really, Vane’s note about being free and keeping Nassau free?  Why would Eleanor’s betrayal suddenly inspire him to care about the bigger picture?
  • Upon further thought, maybe Vane killed Eleanor’s dad knowing that she would never forgive him for it.  Maybe he knew his weakness for her, and this was the only way he could think to stop their cycle of returning to each other and hurting each other.  But still, CRUCIFIXION IS TOO FAR.
  • But props to him for saying in his note, “I don’t know you too well” about Eleanor.  Fucking finally.
  • Although his ship is in Nassau’s harbor, Vane and his men are hiding in the reeds of Charles Town because…teleportation?  Oh well, let’s find out what they do there in the next episode!
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This is so much more intimate than their sex scene was. 

Not done reliving the episode?  Listen to Daphne and Liz’s podcast at Fathoms Deep!

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