Episode 407 – XXXV

Flint urges caution on an enraged Silver.  Max leads Rackham and Bonny up river.  Billy finds a survivor.  Rogers learns the truth.

(Summary provided by starz.com)

WATCH NOW AT Starz | Hulu


BEST FLINT MOMENT

When Silver finds out Madi is alive and emotionally believes that he can give up the cache for her without undoing the revolution, Flint steps in and confidently claims that they will get everything that they want.  And like, I GET why Silver has trust issues where Flint is concerned, but I trust him 100%!!

TODAY’S RUNNER UP

Jack!  He is so good in this episode!  He’s caring and tender with Anne, proud and then disappointed about the reality of the pirate legacy he has so long pursued, respectful of Grandma Guthrie, and humble and smart enough to invite Max back into the game.  He really shines when paired with women, huh?

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LOL MOMENT

Every time Jack tries to fill in awkward silences and Grandma Guthrie calmly puts him in his place is an utter joy to watch.

WELL-FORMED THOUGHTS

We’ve made an emotional turn in the show.  Although it has always included both of these themes, we seem to be distancing ourselves from the cycle of violence (although it is explicitly referenced in this episode) and instead, my attention is focusing on the theme of Short Term vs. Long Term planning.

This is seen most easily in two scenes, one between the Maroon Queen and Julius, and later it is mirrored in a conversation between Madi and Woodes Rogers.  In the first, both the Queen and Julius have security as their goal.  But whereas Julius is satisfied with months or years, the Queen is willing to sacrifice personal happiness if it ensures long term security for her people and their descendants.  Similarly, Woodes Rogers offers freedom to the current escaped slaves if Madi promises that any future refugees to their island are returned “to the law.”  She refuses this offer, knowing it will likely lead to her death, because she will not accept short term freedom at the expense of broader, long term freedom.

It is fitting then, that with the philosophical divide thus established, our leading men are beginning to have the same conversation.  Silver is willing to give up the cache to save Madi, whereas Flint admits he is willing to give up her life to pursue a greater victory.  As the episode ends, we see they have created an uneasy and untruthful compromise, but where it will go from here remains to be seen.

FRAGMENTED THOUGHTS

  • For an episode all about grief, it is a refreshingly light episode after six hours of dark material.
  • The scene between Silver and the Queen is so lovely.  They are both grieving Madi, and her mother knows she can trust this boy who claimed to love her because he describes her as, “curious and strong, not made to be hidden away from the world.”
  • Flint is so tender with Silver!  “How is she?”  “Breathing.”  “How are you?”  It is continually astounding to realize that the rage that drove Flint through the first two seasons and especially the third has vanished.  He has a purpose now, has allies, and this has freed him to care for and trust the people around him.
  • When Julius balks at the idea of their Caribbean revolution expanding to include all of the New World, Silver is the one to go Bad Cop.  This is the exact opposite of the Quartermaster we used to know who could make Flint’s crazy plans palatable to the crew by selling it with a smile.
  • Part of me is annoyed that the only female pirate is the one who can’t seem to recover from her wounds, but it also gives us Jack the Nursemaid, so I can’t be mad for long.
  • Anne is pissed that Max wouldn’t apologize, but also admires her for not pretending.

“You have plenty of time to murder her another day, but right now you need to rest.”

  • Woodes Rogers is interrupted in blaming Mrs. Hudson for Eleanor’s decision by realizing that Eleanor was pregnant.  I would be sad for him, but he remains an asshole.
  • Jack mimicking Max’s French accent is A+ delightful.
  • Featherstone claims that Max hasn’t crossed anyone who didn’t cross her first.  Is this true?  Did Jack and Anne cross her?  Can someone rewatch the whole series real quick and validate this statement?

The Queen:  I once thought like you.  That because I had reason to mistrust the pirates, that it necessarily followed that I must mistrust them.  But it is not so.  For there is also reason to see common interest with them.  I have fought alongside these men.
Julius:  I have fought alongside these men, but I did it so that I might find security.  What they are now arguing for does not sound like security to me.  There is no lasting security to be had here.
Q:  We’ll fight to change that.
J:  Nothing is lasting.  But months, years, that is meaningful, and it can be had here.  …
Q:  No one has ever been this close, this near a chance to change the world.
J:  No one changes the world.  Not like this.  Not all at once.

  • I love this conversation between the Queen and Julius! They both make good points, but I have always been, and still remain, Team Long Term Planning.  And the Queen is sounding quite a bit like Flint at the end there, huh?
  • Silver is emotionally where Flint was last season, and it’s beautiful to see their roles reversed.  Flint is such a good partner to Silver, laying out their past and their present, warning him that his emotions will cloud his judgment (is he remembering a certain storm?) but that Flint will be there beside him, guiding him.  And when Silver regrets his harsh words to Julian, Flint calmly reassures him that it’s alright.  There’s obviously going to be a significant turn in their relationship by episode’s end, but this moment is really beautiful.
  • Flint says multiple times, “Trust me.”  Is it crazy that I do?  He’s ambitious, determined, and unafraid to change allies at the drop of a hat.  And yet, if you believe in the same thing that he does, he is hard to resist trusting.
  • Jack enjoys the notoriety of being identified as a pirate in Philadelphia by a wide-eyed teenager, especially when his name is listed right after Edward Teach.  But his mood quickly sours when he realizes the world wants to sensationalize their stories rather than seeing them as human beings.

“Charles Vane was my closest friend in the world.  He was the bravest man I ever knew.  Not without fear, just unwilling to let it diminish him.  And loyal to a fault.  And in a world where honesty is so regularly and casually disregarded–”
“I heard he cut off a man’s head and left it as a marker in the sand to anyone who would cross him.”
“It was a little more complicated than that.”
“I heard he sometimes butchered his enemies for amusement, made stew of their flesh.  He was truly an animal.”
“Stew?  For what possible–I beg your pardon, but do you believe this?”
“I read it in a newspaper.”
“Charles Vane was a good man.  What I told you was the truth.  Put down the newspapers and read a book.”

  • This is the whole points of Black Sails, adding layers of depth to the hype of a Pirate Show.
  • Grandpa Guthrie is dismissive of Jack’s plan, BUT GRANDMA GUTHRIE.  She and Jack immediately bond because they both know what it’s like to be underestimated and to use that to their advantages.
  • Eleanor fought to create space for her family, but Woodes Rogers destroyed it because he didn’t trust her.  Even if it feels a little out of place for this show, I’m glad Eleanor’s corpse is supernaturally judging him and crying because of him.  It is Very Effective, and he deserves it.
  • Billy is alive and a defector.  It made me think of Baby Billy who was tortured by the British and swore to fight against them as a result.  I suppose it must be very painful that his own allies wound up doing the very same thing to him.
  • Jack bought a fancy new coat while in Philadelphia.
  • Although Jack shows a lot of respect for Max by bringing her to meet Grandma Guthrie, GG demands more when interrupting his introduction with, “Does she speak?”  I cannot believe that this television show about pirates thought, “You know what we should do now that we only have four episodes left?  Let’s introduce another awesome female character!”
  • I have thoughts about the Cat Cycle at the end under spoiler warnings.

Max:  In Nassau, slaves have seen too many of their own find freedom amongst the crews.  It costs less to pay wages than to replace defectors, or worse yet, to pay guards to watch my door as I sleep.
Grandma Guthrie:  That isn’t the only reason, though, is it?
Max:  No, it is not.  In my life, I have been bought and sold.  And as I would be no slave again, nor would I be a master.

  • Max shows both logic and emotion in her decision to pay former slaves wages.  She’s also learning that there is value in vulnerability, and I like her more than ever before.  (Relearning?  It’s possible that she stomped down her vulnerability after asking Eleanor to flee with her in the series beginning and being refused.)
  • We learned earlier in the episode that the cache no longer matters to Spain, yet Rogers demands its return in order for Madi’s release.  Why?  Out of spite?  Oh wait, he super needs the money.  It’s personal now.
  • Silver is blinded by his emotion, but the Queen can see through hers. Both she, Flint, and Madi agree that one life, however beloved, is not worth forfeiting the cache and their revolution, but Silver…he just wants her back.  Hmm.
  • Woodes Rogers goes to Madi for comfort, which is gross.  He tries to convince her to sign the agreement by being monstrous, which is ineffective.  Dude is flailing.

“Eleanor died fighting.  As will I.”

  • YEESSSSS, Madi!!
  • Jack and Anne’s separation is so sweet.  In exchange for her alliance, Grandma Guthrie has demanded that Jack kill Flint.  When Anne asks how he’ll do it, he lays out a litany of physical obstacles.  But she presses him, asking, “How could you be someone who would do that?”  Anne has been the secret heart of this show!  And this is so sweet, but Jack answers her concerns with the equally sweet, “I do it for us.  That’s how it started.  That’s how it’s going to end.”  I LOVE THEM.
  • Silver says, “He’s confident in his plan, as am I.”  He’s got a backup, because of course he does, and what’s going to happen next???
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We had almost seven episodes of these two being an unstoppable and surprisingly caring partnership.  Too short!!

FINALE SPOILER WARNING

  • While I love the connection that the Cat Cycle story creates between Grandma Guthrie and Max, it strikes me as odd that their solution to the cycle of violence is…one final act of violence.  And if we fast forward to the finale, it seems to be that the dual ending engages with this problem.  The easiest solution to stopping everything is undoubtedly to kill Flint, and that is one way to read what happens.  But what if someone were to catch the cat and send it somewhere else where love would heal the wound it’s trying to heal via violence?  That’s the other way to read the finale, and I like that we are offered one final philosophical question:  Which value do we want to believe in most?  Ending the cycle of violence with violence or with love?

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

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