Black Sails is about many things. Revolution, thievery, murder and respect. It’s respect that sits at the center of this episode, creating new allegiances and breaking others. For Flint it is the respect for the bigger picture, for Blackbeard, its for one’s self, for Jack Rackham, it’s for what he has done. This need for respect courses through their blood and sets them each on a collision course with destiny.
Flint is on his way to Ocracoke, off of Carolina. After learning that Blackbeard took Vane with him, this seemed like the logical destination. Blackbeard and Vane are indeed there, living the life on the white sands. Blackbeard, in bed with a whore, speaks of life. When questioned about his intentions with Vane, he comes clean about his health. The clock is ticking. It is a great scene that shows a sense of humanity and also illustrates that if pushed, Blackbeard is a man with nothing to lose.
When Flint does arrive, he expects a no to his request, to join forces and invade Nassau and retake her. Blackbeard obliges of course. He will not return to Nassau nor will he allow any of his men to depart. At a standstill, Blackbeard calls for a fight to the death. This is the moment we have waited for. Flint and Blackbeard face to face. It is almost a tale of David and Goliath. Edward “Blackbeard” Teach was a tall man, this was part of his power. To see them stand face to face, Blackbeard towers over Teach. I won’t go into the details of their fight but it is intense, does not disappoint and surprises!
On Nassau, Jack returns to get his pardon only to wind up arrested and in Governor Rogers office. There, he is informed that Spain knows about the missing gold and given a polite ultimatum, return the gold or be the first face Spain sees when they arrive. Though it sounds like an intense scene, it is actually very civil. Woodes Rogers once again proves to be quite likable despite representing the end of an era. They seem to reach an agreement. Jack will write a letter to be delivered to Anne that asks her to return and surrender the gold. He writes a letter but hidden within the message is a deeper one…run. Anne is approached and does what she will always do when cornered, she kills then she hides.
The last bit of business revolves around Madi and Silver and the seemingly growing attraction/bond they have. She is not happy with Silver and his refusal to care for his leg. His response is that he cannot appear week and to do so would be just that. Yes, it’s prideful and misguided moment and Madi calls him on it. She understands him even if she doesn’t condone is actions, then she forces him to accept care. What is interesting is that in the end, though she and Silver have a moment, she still has her doubts about the partnership. This is when Mr. Scott, laying in bed, advises her of one book she must read…Woodes Rogers book.
There was a lot of sadness in this episode without being overtly a downer. What I mean to say, is that there was a certain futility to everyone’s path, a disappointment. As I said in the beginning, the central theme this episode was about respect and the desire fore it. What’s interesting about the three principals in this episode, Flint, Teach, and Rackham, is that, as per usual, Flint is the only one who ends up getting his way. It is not punctuated but it is a fact none the less. Teach loses something he cares about and the look in his eyes says it all. There no anger in them. If you look and listen you will see only one thing, one emotion…the feeling of betrayal. With Rackham, whose tale is arguably the saddest, it’s that no matter what he does, he cannot achieve his goal of respect. He has it from certain people of course, but he wants it from everyone. His story is one of a man who believes in great things for himself but only achieves glimpses of it when he stands next to another. On his own he is viewed as less than the sum of his parts and that is a tragedy.
This week was deep on the surface and ever deeper once explored. Everyone deserves a level of respect but what happens when one cannot achieve it? What does the need make us do? Where are these characters heading and will it be their ultimate undoing? This is where we are at by the end of XXIV. At the beginning of a lonely road in search of something but that ultimately may lead to an end.