TV Reviews

Blacks Sails Season 4 Episode 1: XXIX Review

Pirates, guns, cannons, swords, and the desired to over Nassau ignites and explodes in the season 4 of Starz’s Black Sails. With season 4 being the final season of the show, I assume that many things are going to collide and this episode entitled XXIX (episode 29 of the series) kicks off that notion with explosive battles, decisive maneuvers, and the ambiguous loyalty and resentment some of these character harbor between one another. Just in case you haven’t seeing this series, I would suggest to watch it from the beginning (it’s an excellent series!). So….without further ado…. here’s my thoughts on episode XXIX of Black Sails.

While season 3 wrapped up with a great victory for Flint (Toby Stephens) and his pirates followers, this episode opened with a big “defeat” for Flint, finding his crew outgunned and outmatched as his fleet collided upon a grouping of sunken ships (purposefully) and then ultimately fell to cannon fire from their enemies nearby. Most of Flint’s fleet was destroyed, save for the Revenge, which had Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (Ray Stevenson), Jack Rackham (Toby Schmitz), Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) on board. Their ship (and crew) escaped in attempt to draw their enemy out and away from their fallen ships. Thus, Flint’s desire to ultimately retake Nassau under the governing eye of Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) and British order was a bust (for now). Unfortunately, during the chaos of “abandoning the ship”, Flint and Silver (Luke Arnold) were separated during the retreat, with Silver’s whereabouts unknown to the surviving crew members.

This episode definitely started off with a bang, featuring a great opening battle sequence with Flint and his pirates facing off against the Rogers and his British forces. The quality of it all was impressive, seeing the cast (extras included) being tossed this way and that and working through expansive set pieces were quite cool to see. Seeing big and powerful ships in one scene get reduced to half-sunken vessels in a matter of minutes was amazing. The show has never shied away from frenetic violence and this battle shows that, seeing many characters trapped in a hostile environment (whether that is facing off against the British or just simply surviving the battle). If the show was looking to grab a viewer’s attention, it most certainly did.

Because of this all, especially with the disappearance of Silver, the immediate aftermath of this attack sees Flint and his pirate crew scramble and plan for the future. This makes the narrative of the Silver’s persona of “Pirate King” (Long John Silver) more paramount and to keep it afloat in order to rally their forces after such a huge loss. However, while the bond between Flint and Silver is strong in the partnership and resolve, this episode begins to show the rift between the two of them. Not directly from Silver’s end, but the idea that Silver (and mythos legend of the Pirate King) is being touted in being more powerful than Flint’s infamous tale of being a ruthless pirate. Luckily, towards the end of the episode, we see Silver washing up on shore (after a harrowing escape through a sinking ship during the course of the opening battle) and comes face to face with one of his Pirate King followers. The big question now is that will Silver be able to live up to the name of the fearless Pirate King “Long John Silver” to impress his devotee follower or will the man see beyond the Pirate King pretense and see Silver as a false idol?

Helping aid the legend spread about Silver’s Pirate King is Billy Bones (Tom Hooper), whose hatred-turned-resentment towards Flint has became more apparent.  Every since the first season, Flint and Billy have never seen eye to eye. However, both have stuck with one another through their schemes and plots to retake Nassau. In this episode, we see more of Bones’s animosity towards Flint, proclaiming that Flint, while helpful in battle strategic movements, is not completely necessary in their pirate rebellion movement to retake Nassau. With Billy continuing to spin the  narrative of Silver’s “Long John Silver” as well as taking control of the land and amassing his forces (freed slaves and other pirate rebels), Flint is almost pushed out, making the once feared pirate disposable. I kind of have a feeling that Flint and Bones are going to “have it out” in the coming episodes.

Meanwhile, Jack Rackham risked his life in combat in way to try and feel worthy of Charles Vane’s (Zach McGowan) sacrifices towards the end of last season. Basically, we learn that Jack blames himself for Charles’s capture and ultimate demise, with Anne trying to pick up the pieces to reshape Jack into a man of the “here and now” rather than worrying about what the spirt of Charles Vane would think of their current predicament. 

Lastly, back in Nassau, we see Woodes Roger confess his debt problems to his recent married wife Eleanor (Hannah New).With this new revelations, Woodes is feeling the pressure of the war between the Pirates. seeing the cost of it all rise as well trying to keep Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy) at bay, who is hounding him for compensation for her services. In addition, this episode see the potential new “enemy” under Roger’s command in Captain Berringer, who is played by Toby Stephens real life brother Chris Larkin. Side-note, for a bit a fun fact, both Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin are both the sons of famous British actress Dame Maggie Smith (Mind=blown!!!).

All in all, the season 4 premiere episode of Black Sails opened with a chaotic battle and threw us right into the thick of it and then dispersing many characters (after the battle) to recollect themselves and plan for what was to come. Both sides are at war (and some are from within) and the battle to control Nassau will ultimately depend on which side has the least amount of betrayers and mutineers within their camp. I can’t wait for the next episode!!!

Score: 8.5 / 10

If interested, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of current movies.



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