If you would like to read my individual episode reviews, click here.
And so, it has ended. Yes, the Starz original show Black Sails, which premiered back in 2014, and come to an end just after its completion of its fourth season. While it may not sound like a lot (in comparison to some other TV shows), the show (as a whole) has been a success and quite entertaining; a pirate themed show that blends both historical characters and fictional characters. While the show did come to an end with the finale episode of season 4, it was a fantastic show that was well-executed and was casted with some solid actors / actress (with some great characters to watch unfold). So, let’s take a look back of the final season of Black Sails.
As to be expected, many viewers knew that this fourth and final season of Black Sails would revolve around the core elements of the show (i.e. Captain Flint, John Silver, and the Urca gold). More specifically, season 4 talked about the ascent of Silver’s name (aka Long John Silver) and the breakdown of Silver and Flint’s bond. While that was at its focus, meanwhile there also was the continuing battle for Nassau between Flint’s pirate / rebel and former slaves against Woodes Rogers desperate desire to restore British “law and order” to Nassau and settle his debts that he owes with the Urca cache. Amidst this backdrop setting of chaos, battles, and decisive actions, there were plenty of creative and wonderful executive (fully realized) character arcs, especially with the characters of Max and Jack Rackham. Additionally, there were several scenes outside of the Caribbean and into the heart of Colonial civilization…. Philadelphia.
At the heart of this season was matters of the heart, especially with both Flint and Silver. Most, if not all, of the primary characters in the show made some hard decisions when it came to matters of love. In the end, Silver’s love for Madi wound up becoming the catalyst in the “breaking” of his and Flint’s partnership / friendship. Ultimately, it all worked out (in the end) and Madi, despite Silver’s decision to end the assault on Nassau (under a treaty), stood by his side. Likewise, Flint, through all of his pain and anguish, his ferocious temper was stripped away in the end, revealing that Thomas Hamilton, his lover who he thought was dead, was alive in a secluded plantation in permanent exile, which was where Flint ultimately ended up as well. It was a touching moment indeed, especially the reunion of Flint and Thomas, and it showed (as the show explained) reverting Flint to a time before he became a ruthless pirate. Personally, I did not see this coming as I expected that Silver was going to kill Flint (somewhat fitting the story prequel arc for Treasure Island), yet the end result worked as Flint did die (or rather disappear from the world).
Interestingly, season 4 saw the character of Billy Bones turn into a somewhat villain-ish character as the driving wedge between Flint and Silver. It was an interesting character arc for him and one that saw him battling against Flint, an enemy he’s encountered for most of the show, several times, including in the final episode. Thus, despite his attempts, Bones never succeed and his fate, being marooned on Skeleton Island by himself seemed appropriate for his character.
As for the side characters, they too listened to their hearts. Sure, there were battles to be fought and decisions to be made, but many of these supporting players chose love in the face of greater glory. Max chose her illicit love of Anne Bonny over the idea of marrying into power (a proposal made by Eleanor’s grandmother to be “the power” of Nassau behind a man), while Jack Rackham chose his love for Anne over an alliance with Flint, throwing him off on a collision course with the fierce pirate on Skeleton Island (where the final battle with Woodes took place). Even Eleanor Guthrie, despite her shocking death, made a last-ditch effort to end the war, choosing to protect her husband and their unborn child from the horrors that were too come. Unfortunately, due to her husband’s stubbornness, Eleanor’s plan was cut short, despite her noblest of intentions to end it all. Again, she did it out of love for them. As for Woodes Rogers…. he too did some things out of love for Eleanor (his wife) or rather his guilt over her death, which lead to a lot of decisiveness during the last few episodes as we saw Woodes becoming sort of unhinged over the loss of his wife. As a side-note, we did see the more ruthless side of Woodes Rogers during this season, which made him a great villain for season 4, and you could not help but to smile when he got his final reward of justice during the series finale.
This being the final season, they were a few deaths to be had. These began with Captain Berringer, a sort of footnote baddie guy that didn’t get enough time to make his lasting mark, and then to Edward Teach (Blackbeard) in a gruesome death scene, and then with Eleanor Guthrie and her violent assault on a Spanish soldier. Keeping up with the shows aesthetics, the violence in season 4 was brutal and unforgiving. Much like how the stakes were raised and events started to come to ahead, so did the violence. From Spain’s sacking on Nassau, to the pirate / slave assault on the plantations, to the torturous death of Edward Teach, the havoc and hell unleashed upon on the main characters was definitely potent. Furthermore, the two battles in both in the premiere episode and the finale were both stunning and entertaining; hardly ever feeling stale or boring during those sequences. Of course, the action could’ve gone “bigger” (even more than what the show presented), but given the restraints of a television show, it still worked marvelously within its budget.
As for the final episode, it was an excellent episode that very precisely and effectively wrapped up all the events and characters. I still was hoping to see a young Jim Hawkins at the end of the episode (the protagonist of Treasure Island), but sadly he did not appear. Regardless, all story threads were wrapped up and everyone got their “proper ending” (both heroes and villains of the narrative). Plus, we did get a cameo-like appearance of a young Mary Reed (under the guise of Mark Reed), a historic female pirate that sailed with Jack and Anne for a time.
In the end, season 4 of Black Sails did a marvelous job at producing an entertaining season, while also bringing the series to a proper end. There was plenty of action, drama, violence, and few shocking moments that kept its viewers on the edge of their seats. Many of the characters (in the end) got their “happy ending” in the show’s finale, but it still kept with the themes from the season of love, loss, and triumph within the pirate realm of Nassau. All in all, Black Sails was a fine example of a great show by one of the premium channels (i.e. Starz) and one that will be missed. I’m still hoping that they do a sort of spin-off series (hopefully some form of Treasure Island). Yet, despite if that never happens, Black Sails, as a whole, was great show and one that will not be forgotten.
Score: 9.0 / 10
If interested, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of current movies.