The Black Sails seas are getting rougher. Episode 405, “XXXIII,” has more ups and downs than a toy boat in the middle of a hurricane. Snap decisions that were made last episode have turned into grave consequences this episode, and nothing has gone according to plan. When the plot capsizes, everyone ends up at least a little wet, but not everyone makes it back up to the surface.
Spoiler Warning: the rest of this review contains spoilers from Episode XXXIII. Do not read further if you wish to avoid spoilers. You’ve been warned.
The action picks up exactly where the previous episode left off. John Silver emerges from a tunnel under the Fort to tell the men about the bargain between Flint and Eleanor. Billy is very displeased at being left out of the plan yet again (although what he expected to happen after leading a mutiny isn’t clear), but he begrudgingly agrees to grant Eleanor’s messenger safe passage to Governor Rogers’s ship. That messenger turns out to be Eleanor’s dutiful maid, who has been given strict instructions on what to say to Rogers about the plan, as well as what not to say. Namely, revealing Eleanor’s pregnancy to her husband.
The Governor takes the news of Eleanor’s deal with Flint even worse than Billy. He immediately orders his crew to advance on Nassau. Eleanor fires three increasingly-close warning shots at Rogers before he finally gets the hint. He turns his ship around and heads out to sea. He has a back-up plan for reclaiming Nassau, and it involves none other than Governor Raja of Havana. The British and the Spanish may be at war with each other back in Europe, but Rogers is sure that he can get Raja to help him out. It’s a bold strategy, considering that Raja knows that Rogers was the one who killed his younger brother after his ship surrendered a few years ago. As it turns out though, Blackbeard’s head in a sack and dual promises of finally returning the Urca gold and the chance to watch Nassau literally burn to the ground is enough to make Raja forget about that minor slight. The Spanish agree to help the British fight their own battles.
While Eleanor is holding Flint captive under the Fort and the Governor is making secret plans in Cuba, Silver is just trying to make up his mind. He’s sent a crew to retrieve the Urca cache, but he’s pulled between three plans of what to do with it when it arrives. Does he choose Flint’s plan and trade the Urca gold for permanent control over Nassau, knowing that their entire plan is built upon having that gold as financial resources for their rule? Or does he pick Madi’s plan, which goes along with Flint but forces Billy out of the plan (and life) entirely? Or does he choose Billy, his friend who has saved his life multiple times and is promising a position of power within a plan that isn’t doomed to fail? When the cache finally arrives, it brings his moment of truth with it. What follows is a stunning display of exactly why no one should underestimate Long John Silver.
First, Silver sends notice to Eleanor and Flint, giving them specific instructions on when and where to exit the Fort to meet him for the Urca cache. Then, Silver and Billy and some of their pirate friends head to the end of that tunnel. They stand around for a bit, and then one of the men approaches Billy. He talks a bit about loyalty and standing up for what’s right. About halfway through his speech, Billy realizes that Eleanor and Flint aren’t coming. Silver has set Billy up to be ambushed by his own men, by taking advantage of the men’s willingness to follow the Long John Silver legend. A violent clash ensues. Just when it looks like Israel Hand will add another violent murder to his list, Silver intervenes and orders the broken and beaten Billy to be taken to the Underhill Estate.
But getting revenge on Billy with a mutiny of his own isn’t the end of Silver’s master plan. Eleanor and Flint emerge from the correct tunnel to find Madi waiting for them, but none of the Urca gold. Instead, the trio find Jack Rackham and the remains of his crew washed up on the beach. Anne Bonny is conspicuously not among them. Rackham fills Madi, Eleanor, and Flint in on exactly what the Governor is capable of and suggests that Flint and Eleanor might want to reconsider their deal.
The episode ends with dozen of questions left unanswered. How deep does Silver’s plan go? What will become of Billy? Where is the Urca gold now? Will the addition of Spanish forces turn the tide of the war back in the British’s favor? And, perhaps most importantly, where the devil is Anne??
Black Sails airs on Starz on Sundays at 9pm eastern/8pm central. Viewers can catch up anytime online or on the Starz mobile app. Check back here to FanFest.com each week for episode previews and recaps.