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Black Sails Recap: XXXIV

Just when viewers thought the worst was over, episode 406, “XXXIV,” hits TV screens. There are major betrayals and losses on all sides, with everyone ending up far worse off than before. It’s an emotional ride from start to finish. Viewers had better hang on for dear life, because not everyone will make it out with theirs.

Spoiler Warning: the rest of this review contains spoilers from Episode XXXIV. Do not read further if you wish to avoid spoilers. You’ve been warned.

The first person that viewers will fear for is Billy. He’s now Silver’s captive, after Silver led an ambush against him last episode. It was Billy’s mutiny that led to the family members of the slaves on the Underhill Estate being brutally punished. Silver turns Billy over to them so that they can get their revenge. He asks only two favors: that Billy be left alive, and that Ruth speak to Julius, the leader of an army of slaves, on Silver’s behalf. Both conditions are met, but neither quite to Silver’s satisfaction. Billy is indeed left alive. However, Silver chose Flint over Billy, and that’s damaged the relationship beyond repair. When Silver asks him to end his vendetta against Flint once and for all, Billy simply tells him to learn to live with his choice. Just after that moment wraps up, Julius arrives. Silver offers him a full partnership in exchange for his help to the Rebellion, but Julius wants assurances that the promise will be fulfilled. Just before any type of actual deal can be reached, the Spanish show up at Underhill’s gates.

This leads viewers to the second and third characters in peril- Eleanor and Madi. Eleanor, Flint, and Madi ran into the Spanish just off of the beach. They retreated back to Underhill, where Flint and the British soldiers in Eleanor’s employ quickly put down 8 Spanish soldiers. Flint and the other men leave to take care of three survivors, leaving just two guards to protect Eleanor and Madi. It’d have been an OK plan, if they’d made sure that all of the Spanish soldiers were 100% dead. One of the soldiers awakens, takes out both guards, and enters the house. Eleanor fights back as hard as she can to defend herself and Madi. During the fight, Eleanor is stabbed and a fire starts in the house. Eleanor drags herself outside, where Flint finds her upon his return. Flint had told her earlier of Governor Rogers’ voluntary alliance with the Spanish, but Eleanor refused to believe him. Now, as she lies grievously wounded in his arms, she asks him if he really does believe it. True to Flint’s character of protecting those that he loves (or has loved), he lies and says no. Eleanor succumbs to her wounds and dies. Madi also perishes in the fire. This is a heavy blow to both sides, as the men leading the British and the Rebellion have now lost the women for whom they were sacrificing everything to protect.

The fallout from Eleanor and Madi’s deaths is just barely explored in the rest of the episode. Rogers watches the Spanish launch a violent attack on the pirate beach encampment, and suddenly seems to realize what he’s unleashed upon Nassau. He tries to get assurances that Eleanor will be kept safe when she is found, but his request falls upon deaf ears. When he discovers Eleanor’s body outside of the house on the Underhill Estate, he has to face the full knowledge that his actions are directly responsible for her death. He refused to listen to her, and now she is dead.

Meanwhile, Flint has to relay the news of Madi’s death to Silver. He is devastated, and Flint has to take over leading the men. After all, the Spanish didn’t just leave the island after murdering two women. Flint orders the men to take themselves and all their supplies to the beach. They meet up with Captain Featherstone, who has stolen the Walrus and headed for open water. Also on board the ship is Jack Rackham and Anne, and they’ve picked up Max along the way. Max is just as devastated at the loss of Eleanor as Silver is over the loss of Madi, but she knows exactly what her next move is. She proposes that Rackham and his crew head north with her, to pay a visit to Eleanor’s grandfather. Featherstone flees for the safety of the south, and Silver and Flint return to the island to prepare for battle as best they can. They meet with Julius, who has a surprise for them. Pirates from all over the Caribbean and North America have arrived in Nassau to stand with the Rebellion. Flint’s war now has new hope. The remaining question is: can either side keep their focus on strategy, or will blind emotion lead to even greater tragedies?

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.

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Katie Anderson

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Katie Anderson is good with the term nerd. When not running disability services for FanFest events, she lives in Atlanta, GA and watches a lot of Star Trek. Her work has most recently appeared in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. If you'd rather read more but in a shorter format, her Twitter handle is @kdidd.

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