Long John Silver may the King of New Providence Island, but episode 407, “XXXV,” is definitely the Jack Rackham Show. There are momentous things still happening back on the island as Flint and Silver try to hold together new alliances, but it’s Rackham who is getting things done up in Philadelphia. A powerful new ally is found and promises are made, but the cracks in the supporting walls of the Rebellion are growing larger.
Spoiler Warning: the rest of this review contains spoilers from Episode XXXV. Do not read further if you wish to avoid spoilers. You’ve been warned.
The episode opens with some resolution. Silver talks with the Maroon Queen about Madi. He tells her how much he loved Madi. This may have been the first the Queen has heard about her daughter’s love for a pirate, but she takes the news well. Silver’s confession is well-timed as it turns out. The uneasy peace between Flint’s Pirate Council and Julius’s men is already falling apart. It’s not until the Maroon Queen speaks up and offers the assurances that Julius is looking for that things get back on track. The woman who once mistrusted all pirates on principal may have just saved their war.
Meanwhile, Jack and his crew have reached Philadelphia and they did not dress appropriately for the weather. Apparently cold brings out Jack’s sarcastic side, as the entire episode is filled with one-line zingers from him. Max gets the first taste when she assumes that she’ll be going ashore as well. Jack points out her tendency to sell people out and leaves her on the boat. In fact, Jack ends up going to see Grandpa Guthrie all on his own, a choice that almost spells disaster for him.
The first person Jack meets inside the Society for Friends is a girl just brimming with pirate lore. She asks about a slew of pirates and stories, including Jack Rackham himself, but it’s not until she gets to Charles Vane that Jack entertains her questions. He sets her straight on fact vs fiction and shuts down the conversation. She leaves him with the line, “the truth isn’t nearly as interesting.” Luckily for Jack, that isn’t quite true.
Jack’s meeting with Grandpa Guthrie is short-lived. Despite being told that his granddaughter is dead and that he has a prime opportunity to get revenge, he is uninterested in Jack’s plan and turns him down flat. On the way out, Jack is stopped by an old woman sitting by the fire. She turns out to be Eleanor’s grandmother and the true holder of the purse strings. She is interested in Jack’s plan as long as he can prove it to be financially viable. Jack gets the idea that bringing along another strong independent woman may help him win his case and brings Max to the next meeting. It’s a good choice and Madame Guthrie agrees to the plan with just one condition: that Jack kill Captain Flint along the way.
While this unexpected turn is going down in Philadelphia, Governor Rogers is struggling to find his footing in Nassau. He is broken over Eleanor’s death. He accuses Mrs. Hudson of manipulating Eleanor into making the deal with Flint. As Mrs. Hudson was a Spanish spy in season 3, and Eleanor is now dead at the hands of the Spanish, it’s not an entirely outlandish accusation. It’s still false, though. Just when the argument is getting heated, the undertaker comes in and tells Rogers of Eleanor’s pregnancy. There’s an emotional scene with him saying goodbye to her, but he is interrupted once again with some unexpected news. Billy Bones is downstairs, and he wants to talk.
Billy tells Rogers of how he built up the legend of Long John Silver and how the pirates ultimately betrayed him anyway. Billy wants revenge, and he’s come to Rogers to get it. He tells Rogers that the key is to separate Flint and Silver and that he has just the way to do it. Rogers goes to see this key, and it turns out to be a very-much-alive Madi. When Madi refuses to surrender to Rogers, he sends Flint and Silver a ransom note. It has exactly the desired effect.
Flint just offered to be Silver’s moral compass for a while, until he’s over the loss of Madi. After all, Silver did the same for Flint after the loss of Miranda. Naturally, this all falls apart when Silver discovers that Madi is alive and being held prisoner. He’s ready to trade the cache for her, no questions asked, but Flint refuses. He vows to do whatever it takes to get Madi back, but he tells Silver straight out that the war is more important than Madi’s life. That doesn’t sit well with Silver, who secretly has the cache dug up and placed aboard their ship, just in case Flint’s plan fails. If Silver is proven correct, he’s going to have to kill Flint. And with Jack Rackham still sailing south, there’s suddenly a lot of people with plans to kill the Captain. The question that remains is: will any of them succeed?
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.
Kade is often described as, “here just a minute ago” and can often be found just around the corner from where you’d expect. Approaching is not encouraged, unless you come with a strong wifi connection and a nice charcuterie board with gluten-free breads.