Well, it finally arrived- the series finale. Viewers have seen the last brooding Flint look, heard the last Rackham zinger, and experienced the last emotional gutting that the show has to offer. The good news is, the show managed to pack an entire season’s worth of all three into its one hour and fifteen minute-long finale. For the last time (at least until Starz announces a Treasure Island spin-off, which is a 100% totally true rumor that we’re starting right now), here’s your recap of the finale episode of Black Sails.
Spoiler Warning: the rest of this review contains spoilers from Episode XXXVIII. Do not read further if you wish to avoid spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Let’s start off with the brooding Flint looks. The episode opens with a man arriving at a plantation. This is obviously the prison farm that Max spoke of way back in the first half of the season. The man a messenger sent on behalf of Long John Silver, and he’s looking for Thomas Hamilton. Thomas, for those who don’t know, is to Flint what Madi is to Silver. The loss of Thomas years ago had a huge impact on Flint, and he never fully recovered. If Thomas is truly alive, it would change the entire course of the war.
Hundreds of miles away, Flint is trying to save as many of his crew as possible from the British hail of gunfire and flames. One man reaches Flint, only to be shot through the head by none other than Billy, sitting at the bow of the Governor’s longboat. Before either man can react, alarm bells ring from The Eurydice. The British retreat, allowing Flint, Silver, and the survivors to make it onto the island.
The alarm is due to the approach of Captain Jack Rackham and The Walrus. After Captain Flint signals for aide, Featherstone pulls Rackham aside to strategize. He points out that they’ve had an unusual amount of good luck lately- they found an island that doesn’t exist, found the man they’ve been sent to kill, and now have that man onboard their ship. Featherstone is therefore worried that Rackham is going to do something stupid and ruin it all for them. It’s not an unfounded concern, as Rackham almost immediately orders a pursuit of the Governor’s ship as soon as Flint suggests it.
With the pursuit under way, Flint, Silver and Rackham sit down for a talk. Flint demands to know where Rackham has been. Rackham tells them most of the truth- he went to Philadelphia to meet with Joseph Guthrie, who promptly turned down his plan. Jack left Anne and Max behind so that Anne could continue to heal and sailed back down to Nassau and the pirate camp. He conveniently skips over the part about Madame Guthrie entirely. Flint and Silver clearly have more questions, but they also have more pressing matters.
Flint takes over the show. Madi needs to be rescued alive and Governor Woodes Rogers dealt with before Flint will dig up the cache. Flint claims he’s the one best suited to this task. Silver agrees with him, which forces Rackham to agree as well. He storms out of his own cabin, leaving Flint and Silver to finally talk out their problems as well. Silver demands to know why Flint is suddenly so determined to rescue Madi alive. Flint replies that he understands why Silver did what he did, and that he would’ve done the same thing himself if it were Thomas being held prisoner.
As Flint is proving yet again that he’s the best friend a pirate could ask for, Billy is proving why he’s the worst. He puts a knife to Madi’s throat and then has a crisis of conscience. He’s fallen so far from his days as Flint’s favorite, and now he’s realizing that there’s no way back, no matter what he takes from the pirates. He is next shown leaving the cell, with no indication of what has happened to Madi.
Above decks, The Walrus exits the inlet to find the Eurydice waiting for them. Rogers rams his ship into The Walrus, locking the two together and disabling both. Flint orders his men over the helm while Silver makes for the lower decks and Flint himself heads for the top of the masts to free his ship. It’d be a great plan if Rogers hadn’t just ordered Billy to the top as well. The battle that viewers have been waiting for ensues, and it’s nothing short of amazing. Flint and Billy fight, roll, and swing from platforms, masts, and riggings as they square off for their very lives. Flint comes out on top, and Billy falls to the ocean below.
Paired against the shots of Silver opening the door to Madi’s cell with maddening slowness is Jack Rackham taking on Governor Rogers. Rackham is outmatched, but Flint shows up out of nowhere and together the two Captains capture Rogers. It’s a huge victory, but it’s made all the better by Silver’s discovery that Madi is alive. Rackham delivers the best line of the episode, in which he tells Rogers, “don’t worry, no one is going over the side of the ship today.” Rackham may not have killed Flint as ordered, but he got a far better prize.
With the day won, the pirates just have a few loose ends to tie up. Namely, retrieving the cache and returning to their camp victorious. There are some disagreements over who is sailing on what ship, but ultimately Flint, Silver, Israel Hand, and a couple of other men go ashore to dig up the trunks. It’s in the heart of the island that the real drama of the episode hits.
Flint gets Silver alone and the two have their final confrontation. To summarize what is a very long and emotional scene, Flint knows that Silver is planning to put an end to the war by whatever means necessary. He demands to know why. Silver explains that he cannot live in a world where every day is marked by fighting and loss. He has seen the world through Flint’s eyes- a world where everything is colored by the deepest loss imaginable. He has felt the same rage that Flint feels, but Silver has chosen a different path. He has already ended the war by creating a series of compromises that will diffuse the rebellion. All Flint has to do is find a way to accept this final outcome.
Rackham returns to Philadelphia and presents Madame Guthrie with a signed treaty between Governor Rogers and the Maroon Pirate leaders. The official story is that Captain Flint retired from his pirate ways and faded away. All Madame Guthrie has to do is purchase Rogers’ debts, force him to default, and instill a governor who will honor the terms of the treaty. She agrees and puts Augustus Featherstone in place as the new Governor. It’s pretty clear to all who holds the real power, though.
After Silver signs the treaty with Rogers, he has to answer to Madi. She knows what Silver did to Captain Flint, and she demands to know why. Silver tells her the truth- his messenger found Thomas alive. Silver took Flint to the prison farm to reunite them. Having Thomas back was enough to get Flint to drop his vendetta against the world and agree to remain there. Rather than be comforted that Silver isn’t a heartless villain, Madi is even more heartbroken that Silver planned his betrayal of Flint’s cause well before the Spanish even arrived on Nassau. She orders Silver away. He complies, telling her that he will wait as long as it takes for her to understand his motives.
The ultimate resolution for each character is told by Jack Rackham in a really clever bit of writing. To summarize, Billy isn’t dead but he is marooned on Skeleton Island all alone. Madi eventually comes around to Silver’s side again. Mrs. Hudson gets to go home to her children. And Jack Rackham is the new head of piracy in Nassau, along with the ever-present Anny Bonny. In the final scene, Jack takes on a new recruit while assuring Anne that he’s perfectly content to simply be a government-sanctioned pirate for a while. He has no plans to go hunting for treasure again. Of course, all this is said while Rackham and Anne watch the reveal of their new flag: a white skull and crossbones set upon a black sail.
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.