Previously on Black Sails, Eleanor and Anne Bonny teamed up to kill all of Captain Vane’s men, Max and Jack teamed up to run the brothel, and Captain Vane went rogue, died and came back from the dead and recruited a band of Lost Boys.
You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. Well, Nassau showers bring men to the brothel — the place is packed with hookers and merchants alike. Mustachio Jack is in his glory. Madame Mapleton comes to complain about the fact that he cut of her earnings until she made up for what she skimmed before Max stepped in, but she tries to blackmail him. She says she’ll tell everyone that Mr. Noonan didn’t go to Port Royal, but the big pirate brothel in the sky. Mustachio Jack responds by firing her. Before she can make too much of a stink about it, Max steps in and asks just who would care that Mr. Noonan was murdered? She lists off all the people who might, then points to which corner of the brothel they are currently…enjoying themselves. Mapleton, as a last resort, threatens to tell Miss Guthrie, but Mustachio Jack says (bluffs?) that Eleanor already knows, so go ahead. Shaken, Mapleton bails. Max and Jack revel in their new partnership.
The storm is not treating the members of the Walrus quite as kindly. They are being tossed around like wild, and I don’t envy them in the least. They try to give Randall a fake leg, but he’s being as obstinate as ever. Silver is kind of over this babysitting gig, and tells Randall as much through a speech of gratitude he believes should have come from Randall himself.
After his performance, it’s time for Silver to fess up the last bit of the schedule. Flint has some backup information that makes him inclined to believe Silver. He tells him to give it to the quartermaster, but before Silver leaves, he tells Flint that he was wondering where they stood, now that his role in the hunt is done. Flint tells him to keep wondering and Silver scurries off.
Silver hands off the schedule but, DeGroot and Quartermaster NerdPirate Dufresne still look rather grumpy.
Back on the island, Eleanor is in her usual position of looking thoughtfully out her window. This time, it’s because she’s worried about the Walrus being out there in these conditions. Mr. Scott comes in and asks her if she’s OK, and she says she’ll be just fine without him. She’s just concerned that the schedule might not end up being worth all the trouble it caused — the trouble between her and Max at the top of the list.
Mr. Scott says that it will turn out okay, and that some of the trouble might have happened anyway, and not to lose hope. It won’t all be for nothing.
In Flint’s office on the Walrus, despite being rocked around like they’re in a funhouse, Flint and Gates share a drink and trade ship stories. Things get deep and Gates starts talking about how they could all just end up in the sea, and that it would swallow them up, “as if we’ve never been here at all.” Life of the party, this guy.
The next morning, the sun is out, and everyone is drying off…except Mustachio Jack, who is in the tub. Anne Bonny comes in, raging about him firing Mapleton, because now she’ll tell everyone what happened to Noonan. She also isn’t too pleased with the arrangement with Max, saying they can’t trust her. She asks him if they fucked, and something tells me it isn’t because she doesn’t want Mustachio Jack messing around. She tells Jack off and storms out, stopping short when she sees Max drying off in her room. Max holds eye contact, dropping her towel and giving Anne Bonny a coy smile. Anne Bonny looks for a moment longer, then runs away.
Don’t fight the gay feelings, Anne Bonny!
Out at sea, the Walrus gets ready for battle with the Urca. Flint gives them his very best inspiring speech, as this could be the last. This is the battle they’ve been waiting for, and working for, all this time. The crew is amped, all they have to do is go around a little island and they’ll see the ship. They wait and wait and nothing happens. Flint. is. PISSED.
Back in Nassau, Eleanor is about to send off a merchant…possibly to kill her father? But possibly something entirely different. I have a hard time paying attention to what any of the men are saying when Eleanor is around in her pretty maroon dress and her sexy ring of keys, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with getting rid of Mister Guthrie and his terrible wig. Captain Ornegold praises her for rebuilding Nassau in so short a time (something he didn’t think she could pull off) when suddenly they hear shots being fired from Ornegold’s fortress.
Mustachio Jack comes out and asks what all the ruckus is about and someone tells him that the fortress has been taken over. He suspects this means his old Captain is back in town, and he and Anne Bonny look very nervous.
On the Walrus, Dufresne and Gates chat about killing Flint, but Gates insists they’ll do it later, like civilized men, with a trial and everything. Dufresne asks how they can even be sure they can trust Gates to go through with it, so Gates gives him a letter and says that should prove his loyalties.
A Spanish war ship shows up and Flint wants to fight them, but Gates isn’t hearing it. He wants to take the second ship and just go home. He tells Flint that everyone wants him dead, and that he was planning on sneaking Flint and Mrs. Barrow off to Boston before they could hang him. Which, to Flint, is a fate worse than death.
So Flint panics and kills Gates. Snaps his neck. He cries and apologizes but it’s too little too late. Silver comes in and sees Flint holding Gates’ lifeless body and immediately goes into crisis management mode (something he’s quite used to by now) and says there’s a way out of all this—out of everything, really.
Flint goes above deck and tells the crew that Gates had a heart attack and starts giving orders. Quartermaster Dufresne doesn’t believe him so he runs down to see for himself, where Silver sweet-talks him out of crying murder. When he goes back above deck, he gives Flint advice about the upcoming deceit Flint had been suggesting, as proof of solidarity.
Back at the tavern, a little boy delivers a letter saying that no one over by the fortress can figure out exactly who took it over. But they don’t have to wonder long, because Captain Vane and his Lost Boys strut right in and Vane tells Eleanor it’s time to talk.
Once in Eleanor’s office, Vane tells her that he found a bunch of Lost Boys who didn’t care about upsetting Eleanor Guthrie, which made them a lot easier to control than those who knew and respected her. He says that now that he controls the fortress, he wants to be her partner.
She tells him he’s out of his damn mind.
He tells her about the time that he first saw her. She was thirteen, defying orders, strutting around the beach like she already owned the place. When she saw Vane (who I imagine was older and just as scary-looking as he is now), she looked him in the eye and said, “I refuse to be afraid of you,” like a regular Elizabeth Bennett.
Eleanor really has no choice but to agree, but she smiles sweetly at him and tells him to watch his back, because the moment he gets comfortable, the night he forgets to sleep with one eye open, that’s when she’ll get him. And hopefully castrate him.
Vane’s next stop on his reunion tour is to visit his old quartermaster at the brothel. Mustachio Jack is speechless, for once in his life. Vane knows that he and Anne Bonny killed his men, but he says, with the calmness of a sociopath, that he’s not even mad about it. He’s not going to kill them for their crimes. Instead, he’s just going to make it so that they can never “sail beneath the black” again, and will have to live as brothel-owners for the rest of their miserable lives.
On the Walrus, Flint goes wildcard and does the one thing Dufresne told him not to do — he tells the Spanish ship that they’re transporting tobacco. It turns out he had a decent theory as to why he was doing it, but the men are pretty sick of Flint gambling with their lives. So as Flint starts to give his orders to attack, Dufresne, no longer much of a NerdPirate, starts shouting his official accusations at the captain, using the letter Gates gave him as ammo. His crimes include tyranny, insanity, murder on three counts, and plotting to steal some of the loot from the Urca. Flint, still totally crazed, keeps shouting “FIRE!” and when no one moves to listen, he heads for a cannon to fire it himself. Before he can, Dufresne shoots him. Bless his heart, he still tries to do it, but his pathetic attempt is once again stifled.
Down below, Randall saves Silver’s life, saying, “You’re welcome” with as much sass as Silver himself had doled out earlier. Silver runs up above deck and fires an unmanned canon, forcing them all to go into battle.
The battle is bloody and bleak and soon the Walrus gets big ol’ holes in it, and starts to seriously take on water. Flint, like most of the rest of his crew, is thrown into the water, and after a moment of struggle, he just lets himself sink to the bottom of the sea.
On the island, Eleanor is watching the sea from a bridge this time, instead of at her window. Max steps onto the bridge — the bridge between their two worlds — and comments on how things have changed. Eleanor starts to apologize again for everything, but Max stops her, this time telling her that she has nothing to be sorry about. She says she understands now that she was standing between Eleanor and her dream. Eleanor asks her if she still thinks this place was just a bit of sand, and Max says she now sees the value of sand. She likes sand for the same reason Pocahontas likes rivers; on sand, nothing is fixed.
Yesterday, Vane was a homeless Lost Boy, today he’s manning a fortress. Yesterday, Max was a whore who was easily forgotten (Eleanor winces at that) and today she’s the madame of a brothel. Max says that she learned not to let anyone stand between her and her ambitions, and that it was Eleanor who taught it to her.
She congratulates Eleanor on having everything she ever wanted, but Eleanor gives her a sad look like there’s one more thing she wants, but she doesn’t feel like she deserves it anymore. Max says, “We can only guess what tomorrow may bring.” And as much as I want to read hope for their relationship in that statement, it sounded vaguely threatening to me.
What happened to you being Eleanor’s safe harbor?
A man comes and tells Eleanor she has business to attend to, and Eleanor gives Max one more meaningful look. Max watches Eleanor go and then looks out over the island, who-knows-what going through that pretty little head of hers.
Eleanor successfully sends off that merchant she was trying to send off before the hullabaloo started, and Vane watches her on the beach, just as he did when she was young. And just like then, she’s smiling.
Now all that’s left to do is get Max back.
On a different beach somewhere, Flint wakes up, still very much alive. Silver is sitting next to him, and tells him that they’re both going to be put to trial for all this nonsense. Flint asks Quartermaster Dufresne why they didn’t just kill him, but Dufresne just responds by telling Silver to get him up and follow him.
Flint soon realizes why they didn’t kill him—he wasn’t all wrong. They had the schedule, but they had never taken the weather into account. Thanks to their insanity, and also the horrible storm, they are now shipwrecked on an island with the very ship they had been hunting all this time. They watch with excitement as the men of the Urca try to clean up their cargo — so much gold, it looks like the Cave of Wonders exploded on the shore.
What did you think of “VIII”? Will you tune in for Season 2, to see what becomes of Eleanor and Max…or Max and Anne Bonny, for that matter?