“Black Sails” recap (2.4): The Reign of Max

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Previously on Black Sails, Flint told Eleanor he wants to remove Vane from his fort before going back to get the Urca gold, Vane killed Ned Lowe for Eleanor and took his hostage, Mustachio Jack decided he wanted to be a captain again, and Anne Bonny decided she wanted Jack and Max at the same time.

Little Ash wakes up in her cell and is scared. She immediately rushes to the food she sees and is disheartened to find it’s covered in maggots. But girlfriend isn’t new to being a prisoner and knows you get what you get and you don’t get upset, so she wipes off the maggots and eats the bread anyway.

A messenger arrives and delivers a message to Vane from Flint. Eleanor looks panicked, but Vane just smirks and tells his men to hold onto the messenger until they can send him back with a perfectly crafted response. Vane also tells his men to start preparing for this potential battle Flint is proposing, especially considering Flint is conveniently positioned exactly where Vane can’t strike him. When his man leaves, without turning to face her, without being ABLE to face her, Vane makes Eleanor promise she wasn’t part of it, that she didn’t help Flint.

Eleanor makes him look her in her eyes and promises she didn’t do it—at least, not on purpose. She had no idea Flint would take his madness so far as to threaten the fort, and didn’t know Hornigold would be so useless as to go along with it.

BS 204-1“I keep forgetting I’m surrounded by idiots.”

Vane reminds her that he can level this island before she can blink those baby blues, and she says she doesn’t ever for a second forget it. But she doesn’t believe he will. She believes he’s better than that. Smarter.

Meanwhile, out on the Spanish warship, Hornigold and Flint are making plans of their own. Flint is second-guessing the decision to go through with the attack on Vane, and Hornigold is worried that he made a mistake backing Flint and his hunt for the Urca gold, a plan Flint had said would only work if they took out Vane first.

Back on Nassau, Max wakes up and shares a look with Jack over a sleeping Anne Bonny. Neither one of them look particularly like they had the best night of their lives. There’s a knock on the door and Max is needed downstairs, and she says she’ll be right there, but there’s definitely tension in the air.

BS 204-2 I’ve never had a threesome, but I imagined people being…happier afterward.

Jack leaves the room first and the clever prostitute Idelle tells him about Flint and his anchored Spanish warship. Jack’s eyes flash gold and he asks if Flint made it to the Urca but she doesn’t know that much.

Vane’s right-hand man has an idea: he wants to use Eleanor as the threat; if Flint fires, they’ll kill her dead. Vane has a better idea: he can take his idea and shut the fuck up. Eleanor has the best idea: she’s going to go try to reason with Flint in person.

So she goes and row row rows her boat gently toward the psychopath.

BS 204-3Life is anything but a dream.

When she boards, Mr. Scott is there, and she tells him that she’s here to put an end to the pissing contest. When she goes in to deliver the message to Flint, he accuses her of helping Vane, of taking sides, the same thing Vane accused her of. She’s too furious to care what he accuses her of; she tells him that he’s spitting on their partnership, but he swears it’s not personal. Eleanor tells him to stop being stupid, move his ship, and sit down in a room with her and Vane and work things out like mature human grown-ups. But Flint wants the upper hand; he’s not about to back down now, the ball is already rolling. Eleanor warns him that doing this could leave Nassau unprotected, but Flint thinks it’s worth it. Flint says he’s open to ways to get Vane out of the fort without blowing it to smithereens but he’s not moving his ship.

In said fort, the little Ash girl hears someone coming and scurries to press herself against the wall. Vane enters and plops down a little table and a jar of ink and introduces himself. He promises she won’t be harmed if she does as she’s told, and she tells him that the other captain told her she wasn’t allowed to speak. Vane assures her he’s the one not speaking now, what with his head cut off, and Ash says, “Good” with a fierceness that says she wishes she could have done it herself.

BS 204-4 I hope she does end up cutting off an extremity or two during her stay on this island.

Vane asks her about her father, but she’s been at school in London and hasn’t seen him in years. But she promises Vane he’ll pay what he asks, so he tells her to write her own ransom note, 250,000 pounds for the girl, and if he senses a trap at the rendezvous point, Vane’ll kill her dead.

Flint sends John Silver to the beach, but before he goes, he points out that the men on the beach likely see Flint as the villain of this story. Flint asks what he, Silver, thinks and all Silver cares about is the gold, and Flint’s the one who will get him there, so he’s alright by him. Silver is surprised to see that Flint actually cares about being portrayed as a villain, even after every insane thing he’s done.

Once on the beach, Silver tries to get some intel, scheming some men and following a bit of fuss. When he gets to the source of the fuss, someone recognizes him as one of Flint’s men and says he’s lucky he happened along, because one of the old Walrus men just washed up on Nassau. And who is it but Billy Bones, alive and well. Okay, not well. Sunbaked and sandcaked, but alive. Silver recognizes this as the wrench that it is.

Eleanor, having failed to get Flint to listen to reason, goes to Mrs. Barlow to ask her for yet another favor. She wants Barlow to talk some sense into Flint, to get him to call off the attack. Barlow laughs; she thought Eleanor a smart woman, but obviously she was wrong if Eleanor thinks anyone can change Flint’s mind. Eleanor’s next step is to use a scare tactic, and tells Barlow of the horrors that occurred the last time there was no fort to protect the island.

BS 204-5“Who run the world? You’re supposed to say–No? Okay, nevermind.”

Barlow says she’s done helping, and when Eleanor’s last ditch effort to change her mind includes guilting her, asking Barlow if she really cares about Flint, Barlow thinks that real rich coming from the one who continually encourages his insanity. She sends Eleanor away empty-handed.

Back at the brothel, Max asks Jack if he knew what he was in for before Anne opened the door. He swears he had no idea. Max mentions that she can tell he cares for Anne because he hardly looked at her the whole night, a nearly impossible feat, but he assures her it’s just because he knows the dangers of looking into a gorgon’s eyes. Max warns him that by entering that bed, he kicked off a competition, that the love triangle they have going on won’t last, and that eventually Anne will have to choose one. Jack scoffs; he’s been with Anne since she was thirteen, they have too much history for her to throw it away on a whore-turned-madame she’s been sleeping with for a week. Max points out that a lot can change after a roll in the hay with her.

BS 204-6 “What do you think Eleanor Guthrie was like before I got my hands on her?”

Jack is cocky and still wary of Max, but she asks if he would still feel the same way about her if she could get him a ship and a crew. The girls have learned some more tips, but still don’t feel comfortable with male authority figures. Max always plays her cards close to the breast–er, vest. Always keeps Jack on his toes. She takes Jack to Idelle, who tells them about a captain looking to move, who they just have to convince to join forces with Captain Jack Rackham. Idelle’s plan is to fuck him within an inch of his life, but Max says it’s not that simple. It’s not about sex, it’s about seduction. She reveals some of her tricks, purring the words, and practically seducing both Idelle and Jack right there.

BS 204-7Seduction eyes.

Jack looks terrified. This woman is full of surprises. But not in the fun way, more in the ‘oh look more hidden dynamite that can blow my head off’ way. After the lesson, Max asks if Jack would like to add anything but he is too dumbfounded to even know where to go from here.

Anne finds Jack in the brothel later and asks if he thinks Idelle can pull it off. Jack is done underestimating whores, thank you very much, so he’s just going to let this play out. Anne looks at him in disgust and says she’s spent years at his beck and call, doing his dirty work, and never second-guessing him. She asks for a threesome with the most beautiful prostitute in the seven seas and he’s getting whiny about it? Seriously? He says it’s way more complicated than that, and Anne says she’s not stupid. She knows Max is dangerous, that it’s possible she’s trying to double-deal them, to pit them against each other, but Anne just needs Jack to trust her on this one, to have her back. Because if they look out for each other, even the wiliest of whores can’t get between them.

Max gets word from Idelle then and reports back: The captain can offer his ship and at least 28 men to go with it. All for Jack.

BS 204-8 “I mean, you’re welcome.”

Jack and Anne can hardly believe their ears.

BS 204-9 I’m surprised Anne didn’t take her right there in the middle of the room.

Flint asks about the numbers on Nassau, and when Hornigold starts rattling off stats, of men that will fight, of men that will surely die, his ears start to ring. Knowing what the right thing to do used to be so much easier.

Inland, the pastor goes to visit Mrs. Barlow and says he’s heard that she’s trying to become part of the community again, but between sexing him up and entertaining Eleanor Guthrie, he’s not so sure her intentions are true. He warns her of what it would mean to back Miss Guthrie, that there are men killing each other for her, kidnapping daughters of important men. When Mrs. Barlow inquires further on this, he tells her that rumor has it they have Lord Ash’s daughter hostage. Lord Ash, turns out, was a friend of Mrs. Barlow’s, and she knows his daughter. Her name is Abigail.

Meanwhile, a rather defeated Eleanor is hiding in her chambers and drinking until her problems don’t hurt her whole heart anymore.

BS 204-10Nothing a little Max lovin’ couldn’t fix…

She is 10000% done and is furious when her wallowing is interrupted by a rumpus. When she goes out to see what’s going on, her father appears. Just what she needed, another man whose feelings she would have to juggle, whose actions she would have to try to keep from ruining her life. Surprisingly though, he seems to be on her side this time around. He says she’s close to getting everything she’s ever wanted, despite his regular insistence that it would never happen. And he’s going to help her get it.

On the warship, Flint asks Mr. Scott what he would do. Mr. Scott was part of the Guthrie family for years; Flint knows Nassau is important to him. Mr. Scott says taking the fort is too risky, that it would start a snowball effect the likes of which would only end in chaos. The winds of change are the only thing one can count on these days, he says. If it were up to Mr. Scott, Flint would accept Vane as simply an unavoidable change, and let the island live to see another day.

And because Captain Flint has never been known to take good advice, literally ever in his life, he goes above deck and orders his crew to fire.

What did you think of “XII”? Do you think Max, Anne and Jack (Jaxanne?) should team up with Eleanor and run the world? How do you think Flint’s latest scheme will fare for Eleanor?

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