Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
While the purposeful, possessed pirate coalition led by Captain Flint is destined to fall one day – it was not this day. No, this day would spell a huge (though pyrrhic) victory for pirates, ex-slaves, and those trampled under British heel. And Black Sails’ Season 3 finale would give us one of its biggest spectacles to date.
Season 2’s finale was pretty big, action-wise. As was the tempest episode at the top of this season. But this finale felt bigger because everything had been building to it. It was the endgame we’d been anticipating for a month now. Everything beautifully bottlenecked here as Flint squared off against Hornigold’s forces – using a clever plot by Silver to lure them into a false sense of security by using Dobbs as turncoat/double-agent.
Now, this episode, with all of its violence and cannon fire, could have just been played straight. But the writers had the good idea to splice in throughout a night-before-the-battle scene between Flint and Silver that worked to change up the format a bit. Give it all more of an out-of-time feel. Which almost always helps you figure out what’s about to happen. And not in a bad way. With Vane last week, the voice over sound bridge tipped us toward Vane dying. Here, Flint and Silver’s conversation seemed to suggest that these two were not done. And that they’d win the day. And it worked really well.
And not just the performances from Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold (who were both fantastic), but also because their conversation addressed all of Flint’s story thus far while pitching us forward into Season 4. Toward an inevitable falling out between the two. So it tethered everything back to Thomas and Miranda and used that sad, tragic tale to further inform Flint’s budding bond with Silver.
The battle scenes themselves were very exciting. From exploding bodies to man-against-man savagery, there was a fun ferocity to it all. And I liked that Dobbs redeemed himself (along with Silver’s whole loved/feared philosophy about leading), but only to a point. He failed when it came time to kill Hornigold. And that worked. Because then Flint could take Hornigold down himself and put an exclamation point on the entire saga.
Also, out at sea, Jack was amazing. Not only was he able to spot Blackbeard’s ships quick enough to make a fast approach for help, but he was instrumental in the Walrus’ triumph. And I loved Blackbeard’s uneasiness with Jack – a man he never understood Charles’ interest in. But now a new pirate “family” was forming fast as Jack proved his muster and Anne’s vanguard was able to take over one of the British ships and turn it into a game-changing weapon. Just awesome.
Now, not everyone was out at the island entrenched in conflict. In Nassau, Woodes rose from his bed and doubled-down on his affection and partnership with Eleanor. All while Bones started up an amazing bit of psychological warfare (that also involved – you know – killing someone) in town by bringing out the dreaded “Black Spot” curse of judgement (which you’ll know from Treasure Island). Then, by the end, Bones had decided to perfectly piggyback off of Silver’s own big violent peg-legged display of murder and use him as the shadowy figure behind the rebellion. Actually using the “Long John Silver” moniker in a note to those in charge.