Black Sails: "XXVI" Review



“Today crumbs. Tomorrow the loaf.”

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

We inch closer to Black Sails’ Season 3 finale with a great episode featuring solidified alliances and a rollicking rescue sequence that worked to free Jack and the gems, while sacrificing Vane in the process.

So two steps forward, one step back for Team Flint as Vane fell – after putting up a hell of a one-one-one fight against Woodes while suffering a gunshot wound – and wound up in chains. Right where Jack was at the top of the episode. Jack and his rat. Now, normally, I don’t enjoy twists that feel too much like retrograde momentum, but Vane being captured affords the show the ability to round off Eleanor’s seasonal arc, as her entire story was sparked by her sheer hatred for Vane and want for revenge. So the prisoner swap didn’t feel empty here.

And that action scene – the tracking shot (with some nice CGI assist) – was great. Sometimes the stylistic choice to go for something showy like that can have an adverse effect if it feels to out of place in the story. Or on the show. But I thought it worked really well here. I think because I was so invested in the moment. I wanted Jack freed. I was nervous about Hornigold’s cavalry possibly ruining the attempt. So having a lot of it play out as one (softly) un-edited moment only pulled me in more.


And that scene between Woodes and Jack right before the rescue (actually they had two separate conversations) also helped draw me into this particular adventure. Even more so than I already was. Man, Toby Schmitz was feverishly good in those scenes. Describing his father’s bankruptcy and descent into alcoholism. And how, if this was to be his end, he was neck and neck with Woodes right up until now. Having made a staggering come-from-behind given his upbringing. The dialogue was superb.

This episode also more concretely pitted Eleanor and Max against the others, as they both desperately tried to stop Flint from swiping the gems. Eventually going to Hornigold when the British wouldn’t listen to them. Everyone is thinking bigger picture here (or trying to) and it’s fascinating how, bottom line, everyone is both right and wrong. And how the “everyone’s a villain in Nassau” holds very true since nothing big picture comes without hardship and sacrifice.

Even Silver and Madi went through a microcosm of this on the Walrus (before they had to set sail due to being spotted) when Madi had to swallow an enormous amount of pride in order to get her man to stay quiet about a beating he took at the hand of a rather resentful pirate. So both she and Silver handled business their own way. To maintain the alliance. No, Silver didn’t kill Dobbs, but his men did deliver a nasty “Code Red” to him in the middle of the night. So, as usual, no easy answers on Black Sails. Just compromise and somewhat regrettable in-the-moment solutions.

What do you think about Bones volunteering to help free Vane? After he watched Flint miraculously survive his battle with Blackbeard a few episodes back, Billy seems to be all-in. He had the great idea last week of Silver being the one to deliver Flint’s message, and this week he’s headed off to try and muster up support for Vane among the people. Is he to be trusted? I mean, I don’t see why he’d want to mess things up for Vane really, so I’m assuming he’s being genuine.

The Verdict

Even though I expected, by the end of Chapter XXVI, for all of Flint’s team to be whole, the move to place Vane in a spot where he and Eleanor could come face to face was a good call. Plus, I trust Vane to be able to endure being held prisoner more than Jack. I’m really in this for the confrontation between Vane and Eleanor though. There are a lot of captures and rescues on this show so, after Jack’s action-filled liberation, I don’t know that I’m ready for a new one.

IGN Logo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *