Black Sails: "XXVII" Review


Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Black Sails’ penultimate Season 3 episode had all the markings of a “calm before the storm” chapter. The quiet moments before hell breaks loose. Before all-out war consumes everyone in the finale. And so it felt like that for about two-thirds of its duration. Meaningful conversations. Confrontations. Things that the season finale won’t be able to contain perhaps.

Flint and Silver discussing Silver’s newfound taste for the “darkness.” Eleanor stepping up into Woodes’ place, after he became sidelined with a fever (from getting too close to her, naturally) – and actually helping plan a mode of attack against Flint. Jack asking Flint if he could command the Walrus during battle. Also, Eleanor finally coming face to face with Vane in a big blowout over the murder of her father. All great, necessary scenes to have before the cannon fire.

But then came the turn. The hanging of Charles Vane. Eleanor staying a few steps ahead of Bones’ attempts to drum up unrest by rushing Vane through a trial and execution. It was shocking and moving in a way I never anticipated. Because last week I complained a bit about the amount of captures and rescues on the series. Because I just assumed that Vane would wiggle free of this crisis. Either he’d escape on his own or he’d have help. So I was kind of like “Well, Eleanor coming face to face with Vane is awesome, but… this again?” Man, was I wrong.


And you knew Vane was more or less done for the way his final moments were presented. As his dialogue with Pastor Lambrick was intercut with footage of him being taken to the noose. As if to say that the deed had already been done. And that one should pay more attention to Vane’s words at this moment because they were some of his final ones.

Of course, they weren’t the final words he spoke. Because after he gave the silent signal to Bones and had him stand down, he delivered a calm, heart-wrenching speech designed to stir up a rebellion. Knowing that his death, in this moment, is what was needed to truly get the people to rise up against England. And so while there were no guarantees Bones would have been able to rescue Vane, this still was a sacrifice. Vane died for Nassau. A place he wanted nothing to do with at the mid-season point.

And the moment when the others pulled down on him so that he’d die and not linger there, hanging, was haunting. I’m crushed that Vane won’t be headed into Season 4 with everyone else (well, whoever’s left standing after the finale), but this was a good, powerful exit. Which is what you hope for on a show like this. A meaningful death that resonates.

“Get on with it, motherf**ker.”

The Verdict

Chapter XXVII was a stunning, meditative set-up for what’s sure to be a violent finale. The final stage was set and Charles Vane’s big, unexpected moment opened up the show to a new possibly of rebellion. And support for Flint.

Check out our new interview with Zach McGowan discussing his reaction to Vane’s death.

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