A legend is born – Black Sails XXVIII review

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As news of Vane’s execution on Nassau travels, Flint and Silver prepare for war. Eleanor has sent Woodes Rogers entire fleet to attack the maroon island. Set up as a last stand, everything is riding on the outcome of this battle. Rogers needs the stolen gems to satisfy Spain’s demands. Flint needs the gems to fund his war for Nassau. And the people of the maroon island seek a future where they can live out their lives without fear. Season 3 of Black Sails has been building up for war and it has arrived. The first stage of a long battle for Nassau has begun. XXVIII gives us a look at Flint’s plan in place against all odds and after the dust clears, a new legend will rise above it.

With the impending war, Flint decides to bury the stolen gems in a secret location only to be known by Flint, but also to Silver. Rackham also stumbles upon the location but departs knowing the gems must be hidden should they lose. Rogers cannot succeed if he never recovers the gems. But before Flint finishes burying the gems, Silver asks to tell him how the war started from the very beginning and Flint recounts his tragedies to which Silver sees himself as the only one who truly knows Flint. With the entire fleet ready to attack the island, they first bombard the beach while sending soldiers on boats. Once they engage, Flint and his men feel the full force of the British Navy as they seemingly overpower them with brute force. Lined up the soldiers fire at Flint while also shooting mortars until they retreat. Ready to give chase, Hornigold warns them that a trap must be in place gave their hasty retreat.

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Rackham and Anne Bonny watch helplessly as the ships fire on the beach. Despite the wind being in their favor and a surprise can allow them to do damage with little resistance, Bonny is reluctant to move forward. Before they can make a decision, they see another fleet heading in their direction with the British Flag. With the odds stacked against them being only one ship against two British fleets, Rackham seeks to see the other fleet and sails toward it. While aboard, they see the men dressed as British soldiers but also Edward Teach as captain. Teach informs Rackham and Bonny of Vane’s execution though Rackham feels it was Eleanor who pushed for the execution. With Teach’s help, they sail toward battle but under the black flag from Rackham’s suggestion. The two fleets engage in battle while one of Flint’s men, Dobbs,  betrays them while attempting to kill Hornigold. Offering a safe passage, he proves himself as a defector by executing one of his own crewmates and leads the British and Hornigold straight to the maroon’s main camp.

While the two fleets fire upon each other in what appears to be a stalemate, the commodore of the British fleet notice on of Teach’s ships turn toward them. Assuming they plan to be boarded, he orders all ships to focus their fire on that sole ship. Unbeknownst to them the direction of their fire allowed Bonny and a few men to overrun a British ship. With all ships in a defensive line, Bonny orders her men to fire using the cannons on the front of the ship, firing directly into the commodores main ship. The blow disabled the commodore’s ship, to the point of cutting their anchor and signaling to retreat. At the maroon camp, the British soldiers begin their assault with rifles and mortars, causing heavy damage to the main camp. With Hornigold announcing they should be victorious and secure the stolen gems within an hour, he notices a look on Dobbs and attempts to pull the men back. With a blow of a horn, Flint and his men rise directly hidden next to the British army catching them completely off guard. Dobbs fights against the soldiers and aims to kill Hornigold but is killed in the process.

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Flint seeks out Hornigold, secures a British rifle and shoots Hornigold off his horse, killing him. The remaining men of the British Army retreat and Flint yells at them to warn his governor that he’s coming for Nassau. The first battle for Nassau has been won and Flint has what he needs to reclaim Nassau from Rogers. With his new fleet and the new alliance with Teach, they stand to defeat England for good. On Nassau, Billy has been spreading fear since Vane’s death. The first being a warning of the black spot to remove the gibbet of Vane that would lead to death if ignored. Eleanore was not hindered by the threat knowing it would make Rogers appear weak, as did Captain Throckmorton who received the threat. Seeing as Billy realizes the threat fell on deaf ears, he introduces Nassau to it’s newest villain by killing Captain Throckmorton and hanging his body by a noose in the town. A letter is sent to Rogers accepting responsibility to his murder, which is read by Max to the rest of the merchants. In it, the letter reveals a man to Billy’s making, a man who will be crafted into a king for Nassau. A man who will lead an impossible army into an unwinnable war to victory against Nassau. A man who began as a stowaway and brought to Flint’s crew as a chef, who stole information of a massive treasure for his survival, who moved up in ranks and gained the respect of Flint’s crew and became his equal as quartermaster. A man who will eventually fill in the shoes that Billy will prepare for him and become Long John Silver.

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A treacherous season ends and leaves us with a grim look over Nassau. Long John Silver has been revealed and will eventually become the legend of Treasure Island. Billy aims to have Nassau in Silver’s grasp with stories of fear and threats of death. And when they return to Nassau to reclaim it, we could see Long John Silver leading they way instead of Flint. Each episode added to the suspense of war from England only to be brought with a cunning move of a pardon. The balance of power tipped over with the future of piracy in doubt. Eleanor’s betrayal was not without reason, and Hanna New delivered an amazing performance of a woman in fear of execution but also returning to a land where she wasn’t wanted. Toby Stephens gives us a broken Flint unsure of himself but not deterred for redemption against England. He slowly regains his will to lead as he faces his own demons and guilt of Lady Miranda’s death, but also captures Flint’s cunning and charisma as he leads to the battle. Zach McGowan gives us a true pirate as Charles Vane. A lost sailor, as Vane he is able to deliver a man without boundaries or remorse all the way until his end.

Many have filled in the role as Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach, but Ray Stevenson sets the bar high. From his voice and posture to his skill at the battle, Stevenson delivers us not just any pirate, but Blackbeard. And his introduction to the series is a welcome one and hopefully will be coming back in Season 4. Woodes Rogers is Nassau’s new villain and Luke Roberts plays the part well. He skillfully combined a politician and a soldier in his portrayal of Rogers to the point of almost rooting for his success. Another welcome figure given that Black Sails hasn’t had a true villain other than each other, but now they have a common enemy that could surpass several seasons. The finale has given us what we now know, this prequel to Treasure Island isn’t about Captain Flint, it’s about Long John Silver. Luke Arnold has portrayed him well early on, slowly going from unsure of his survival to a ruthless and cunning pirate who should be feared. Flint may take center stage, but Long John Silver just stole the show and will be our main pirate from here on out. Black Sails has set itself apart from any type of pirate media and reshaped the way we see pirates. The action has brought a sense of realism and Season 3 really pushed the envelope. Weathering storms and battling multiple ships, Black Sails brought history to life as the two factions battled for Nassau. The life of a pirate is a dangerous one, but one that’s one hell of a ride.

Rating: 5/5 Atoms

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Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 286 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.