This week’s Black Sails sees the screws deeply twisted into Nassau, with the streets are akin to the Wild West.
Last week saw the death of Captain Berringer and Woodes Rogers’ true vindictive nature was also revealed.
But this week, Eleanor Guthrie-Rogers is the one who pulls the rug out in a few surprises.
In the opener of the episode we see the plantation owners’ whipping and torturing of their slaves as warning over the other slaves’ betrayal.
Except these men soon learn Nassau has fallen and panic erupts. Amidst violent getaways and equally barbaric retribution, Eleanor advises the British forces with her against retaking Nassau and urges them to conserve their resources until Governor Woodes Rogers returns, if ever.
In a frantic bid, Eleanor tries to secure Max’s whereabouts, but she is missing in this bloody skirmish where old hurts are brazenly settled by knife and gunfire out in the streets of this town.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Hannah New and Jessica Parker Kennedy look back on Eleanor and Max’s journey
A voice of reason always, Flint is urging the pirates to settle down. His aim is to calm the agitators and restore the powers of his choosing to take control of Nassau. Ever dubious, Long John Silver tells him the obvious, saying: “It’s bad out there,” as Flint says that it’s expected, and a lot of things begin with violence and wailing.
Not just Eleanor is looking for Max. Flint is too as John wants to know where Billy Bones is. He tells Flint: “There are a thousand men awaiting my arrival…if Billy isn’t in this room within the hour, he will regret it.”
Flint counsels John to not let his personal feelings influence the prickly Billy situation. Billy arrives to find Madi, John and Flint looking none too pleased to see him. He informs them of his whereabouts, the transition he took part in and what the transition was to, exactly.
Madi wants answers. Billy is silent. Flint tells Billy it is up to Madi to repair the damage inside the slave community to align with the pirates. John threatens him directly to make sure Madi is protected… then Billy throws a curveball. he says: “When would be a good time to talk about Max?”
Taken aback, Flint asks: “What about her?” Billy tells him he is aware of the prisoner exchange and that he has Max.
John isn’t having it. “I’m walking out of here with her,” he says while Billy pulls him aside and tells him his version of events.
In private, Billy and John hash things out. “Have you stopped to ask yourself, why do they want her so badly?” says Billy to John.
“Max f***** us,” Billy says.
He tells John that Max needs to be held accountable. Billy tells him: “How is this not the next storm in a very long line of them?”
In a vain attempt at reason, Billy reminds John that Flint was the enemy of them both and berates him about following him into a massive slave revolt and war against the British Empire.
John now stops and seems to consider Billy’s argument.
His final argument is made. Billy tells John: “You told me once that the people he holds closest are the most at risk of being consumed by him.” Billy says that he understands Madi and John are in love, and John abruptly ends the conversation when Billy says Madi is in danger from Flint.
While this was transpiring, back in the main room, Israel Hands talks to Flint and tells him his remorse for following Blackbeard. Impatient and not following, Flint asks him if there is a point to his conversation.
Indeed. Hands’ advice to Flint is that John will eventually realize he can “do better” than aligning with Flint and to be prepared for the treachery.
Back inside guarded quarters, Eleanor’s handmaid Mrs. Hudson gets the news there will be no trip to Philadelphia and no return anytime soon for this indentured servant who wants to see her family in London again. Her facial features are very hard to decipher and we half expect her in a fit of rage to pull out a shank and off Eleanor but that doesn’t happen.
She is reassured by Eleanor that someday her return to her family will happen, then she asks if Eleanor wants to return to London with her for safety’s sake. We also learn in this scene that Eleanor is pregnant.
Out at sea, Woodes Rogers spies a small boat heading out North to open water and away from Nassau.
They approach and greet the captain who gives Rogers the whole ‘Nassau is in the crapper’ download and the news of Berringer’s murder. Newly enraged, Rogers thinks Eleanor is in grave danger and enacts a reentry plan heading back to Nassau.
Mind you, Rackham and Bonny are chained up in the belly of Rogers’ sloop ship with 40 other pirate prisoners. Woodes’ Lieutenant Kendrick is assigned by Rogers and he is quite angry about this pirate babysitting duty.
Missing out on the action, he berates the chained up prisoners and pits Mr. Milton, a hulking Englishman, against them in a sadistic turn of events, saying he has plans for them and proceeds to create a deathmatch scenario.
He makes Rackham chose the first victim to “fight” Milton. It begins with a beating to Rackham whose gallant “f*** off” earned him a nearly lethal blow to the head.
“Mr. Carver,” says Rackham, reeling from the blow.
Carver is obviously a great fighter, but Milton knocks him down. Then an unfair advantage is in play and he hits Carver with a proffered sledgehammer from one of the jeering British soldiers observing the “fun”. This has to be the most gruesome, awful blunt force trauma death heard and seen since last week’s viscerally disturbing keelhauling.
One by one, the pirates are bludgeoned to death. Anne Bonny whispers a plan to Rackham. She is the next one chosen. Milton heads towards her with his lethal sledgehammer.
In an epic turnabout, after being batted around she bites him in the hand and then is hit with the hammer again. In a lightning quick move, Anne grabs shards of glass in such a force as to embed these sharp pieces into her hands as knife-like weapons to surprise her attacker, and throws the key to Rackham. Bonny is a boss bitch!
In this below deck skirmish, the pirates now have the upper hand and Rackham uses that sledgehammer to beat Milton as good as he gave, his cranium now made a gooey blood spot on the wood. We are left at the end of this scene with our Rackham holding his beloved Anne Bonny who is in very bad shape.
Back in Nassau, Max and John have a private talk. John asks: “Why didn’t you kill me when you had the chance?”
Max tells him she would have had to live with the guilt of killing him, and she could not do that.
Yet another one-on-one meeting for our cunning Max, now brought to Eleanor in a prisoner exchange. While waiting for all this to happen, John explains his Billy meeting to Flint who wants to know what transpired. Silver says: “Wouldn’t you trade it all to have Thomas Hamilton back again?”
Awkward! Hamilton was Flint’s dearly departed male lover. Flint skirts the answer, but John made his point. Madi means the world to him and he is quietly warning him not to cross her or him.
But Madi has a mess to straighten out between the slaves and Flint’s people. She learns of the cruel reprisals at the plantations. Madi finds out that Julius, a slave, is organizing and building an army of slaves to fight all the whites — Pirates and British — and has little trust for Flint’s men. This puts Madi in a tricky spot, loyalty to her lover and his cause or to her own people?
In yet another private moment to chit chat with Max, Eleanor sits with her as they review the recent events and mourn the Nassau they once thought was and might have been.
Understandably, Eleanor is in deep regret and recalls a conversation they had years ago when they were lovers. “I was so close to saying yes,” Eleanor says to Max, about leaving with her.
She reveals she even considered suicide and she apologized to Max for all her transgressions.
Then, suddenly, a ship thought to be Edward Teach’s is spied on the horizon in Nassau bay. A banner is raised, the governor’s banner.
But Eleanor’s face reveals a mixed message. She has a surprise for her beloved husband.
Underground, in the cloak of darkness, she meets Flint and John and a plan is revealed. “I have had enough of loss,” she says to Flint.
She will surrender the governor’s fort in exchange for the cash, the chest of Urqa gold and guaranteed safe passage out of Nassau. All of this unbeknownst to her husband who we find out has a vengeance streak like nobody’s business.
“How would you see it done?” asks Flint. Eleanor tells him what is required of the pirates and how it will go down on her terms. John is skeptical. “I have had enough of this and am ready for it to end,” she adamantly protests.
Flint bit the hook. He agrees and becomes her guarantee for this plan of action.
- Why does Madi have so much trust in Flint and the pirates still after witnessing so much random violence in Nassau? Especially siding with them instead of her own people? Do we think her love for John that deep?
- And speaking of slaves, the slave rebellion led by Julius will likely alter the plans of the pirates, but how?
- Eleanor’s handmaid still has a cryptic and portentous vibe about her. There’s something more to this character than folding laundry.
- And Eleanor’s pregnancy, she doesn’t seem too happy about this state of affairs, so how does her plan reconcile with any marital bliss when Rogers returns to gunfire and the pirates taking Nassau fully?
- Rackham and Bonny surviving, we hope that she makes it off the ship alive…
- Will Billy get his hands on Max before it’s all over?
Black Sails XXXII aired Sunday, February 19 at 9 PM ET/PT. Watch new episodes every Sunday on STARZ.More: Black Sails, Starz