Television Review: Black Sails, Series 4

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Black Sails Series 4 1

Synopsis: When the invasion of Nassua ends in disaster, Flint is forced to retreat without retaking the island. He must plan ahead to a whole new level if he is to keep the alliance intake and find a way to throw of civilisation.

Rackham seeks revenge for Vane’s death, but his opponent proves to be a match for him. A match for them all, in fact. When faced with his own loss, Governor Rogers cannot be reasoned or reckoned with – and it is the pirates who play the price.

If Nassua is ever going to be free, each must come to terms with what they are prepared to give.

Programme: Black Sails, Series 4

Company: Amazon

Date: 2017

Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3

For the first (and last) time, I actually watched Black Sails, series 4, as it aired. I think I prefer being able to binge-watch though – it increases the tension when you go from one episode straight to the next.

That being said… what an explosive final series. Literally.

Friendships are betrayed, love blossoms only to be snatched away, loss looms over every horizon and a war is coming – one that no one can escape.

Black Sails Series 4 2

I said the characters had developed when I wrote my review for series 2. Those words mean nothing now. Silver – now firmly “Long John Silver” is completely unrecognisable from the pretend cook we met in series one. Love makes him a more formidable opponent as, for the first time, it’s not only his own gain he seeks.

Flint has become a more complicated man, if that is possible. He needs this war, he is this war, and without it, he’s nothing. But Silver has become a genuine friend and the opposition he poses is not a simple matter for Flint to eliminate as he has done in the past. His motives are clearer now and, compared to the first series, you know Flint is the good guy.

Maddie takes over as the strong female lead now Eleanor is in decline. She is the main female presence in this series, as even Max and Anne do not play such prominent roles. She is powerful, loyal and will do anything to protect her people, making her perfect for Silver.

I have earned his trust. I have his true friendship. And so he’s going to have mine. And as long as that’s true, I cannot imagine what is possible.

Rackham is finally his own independent man. Max seeks what she wants – absolute control over Nassua – and will do anything to get it. Eleanor continues as the weaker version of her original character, but still has an important part to play as the story unfolds. Billy has become a traitor to his brothers in every way.

This final series had some of the most violent scenes to date, especially Rogers’ torture of Blackbeard. While the sex and nudity have completely disappeared now the storyline has matured, that one particular scene made me look away. In that one moment, Rogers was never going to be able to redeem himself, regardless of what cause the story took.

This series was much more about love than hate. Silver risks everything for Maddie. Flint needs the war because of Thomas. Eleanor is prepared to betray everything she once yearned for in order to protect her husband.

Love is a much harder emotion to display than hate. The acting, however, was more than up to the task. Toby Stephens is fantastic as Flint – the emotions that play across his face makes your heart break for this tortured man. Luke Arnold carries off the serious Silver as well as he did the light-hearted one. The charged emotions between them are acted out brilliantly and the viewer really feels their conflict.

What more can I say apart from this had the best ending I could ask for? A thoroughly well done show, from start to end.

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