Black Sails: Season 4
April 4, 2017 1:24 PM - Season 4 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Discussion for the rest of the season.
posted by vibratory manner of working (6 comments total)
 
Going into the last episode, it was really difficult to see how they could pull off any kind of satisfying conclusion. There were so much up in the air right up until the very end and everything fell apart. I'm glad Jack's plan worked out, and Max refusing marriage didn't scuttle the arrangement there.

I'm completely unfamiliar with Treasure Island, so I really wasn't sure what might happen, other than being pretty sure that Silver would survive.

I'm curious to follow up by watching some version of Treasure Island. Is there a particular movie or TV adaptation that anyone might recommend?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:28 PM on April 4, 2017


There have been a few film or TV adaptations of Treasure Island. I watched one circa 1990 that starred a young Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins and Charlton Heston (!) as Long John Silver, and remember it being quite decent. There was a BBC production in 2012 that starred Eddie Izzard (!) as LJS; I have not seen it, but have heard good things about it. I would be remiss to omit the original book, which remains a favorite of mine many, many years after my first reading. If you want to read it, see if you can find an edition with the NC Wyeth illustrations.

As for Black Sails, I'm sorry to see it end, particularly with how strong these past two seasons were. I will admit I was not overly fond of the show the first season or more – "for a show about pirates there's precious little sailing" – but beginning in the second season I found myself drawn in and really appreciating not only the writing but also the performances. It was a show that had remarkable depth and subtlety as well as strong characters.

The ending was quite satisfying for fans of Treasure Island: almost all the pieces fell neatly into place for that story to pick up (maybe with one or two little changes). It was great to see secondary characters like Israel Hands and Ben Gunn come to the fore as well. But what I loved most about the finale was that it didn't seem final, strangely enough. By that I mean I got the sense that the stories of these characters carried on, even though we didn't get to witness it. Of course the stories for a lot of the characters are known, either through Treasure Island or through history, but I greatly appreciated that this show ended ended somewhat happily, if wistfully.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:16 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love how they left the fate of Captain Flint up in the air -- it could either be a real resolution or just a story Silver tells. I wish there were more of this show now, but wow, did they give this show their all.
posted by Catblack at 8:13 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Finally caught up with the end of this. I'm sad to see it end, it's been in my opinion the best-written show on TV the entire time it's been on, not to mention being extremely well-acted and well-produced, but boy did they go out strong.

I watched one circa 1990 that starred a young Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins and Charlton Heston (!) as Long John Silver, and remember it being quite decent. There was a BBC production in 2012 that starred Eddie Izzard (!) as LJS; I have not seen it, but have heard good things about it. I would be remiss to omit the original book, which remains a favorite of mine many, many years after my first reading. If you want to read it, see if you can find an edition with the NC Wyeth illustrations.

I'm in pretty much exactly the same boat (so to speak). The Charlton Heston & before-he-was-anybody Christian Bale version of Treasure Island was a made-for-TV movie (if you can believe it, with that cast) and can be hard to find a copy of (legal or otherwise), but I managed to track one down a couple years ago; it's really held up quite well over time. (There are definitely some spots that feel like they had a strong creative influence on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.) But the book is great, you really can't go wrong with it. I haven't seen the Eddie Izzard one either but maybe I'll make an effort to track it down.

Also, maybe you guys all picked up on this immediately and knew all about it and I'm just pointing out the incredibly obvious, but for anybody who's not familiar with the historical versions of Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny, that "Mark" character who shows up at the end to sign up with Jack is very clearly Mary Read. I'd been wondering if they were going to introduce her for...well basically the entire show, so it was nice to see her show up at the end.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:43 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just finished watching the whole series. This is the best television production of all time.

Here's a great analysis: Black Sails: How To Write A Better Ending Than Game of Thrones .

Flint ends up as the greatest naval hero, above Kirk and Hornblower. Why? Because he's dynamic. He undergoes spiritual transformation.

The end of the show is one of spiritual metamorphosis. Flint learns the lesson expressed in the Gospel of Matthew: "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" Silver learns that the beauty of his soul can only be nourished by the beauty of another soul.

One of my favourite elements of the show is Billy. Having read the book Treasure Island, I know that no matter how much shit and abuse he takes, he gets the last laugh.

The swordfight between Flint and Billy is simply the best ever filmed. Unbelievable! In the crow's nest! Into the shrouds! Boot to the head! Billy into the sea for the second time!
posted by No Robots at 8:36 AM on January 14


Just finished this! I have to say, much of this final season was incredibly frustrating to me, because it’s like the writers decided “here is what the plot and the emotional shifts will be” and then just… had characters tell each other that stuff in a bunch of expository conversations. And many of the emotional shifts especially felt rushed - they had been built up well but then stuff like Billy’s dumb rebellion at the worst possible time just made me frustrated. And while I’ve always been totally into Flint and Silver’s whole enmeshed Thing, some of the rapid shifts around that this season also felt like first draft material - like they said “and this is where X happens” and didn’t have the time to polish it beyond that.

Buuut then the last two episodes were basically perfect. In particular those flashback sword training scenes in the second to last episode were possibly my favorite scenes between those two in the entire show, and made the whole season work better for me in retrospect.

The notion of the Plot-Convenient Plantation for Banished Gays was a stretch, but hey, I’ll take it. And i do like the idea that Silver is just lying about that, and I REALLY like that the show doesn’t ever tell you the answer. That’s very cool.

Drink every time they say “story.”
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:20 AM on July 24


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