Thursday, March 2, 2017

Billy Suffers the Ultimate Betrayal on “Black Sails”

We knew it had to happen, the ultimate rift between Billy Bones and Long John Silver. And last Sunday it did.


Last week’s episode of Black Sails was packed with drama. Woodes Rogers discovered, much to his displeasure, that Eleanor sold Nassau to Flint in exchange for the cache of gems, all that remains of the Urca gold. Moreover, he so disagreed with her decision that he made a deal with the devil – England’s enemy, the Spanish governor of Cuba – to retake Nassau. Eleanor, meanwhile, realized that Mr. Scott had used her as a pawn for years to fund his secret island of freed slaves. And then there’s Jack, who delivered a death-knell to Flint’s careful plans. But nothing last episode was more important for this prequel to Treasure Island than the chasm forged between Billy and Silver.

It all begins when Billy wants to kill Flint for trading the cache to Eleanor in exchange for Nassau. But Silver trusts Flint, and so does Madi, who thinks Flint made the right, but difficult choice. Even more, she’s convinced Billy is the one who needs to be “removed” in order to regain the trust of the island’s slaves. 


Silver, who is loyal to both Billy and Flint, doesn’t know what to do, and his dilemma plays out masterfully in his dialogue with Israel hands:
“Sooner or later that cache is going to arrive,” Silver says, “and they’ll be no more delaying. I’m committed to Flint, I’m committed to Madi, yet the road they intend to travel is one I’m losing the ability to understand. I know what Billy has done, what should be unforgivable, and yet so very recently there’s no one in the world I’d call a closer friend. The more he talks, the more I remember why.”
Silver shakes his head. “Determining now to have him killed, which is what it would take to side with Flint, seems like something I don’t know if I have it in me to do.”
Then Hands slaps Silver in the face and delivers a colorful ultimatum. “I don’t  give a sh*t what you choose, but f*cking choose. And don’t  make me suffer the thinking! Worry ain’t a good look in a king, not in a kingdom like this where loyalty is in short supply.”
As the episode nears its end, it looks as though Silver has chosen Billy’s plan. They’re going to ambush and murder Flint as he leaves the fort. But it’s all a ruse. Instead, Silver has sent Madi to meet Eleanor and Flint, and another pirate to murder Billy. The pirate ultimately betrays Silver, but it’s too late. Israel Hands nearly kills Billy Bones, though Silver spares his life. But only to deliver him to the slaves at the Underhill Estate who blame Billy for the retributions against their kin. 

Billy and Silver are now mortal enemies, and like I said before, it had to happen. Otherwise, Billy wouldn’t be hiding out in the Admiral Benbow, and he would never meet young Jim Hawkins. And young Mr. Hawkins would never embark on the journey on which the whole series is based – Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

* Images courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.

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