The final episode offered plenty of adventure, however you feel about the outcome. The last mission called for teamwork, but first the three remaining pirates--Christa, Jay, and Ben--had to compete against one another.
The initial clue was a cheat sheet, with Latin words and corresponding English. The pirates had to copy this information to use on the island. Christa, Jay, and Ben then swam ashore and raced along a narrow path, picking up clues and translating them as they went. On the second pass, Ben sabotaged Christa by cutting loose the rope bridge that he and Jay had used. But Christa found an alternate route. Ultimately, with Jay hot on his heels and Christa closing in, Ben located the treasure first.
Upon their return to the Picton Castle, Ben became captain for the first time. Christa and Jay were automatically given black spots. But the twist came with Pirate's Court itself. Ben was immune from mutiny, but he did not get to decide between Jay and Christa. Instead, the Ghost Crew made its last appearance and everyone with a grudge was given a chance to sound off.
Predictably, most of the criticism and recrimination flew in Jay's direction. His defense? "I was playing a pirate." Good one.
Surprisingly, a few of the ghost pirates had harsh words for Ben and Christa as well. The lowest blow came from Kendra, who told Christa she used her daughter too much as an excuse, and furthermore she should get a job and set a better example for her child!
Kendra must have cast that one vote against Christa. The rest of the votes sealed Jay's fate. But this time the eliminated pirate did not get cut adrift. He was forced to take a tougher path: rejoining the pirate crew.
At this point everyone went back to work aboard the ship--everyone except the people who were sick of Ben. Top of that list would be Laurel, who threw down her jacket and decided to sunbathe when Ben insisted on calling her his "personal assistant." For the rest of that day, several of the women did nothing but lie around on deck and talk about how much they disliked other crew members.
The next step was for Ben and Christa--as rival captains--to choose their crews. Ben had to select a man and two women for the Black Crew; Christa was instructed to choose a woman and two men for the Red Crew. Each pirate had a chance to say why he or she ought to be selected.
Ben chose Azmyth, Cheryl, and Nessa, despite Nessa's assertion that she would like to see a woman win. Christa's ballots were for Jay (who said he understood if she chose someone fresher; he just wanted her to win), John (who pledged his loyalty and praised Christa for her efforts so far), and…Nessa. Since Nessa was clearly the "woman of the hour" for competition, Ben and Christa offered her bribes as an added incentive. Christa won by meeting Ben's bribe amount and offering Nessa her own winnings thus far, if they won the big prize.
Ben substituted Jupiter, who had been working hard on the ship and had promised to help him. And the rest of the pirates were cut adrift, last seen sailing away in the dark with only the sound of the waves and Louie's cackle.
The Red and Black Crews took off in boats, and the Red Crew fell behind right away. They caught up on the footpath, and ran ahead of the Black Crew. With several steps to this mission, the skills of all crew members came in handy. John redeemed himself with his brawn, knocking down the wooden barrier to a cave that held one of the clues, and later carrying a heavy metal box overhead while running back down the path at full speed.
At the midpoint in this mission, the captains had to go it alone. After they each uncovered a wooden ship's wheel, they had to run uphill to quarters belonging to Henry Steele. They then had to place the wheel properly on the wall, match it to letters printed there, and read the next clue. Ben figured out first that the following step was to haul the metal box back down the trail, across the beach--and back to the Picton Castle, where the final clue to the Treasure of Zanzibar could be found inside the ship's chest.
It was a close one, with Ben scrambling to piece together the message from various drawers in the chest even as Christa climbed over the side of the ship and caught up with him. Both worked feverishly, and Christa was seconds away from the last message, when Ben worked it out, opened the compartment holding a tiny silver key, and unlocked the chest, revealing that Henry Steele's Treasure of Zanzibar had been aboard the Picton Castle the entire voyage.
And so Ben Fagan became the ultimate, final, and absolute (for there will never be another season of this show, my friends) Pirate Master. Fortunately for Ben and his reputation, he had made amends with Louie while he had the opportunity, giving Louie the $12,000 he won in the last episode as an apology for sandbagging him. That, to my way of thinking, made Ben the Pirate Master.
The episode ended with a tribute "in loving memory" of Cheryl, who made such an honorable contribution to Ben's winning crew, and who was much loved and respected by her fellow pirates. She will be missed.
Thus ends the uneven saga of Pirate Master.