At stake is whether or not Flint should level his cannon at the fortress that protects Nassau. Once a upon a time, by the way, in the Middle Ages, stone castles and fortresses were difficult and even impossible to breach. Gunpowder, first utilized in China, changed all of that. Which means that at the time Black Sails is taking place, Flint and his superior cannon should have little problem laying waste to Eleanor's prize possession.
On the one hand, this is a good idea. Flint need to do this to get the support he needs to get what he ultimately wants, the Orca gold. Also, he wouldn't mind demolishing Vane, especially since he's now in league with Eleanor.
On the other hand, destruction of the fortress would leave Nassau and all its pirates and booty vulnerable to attack by the British, who are not far away. So Flint had a real decision to make.
I'm glad he went with the attack. What good is Nassau to him, really, if it's in the hands of a rival such as Vane? And, if Flint were to pull back, that would set a very bad precedent for any campaigns he might need to put together in the future.
So what happens now? I suppose there's a slight chance that Flint could change his mind a split-second after his order, but I doubt it. If the fortress comes down, that does not mean that Vane will be killed in the attack. We could still have an ultimate one-on-one between Flint and Vane. Or, they could decide to band together to fight off the British or Spanish or whoever seeks to take advantage of a weakened Nassau - certainly Eleanor would want this.
Black Sails continues its chess match on sea and island, in a season which is already more taut and focused then the first.
See also Black Sails 2.1: Good Combo, Back Story, New Blood ... Black Sails 2.2: A Fine Lesson in Captaining ... Black Sails 2.3: "I Angered Charles Vane"
And see also Black Sails: Literate and Raunchy Piracy ... Black Sails 1.3: John Milton and Marcus Aurelius ... Black Sails 1.4: The Masts of Wall Street ...Black Sails 1.6: Rising Up ... Black Sails 1.7: Fictions and History ... Black Sails 1.8: Money
pirates of the mind in The Plot to Save Socrates