Black Sails Wiki
Season 4
Number 31
Date Aired February 12, 2017
Writer Brad Caleb Kane
Director Roel Reiné
Previous XXX.
"Right now, good men is not what the moment requires. Right now, the time calls for dark men to do dark things."
―Captain Berringer

Max runs afoul of the law. Rogers reckons with his past. Flint and Madi reach an understanding. Long John Silver makes his return.


The episode begins in darkness and a sense of foreboding. Before his departure for Port Royal, Captain Berringer assured Woodes Rogers that even good men must sometime walk a very dark path. Rogers relates the story of the tragic death of his brother, and the brutal revenge he took on 73 men, one of whom was responsible. We also get a small little glimpse into Berringer's soul, via the picture-locket of his wife and child; he, perhaps, wasn't always a bitter and vengeful man.


In Nassau, while lounging naked in bed with a female lover, Max is arrested and brought to Captain Berringer. Berringer had a spy follow Max the night before, and knows she met with John Silver. He threatens her with charges of treason if she doesn’t give up her informants, but Max refuses and meets his gaze with equal resolve.

At sea, Blackbeard is closing in on the Governor’s ship. Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham discuss their relationship. Anne can see that the days of the legendary outlaws of the open sea are coming to an end, but Rackham is blinded by the stars in his eyes when he stands on the quarterdeck next to Blackbeard; his ego demands he go down in history.

On the other side of the island, James Flint and Madi reassert their alliance after the debacle at the Underhill plantation. Meeting with her contacts in Nassau, Madi learns that Silver is alive; and, of course, is a wanted man.

At Israel Hands’ hideaway, it seems that he and John Silver have formed a working relationship, with Silver no longer in manacles. But their respite is short-lived, as the redcoats suddenly arrive at their camp with search dogs. However, when they’re finally hunted down and cornered, Flint and his men turn up and save them. Afterwards, in a rare sweet moment, Silver is reunited with Madi.


Back at sea, after raking Rogers’ ship with cannon fire, Blackbeard and Bonny lead the boarding party on the long-boats. Once aboard, something doesn’t feel right and with good reason. Rogers springs his trap and a bloody battle ensues. In the end, the unthinkable happens; Blackbeard is captured. Rackham and the crew aboard The Revenge watch helplessly from afar, and unfurl the white flag.

Back in Nassau, Eleanor Guthrie’s trip to Philadelphia has also been waylaid. She storms into Captain Berringer’s office while he is trying to verbally beat a confession out of Max. In a private chat, Eleanor berates Max for not turning Silver over to Berringer, but Max reminds her of how the last prominent pirate was dealt with, and the pirate resistance it incited. Their meeting is ended by the news that Long John Silver is to return to Nassau.

Back at sea, Rogers has Blackbeard strung up by the ankles over the side of the ship. While Rackham, Bonny, and the crew look on, Teach is callously keelhauled, dragging him under the ship covered with razor sharp barnacles. After the first pass, he’s so bloodied and scraped. The second pass sees Teach apparently dead, as his entire body is flayed, but not so; he coughs up sea water. Everyone looks on as Blackbeard’s brutalised body is dragged from the water for a third time; miraculously still alive. Woodes grand moment has been ruined, and he petulantly shoots him in the head at point blank. Rackham has been spared, as he was to be next in line.  


Back in Nassau, Captain Berringer lays on the hangings of the pirates with full public spectacle to draw Silver in, despite Eleanor’s warning to deal with the pirates quietly. Meanwhile, John Silver rides his horse into downtown Nassau flanked by Flint and Israel Hands, like a scene from a classic western. Berringer stands ready with his men as the pirates enter the square. An intense and bloody skirmish ensues. Inspired by their Pirate King, the townspeople and slaves join the revolt. However, it looks like the redcoats have Silver and the pirates down, when in the nick of time Billy Bones and his men show up. In the end, Israel Hands has Berringer under his knife. He looks to Silver for the go ahead, before slitting Berringer’s throat. Nassau has just been overtaken by the pirates, as Eleanor and Max flee to Fort Nassau.

Memorable Quotes[]

"If we were able to take Nassau, if we are able to expose the illusion that England is not inevitable, if we are able to incite a revolt that spreads across the New World... then, yeah... I imagine people are gonna notice."
―James Flint
"Eleanor: I’m asking you to cancel the theatre around them. You intend to lure Silver in. Force him to appear in the square to save his men, so that you might defeat him in full view of all of Nassau, demonstrate your fearsomeness to them. Don’t.
Berringer: Why not?
Eleanor: Because you don’t need to. They know it already. And because at a certain point, there is only so much fear a man can endure. All you are doing is antagonizing them.
―Eleanor Guthrie and Captain Berringer
"The threats have been made, the story’s been told, everybody in Nassau knows what Long John Silver’s return means, what’s expected of them when he does return. All that remains to do... is for him to return."
―James Flint
"If the story of the pirate Jack Rackham is to end with him standing alongside Blackbeard as an equal, together defeating the governor, who hanged Charles Vane and in so doing, restoring pirate rule over Nassau...that is an ending I can live with."
―Jack Rackham


  • Keelhauling was a legally permitted form of punishment or execution in the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy; the practice was not formally abolished until 1853. To keep the victim from drowning outright, the Dutch would put an oil-soaked sponge in their mouth that might contain a breath of air. The earliest known mention of keelhauling is from the Ancient Greeks in the Rhodian Maritime Code of 800 BC, which outlines punishment for piracy.
  • The Boarding of the Lion appears to be loosely based on Blackbeard's final battle, which occurred near Ocracoke Island in 1718 against Lieutenant Robert Maynard. Much like in real life, Teach and his boarding party were ambushed by men hidden belowdecks and overwhelmed by them, and Teach's corpse was beheaded for a trophy. In real life, he was killed in battle.
    • The showrunners said in a behind the scenes video that the keelhauling scene was based off a legend that Blackbeard's beheaded corpse swam three times around the ships after being thrown in the water.
  • The page that Berringer's Black Spot is written on is torn from John Stow's A Survey of London, a study of the city of London. The eponymous "black spot" is drawn on the side with text, while the note is written on the blank side.





  • Howell
  • Edward Teach
  • Reuben
  • Berringer