Black Sails Season 3 might have ended, and Season 4 isn’t airing for a while, but while we wait, we’re not exactly left stranded in the middle of the sea, forced to harpoon sharks just to get nourishment. Season 3 left a treasure trove of clues that point to what lies ahead. From Blackbeard to Long John Silver to the Rackham and Rogers book club, here are our informed predictions for Season 4.
Blackbeard the madman
At the end of the Season 3 finale, Billy’s voiceover gives a rundown of the types of rulers Nassau has seen — madmen, rich men, tyrants, kings. As he talks, the camera pans to Blackbeard, Rackham, Flint, and Silver. It’s curious that Blackbeard is the madman, because we’ve mostly seen him in quietly simmering rage. Even in his duel with Flint, he didn’t do anything that can be considered truly “mad.”
But he was, after all, Charles Vane’s mentor, and madman was pretty much Vane’s middle name. Rising from graves, beheading enemies and leaving a note, swim-boarding ships like a boss, rescuing men he came to kill. Just as that infamous pirate sunglasses picture sums up Jack Rackham in a nutshell, everything about this image encapsulates Vane.
Punk rock necklace for no reason other than “why not?” Check. Crazy face paint? Check. Unlikely location? Check. Zero fucks given? Check.
Everyone loved Charles Vane for different reasons, but let’s face it: We also loved him because he was gloriously nutty. If Blackbeard was his Mr. Miyagi, then it stands to reason we haven’t begun to see how “mad” he can be. Nobody can replace Vane, but now that he’s gone, Black Sails needs a character who brings a sense of chaos and unpredictability.
In the Season 3 finale, Blackbeard assumes Woodes Rogers killed Vane and says, “He thought he could do it and face no consequences. He failed to account for me.” It’s fair to assume these “consequences” will not be a slap on the wrist or even a quick gunshot death. Hell hath no fury like a pseudo-father figure scorned.
Long John Silver, King of Nassau
At the end of Season 3, Billy Bones and his band of merry men build John Silver up as a fearsome pirate whose wrath will turn the tides of leadership in Nassau. He uses his curb-stomp line, “My name is John Silver. And I’ve got a long fucking memory,” as a basis for his nickname — reasoning that Silver will step forward into the place they’ve carved for him when the time comes.
Little does Billy know how comfortable Silver has become in that place. Silver is nothing if not an opportunist, and if someone hands him a throne, there’s no telling what he’ll do with it. It’s hardly a spoiler to say Billy will eventually regret empowering Silver, and we’ll likely begin to see the effects of this in Season 4.
“Blackbeard and Long John Silver are the two most-well known pirates for a reason” showrunner Jonathan Steinberg told Inverse. “We’ll get to see more of that.”
Anne Bonny, Pirate Queen
Anne Bonny is Black Sails’s most compelling lady. Her Season 2 story with Max was important on a character level, and it wouldn’t have been as dramatically satisfying to see her take charge in the Season 3 finale if we hadn’t seen her fall apart the previous season. That being said, we’ve been waiting to see Anne Bonny as the legendary pirate queen for three seasons, and her actions in the Season 3 finale are an auspicious sign for her story in Season 4.
Spain will be the large-scale enemy
At the beginning of Season 3, Charles Vane said, “What we’re doing here — sitting on English soil with Spain’s gold — demands a response.” We saw the response from England at the end of Season 3, but we have yet to see the response from Spain. And now that Woodes Rogers has failed to return their gold or deliver Rackham, he’s added insult to injury. It’s safe to say Vane and Blackbeard’s dalliance with the Spanish is not an isolated incident.
A Rogers and Rackham rivalry
Woodes Rogers and Jack Rackham’s relationship has been an unexpected delight in Season 3, but now that Rackham escaped and Rogers feels Spain breathing down his neck, he’ll feel pressured to recapture Rackham. To add an extra layer, Rackham wants to kill Eleanor — as he said in the Season 3 finale, “I look forward to settling Charles’s accounts with Ms. Guthrie — while Rogers pledged to defend her against all enemies.
Hopefully the two will have time for more book discussions before this relationship sours for good.
A high body count
Each season of Black Sails has axed more major characters than the last. Season 1 began with Gates, Season 2 saw early graves for Richard Guthrie and Miranda Barlow, and Season 3’s death toll is a whopping 6: Muldoon drowned in episode 2, Dufresne, Mr. Scott, Charles Vane, Hornigold, and the unexpectedly loyal crewman Dobbs.
Season 4 will likely spill more blood and fashion more nooses. Everyone — from the streets of Nassau to Jack to Blackbeard— is calling out for Eleanor’s head. But the creators seem to like her, so her story could go either way. Woodes Rogers seemingly has more time, but the show cut Vane’s short, so history can only predict so far. The major deaths, then, remain up in the air, but if anything is certain, it’s more graves before the end.
Season 4 might be a ways over the horizon still, but Season 3 hardly left us stranded without a map. There’s plenty of food for thought — or at least rum — to tide you over until Season 4.