[[quoteright:259:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/teaser_poster_for_black_sails_4328.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:259:A pirate's life for me.]]

''Black Sails'' is a [[CostumeDrama historical drama]] created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine that aired on Starz. A prequel to ''Literature/TreasureIsland'', the series focuses on Captain Flint, his allies and his rivals during the Golden Age of piracy. It's meant to be a good deal DarkerAndEdgier than ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' and its like, and take up the mantle of Starz's signature show after ''[[Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand Spartacus]]'' reached its end.

The series began airing in 2014 and concluded with its fourth season in 2017.
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!!Tropes:

* AdaptationalHeroism: Billy Bones and Long John Silver show a lot more morality than their counterparts in ''Treasure Island,'' where they are motivated almost purely by simple greed.
* AntiHero: It's a show about pirates, so there's no traditional hero. Our protagonists are all morally questionable at best.
* ApologeticAttacker: Flint kills [[spoiler:Gates]], whispering his apologies and looking genuinely distraught while he does it.
* ArcWords: "As always, to traitors." Though it's not said as often as some examples of this trope, the concept repeatedly arises in regards to the philosophical struggle for Nassau. Whenever someone betrays the pirate brethren of Nassau, such as Richard Guthrie in Season 2, [[spoiler:or all the pirate captains save Vane, Rackham, and Flint in Season 3,]] they are killed and publicly displayed accompanied by the words, "as always, to traitors."
* ArtisticLicenceHistory: The show is based on stories of real pirates in and around the real pirate federation in Nassau, but only loosely.
** The {{Historical Domain Character}}s have their backgrounds and stories modified to suit the plot of the show.
** Some liberties are taken with chronology.
*** Benjamin Hornigold is portrayed as a grizzled old veteran sailor, when in reality, at the time of his death he was just 39 years old.
*** Hornigold apparently knows about the collapse of the Jacobite rebellion and James' flight to France approximately nine months before James even got to Scotland in the first place.
*** Anne Bonny is a key member of Charles Vane's crew, and the lover of his quartermaster Jack Rackham, in 1715. Historically Rackham and Bonny didn't meet until 1718, by which time he was a captain in his own right. She may never have met Vane.
*** The pirate colony seems well established and even [[EndOfAnEra beginning to decay]] in 1715, when in fact it was just getting started.
*** Season 2 features [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Low Captain Ned Low]] as an antagonist; Low's pirating career didn't begin until 1721, and he didn't become a captain until 1722. He also wasn't killed by Charles Vane.
*** Season 3 reveals that in the show's backstory, Edward Teach was outsted from Nassau by conspiracy between Eleanor Guthrie, Benjamin Hornigold, and Charles Vane. In reality, it was Teach who conspired to oust Hornigold from their joint venture. Also, this apparently took place eight years before the start of the show, circa 1707/08, with Teach being a well established, feared pirate long before that. In reality, Teach doesn't appear in historical records ''at all'' before 1714, and sailed with Hornigold until 1717.
** [[spoiler: Blackbeard was not killed by Woodes Rodgers, nor was he killed as a prisoner. He died in battle against Robert Maynard, by a stab to the back after suffering numerous other wounds from both sword and gunshot.]]
** Jack Rackham's RuleOfCool sunglasses are in fact Edwardian proto-safety goggles for railway users.
** The Walrus having a doctor on the crew is a downplayed example, as pirate crews generally didn't bother with a medical professional, and patched themselves up. Alarmingly, if a surgery was needed, the cook would be called for as they would have the most experience with delicate knife work. However, there were the occasional medical professionals, who were very valuable in the crews that were lucky to get ahold of one, so the ''Walrus'' having a surgeon is still within the realm of possibility.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: For all their bickering, Vane and Rackham's somewhat heartfelt farewell in "XXII." shows some genuine, if still [[VitriolicBestBuds vitriolic]] affection between them.
-->'''Jack:''' Godspeed, Charles.
-->'''Charles:''' [[PhraseCatcher Fuck you, Jack]].
* BadassBeard:
** Flint wouldn't be the same without his waxed 'stache and beard, whereas in Season 2 flashbacks he is a clean-shaven Royal Navy officer.
** Albinus, Vane's former captain, sports a huge one.
** Silver is sporting one of his own by Season 3.
** And, naturally, Blackbeard.
*** And also, from the pilot, "Blackbeard".
* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: Mosiah, who seems to speak for a sizable number of the black members of Flint's crew until Captain Vane murders him.
* BadassBookworm: Dufresne is the ''Walrus'''s nerdy accountant who never participates in combat until he's forced to by Billy. During the fight, he chews through a sailor's neck. Afterwards, he cuts his hair and starts taking a more proactive role in piracy.
** Flint also counts; by pirate standards, he's very well-educated, and is known for collecting books of all sorts.
* BatmanGambit: At the end of the pilot, Flint devises such a plan to stop Singleton's attempt to seize captaincy. He notices that someone was in his quarters and must have fiddled with Vazquez's log, so he presents Singleton as the culprit before his crew. He knows that Singleton will choose a duel rather than a trial by the crew. After he kills Singleton, he pretends to find the missing log page on the corpse and hands a blank page to Billy Bones as 'proof'. At this moment, he has no guarantee that Bones will support him since Bones, over the course of a night, has pulled a gun on him, called him out on his crap and openly wondered if Singleton shouldn't be captain. Flint hopes that with Singleton dead, Bones will see no other choice but to lie for him. Flint is correct.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Characters are often seen with scabs and bruises from recent battles, but they all fade eventually, leaving no scars.
* BirdsOfAFeather: Flint and Eleanor. Both proud, driven and (most likely) unhinged given their obsession with achieving their goals. They're also TheNotLoveInterest to each other, as their reliance on each other makes up the crux of the storyline for the first two seasons.
* BitterSweetEnding: [[spoiler: Silver sabotages the war effort and brings about peace, bringing an end to the carnage of Flint's rebellion. In doing so he betrays his only true friend and the woman he loves, and while she stays with him, it's implied he's irreparably damaged that relationship. Flint is reunited with Thomas and the two embrace and kiss, but are condemned to live the rest of their life as prisoners in a labor camp. Billy survives but spends the rest of his life a broken man afraid that his former crewmates will find him and exact retribution for his betrayal. Rackham and Bonny are together and still pirating but their historical fate is waiting for them over the horizon.]]
* BiTheWay: Eleanor, Max, Anne Bonny, Flint, and Hamilton.
* BlackVikings: Joji the Japanese pirate runs on RuleOfCool. While it's possible that a single Japanese sailor might somehow get himself onto a Caribbean pirate ship, the show takes place during a period of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakoku extreme seclusion]] in Japan, where the Japanese government actively prohibited its people from leaving.
* BodyHorror: In the second episode, the syphilitic pirate whose [[{{Squick}} face is rotting away]]...
* BookEnds: In the first episode, John Silver hides from a battle with a cook, who asserts that he doesn't have to fight. In the final episode, Silver is participating in a battle and encounters a man hiding from battle who pleads that he's "just a cook." Silver's disgust with the man shows his CharacterDevelopment.
* BoomHeadshot: A pretty surprising one takes out [[spoiler: Miranda.]]
* {{Bowdlerize}}: The preview version has all of the swearing muted and all of the nudity and blood blurred out.
* CallBack: In the first episode, John Silver is found by pirates, cowering below decks in the ship they have just taken. When questioned, he claims to be the cook. In the last episode, Long John Silver finds a man cowering below decks in the ship he and his men are attacking.
-->'''Silver:''' "What are you doing down here? Are you a fucking coward?"\\
'''Coward:''' "Please, sir. I'm just the cook."\\
The parallel is clearly not lost on Silver.
* CallForward: As a prequel to ''Literature/TreasureIsland'', it has several to the book.
** John Silver's job on the ship is as ship's cook, much like his position in the novel. He eventually becomes quartermaster under Captain Flint, as he claims in the book.
** In the book, Silver has lost his leg up to his hip, using a crutch to move around. [[spoiler:In the show, he loses his leg below the knee in Season 2 and is warned in Season 3 that if he doesn't start using a crutch, he'll lose more of his leg.]]
** Silver's nickname "Long John" makes its first appearance in Season 3. It's explained as [[spoiler:a threat to those who cross him that his memory is long, and he won't forget their insult]].
** In the book, Silver has a wife of African descent who is [[TheGhost never portrayed]] but manages Silver's financial interests while he is away. In Season 3, Silver gets paired with Madi, a woman of African descent who is implied to become his wife.
** Billy Bones reintroduces the old pirates' legend of the "black spot". An older Billy receives a black spot in the book.
* CampStraight: Jack Rackham is foppish, not very good in a fight, and more cultured than normal for a pirate, but he's only ever shown to be interested in women (and mainly just Anne).
* CharacterDevelopment: John Silver goes from a cowardly opportunist trying to con his way through pirate life to a legendary pirate leader.
* CoolBoat: ''Walrus'' and ''Ranger'' are two major boats in the show. The oddly unnamed Spanish Man o' War is another one, with nearly 100 guns.
* CombatPragmatist: Brawls between pirates are all very dirty affairs.
* CradlingYourKill: Flint snaps Gates's neck when he goes to reveal Flint's deception to the crew, possibly costing him the Urca. Flint clearly didn't want to kill Gates, but felt he had to. Afterwards, he holds Gates's body and cries because of how much the treasure is costing him.
* CruelMercy:
** Claimed in-universe. In the first season finale, Vane decides not to kill Rackham and Anne Bonny for killing their own crew-mates. Instead, he'll tell everyone what they did, ensuring no one will ever sail with them again, which he claims is worse than death. They'll simply have to run a whorehouse, and never be pirates again. Of course, since a safe, comfortable and lucrative career isn't quite so awful, there's a good chance he's just using it as an excuse to not kill what might be the closest thing he has to friends.
** Rackham ends up dealing one out to [[spoiler: Rogers. Instead of killing him, he captures him with Flint's help and forces him to sign a treaty to end the war, and then gets Eleanor's grandmother to buy Rogers' debts and force a default, so that he's tried and imprisoned, with all of his failures becoming a matter of public record.]]
* CurbStompBattle:
** In the first season finale. Flint manipulates the Spanish Man o' War into a perfect position to take several volleys of raking cannon-fire from both the fore and aft by the ''Walrus'' and the ''Ranger''. The Man o' War takes everything they have, and then simply turns around and blasts both of them to pieces in seconds. Flint knew this would happen, and was trying to disable its rudder to prevent it.
** The battle in the Season 4 premiere ends up being a massive defeat for [[spoiler: Flint]]. He loses two ships and most of his men are killed or captured.
* DarkActionGirl: Anne Bonny is an extremely skilled, and ruthless, fighter.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Than more recent pirate fare.
* DeadGuyOnDisplay: [[spoiler:Miranda]]'s corpse is displayed during Flint's trial. The crowd pelts her with rotten fruit. The corpse of [[spoiler:Charles Vane]] remains hanging from the gallows in an iron cage for three days, as per the customs of the time.
* DeadpanSnarker:
** Jack Rackham, particularly during the negotiation between Flint and Vane during episode 3.
** Gates also has shown a tendency towards this, again in the aforementioned negotiation. Before he was reduced to screaming incoherently at Flint, that is.
** John Silver is a master, and most of his interactions involve some sort of snark.
* DemocracyIsFlawed: Pirate culture is much more liberal and democratic than the authoritarian societies of the civilized world. Pirate crews operate as a democracy, with their leaders elected and any major decisions voted on by all crew members openly due to the autocracy of the monarchies. A running theme shows the complications that arise from this. Pirate captains are constantly worried about how to sell their grand plans to their short-sighted and selfish crews. Many schemes are hamstrung or outright ruined because the captains must campaign for the crew's votes. However, the system also prevents captains from becoming tyrannical and forces them to operate within the crew's best interest.
* DidntSeeThatComing[=/=]OutGambitted:
** Eleanor Guthrie manages to masterfully create her own empire, with a consortium of captains as her allies. Then in the first season finale, Vane storms the fort with a consortium of psychos no one even knew about, and manages to ensure he is her top partner.
** The entirety of Season 2 is revealed as this for just about everybody concerned with the ''Urca'' gold plot, with John Silver manipulating events to make sure he wins out overall. [[spoiler:However, losing his leg forced him to re-evaluate having the gold versus being the Quartermaster to a loyal crew. He even says as much to Flint when he owns up to his schemes in Season 3.]]
* DirtyCoward: The cook on the merchant ship in the beginning episode obviously thinks of John Silver like this, although Silver sees himself as an opportunist. The cook is a hypocrite because he himself is hiding and abstaining from the fighting on the pretext that he is a cook and thus it is not his job to fight.
* DoomedByCanon: Zig-zagged. The show plays loose with the lives of its real-world characters, but some do share the fate of their historic counterparts: [[spoiler:Charles Vane and Blackbeard]]. Others may be doomed to meet their historic fate after the show's conclusion.
* DoomMagnet: A discussed trope in the Season 3 finale: John Silver notes that those closest to Flint have all died, and suspects that it's Flint's very actions that bring about their doom. He worries for his safety, given that he's now Flint's closest confidant and wonders if he'll have to kill Flint someday to save himself.
* DramaticIrony: In Season 3, Billy brings back the Black Spot, a mostly forgotten pirate superstition, and uses it to terrorize those who have abandoned the pirate cause. The plot of ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' starts with a much older Billy receiving a Black Spot and dying from terror.
* TheDreaded:
** Charles Vane, captain of the ''Ranger''. Dropping his name and that of his ship provokes an OhCrap reaction from another pirate captain.
** Edward Teach's EstablishingCharacterMoment has him reveal his true name to the honor guard of his previous wife, which provokes a sudden reaction.
* EndOfAnEra: The time for the pirates of New Providence Island is running out. A British warship has arrived in the Caribbean with an arrest warrant for Richard Guthrie. Without a safe haven on the island and the ability to sell their loot through the Guthries, the pirates will not be able to maintain their ships or pay the crews. Flint has predicted this long ago and is pursuing the treasure galleon as a way to raise enough funds to avert or at least manage the coming disaster. Gates supports the plan as OneLastJob before he has to give up piracy. Eleanor is about to lose her freedom and independence so she does not hesitate to throw her support behind them.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment:
** Anne is introduced carving someone up with her sword and dagger, establishing her as a DarkActionGirl.
** Charles Vane is established in his first scene as a badass pirate captain, but we don't learn how badass he is until a later scene when simply dropping his name makes another captain run away.
** John Silver is established hiding from a pirate attack and admitting freely that he'd do just about anything to save his own skin.
** Edward Teach gives a monologue about his history to the angry family of his previous wife, then slaughters all three of them.
* EveryoneIsBi: So far there's Eleanor Guthrie, Max, Anne Bonny, Captain Flint, and Lord Thomas Hamilton.
* EvilWearsBlack: Flint predominantly wears black and is utterly ruthless, no matter the relative morals of his end goals. [[spoiler: And, after siding with the British, Benjamin Hornigold swaps his royal blue frock coat and white shirt for a black coat and dark blue-grey waistcoat.]]
* EyeObscuringHat: Anne wears a hat that generally covers half of her face. Because she hardly ever takes it off, it's several episodes before her whole face is shown on screen.
* FaceHeelTurn: Hornigold and Dufresne switch sides at the end of Season 2 and are working for England as pirate hunters in Season 3. This is historical fact in the case of Hornigold.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: "XXXI" opens with Capt. Berringer viewing at a locket containing pictures of his wife and child. The episode ends with his throat being cut.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Claimed by Vane to explain why he doesn't kill Anne or Jack for killing the last remaining members of Vane's crew. After all, since everyone knows Jack betrayed his sworn brothers because of a woman, the quartermaster will never sail beneath the black again, which Vane reckons will "sting worse than death." Possibly just an excuse, as Jack's the closest thing Vane has to a friend.
* FriendInTheBlackMarket: The Guthrie family run the black market in Nassau. Pirates rely on them to fence their stolen bounties.
* FollowTheLeader: Despite its grittier aspirations, it probably wouldn't have been greenlit without the success of ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'', which was the first production in a long time to escape the famous curse on pirate-themed films.
* ForegoneConclusion: The plot of the first season revolves around the crew of the ''Walrus'' trying to track down and capture an extremely rich Spanish treasure vessel. This is the same treasure that ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' revolves around, so we know where it's going to end up.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: During Flint's sex scene with Miranda in Season 1, he looks bored and disinterested. [[spoiler:Come the finale, we know why.]]
** And also why he was so pissed when Miranda showed that book to Eleanor's father. [[spoiler: It has a loving inscription from Thomas to James that would have outed Flint, at least if Mr. Guthrie is aware of his first name.]]
* FullFrontalAssault: Charles Vane is [[CurbstompBattle mercilessly beaten]], buried alive, and left for dead. He climbs out of his hole in the dead of night and, naked and covered in mud, stabs Albinus to death and [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt assumes command of his crew]].
* GambitRoulette: The scheme to capture the treasure galleon is dependent on dozens of different things going right and a single failure can derail everything. Flint {{lampshades}} this to Billy when they are chasing the Andromache and he tells him that there is a one-in-three chance at best that they find their prey on the open sea and if they do find it, they have to catch it and then defeat its crew. If they cannot do so, the rest of the plan becomes moot since they need the Andromache's guns.
* GeniusBruiser: Flint is this, as Thomas Hamilton points out, he's the son of a carpenter and yet is more literate than many of Hamilton's Eton contemporaries. It's remarked on that he often takes books as prizes for his piracy, and his cabin is full of them. It's also implied he taught himself Spanish, just so he could read a book gifted to him by the Hamiltons. The most feared pirate of Nassau, as it happens, is also a bit of a nerd.
* GodzillaThreshold:
** When Eleanor discovers just how dangerous Ned Low is, she goes to Vane for help even though she knows that his help would come with a large personal and political cost.
** After being captured and tortured by the captain of the British warship, Billy becomes Flint's biggest supporter. He still despises Flint for his duplicity and causing so many deaths, but he sees Flint's plan as the only way to keep the British from forcefully retaking Nassau and hunting down the pirates.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Mosiah's black crew mates all seem to have extensive ritual scarring, and support Flint (at least after being bribed by Gates). Singleton challenges Flint's authority and wants to be voted in as captain, and also has many terrible scars across his face. Of course, since they're all pirates (and supporting or opposing Flint doesn't necessarily make one good or evil) this is all rather ambiguous.
* GuileHero: John Silver's method of operation.
* HeroAntagonist: Woodes Rogers, the British Navy, and other pirate hunters are technically on the side of law and order, though they occasionally blur the lines and are sometimes dicks to make them less sympathetic, in favor of our AntiHero pirate cast.
* HistoricalBadassUpgrade:
** Anne Bonny reportedly held her own in ship combat, but was not accounted as being otherwise special. In the show, however, she's upgraded to a badass, DualWielding killing machine.
** Jack Rackham. In reality he was an infamous drunk who was captured easily by the British because he happened to be passed out in the hold of his ship when the British came upon his ship. His portrayal as a refined man of cunning is a far cry from the actual man.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: While the pirates are [[AntiHero Anti-Heroes]] at best, they're made a lot more sympathetic by portraying them as idealistic, freedom-loving rebels from a corrupt and authoritarian British regime.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Vane Charles Vane]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Hornigold Benjamin Hornigold]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calico_Jack "Calico" Jack Rackham]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Bonny Anne Bonny]]. Season 3 adds [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbeard Edward "Blackbeard" Teach]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodes_Rogers Woodes Rogers]]. The series finale introduces [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Read "Mark Read."]]
* HollywoodHistory: The show is only loosely based on historical fact.
* HonestyIsTheBestPolicy: In the Season 2 premiere, when Silver and Flint are caught in their attempt to capture the Spanish warship, the officer of the watch offers a reward of gold to whichever one of them will tell him who they are, what they hoped to accomplish, and how many more of them there are. Silver immediately answers all of the above truthfully, collects his gold... and brains the officer with a large [[GrievousBottleyHarm bottle]] as soon as his back is turned.
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: Skeleton Island, the uncharted, supposedly cursed island which becomes the hiding place of Flint's treasure.
* IOweYouMyLife: Jack saved Anne from her abusive husband, and since then she's felt that she owes her life to him
* ImportantHaircut: Dufresne crops his tousled hair short to coincide with his [[TookALevelInBadass generally toughening up]].
* ImprobableAimingSkills: In episode five, the ''Walrus's'' marksman is able to hit with two out of three shots using a black powder rifle, at a range of several hundred yards, from one moving ship to another.
* KatanasAreJustBetter: The Japanese member of the ''Walrus'' crew is introduced observing his katana being sharpened. It's implied that his standards of sword sharpness are far beyond normal.
* TheLadette: Definitely Anne Bonny, and Eleanor to a degree.
* LastEpisodeNewCharacter: The show makes us wait until the last few minutes of the GrandFinale to finally introduce [[spoiler:Mary Read]], whose absence among all the other famous RealLife pirates featured in the show caused considerable speculation across the four seasons.
* ALighterShadeOfBlack: Flint is this to Vane. Vane is this to Ned Low, who exists primarily to show that yes, there are pirates considerably worse than Charles Vane, which helps to swing Vane's growing status as an anti-villain.
* MasculineGirlFeminineBoy: The foppish, intellectual Rackham and the gruff brawler Anne.
* MeaningfulEcho: [[spoiler:Silver's]] two speeches, to Flint and to Madi, in the finale.
-->"This is not what I wanted. But I will stand here with you for an hour, a day, a year, while you find a way to accept this outcome so we might leave here together. For if not then I must end this another way."\\
And then...\\
"The pirates will be leaving here. The chiefs. But I will stay and I will wait -- a day, a month, a year -- forever. In the hopes that you will understand why I did what I did."
* {{Mook}}s: British soldiers, in spite of wearing red shirts, are actually mooks because they're enemies.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Subverted by the ''Goliath''. Jack points out that it's named after the [[DavidVersusGoliath greatest disappointment]] in the history of warfare. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny The captain agrees with him, but explains that his crew like it, so he can't change it.]]
* MyGodYouAreSerious: When Flint proposes a suicidal plan to attack a Spanish Man O' War grounded on the beach, John Silver immediately volunteers. When Flint starts to talk his plan, Silver is stunned to realize that he's actually going to do this as he assumed this was a cover for the two to escape.
* NeverFoundTheBody: Happens a LOT. [[spoiler:Billy Bones, John Silver, Madi, Thomas Hamilton]]. On this show, someone isn't dead until they're dead on screen.
* NerdGlasses: Dufresne wears spectacles, establishing him as the nerdy accountant in the beginning of the show. Subverted when he TookALevelInBadass; he still wears the glasses because he, you know, ''needs them to see.''
* NonActionGuy:
** For a pirate, Jack Rackham is a real wimp. His strength is cunning, while Anne Bonney does his fighting for him. He starts to toughen up a bit after he gets his own ship, though he's visibly pained during his first command on realising that the only way out of a difficult situation is for him to fight a rival, veteran captain in single combat. [[spoiler:He cheats, wins, then lies and schemes his way out of retribution by the other captain's crew.]]
** Dufresne starts out like this, but once forced into action, takes to it with a degree of relish.
** John Silver spends pretty much the entire series doing his bet to avoid fights, preferring to talk or backstab his way out of combat situations. Ironically, after his injury he becomes much more willing to face up to danger, marking something of a turning-point for the character.
* NoHonorAmongThieves: This is a major problem for Flint and his allies in enacting their plan for Nassau. The pirate crews will cooperate only as long as it is in their best interests and will turn on Flint and each other as soon as the situation changes. In Season 3, Flint's grand pirate alliance crumbles in a matter of minutes when the other pirates find out that [[spoiler:Woodes Rogers is offering a full pardon to any pirate who abandons Flint's cause. Flint not being present and presumed dead didn't help matters.]]
* NotSoDifferent: Jack Rackham and Woodes Rogers have a few of these conversations, in which Rackham asserts that Rogers isn't as morally superior as he seems to think.
* NotSoSafeHarbour: Nassau.
* OhCrap:
** Flint and the crew of the Walrus as the giant Spanish man'o'war prepares to unleash a fifty-gun broadside on their ship.
** Rackham and Anne, twice. First when they hear someone has taken over the fort with them very much suspecting who was responsible, and than when Vane shows up in the brothel.
** A minor pirate who runs afoul of Charles Vane has this reaction upon learning who Vane is.
** In the Season 3 premiere, three brothers confront the man who run out on a marriage promise to their sister. They discover that their sister lied about the identity of the would-be-husband and that they have just drawn their weapons against Blackbeard.
* OutlawCouple: Rackham and Anne, in line with their historical backgrounds.
* OnlySaneMan: Billy Bones and Gates support Flint but think his plan is somewhat crazy. Mr. Scott fills a similar role for Eleanor, trying to discourage her from loaning money to Gates because pirates are a poor investment.
* PetTheDog: Anne relates how Jack Rackham killed her abusive husband after watching her being beaten.
* {{Prequel}}: The show is a prequel to ''Literature/TreasureIsland''. It reveals how Captain Flint put the Treasure Island got there and provides backstory for other characters from the book, including Long John Silver, Billy Bones, Israel Hands, and Ben Gunn.
* RapeAsDrama: Max is repeatedly raped by Charles Vane's crew.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil:
** Hammund is established as a particularly horrible bastard by the fact that he makes a point to rape Max, despite having just been told she'll make it more enjoyable if it's consensual.
** When Vane takes Abigail hostage he warns her guard in veiled but clear terms that she's not to be raped.
* RashomonStyle: Depending on who you're talking to, Edward Teach was either routed from Providence Island by an alliance of Eleanor and Vane, or left willingly so that he wouldn't be forced to kill his misguided protégé.
* RealityEnsues: In Season 3, the pirates have finally secured the treasure but their dreams of a new Nassau are hitting massive roadblocks that no amount of gold can solve. Further, their actions have caused people with real power in Britain to take notice of the pirate problem which means that a big anti-piracy crackdown is coming their way.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: [[spoiler:Silver to Flint, after the final betrayal.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Flint:''' "All this will be for nothing. We will have been for nothing. Defined by their histories, distorted to fit into their narrative, until all that is left of us are the monsters in the stories they tell their children."\\
'''Silver:''' "I don't care."\\
'''Flint:''' "You will. Someday, you will. Someday, even if you can persuade her to keep you, she'll no longer be enough, and the comfort will grow stale, and casting about in the dark for some proof that you mattered and finding none, you'll know that you gave it away in this moment, on this island. Left it in the ground, along with that chest."]]
* RedHerring: Ned Low is introduced early in Season 2 with much ominous promise, and on arrival in Nassau establishes himself as the first really overt challenge to Eleanor's authority even within her own tavern. All signs point to his being the season's major antagonist, or at least one of the major ones. [[spoiler:He's then fairly abruptly killed by Charles Vane to prove a point.]]
* RedShirt: Non-named pirates die as needed during action scenes.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Even after escaping Charlestown, Flint continues to shell it in retribution for Ashe's betrayal of him and Miranda.
* RuleOfCool:
** Jack Rackham's hipster sunglasses in the pilot, making him look even more like a pirate Music/NickCave.
** The presence of a [[BlackVikings samurai]] on the ''Walrus'' crew, although this one is at least ''possible'', as the British Empire had commerce all over the world at the time.
** Captain Flint's signature, very modern-looking black leather coat.
* SavedByCanon: As the series is a prequel to ''Literature/TreasureIsland'', any character from the novel is safe. [[spoiler: so anyone familiar with ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' won't be surprised to find that Billy Bones survived falling overboard in Season 1.]]
* SeadogPegLeg: [[spoiler:John Silver loses the lower part of his leg at the end of Season 2. In Season 3, he is using a metal peg leg to move about. He is warned that he should be using a crutch instead since the amputation is still too recent for him to use a peg leg. He risks reopening the wound and losing the rest of his leg.]]
* SettingUpdate: A rare reverse example, in that it pushes the setting of ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' BACK in time. WordOfGod is that the show begins about twenty years before the timeframe of the novel -- which would place the events of ''Treasure Island'' about 1735; the book is in fact set in 1760 (it's understandable that they'd want to bring in all the famous pirates who were around in the 1710s, though.)
* ShownTheirWork:
** Despite many movies and shows, such as ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'', using ships with rigging configurations from the late seventeen and early eighteen hundreds, this show takes pains to use the older configurations that were actually used in the era of piracy.
** While much of Blackbeard's final combat is fiction, some details are taken from the actual account, such as [[spoiler: being surprised by a sudden attack of sailors emerging from below decks]].
* TheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham's OddCouple relationship has its ups and downs, but it always comes back to them declaring their devotion to each other.
* AThreesomeIsHot: Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny and Max. Given the love triangle, it's apparently a bad idea for all involved. After the first time, Max notes that Jack completely ignored her, since he's only interested in Anne. The second time, Jack and Max start to enjoy each other, which makes Anne jealous, though she quickly admits she shouldn't be.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Delivered by John Silver in Episode 7 of Season 3 to the pirates in Nassau who took the King's pardon after pledging to defend it against England.
* ThreesomeSubtext: Captain Flint, Miranda and her husband. Each has been intimate with the other two, though not necessarily at the same time.
* TortureAlwaysWorks: Defied. John Silver stats, “Torture won't work. I have an extremely low tolerance for pain. I'll say ''anything'' to make it stop.”
* TwiceToldTale: The show is a prequel to ''Literature/TreasureIsland'', following the posthumous character Captain Flint and featuring John Silver and Billy Bones as young men.
* TheVoiceless: The Japanese pirate has yet to speak. It's not clear how much English he even knows.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: This is a recurring problem for the protagonists. They will form an alliance to accomplish a goal but the participants have different ideas on what should be done and who should be in charge. The alliance then disintegrates in in-fighting.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: Jack Rackham delivers one to Woodes Rogers about how he was sentenced to debtor's prison as a boy because of political corruption that ruined his father's family business, saying that he's had to fight for everything he's ever had.
* WouldHitAGirl: After Eleanor punches him, Vane floors her with a right cross. The conversation that follows makes it clear that this was necessary to maintain his authority with his crew, but he shows absolutely no hesitation or regret.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness:
** John Silver refuses to tell Flint the ''Urca's'' entire course, convinced Flint will kill him if he does. When Flint points out he could do that once they ''do'' capture the ''Urca'', Silver comments he's hoping "they'll be friends by that point". Ultimately, Silver proves useful to Eleanor, so she tells Flint she expects Silver to survive.
** As of the end of Episode 7, the crew, headed by Dufresne, the new quartermaster, decide to kill Flint after the ''Urca's'' prize is captured. This is shared with Mr. Gates, who, in light of his recent misgivings with the captain, consents to the plan.
* YoungFutureFamousPeople: [[spoiler:Mary Read]] makes an appearance in the series finale.
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