Black Sails (TV series)

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Black Sails (2014-2017) is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island.

Season 1[edit]


(January 25, 2014)
Gates: [to Flint] Let me see if I have this right. This is the fourth prize in a row from which the profits will barely exceed the expenses it took to win it. Singleton's out there trying to convince them to torture that poor bastard of a captain simply because he hasn't worked out how to get them to do it to you. But you're happy because you've discovered that the information we can't tell anybody we're looking for exists on a page... that we don't have.

Flint: I'm gonna go and see Richard. He can help me recreate the schedule.
Gates: Richard Guthrie?
Flint: Mm-hmm.
Gates: You think he's gonna help you?
Flint: Yes. Yes, I do.
Gates: Let's just for fun say that he doesn't. What then?
Flint: Then I'll forget about the schedule and go back to hunting fat, lazy merchantmen and everyone will be content.
Gates: This is one of those times where we pretend that we both don't know that you're lying.

Eleanor: If you want to hunt, my door is open. But if the mere whiff of the Navy is too much for you, then God bless and get the fuck out.

Max: Pleasure should be shared equally. It's the only way to avoid hurt feelings.

Mr. Scott: [to Gates] You steal cargo at the end of a sword. We sell that cargo to markets that will never have you. When you are strong, you are a necessary evil. When you are not strong, you are likely soon to be dead. But what you are not ever is a sound investment.

Silver: Me, I can't help myself. I see an opportunity, I take it. It's a sickness. Truly.

Mr. Scott: [to Eleanor] You can never forget who these men are. They are not our friends. They are not our subjects. They want your father's business; that is the only reason why we do not find their knives at our throats.

Vane: Eleanor, your father sells my cargo. Whatever it is you're so upset about, I doubt he feels the same.
Eleanor: When I tell him you put our biggest earner out of business, he'll -
Vane: Remind you that Flint hasn't been your biggest earner in quite some time. You'll also be reminded of what you've always known but never accepted, that if forced, your father will always choose profits over daughters. Hate your father? I wouldn't blame you. Hate me, too, if you'd like. And if you feel the need, cling to Flint, and his legend and a past the rest of us have long outgrown. But make no mistake about it, whatever future this place has left, I'm it. And if you ever challenge me again in front of my crew, I may just forget that I loved you once.

Flint: When the king brands us pirates, he doesn't mean to make us adversaries. He doesn't mean to make us criminals. He means to make us monsters. For that's the only way his God-fearing, tax-paying subjects can make sense of men who keep what is theirs and fear no one. When I say there's a war coming, I don't mean with the Scarborough; I don't mean with King George or England. Civilization is coming. And it means to exterminate us.

Flint: Now with this page securely in our possession, we can begin our hunt. And we will succeed no matter the cost. No matter the struggle, I will see that prize is yours. I'm not just gonna make you rich. I'm not just gonna make you strong. I'm gonna make you the princes of the New World.


(February 1, 2014)
Flint: What's coming our way can't be outrun. But with the money I strip from the Hulk, we could add fifty guns to the fort. We could build ships to defend our shores and train new man to sail them. We could work the land, grow crops, and raise cattle. Then whoever arrives on our shore first, be it England or Spain, will be in for a most unwelcome surprise. A nation of thieves.

Flint: If there is a be a war, that would be Whitehall's choice. I'd settle for a pardon, title on lands, and a governor I could trust. And so would most of the men out there. They're not animals. They're men starved of hope. Give that back to them, and who's to say what could happen?

Flint: Odysseus, on his journey home to Ithaca, was visited by a ghost. The ghost tells him that once he reaches his home, once he... slays all his enemies and sets his house in order, he must do one last thing before he can rest. The ghost tells him to pick up an oar and walk inland, and keep walking until somebody mistakes that oar for a shovel. For that would be the place that no man had ever been troubled by the sea. And that's where he'd find peace. In the end, that's all I want: to walk away from the sea and find some peace.

Gates: [to Billy] You saw the Scarborough. You know what's coming. We can't thieve forever.

Billy: Our crew is less than a day removed from a mutiny. I don't care how much gold you dangle in front of them, that hatred doesn't just disappear.

Max: When a man is being fucked, he wants to know whose cock was in him.

Eleanor: I've spent my life trying to build something here. It's all I have. I can't walk away.

Max: This place is just sand. It cannot love you back.


(February 8, 2014)
Eleanor: Fuck the captains and fuck anyone else who doesn't like the way I manage this place.

Jack: [to Gates] As quartermasters, we serve our men best when we rise above the fray and see the truth from an unobstructed vantage.

Hornigold: The last I heard, James fled to France. They call him the Pretender now. I promised my men that if they stayed with me, they'd be soldiers again, that they'd be part of a rebel navy fighting a war to restore a rightful king. Now... who knows what they'll do? They're coming to terms with a very uncomfortable truth. That no matter how many lies we tell ourselves, or no matter how many stories we convince ourselves we're part of, we're all just thieves awaiting a noose.

Gates: [to Flint] That was my fault. Entirely my fault. I should've been clearer when I prepared you for this meeting. When I said we would need to keep our tempers in check if we were going to make this meeting happen, I should've specified that we'd need to do so for the duration of the meeting as well. Not to worry. A simple setback. Now we have clarity and a unity of vision. I feel good.

Vane: [to Eleanor] Be honest: are you as surprised as I am that I'm the only one behaving myself?


(February 15, 2014)
Flint: Nobody will believe it's possible until we show them. But when that day comes, you know what they'll say? They'll say that it was inevitable.

Miranda Hamilton: True love shouldn't require suffering.

Jack: I feel compelled to state out loud: life is simply too fucking short.

Vane: [to Idelle, about Eleanor] You hate her. I hate her. We all hate her. Look what good it's done us. No captain on this island's ever known that kind of power. Power that doesn't care how many votes you can tally, who loves you, who hates you, who fears you. Power that just is. Truth is, none of us have any right to hate her for it. She's strong and we're weak. That's the reality of things here. And no one down there is strong enough to change anything.


(February 22, 2014)
Flint: There's always doubt. No sane man would deny that. No good captain would acknowledge it.

Flint: This crew needs certainty, and I need their support to achieve an end which is in all our best interests. So we dance the dance. Never was there a Caesar who couldn't sing the tune.

Eleanor: You all heard my father this morning, that the Guthrie trading operation in Nassau is dead. To that I have this to add: fuck him and fuck that.


(March 1, 2014)
Eleanor: I think you misunderstand. I wasn't asking you to help me; I was granting you the opportunity to help me.

Silver: I don't know how else to say this but 'no.' I suppose there's 'fuck no.' Or 'fuck you.'

Silver: You've never seen a mob turn, have you? Funny thing. The people most surprised when it happens are usually the ones who gave rise to it in the first place.

Silver: Guilt is natural. It also goes away it you let it.


(March 8, 2014)
Flint: They have a chance at something better than that, but it isn't going to happen unless someone makes it happen.

Flint: If I don't lie to them, who will? Everyone's lied to for their own good--every mother who tells their child that everything will be all right, every soldier who's told by his commander that courage will see them through.

Flint: If no one knows, then everyone wins. Absent their worst instincts, their pride, their greed, their suspicion, in the light of pure reason, who says no to this? They'll be rich men in a safe place rather than dead thieves on a long rope. I'm gonna deliver them. I'm gonna deliver them into something better.

Gates: [to Flint] I know what happened on the Marie Aleyne. You told me the man you killed was reaching for a weapon. You told me it was self-defense. But there were no weapons in that cabin. I went and I looked. And I still kept my mouth shut. I don't know why, but I know you used the crew to assassinate those people. Men died that day. Our men. And I suspect there's been other times when we've been expendable to you. And if yesterday was one of those days, then you and I have a problem, because Billy wasn't expendable to me. He was a son to me.

Gates: [to Flint] I'm tired of this. I'm tired of the energy it takes to believe you. To believe in you.

Eleanor: [to Mr. Scott] My life is my own. It's not Benjamin Hornigold's, it's not Charles Vane's, it's not my father's, and it's not yours.

Eleanor: [to Flint] The outcome is only uncertain to those who disbelieve. I believe in this place. I believe if there's anyone who can do what's necessary to make it something better, it's you.

Anne Bonny: If I wanted to kill you, I'd've done it already.

Vane: No man is rich who could have a lot more by doing less.

Vane: You don't know me, but you once did, when I was the lowest among you. Now I've returned. And I offer you a chance to be free of this place. I'm Charles Vane. And you were a strong crew once, proper pirates. Feared as you should have been, before he dragged you away from the sea, before he convinced you to live here like animals. Because it suits his weaknesses. There is a place not far from here where strong men live lives of pleasure, not labor, a place where you could be feared and respected once again. Follow me, and I will show you what life is.

Miranda: I'm sorry. You know I would never intentionally put you in any kind of danger.
Flint: What was your intent? What was it? To destroy everything we've tried to build here for the past ten years? Or was it just to embarrass me?
Miranda: To show you a way out of all this. To free you.
Flint: A way out? Have you no memory of how we got here? What they took from us?
Miranda: What does it matter now?
Flint: What does it matter?
Miranda: What does it matter what happened then if we have no life now? Because there is no life here, there is no joy here, there is no love here!
Flint: What are you talking about? What do you think I'm out there fighting for if not to make all those things possible here?
Miranda: You'll fight a war so we can make a life?
Flint: You don't get one without the other, my sweet.
Miranda: No. You're wrong. I sent that letter to show you that you're wrong. There is a life in Boston. There is joy there, and music, and peace. The door is open. I've opened it for you. And it requires no war and no blood and no sacrifice.
Flint: It requires an intolerable sacrifice.
Miranda: To accept a pardon?
Flint: To apologize.
Miranda: Apologize? Who will you be apologizing to?
Flint: To England. They took everything from us. And then they called me a monster. The moment I sign that pardon, the moment I ask for one, I proclaim to the world that they were right. This ends when I grant them my forgiveness. Not the other way around.


(March 15, 2014)
Vane: Spend enough time on an island, you begin to forget there's a whole world out there. A world where the rules are different.

Silver: I'm not a joiner. I never have been. But I'm willing to do it now.

Vane: Loyalty. It's supposed to mean something.

Max: Sand has its virtues. On sand, nothing is fixed. Nothing is permanent. And fates change so quickly. Yesterday I was a whore of little consequence. Easily dismissed, easily forgotten. Today I am a madame, with an income, and allies. A woman who has learned the most important of lessons: never let anyone stand between you and your ambitions.

Season 2[edit]


(January 24, 2015)
James McGraw: In most cases, a man trying to change the world fails for one simple and unavoidable reason: everyone else.

Miranda Hamilton: Great men aren't made great by politics. They aren't made great by prudence or propriety. They are, every last one of them, made great by one thing and one thing only: the relentless pursuit of a better world. The great men don't give up that pursuit; they don't know how.

Eleanor: Don't be sorry. Do your fucking job.

Eleanor: Stop telling me what it is you think I think. Do you know what it is I want? I want to figure out a way of selling everyone's shit here for more tomorrow than I did yesterday. I want to establish a future here that isn't measured in months.

Jack Rackham: When I came here, I had nothing but my name and my wits. A man in a place like this, surviving on those two things alone, he suffers indignities, slights, ridicule. But I overcame it. I used the wits to build the name. Jesus Christ, what's become of my name?

Vane: If your friends aren't capable of protecting themselves, I'd argue they aren't worth protecting.


(January 31, 2015)
Silver: I don't want to earn money. I don't want to join another crew. If we're being honest, I don't really want to be on this crew a day longer than is absolutely necessary. I don't want to be a pirate. I'm not interested in the life. I'm not interested in the fighting, not interested in the ships. I don't care much for the sea, while we're on the subject. But being a pirate on this crew for a little while longer, it offers me an opportunity I don't believe I can find anywhere else on earth--one big prize. And with it freedom. From water, from hunger, from wages.

Silver: It isn't about getting them to like you; it's about reminding them how much they dislike each other.

Rackham: What I've found in my experience is the more elusive the puzzle, the more painfully obvious its ultimate solution. One just has to be willing to see it.

Rackham: You asked for better captains. I give you Captain Jack Rackham.


(February 7, 2015)
Anne Bonny: [to Jack] I've put a lot of bodies in the ground for you, haven't I? Watched your back. Cleaned up your messes. Carried out your plans. I didn't always understand. Didn't always agree. But I did it. Some fucked-up, awful shit 'cause I knew you needed it done. I don't think the night you had last night comes even close to something to bitch about.

Anne Bonny: [to Jack, about Max] I know she's dangerous. Especially to me. I ain't in my right head about here. She knows it. And it ain't hard to imagine her intent is to play us off one against the other. But I'm asking you to do this. Watch my back on the other side of that door. Cause I know that as long as you are, there ain't shit she can do to get between us.


(February 14, 2015)
Thomas Hamilton: This is the solution most likely to lead to our desired result. It also has the virtue of being the right thing to do.

Thomas Hamilton: Absolution. A clean slate for all those willing to accept it. A few hours ago, I informed my father that this was my intended solution to the pirate issue on New Providence Island. We've talked in this room about reason. We've talked about justice. We've talked about virtue and the right. We've talked and talked. And now perhaps it is time to do that which we've only spoken about behind closed doors. I am committed to this end.

Mr. Scott: [to Flint] I know Eleanor's argument. I know why you think it is weak and I do not disagree with you. But because she is compromised, it does not necessarily follow that she is wrong. I fear that to take that fort will be to divide this island in a most dangerous way. To force men to take sides against each other at a time when our very survival demands the very opposite. I fear that if we go down this road, by the time Spain or England arrive, they will find their job done for them. They will find Nassau has destroyed itself. The world changes. It is inevitable. Perhaps the only thing that is inevitable. If it were me facing this decision, I would make peace with that. I would teach myself to see Captain Vane as an unfortunate but unavoidable change in our landscape. And I would ensure that we all live to see the sunrise again tomorrow.


(February 21, 2015)
James McGraw: Anything that has ever been worth doing has been worth doing in the face of a little danger.
Miranda Hamilton: [to James] Thomas, he sees only the principle. The right. It's inspiring. It can be intoxicating. It's why I love him. But you, you see the world as it is. You see its truths and how to navigate them. How to bend them to your will. It's why I love you. Men like Thomas need men like you to protect them from the world, and that is what I am asking you to do.

James McGraw: [to Admiral Hennessey] There's an opportunity here today. An opportunity that may not present itself again. If we act right now, we can prevent a catastrophic loss to the empire. We can make England stronger tomorrow than she is today. We can save Nassau, and all it takes is for us to do a very reasonable thing. I know how it will be perceived. I know how it looks for me to even raise the subject with you here. But this is too important to be deterred by dangers imagined. And if I have learned anything from you, it is that it is moments like these that are the precise measure of a man's courage.

James McGraw: [to Admiral Hennessey] I heard you. But I've come to see that you and I were wrong about him. Lord Hamilton isn't someone we should be wary of, he is exactly the kind of man we should be listening to. On the day I was made an officer, you pulled me aside. You told me how proud you were of me. You told me that the measure of a man is in the moment when he is confronted by himself. By opposing voices in his head, both arguing that they are right, but one has to be wrong. To be the difference in that moment, that is what makes an officer. What makes a man. Well, I see the difference here. I know it.


(February 28, 2015)
Billy: Have you ever been tortured? Suffered pain applied by men who saw you as less than a man? Saw you as... an animal? Because it isn't actually the pain they're inflicting that's the most frightening part of it. It isn't the fear of future pain. It's the knowledge that even when the pain stops, even if they were to let you go, that they've changed you. That that pain, that fear, that despair, has made you someone else. Someone you barely recognize, against your will.

Billy: I would fight to the death to ensure that not a single one of my brothers ever has to face what I had to face. Now, if there's a man on this crew that feels differently, that feels as though he'd be willing to accept another brother suffering that fate so that he might avoid it, then that's a man I need to remove from my crew.


(March 7, 2015)


(March 14, 2015)


(March 21, 2015)


(March 28, 2015)

Flint: Everyone is a monster to someone. Since you are so convinced that I am yours, I will be it.

Season 3[edit]


(January 23, 2016)
Silver: [to Flint] This crew has spilled a great deal of blood to make your name what it is. It doesn't belong to you. It's a jointly held asset belonging to every man on this crew who sacrificed some part of himself to build it. They have a say in how it is managed and I am the voice of that.

Flint: This is getting more dangerous. The strong among us must stand together and face it. But the fools, the pretenders, they were never truly among us to begin with.

Rackham: Please, relay to whom you must: Jack Rackham is not stupid, Jack Rackham is not lazy, Jack Rackham is not blind.

Max: I own a tavern, a brothel, a tanner, a butcher--interests in a dozen other concerns on the street. I am the one they come to here when they need things, want things, fear things. In another time and another place, they would call me a queen. I built this from nothing. And none of it is real. Because it is built upon things I cannot control, cannot predict. It is built on sand. And when the day comes when that foundation shifts, when civilization returns, do you know what they will call me then? The whore that lost everything.

Max: I am here in part to secure my own future. I will not apologize for that.

Vane: [about the slaves] You think if you refrain from beating them, it's any better? It isn't the violence. It isn't the labor or the hunger or the heat or the chains. You know what those men fear right now? It's the unknown. The lash that comes from nowhere for reasons never explained. A visit from the taskmaster in the dead of night. But I remember that fear.

Rackham: The first moment I saw the gold on the beach, I thought, 'My God, the things I'm going to build with this.' A city, alive in a place it has no right to be, in defiance of all reason and refusing to be dislodged, but growing. A place that, fifty years hence and when I'm long gone, would force the world to acknowledge Jack Rackham was here.

Flint: I can walk away from this fight if I just sign my name beneath a solemn oath never again to do violence against it. No. Not after all it has taken from me. I will do great violence against that thing. They say they will pardon us all, but I say that to offer to pardon something one fears is the act of a coward. To offer them in volume suggests that their fear of us is becoming unmanageable. That we have shown them what we are and it terrifies them.


(January 30, 2016)
Max: When I was very small, I would sneak out of the slave quarters at night to the main house. I would stand outside the window to the parlor. I would stand amongst the heat and the bugs and the filth on my toes to see inside. Inside that house was a little girl, my age, with the most beautiful skin. I watched her dance while her father played music and her mother sewed. I watched her read and eat and sing and sleep, kept safe and warm and clean by her father. My father. The things it took to make that room possible, they were awful things. But inside that room was peace. That is what home is to me.


(February 6, 2016)


(February 13, 2016)


(February 20, 2016)
Flint: They pledged to follow me when they thought I was alive. They turned when they thought I was gone. So I will come back from the dead and lay claim to what I am owed.

Maroon Queen: Let's say by some miracle we could dislodge the British from Nassau. I could not possibly hope to defend it with my numbers.
Flint: Your numbers? For every man in your camp, there are thousands somewhere in the West Indies living under the same yoke, chained in fields, pressed on ships, sold into indenture. When they see a sitting governor, protected by His Majesty's Navy, deposed by an alliance of pirates and slaves, how many consider joining that fight? How many thousands of men will flock to Nassau, join your ranks, and help you defend it? What does a colonial power do when the men whose toil powers it lay down their shovels, take up swords, and say 'no more'? Bring down Nassau. Maybe bring it all down.


(February 27, 2016)


(March 5, 2016)


(March 12, 2016)
Jack Rackham: [to Rogers] My father was a tailor in Leeds. As was his father, and his father's father. Time was, if a man on the Avondale Road asked where he might find the finest clothes in northern England, he was pointed toward the shop of a man named Rackham. Then the men who sell wool decided they'd prefer not to compete with the men who imported fine cotton. And as the men who sell wool have the ears of the men who make laws, an embargo is enacted to increase profits, and calico disappears. And my father's business that he inherited from his father and his father's father begins to wither and die. And my father suffers the compound shame of financial failure seen through the eyes of his son, and descended into drink. I'd sit beside him as a boy at the Sunday service as he shouted at the pastor, at the altar--at anyone who'd listen, really--at the injustice of it all. And I'd put his arm over my shoulder as the insults began, help carry him out of the church. God, the insults. At his funeral, our neighbors were kind enough to whisper them rather than call them out loud. So, I set to work, determined to rebuild what had been taken away. I was thirteen years old, but I was determined... until a man arrived at my door claiming to hold debts belonging to my father. Debts accumulated as my father drank. Debts he claimed that now belonged to me. Debts I could not possibly have hoped to repay. Debts over which this man would have seen me imprisoned--imprisoned in a place where the debts would have been discharged only through hard labor. Hard labor with no wages, working at--wait for it--the production of textiles. 'You people, incapable of accepting the world as it is,' says the man to whom the world handed everything. If no Anne, if no rescue, if this is defeat for me, then know this: you and I were neck and neck in the race right till the end. But Jesus, did I make up a lot of ground to catch you.


(March 19, 2016)


(March 26, 2016)

Season 4[edit]


(January 29, 2017)


(February 5, 2017)


(February 12, 2017)

Madi: When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be


(February 19, 2017)


(February 26, 2017)


(March 5, 2017)


(March 12, 2017)


(March 19, 2017)
Max: [to Anne] I remember when I first met Eleanor, how stunned I was. A woman who spoke the way she did, who had no fear of the world or the men who reigned over it. When I became her lover, I watched the decisions she made and resolved to learn from them. When I became her rival, I watched the mistakes she made and resolved never to repeat them. But at the end, when I felt I had surpassed her in every way, it seemed as though there was something she was still trying to say to me. Surrendering everything she had sacrificed so dearly for, because it would have come at the expense of someone she loved. She was trying to tell me, I just could not hear her, about what was truly important. I said no to Marion Guthrie's plan, despite having no alternative and at the risk of losing the entire endeavor, because I refuse to situate a man in a position where he might interfere one day with my ability to repair things with you. You are the bravest person I have ever known. The truest person I have ever known. And I betrayed you and it sickens me. I am so sorry for working so hard to protect the wrong things. For failing to see that there is nothing important that does not include you.


(March 26, 2017)
Rogers: Do not make the same mistake I did. Do the deal.
Madi: The voice you hear in your head? I imagine I know who it sounds like, as I know Eleanor wanted those things. But I hear other voices. A chorus of voices. Multitudes. They reach back centuries. Men and women and children who lost their lives to men like you. Men and women and children forced to wear your chains. I must answer to them. And this war, their war, Flint's war, my war, it will not be bargained away to avoid a fight. To save John Silver's life. Or his men's. Or mine. And you believe what you will, but it was neither I, nor Flint, nor the Spanish raider who killed your wife. That you did.


(April 2, 2017)
Flint: [to Silver] This is how they survive. They paint the world full of shadows and then tell their children to stay close to the light. Their light. Their reasons. Their judgments. Because in the darkness, there be dragons. But it isn't true. We can prove that it isn't true. In the dark there is discovery. There is possibility. There is freedom in the dark once someone has illuminated it.

Rackham: A story is true, a story is untrue. As time extends, it matters less and less. The stories we want to believe, those are the ones that survive, despite upheaval and transition and progress. Those are the stories that shape history. And then what does it matter if it was true when it was born? It's found truth in its maturity. Which if a virtue in man ought to be no less so for the things men create.

Rackham: What's it all for if it goes unremembered? It's the art that leaves the mark. But to leave it, it must transcend. It must speak for itself. It must be true.


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