Black Sails Season 2: Where is Blackbeard?

Black Sails Season 2 is in its latter half.

It has introduced--and subsequently killed off--Ned Low, a historical pirate who once operated in the Bahamas. But, fans are still waiting for the appearance of another infamous sea-thief who once terrorized imperial vessels: Edward Thatch, also known as Blackbeard.

He exists in the Black Sails universe, as he was mentioned in passing in the series premiere--when Jon Silver first set his feet onto Nassau's vice-ridden shores. We were made to think that Silver would meet the notorious captain.

But, the show misled us; instead, Silver was coaxed into a prostitute-filled orgy.

Fans grew suspicious toward the end of Season 1; Albinus, a black-bearded pirate who formed a legitimate business, served as a red herring. And, since his name was seldom spoken in the show, some fans thought he was Thatch until Vane killed him.

It is likely, moreover, that the creators of the show had the intention of misleading fans into thinking Albinus was Blackbeard; the name "Albinus" is rooted in the Latin word "albus," which means "white." Good taunt, Starz. You fooled us.

Given that Blackbeard exists in world of Black Sails, and he's not Albinus, where is he? Well, I have two theories about Blackbeard's whereabouts.

1. He's Dead.

That's right. Blackbeard, according to historical hints given in the show, already met his fate prior to the start of the series. There are some hints given in Season 2 that indicate this.

Firstly, there's the idea of pardoning pirates. This actually happened. Woodes Rogers sailed to Nassau and offered pardons to "all piratical offences committed before January 5, 1718," according to Patrick Pringle's Jolly Roger: The Story of the Golden Age of Piracy.

One of the pirates who accepted the pardon was Benjamin Hornigold--a character in Black Sails. In a recent episode of the show, Hornigold was outcast by his crew. About to get on his horse and ride to a place where nobody would recognize him, Dufresne stopped the captain and offered him a chance at capturing Captain Flint.

This would allow both pirates to avoid the gallows. It is likely that Hornigold will accept this proposal, since he has developed hatred for Flint over the course of the series.

Given this information, it's likely that Black Sails draws inspiration from events that took place in 1718--even if the show itself takes place in 1715. The show has taken liberties with chronology before, so it's not outlandish to think that it did with this.

Ned Low lived until 1724. In the show, however, he dies nine years before his historical passing.

Another hint comes from Peter Ashe. A nobleman who was once an ally of Captain Flint, he has since grown to hate pirates--becoming one of their greatest executioners.

They establish that Ashe is a lord who has some role in governing Carolina. Blackbeard died in an ambush in Carolina in 1718.

"The 17th of November, 1718, the Lieutenant sailed form Kicquetan, in James River in Virgnia, and, the 31st in the Evening, came to the Mouth of the Okerecock Inlet (a location off the Outer Banks, North Carolina)," according to Daniel Dafoe's A General History of Pyrates.

"Thus it was," Dafoe continues, "these Wretches pass their Lives, with very little Pleasure or Satisfaction, in the Possession of what they violently take away form others, and sure to pay for it at last, by an ignominious Death."

Among the pirates killed in this encounter, Dafoe lists Blackbeard as the first among them.

For Peter Ashe to have earned his reputation as a pirate killer, he would have had to do something extraordinary, such as kill Blackbeard. Blackbeard has already been established in the show as someone who should be feared.

Even Jon Silver, someone who is normally phlegmatic in the face of danger, trembled at the prospect of meeting him. Someone capable of killing this man would also be feared.

2. He's Going To Be a Heroic Deus Ex Machina at the End of Season 2

Fans of Black Sails know about the Scarborough--the infamous British Man O' War that is feared by all captains in the Bahamas. It nearly sank Flint's old ship, and caused Billy Bones to fall into the ocean and be captured.

The captain of the Scarborough is the man who offered Billy the chance for pardon.

It would intrigue most people, however, to know that the Scarborough was a historical ship. It was mentioned briefly in A General History of Pyrates. It was Blackbeard who defeated the ship.

"A few days later, Teach Fell in with the Scarborough Man of War," said Dafoe in A General History of Pyrates, "of 30 Guns, who engaged him for some Hours; but she finding the Pyrate well mann'd, and having try'd her Strength, gave over the Engagement, and returned to Barbadoes, the Place of her Station; and Teach sailed towards Spanish America."

Conclusions

The two theories are contrasting. But, both would make for interesting twists. It could be argued that it would be underwhelming to have Blackbeard killed before he ever appeared in the show, and that such a momentous event shouldn't be kept off-screen.

Normally, I would agree. However, Blackbeard is perhaps the only household name among the pirates who operated in the early 1700s. He has been fictionalized in countless stories, and has been featured as a villain in children's bedside tales.

Given his cultural image, we all have an idea of who Blackbeard was and what he was capable of. Hence, an off-screen death, in Thatch's case, wouldn't be poor writing.

As for the deus ex machina theory, that could work for similar reasons. Blackbeard has been kept on the backburner throughout the series.

Fans have been waiting to see him, and, if he does show up, then it's clear that the writers wanted to plant that seed early in the series--similarly to how they wrote Flint's romance story with Thomas Hamilton.

Regardless, I would be surprised if Blackbeard was not at least mentioned toward the finale of Season 2.