Our Flag Means Death – Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Impossible Birds

Episode 1 Season 2 of Our Flag Means Death kicks off with a dream. We see Stede masterfully duelling Izzy on a beach and winning! After running him through with a knife, Ed appears and the two men run towards each other. When they meet, Ed assures Stede that he isn’t mad at him. Stede ruins the moment by farting. This is when he wakes up to find that it’s really Wee John who is farting, as Stede and the crew all sleep in a cramped cell.

As Stede writes a letter to Ed, we find out that Stede and his crew found themselves in a tight spot after he renounced his wealth. Oluwande helped secure them jobs at Spanish Jackie’s establishment as well. Apparently, she took a liking to the Swede and agreed to let them stay in the cell and work in her bar.

While working one day, a man named Richard Banes approaches Stede but the latter pretends to not know who ‘Stede’ is. In his letter to Ed, Stede paints a rosy picture of himself and his crew’s spirit but the reality is quite different. He puts the letter in a bottle and throws it out to sea.

Stede hopes that Ed is doing well but the first shot of him is a tattoo on his back that reads “Trust no one”. Ed and his crew, including Izzy, Fang, Frenchie, Jim, and a new member named Archie, raid another ship where a wedding is taking place. While his crew, all of whom wear black paint on their faces and wear appropriately Blackbeard-esque clothing, kill those on the ship and steal all the valuables.

Ed goes up to the wedding take and takes the man’s figurine which happens to look a lot like Stede. We learn that the crew did this the day before and the day before that. While they all eat cake, Jim wonders if they didn’t go too far this time. Fang is upset as well and cries while describing how Ed killed Ivan. He says Blackbeard wasn’t like this before.

Stede sees a poster of Ed and Oluwande remarks about how busy Ed’s been. While waiting for soup at a soup shack, they discuss their bleak financial situation but Stede insists on waiting till they have enough for a good ship. Sue, the owner of the soup shack, and another woman working there join in on the conversation. Stede says he and Ed didn’t break up, they’re just ‘on a break’.

While snorting rhino horn, Ed tells Izzy to throw the treasure they stole overboard in order to make space for new plunder. A haggard-looking Izzy conveys the news to the rest of the crew and they seem pretty miffed about it. They realise Izzy is on the brink of a breakdown due to Ed’s behaviour — Ed even cut off two more of his toes. Fang gives him a hug in order to comfort him.

At Spanish Jackie’s bar, she finds the crew’s savings jar and takes all the money as payment for room and board. Stede tries to challenge her for it but seeing as she’s backed with her 20 husbands, it doesn’t work. They find themselves out of a job with no roof over their head once again.

Stede speaks to a poster of Ed and admits that things are not going as planned. The man named Richard Banes approaches him once again and claims to know Stede’s real identity. He says the Gentleman Pirate saved his life. He introduces himself as a minor prince who wants to follow in Stede’s footsteps. He reveals to Stede that Spanish Jackie has a Roman puzzle chest which is really valuable.

Stede and the crew speak to the Swede who agrees to help them steal the chest since he owes them a life debt. He tells them to steal it that night when he’s performing his ‘husbandly duties’.

Back on Ed’s ship, Izzy confronts him and says that the crew doesn’t want to part with the treasure they stole. He tells Ed the atmosphere on the ship is toxic and they should all talk it through. But the words are too close to Stede’s adage “talk it through as a crew” and it sets Ed off. He storms up to the deck and confronts the crew, at gunpoint. When Izzy tries speaking up again, Ed shoots him.

While the Swede gives Jackie a massage, Roach and Black Pete sneak the chest out of her bedroom. Richard Bane is there as well and insists on staying behind to leave a calling card — a small aperitif. Stede makes the better choice and leaves. The noise does rouse Jackie who promptly cuts off Richard’s nose.

Stede meets the others outside where they have found that the chest is full of blue powder — indigo. Before they can rush off with it, Jackie catches them. In a turn of events, Sue the soup kiosk owner comes to the crew’s rescue. She offers Jackie enough money for the indigo and the crew which pacifies Jackie and saves the group’s lives. Since they work for Sue now, Stede and the others obediently follow her.

On The Revenge, Fang is distraught about Ed shooting Izzy. Jim tries to cheer him up by narrating the story about the wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy. They even do the voices the way Stede used to and Fang cracks a smile.  

Frenchie, who has now been appointed First Mate, asks Ed what the plan is. Ed describes a bird that is born in the air and never touches land throughout its whole life. He tells Frenchie they are going to sail and rob forever and never touch land. When Frenchie leaves, Ed looks at the figurine he stole.

On a small row boat, Stede looks up at the same moon Ed was looking at and wishes him goodnight. Olu wonders who Sue really is and Sue’s companion introduces her as Zheng Yi Sao, the pirate queen.

The Episode Review

Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Episode 1 is a fantastic step back into the world of queer pirates. The episode is quick, witty, funny and still hits the right emotional notes. In the end, you have the wonderful feeling of returning to the wholesome universe of Our Flag Means Death. Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi are utterly comfortable in their roles, it’s almost like no time has passed since the Season 1 finale.

The main couple’s separation is obviously the hook and it’s interesting to see how differently they’re taking it. Stede’s fear that Ed might actually be happier without him feels poignant while Ed’s rampage has a clear vein of heartbreak running through it. It’s great how the show manages to put such profound emotions wrapped up in comedy and shenanigans, all in the span of 36 minutes.

The other characters are also a joy to see onscreen again, demonstrating the show’s ability to use an ensemble cast. There are so many different relationships amongst them, providing the story with ample content to dive into. Izzy, for example, is clearly on the road to transformation. He seems to be reaping the consequences of his actions in Season 1 and despite his previous behaviour, the crew are now the ones supporting him. All in all, it is exciting to see where this story is going.


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