Our Flag Means Death – Season 2 Episode 3 Recap & Review

The Innkeeper

Episode 3 of Our Flag Means Death Season 2 begins with Zheng Yi Sao winning a raid on a ship. The captain of the ship is about to kill himself but Zheng Yi Sao talks him down and eventually gets him to agree to a ‘partnership’ with her. Later, Stede and Olu talk about how impressively she got the man to do what she wanted. Just then, Auntie comes in with news about a broken-down boat called The Revenge.

Stede rushes out where everybody is staring at the run-down state of the ship. Without stopping, he jumps overboard and climbs onto The Revenge, calling for Ed the entire time. Inside, he is shocked to see the state of the ship and enters a room to find the starving crew feasting on a dead seagull.

Once everybody has been taken on board the Red Flag, Stede can’t seem to get an answer about Ed from anyone. Frenchie says Ed’s retired. Auntie tells Zheng Yi Sao, as they watch from afar, that this is not a good idea and the group could resort to mutiny. She knows Zheng Yi Sao is just being soft for the sake of Olu.

Meanwhile, Ed is washed up on a beach and ends up being dragged by a man dressed in white. He wakes up to find that the man is Captain ‘Ben’ Hornigold, his old and merciless pirate captain. However, for now, he is feeding Ed soup and nursing him back to health.

On The Revenge, Auntie looks through the evidence and surmises that somebody was killed on board. Frenchie and Fang try to dissuade her but fail.

Jim and Olu reconnect after being separated for so long. Jim tells Olu about Archie but he takes it well. Stede goes through his old ship and removes all the knives lodged in the walls. Izzy turns up as well and tells Stede they deserted Ed on a beach. He blames himself and Stede for everything Ed did. Now, he doesn’t want the crew to suffer anymore.

On the beach, Ed discusses the mutiny against him with Ben. Regarding the horrible things that they’ve both done, Ben says you either need to move on or blow your brains out.

Zheng Yi Sao speaks with Stede, who confesses he should have told Ed about his true feelings. Just as Zheng Yi Sao’s musing on her own flings with men on wanted posters, Auntie comes in and says she found the jackpot.

Ed tells Ben he thought about opening an inn and they roleplay it, with Ben being a particularly rude customer. But Ben provokes him — describes how he killed his father, told Stede, and then Stede left. Proof that Ed is unlovable. In a fury, Ed snaps Ben’s neck. To his surprise, Ben pops right back up. No matter how many times Ed kills him, Ben comes back alive.  

Auntie triumphantly shows everyone Ed’s body hidden away in The Revenge, where his face is covered with a cloth. Ed’s crew are thrown in prison for his murder, ready to be executed. Stede is devastated and has no words for them.

Ed finally realises that the beach is really purgatory, a space between life and death. He needs to choose if he wants to live. Ben tells him to list the pros and cons. The pros include warmth, food and sex while the cons include the fact that nobody is waiting for him. Ben then takes Ed to his thinking spot.

In Zheng Yi Sao’s cabin, Olu tries to convince her to go easy on the crew and stay the execution. However, she’s more interested in seducing him and they end up kissing.

Stede offers a guard a towel. She smells it and immediately faints. He then takes the keys and opens the prison, letting out the crew of The Revenge. He tells them they are going to take their ship back. Archie uses a crossbow to shoot a wire across to the other ship. While the crew cross over one by one, Wee John breaks the steering wheel of the Red Flag.

Auntie soon realises what’s happening but by the time she alerts Zheng Yi Sao (in the middle of a make-out session with Olu), it’s too late. Jim comes back and gets Olu as well. Zheng Yi Sao looks on angrily as the ship takes off.

On a clifftop overlooking the beach, Ed realises that Ben’s tied a rope to his waist which is connected with a heavy rock. He reveals that he isn’t Ben but part of Ed’s own subconscious. Ed realises that he hates himself and he needs to change that. Ben pushes the rock over and Ed is dragged down into the sea.

Stede goes downstairs into the room with Ed and asks for forgiveness. In the sea, Ed can hear Stede’s voice and even sees a mermaid version of him swim down to get him. In reality, Ed’s hand begins to shake and Stede grabs hold of it, begging Ed to come back to him. Their hands clasp and Ed’s eyes flash open and the episode comes to a close.


The Episode Review

The emotions continue to run high in Episode 3 of Our Flag Means Death Season 2 and frankly, it’s incredible. The writing of this show brings together Ed’s introspection, Stede’s conflicting feelings of love and guilt, and the crew’s (including Izzy’s) complex emotions all together with shenanigans and whimsy. And it does it all seamlessly.

The short runtime and the crisply written dialogues (Frenchie really does get some of the wittiest ones) just complete the whole viewing experience, making each episode a short but satisfying burst of joy. To top it all, the twist of Ed not being on the beach but actually in a life-death limbo was a really good one.

This entire episode, you can feel the pull that Stede and Ed have for each other and it’s perfect that the episode leads up to their first reunion. That cliffhanger was a tantalizing one and I’m sure the makers were aware just how much it would keep viewers on edge to finish the first set of episodes with Ed and Stede holding hands. And then have to wait an entire week for the next!

Even apart from Ed and Stede, the other characters create a lovely tapestry across the show. Jim and Olu’s conversation with each other is heartwarming. Meanwhile, Izzy’s guilt and concern for the crew is shocking but a testament to how much he’s changed. If there’s one thing that felt a bit off it was Zheng Yi Sao’s character, who seemed a bit tame and toned down compared to her previous ferociousness. However, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her.

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