Our Flag Means Death – Season 2 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Fun and Games

Episode 4 of Our Flag Means Death Season 2 begins with Stede and Ed’s clasped hands. Ed finally wakes up and immediately head-butts Stede. Stede breaks the news to the rest of the crew, who seem insistent on kicking him off the boat. They end up resorting to a vote.

Buttons speaks to a dazed Ed and reveals that he knows Ed was in the gravy basket. It makes Ed think of the vision he had of Stede as a mermaid.

Stede goes to speak with Izzy who is standing by the ship’s broken unicorn. He tries to get Izzy to vote for Ed to stay but it doesn’t work. In the end, banishment is the chosen fate for Ed and he leaves, cursing the whole time. After he leaves, Buttons tells Stede that he is looking for a vessel so he can turn into a bird.

Ed storms his way through the flora on land until he comes across a rabbit. He then engages in a warm heart-to-heart with the animal until it’s killed by someone. That someone turns out to be an old friend, a woman named Red.

Buttons and Stede make their way on land as well. Buttons informs Stede about the gravy basket and tells him that Ed might still not be able to tell the difference between that place and reality. They come upon an antique shop and its owner Anne Bonny, a collector. Buttons sets off looking for a bowl for his transformation while Anne seems taken in by Stede’s knowledge of antiques.

Just then, Red turns up with Ed in tow and the latter has a fond reunion with Anne. When Stede makes himself known, Ed’s face falls a little. Anne and Red end up inviting both of them to dinner.

On the ship, Black Pete, Roach, Wee John and Olu feel like the energy on board is a bit off. Lucius and Izzy are both on edge while Frenchie, Jim, Archie and Fang are incessantly scrubbing blood off the deck where they ambushed Ed. The three of them decide to do something to make the crew feel like this is a safe space.

Back at the women’s house, Red and Anne regale the two men with stories about jailbreaks and face-cutting. They move on to Ed and Stede’s story which is narrated by Stede with some snarky inputs from Ed. Anne rushes off to check on the cooking rabbit and calls for Red not much later. Noises are heard and when the two return, Red has a knife sticking out from her back but turns out, this is just how Anne and Red like to keep things spicy.

On the ship, the Stede half of the crew tries to throw a surprise for the traumatised-by-Ed half of the crew. But the piñata reminds them of the fighting and the cake made by Roach reminds them of the massacre on the ship from Episode 1. Screaming ensues.  

Anne and Stede talk in the kitchen while Ed and Red chat outside. Red claims that Ed has a type and always goes for the artsy outsiders. Anne sympathises with Stede’s story about leaving his wife twice. Calling him a heartbreaker, she tries to kiss him but suddenly feels unwell. She realises that Red has poisoned her. Buttons is also there, having finally found the bowl for him.

All members of the ship’s crew are now holding each other at knife or gun-point. Olu tries to convey that they were trying to create a safe space but a short argument brings the knives back up again. Suddenly, a drunk Izzy bursts in, having cut off the broken unicorn’s legs and rambling incoherently. His wooden leg breaks and he falls but refuses all help and crawls back out.

While having dinner, Anne lets slip that Stede left Mary again which is news to Ed who believes Stede left him for her. He gets up and smashes a chair against the wall. Stede finds him on the sofa, under a blanket and tries to explain.

The two finally talk about the elephant in the room discussing. Ed blames Stede but the latter confesses that they moved too quickly and he panicked. When Ed accuses him of treating him like a whim, Stede reminds him that Ed once planned to send him to doggy heaven. Stede then confesses his love for Ed.

This brings out raucous laughter from Red and Anne who were listening in on everything. When they tease the two men, Ed accuses them of dragging him and Stede into their games. Red claims to be bored selling antiques to no one in the middle of nowhere which earns a retort from Anne, who accuses Red of being afraid of going back to pirating.

Red tells Stede and Ed that she and Anne’s relationship is an adult relationship — one where the magic eventually dies out. Meanwhile, Anne sets fire to the entire house and tells Red that they are free to leave. As they embrace one another, Stede and Ed make a hasty exit.

Back on the ship, Izzy is arguing with himself when he hears a knock on the door. He opens it to find a prosthetic for his leg, made by the crew out of the unicorn’s broken leg. Along with it is a note. He finds himself overcome with emotion.

While walking outside, Stede tells Ed he’ll ask the crew if Ed can stay for one more night on the ship. Buttons is conducting some ritual in order to turn into a bird. Ed tells him people don’t change but Buttons disappears around a tree and when Ed follows, he sees a seagull there instead. The bird flies off. Stede returns and asks Ed to come along since he’s lost his way back to the ship.  

Izzy wears the prosthetic and looks at the note the crew gave him. It reads, “For the new unicorn.”


The Episode Review

Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Episode 4 is an absolute delight. The story slows down and takes on a slice-of-life demeanour, focusing on conversations and emotional arcs rather than movement and action. This doesn’t make it any less interesting, instead, we get important insights into the characters and how they have changed. Coupled with the shenanigans happening on the boat and in the house, the two-pronged story makes for some fabulous entertainment.

Red and Annie are both suitably unorthodox characters, as is their unique form of affection. Ultimately, this unusual couple makes an interesting foil for Ed and Stede. It allows them to explore their own dynamic with each other as well as address the key conflict.

We finally get the conversation we were looking forward to and it’s brilliant. The writing is deft, both men have their say about the situation and the tone of the scene is spot on. Darby and Waititi both knock this scene out of the park, it’s emotional without being dramatic.

The crew’s situation feels almost as important as Ed and Stede’s confrontation. It’s funny and amusing and you still feel for the side of the crew that has been traumatised by Ed while appreciating the goodwill of the other half.

Ending with all of them making a prosthetic for Izzy truly underlines the wholesomeness of the crew, and therefore the show. As Ed and Izzy both go on their respective journeys of transformation, Our Flag Means Death continues to be a utopian world of kindness. One last shout-out to Buttons for simply being Buttons.

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