Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Review — Sailing the seas of love, laughter, and queer joy

Season 1

Season 2

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5

We live in hard times, often surrounded by bad news. In such cases, the media we make tends to hold up a mirror of humanity’s worst. It’s important work and much needed. But so are the stories full of hope, that teach us not just what to fight but also why.

Our Flag Means Death came out as one such show, a beacon of love and light. Season 2 only underscores the themes propelled by the first. Building on the foundation laid by its inaugural season, this series stands tall as a testament to the power of reimagining history, love, and camaraderie in the face of adversity.

Season 2 of Our Flag Means Death continues the story of Stede Bonnet, a former aristocrat who leaves his family to become a pirate. He then brings together a crew of oddballs and encounters the fearsome Blackbeard, otherwise known as Edward Teach. Stede and Ed end up falling in love but the Season 1 finale has them split apart as Stede’s insecurities send him running home. Of course, he soon realises where his heart really lies.

Season 2 covers his reunion with Ed, who goes through much of his own introspection as he wonders what he wants from life. Their reunion is rocky and requires a lot of communication. Meanwhile, the other members of the crew go through escapades of their own. They are joined by a couple of new characters as well.

Our Flag Means Death is the kind of show that no description can do justice. It has a unique blend of humour, drama, whimsy, absurdity, and incredible sincerity. While it is described as a period drama, it is historical in a very loose sense.

You’ll even hear modern phrases and contemporary slang in the dialogue. People, places and events have certainly been inspired by those from history but the resemblance ends there. After all, the show was never meant to represent history but to reimagine it.

There’s also a certain magical absurdism to the show that demands you suspend your disbelief — characters stranded in remote parts of the ocean find each other with ease, things dropped to the sea-bed are conveniently found again, and at one point a man supposedly turns into a bird. It’s all an absolute joy to watch because this is not a show that runs on logic, it runs on heart. And that is its fundamental charm.

At first glance, it may seem like this season is all about Stede and Ed and their grand love story but it’s not. The spotlight is shared by the rest of the crew as well as a couple of new characters. The formidable Chinese pirate queen Zheng Yi Sao and the cunning villain Prince Richard Banes inject fresh energy into the storyline.

The ensemble nature of the series allows characters to evolve and transform, their growth intricately woven into the fabric of their interpersonal relationships. At heart, Our Flag Means Death Season 2 remains an ensemble show. No character exists in a vacuum. Various antics and escapades lay the perfect background for them to evolve and transform.

The push and pull between people is evident here. Interpersonal relationships are key to the story whether it is Lucius overcoming his trauma with the help of Black Pete and Stede or if it’s Jim and Archie convincing Zheng to give Olu another chance.

Overall, it’s really heartwarming to see all the characters form a family. In Season 1 we were introduced to these people and their quirks, we got to know them. Our Flag Means Death Season 2 gives them space to interact and grow alongside each other, for their interpersonal relationships to become deeper and more complex.

Nothing makes this more evident than the transformation of Izzy Hands, whose character does a full 180 this season. He goes from the bitter antagonist of Season 1 to someone who learns how to love and how to belong, while still being grumpy about it. Con O’Neil has put his soul into the performance and it shows.

At the same time, the new characters add a refreshing change to the scene. Zheng Yi Sao has the largest presence of them all. She adds a vibrant female presence in a brilliant way – watching a badass queen in ponytails fight everybody else off is exactly as fun as it sounds.

Shifting focus to the central romance, Stede and Ed undergo significant growth, parallel to the development of other characters. Their individual journeys are explored in depth: Ed grapples with the part of him that embodies Blackbeard and makes the decision to change.

Stede, having overcome his personal conflict in the previous season, adopts a more steady and straightforward demeanour this time. However, he also experiences a taste of fame. In this respect, they complement each other, and watching them navigate their evolving priorities is truly delightful. Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi, both brilliant actors, bring nuanced performances to their roles.

Returning to David Jenkins’ unique approach to reimagining history through the show, the most compelling aspect of Our Flag Means Death Season 2 is its portrayal of queer representation. Few shows handle it the way Jenkins does — queer characters are not burdened with excessive trauma, nor are they exoticized or fetishized. They simply exist and this natural portrayal stands as one of the most genuine forms of queer joy in the realm of media.


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  • Verdict - 9/10
    9/10
9/10

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