Everyone’s favorite queer pirate rom-com, Our Flag Means Death, is back for a raucous Season 2 if the teaser trailers were any indication: love letters in a bottle, pirate queens, and wedding objections among them. When the Season 1 finale left the rag-tag crew of the Revenge scattered across the high seas after the English Navy attacked the ship, one thing was for certain: the friendships and romances fostered on deck under co-captains Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard/Edward Teach (Taika Waititi) would never be the same.
The first five episodes of Season 2 are now streaming on Max, taking fans along an adventure full of love, heartbreak and betrayal. Stede and Ed attempt to mend their romance, Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill) begins to crack his hardened exterior and the Revenge’s crew begins to reintegrate themselves after their co-captains’ break-up. And with new episodes premiering on Max every Thursday until October 26, CBR is your place for the weekly recap of new episodes.
What Happened in Season 1 of Our Flag Means Death?
The freshman season of Our Flag Means Death was all about real-life “gentleman pirate” Stede Bonnet learning the ropes of life at sea from his colorful crew of misfit pirates after running from his home and family in Barbados. Though considered odd and eccentric by his crew for his lavish lifestyle, Edward immediately took a shine to him and offered to teach him how to be a “real pirate captain” in exchange for learning how to be a gentleman. The pair fell fast in love on their adventures to French pleasure cruises and orange groves, much to the chagrin of Edward’s grizzled first mate, Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill), who thought the relationship made his captain soft. Among the crew of the Revenge, Jim Jimenez (Vico Oritz) and Oluwande (Samson Kayo) went from friends to lovers, Lucius (Nathan Foad) and Black Pete (Matthew Maher) flirted up a storm, and they all grew together as more than just a crew – as a family.
All that changed, though, when Izzy sold out the Revenge to the English Navy after being marooned by Edward for stabbing Stede in a duel. The English arrested Stede and Edward for piracy, but they pleaded for an “Act of Grace” to be granted in order to remain together as privateers for the Navy. While waiting to be reassigned, they admit their feelings for each other and share a kiss; it’s then that they decide there’s no option but to run away.
However, Stede, haunted by his accidental killing of an English naval captain and shocked at the discovery that he’s deemed legally dead by the government, returns home without telling Edward why he left. Edward spirals into a deep depression over being abandoned, marooning the Revenge’s crew, taking over the boat with Frenchie (Joel Fry) and Jim at his side, and committing to the Blackbeard moniker he’d grown to hate. Stede realizes his life belongs at sea and his heart belongs with Edward, and sets out to find the crew he now considered family in the season’s tearful finale.
Season 2 Recap
Season 2, Episode 1 “Impossible Birds” Recap
Since Stede and his crew are, at present, broke and boatless, they decide to hang around the Republic of Pirates and work for Spanish Jackie (Leslie Jones) until they can save enough money to get back to sea. Of course, Stede can only think of how much he misses Edward and wants to get back to him as soon as possible and apologize for leaving – the main undercurrent of the first three episodes. The decision to introduce Queen Zhang Yi Sao (Ruibo Qian) as the crew’s saviors is excellent, and certainly explains how they got the Chinese sailor outfits from the promotional images. Zhang and Oluwande’s reactions to each other suggest a romantic history between them, one that might upset any die-hard Jim/Olu shippers since they were one of Season 1’s main romances.
Meanwhile, Blackbeard’s crew suffers under his temper and erratic behavior. In the wake of his breakup with Stede, Edward descended into a destructive cycle of rage and upset, leading to raids that even his hardened crew considered excessively violent. He even shoots Izzy in the leg when his first mate dares confront him over the toxicity on board – a toxicity directly caused by Edward’s heartbreak. In a truly beautiful moment, Edward gazes longingly at the little wedding cake figures he’s repainted to look like himself and Stede. Underneath the pain and hurt he feels, there’s clearly still longing and love there for his former co-captain.
Season 2, Episode 2 “Red Flags” Recap
With Stede’s remaining crew folding into Zhang’s all-female one on the Red Flag, they discover that Lucius – who they considered long dead after the confrontation with the English – is alive and working for them. Lucius has plenty to be angry about despite being reunited with his sort-of boyfriend, Black Pete, and his crew, tearfully confessing to Stede that he’d been abused by several crews in the time since Edward threw him overboard. It’s also impossible not to see echoes of Izzy in Zhang’s first mate, Auntie (Anapela Polataivao), who is frustrated by her romantic pursuit of Oluwande. The most moving scene of the episode finds Stede and Lucius having a heart-to-heart about Stede’s love for Edward, where Stede proudly says that he thinks Edward isn’t broken and continues searching for him.
Edward’s reign of terror on the high seas doesn’t let up after he shoots Izzy. “Red Flags” sees Edward taking a turn for the unstable as he punishes Frenchie, Jim, and Archie (Madeleine Sami) for trying to save Izzy’s leg and bullies Izzy into shooting himself to finally be rid of him. (Thankfully, Izzy somehow survives this incident.) He steers the ship into an oncoming storm with no regard for his own safety, clearly still hung up on the prospect of Stede abandoning him and taking his love with him. His heartbreak makes him lash out at Jim and Archie for their budding romance. With certain death on the horizon if they allow Edward to continue being captain, they decide to mutiny against him and kill him.
Season 2, Episode 3 “The Innkeeper” Recap
If the first two episodes of angst and inner turmoil weren’t enough, “The Innkeeper” shows the Red Flag coming across a battered and worse-for-wear Revenge after the storm’s passed. Stede, overjoyed at the prospect of reuniting with Edward, leaps from the Red Flag and swims over, only to find that his beloved boat has been trashed with knives, fire, and grime. Even worse, Edward’s crew refuses to tell Stede or Zhang where their former captain is, alerting Auntie that they likely killed him. Interspersed throughout scenes on Red Flag are Edward being rehabilitated on a desert island by his former captain, Ben Hornigold. He appears as a sort of Master Yoda or Kenobi-like figure, guiding Edward through figuring out his desires to be alive: to run an inn and be in love. It’s all very eerie and out of body, but Auntie finding Edward’s half-dead body hidden on the Revenge confirms that it’s all an elaborate dreamscape world.
“The Innkeeper” thankfully gives fans the long-awaited Stede-Edward reunion when Hornigold quite literally pushes Edward off a cliff and forces him to decide whether he wants to live or die. The life or death scenario is one that we never would have seen from Season 1 and makes the emotional intensity of Stede’s pleas for Edward to live all the more powerful – even if he appears to Edward as a merman in the dreamscape while the ever-iconic Kate Bush song “This Woman’s Work” plays. But even though Edward’s alive, it’s bound to be trouble in paradise; the trailer did show them bickering over being on a break and being “former shipmates” after all.
Season 2, Episode 4 “Fun and Games” Recap
Audiences finally get to see Anne Bonney (Minnie Driver) and her toxic (yet remarkably endearing) relationship with fellow former pirate Mary Reed in “Fun and Games.” Watching the two of them argue — and even try to kill each other — in their retirement project antiques shop forces Edward and Stede to finally discuss Stede’s unknowing betrayal and Ed’s past mistreatment of Stede. Though their relationship is far from mended, Stede still attempts to say I love you to Edward to build that bridge towards understanding that Ed insists isn’t enough for the pain of being left. The incredibly heartfelt moment shows tremendous growth for both men given how self-destructive Ed’s behavior in the first three episodes was; this episode truly proved that a simple “I love you” isn’t what saves a relationship — it’s communicating and establishing boundaries.
Izzy’s own personal journey of healing — both physical and mental — takes a serious turning point in “Fun and Games” as well. Though he spends the majority of his time drunk and depressed over his newfound amputation, especially when he accidentally snaps his peg leg, he’s moved to tears when the crew builds him a new prosthetic from the unicorn masthead’s leg. The bonding activity also bodes well for the crew, given that they spend the entire episode fighting their reintegration because of their trauma working under Blackbeard. Buttons appears to be the only one who has it figured out: he turns into a bird and flies off to be reunited with the sea. This episode is a genuine turning point for the entire crew dynamic, pointing towards a supportive and healthy environment for the Revenge family.
Season 2, Episode 5 “The Curse of the Seafaring Life” Recap
If there was one thing “The Curse of the Seafaring Life” had, it was heart-to-hearts by the pound. Though a goofy curse plotline runs parallel with the emotional one, Stede’s probably-not-cursed suit has nothing on old bonds being rekindled. Fang and Edward go fishing together and talk about Ed’s mistreatment of him while captain, Izzy teaches Stede how to be a better captain, Izzy tells Lucius that he has to learn to let go of his trauma instead of sitting in it and Lucius finally proposes to Black Pete in a tearful recognition of wanting to spend their lives together. Finally, the Revenge is returning to a community of growth and change, one that values honesty and open communication among its crew to thrive.
Fans should be pleased to know that Ed and Stede haven’t given up on their romantic connection yet. The episode’s emotional final scene shows the former co-captains learning how to love each other again with Ed repeating Stede’s refrain of “you wear fine things well” from Season 1. The pair even share an emotional kiss — their first since being imprisoned by the British Navy — but Ed rightfully tells Stede they need to move slower to curb how “whim-prone” they both are. It’s incredibly heartwarming to see the couple actively working on the problems in their relationship because of their love for each other — something the rest of the season will hopefully explore with even more melodrama and care. And who knows — there could even be a double wedding in the season finale!
You can catch all the offbeat pirate romance of Our Flag Means Death Season 2, now streaming exclusively on Max, with new episodes on Thursdays.
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