A cleverly written two-part finale sets itself apart from the rest of Our Flag Means Death, which is sure to surprise a lot of people.
Our Flag Means Death wraps up by rewriting the history books and delivering a finale that is in line with the style that has made the show’s writers, especially Taika Waititi, so famous. As a result, this unusual pirate crew and its two captains will be the target of many jokes.
Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard finally find what they’ve been looking for their entire lives in one another in Our Flag Means Death, a rom-com-style take on the classic pirate tale for HBO Max. A natural conclusion to The Last Ship’s 10-episode run in the same skit-like style as it’s been using so far, this shift from bromance at sea to romance is not rushed or forced in any way.
Most of the characters stay true to their true selves throughout the entire storey, including Stede Bonnet, who ran away from his family in the middle of his midlife crisis after years of being stuck in a loveless marriage (at least romantic love) in search of adventure. Meanwhile, Blackbeard is so bored that no amount of plundering and pirating will ever fill his soul, which is why the two men are such a good match.
In any case, episode nine of Our Flag Means Death’s two-part finale is the real standout because it completely abandons its historical ties to reality and veers off into fan fiction. Like in real life, Bonnet and Teach secure a royal pardon through King George I’s Acts of Grace proclamation, only that Blackbeard invokes said right out of love rather than being driven by each man’s survival instinct.
To that end, “Act of Grace” continues the investigation into Bonnet’s psyche after he accidentally kills a man, and it’s safe to say that this will be a burden he has to bear for much longer. To be fair, Blackbeard and Ed both go through the same process, and once they’ve pledged allegiance to their Majesty’s service as privateers, Ed goes all in for the kiss.
Weepiness is palpable in Our Flag Means Death, a remarkable achievement for a silly pirate comedy. Having Lou Reed’s lyrics on hand certainly helps, as both episodes provide yet another round of excellent musical choices. For the rest of the cast and crew, they do a good job of keeping the show lighthearted when things between Stede and Ed become too serious.
In terms of how much ground it covers and how serious Our Flag Means Death’s tone gets, episode nine is one of the best, and it manages to keep its sense of humour intact. Despite the show’s sillier narratives, “Wherever You Go, There You Are” reminds viewers that these men are pirates and Blackbeard must carry out cruel pirate actions because that is his nature.
Another romantic arc in this pirate storey, Oluwande and Jim’s brief relationship, is followed by Lucius and Black Pete’s frantic affair, which also ends abruptly. Every time we get a sour taste in our mouths, it serves as a gentle reminder to the audience that Ed, the dejected hero, is only here until Blackbeard reappears.
Stede’s return must be the focus of the final episode if it is to be a comedy, as Mary is surprised to see him after finding a better life on his own. As the series progresses, we learn about a man who has been searching for himself since the first episode, and who finally finds it when he confesses his love for Ed despite the fact that his marriage has fallen apart and he is unable to connect with his own children.
In the end, can we say that “Our Flag Means Death” is a romantic comedy? For a series that has never been like playing Sea of Thieves or the brilliant storey and gameplay of the previous instalment, this route helps it further carve out its own distinct path. Even though the plot may be a little predictable at times, this pirate comedy manages to keep you laughing from beginning to end, thanks to the use of a gay love storey to explain the origin of Blackbeard’s famous pirate flag.
There are many standouts in this cast, including Waititi and Rory Kinnear, who play the Badminton twins. The rest of the crew also provides a great deal of entertainment. Perhaps not a full-fledged pirate reboot, but Our Flag means Death is still a worthwhile pirate comedy that’s worth a watch for more than just a few belly laughs.