Our Flag Means Death 2×04 “Fun and Games” is the beginning of healing. And it did so in a way that is really surprising. TV shows in particular like to drag things out. It’s as if they don’t know what to do without long and strenuous angst with a small blip of happiness at the end. Not this show. This show brought Stede and Ed back together and had them talk. Everything wasn’t magically fixed, of course. But having Stede give Ed space while also making his intentions clear, makes Our Flag Means Death stand out and proves that communication can happen on screen in an effective and beautiful way. And fans will eat it up.
In my previous reviews, I’ve talked about how Stede needs to step it up when it comes to Ed and the part that he played in the heartbreak that they are currently dealing with. In “Fun and Games” he did just that. He made his intentions clear while not love-bombing Ed. He took advice from friends (Buttons) and didn’t come up with excuses like any other TV show would have. Stede is sorry and he made sure to tell Ed that he loves everything about him. Stede loves being around Ed and even breathing the same air. He feels at home with Ed. And maybe Ed isn’t ready to say “I love you” and patch things up, but this is a start for both of them.
On Ed’s part, he has a right to be angry. He was abandoned when he thought he was in a new phase of his life. But Stede is back and Ed isn’t the same. By this, I mean that the person before Stede would have probably killed him for abandoning Ed. But Ed’s different now and that’s why he went back with Stede to the ship and the crew. He still has hope in his heart that everything is going to be okay. And that shows a tremendous amount of will and strength within Ed. That’s admirable and makes me love him even more. But I do hope that he takes time to himself to work on the hurt he has inside. Oh and the hurt that he caused the crew. He has to step up on that front.
Together, Ed and Stede really have some work to do so the pain of their past doesn’t poison their future in the way that it did with Mary Reed and Anne Bonny. These two pirates spent the entirety of the time that they were on screen poking and making fun of Ed and Stede. Some of it was playful but 75% of it was malicious because they like to have fun and cause trouble when they can. Plus they excuse it as that’s what pirates do. Stede has proven that you can be a different kind of pirate and his relationship with Ed is healthier than the mess that Mary and Anne have. And I don’t want the poison that has clearly twisted Mary and Anne’s relationship to the point where the poison and stab each other for kicks.
Now that Ed and Stede are heading back to the crew, I again have no idea what’s going to happen next. From what we saw in “Fun and Games,” the crew is very divided. Half of the crew had to suffer weeks of death, pillaging, and destruction. Not to mention a captain who was ready to kill them all. And then the other half of the crew doesn’t know how to act around the other half. Putting Ed back into the situation on the ship is going to make things even more tumultuous. And Ed, as I commented earlier, is going to have to step it up and not use some excuse of piracy. He hurt people who considered him a friend. Now he needs to make amends for himself but also to jump-start the healing of the rest of the crew individually.
One of the crew members that I have to give a whole paragraph to is Izzy Hands. As I mentioned in my previous review, I never cared for Izzy. But I’m ride or die for him. That’s even more so after 2×04. The crew was torn apart by their own experiences, rightfully so. But when faced with Izzy’s pain, they came together. And when they gave Izzy that note and a brand new horse peg leg I couldn’t stop the tears. Everyone wants to belong somewhere. And I think Izzy has been fighting for that for a very long time. And it gives me perspective as to why he was trying to get Blackbeard back so much in season 1. He feared not having a place by his captain and best friend’s side. And until now he’s been unmoored. Getting that note and that gift from the crew is a wake-up call. He’s not alone. He’s a unicorn with a family that cares for him.
At the end of the day, Our Flag Means Death is an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t rely on tired TV storylines or tropes. It’s fresh and different writing with a talented crew that makes me enjoy watching television. And it’s continued exploration in season 2 of mental health issues and forgiveness is going to be game-changing. Because we learn about how the world works through the content that we consume. It’s something I’ve said many times before. And it makes me so happy to have a show that teaches compassion, hope, and the power of listening, talking, and trying. It’s just a show that begs more for its characters, TV writing in general, and viewers alike.
Our Flag Means Death season 2 episodes 1-5 are now available on Max.