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‘Our Flag Means Death’ Season 2 Review: Romance is Back With A Vengeance

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After over a year of waiting, Our Flag Means Death (Created by David Jenkins) has finally returned to us. The wait has been long, but certainly worth it. The crew of the Revenge are back and… Well, they’re not better than ever. They are actually pretty sad. Last season left us with endless questions and plenty of heartbreak. Let’s find out if Our Flag Means Death season 2 will patch us up!

[Warning: light spoilers and impressions from season 2 of Our Flag Means Death are below!]

Max’s Our Flag Means Death season 2 brings new adventures

We didn’t leave our crew in the best of situations at the end of last season. Everyone was separated, Ed (Taika Waititi) was in shambles, and Lucius (Nathan Foad) celebrated the finale by being pushed off of the ship. This new season doesn’t immediately bounce back from that. It lets the emotional repercussions of the finale stew. 

Everyone is upset. Blackbeard is upset, the crew is upset, and I’m upset watching it. We’re still on the question of last season: “Is it possible to become a new man?” However, this season brings a bit of a darker question to the table, “Can you live with the man you have become?” 

The Gentleman Pirate is one of the only characters that can answer that question at least semi-happily. Stede (Rhys Darby) stepped into his own in the finale, finally getting a sense of control over his life. The start of Our Flag Means Death season two finds him with his crew, with much more confidence in the world of pirates, if much more romantic longing in his heart. While he still has a long way to go in terms of becoming a legendary captain (he needs to find a ship for one), he’s far more comfortable with his journey to get there. 

It’s very satisfying to see just how much he’s changed. His story is no longer about being a fish out of water. Instead, it’s about getting back to the open seas and trying to patch things up with his estranged emo boyfriend.

Our Flag Means Death season 2- Rhys and Taika
Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max).

Then there’s Ed, working himself and his crew into the ground while doing a face dive into the world’s biggest mental breakdown. Or at least, the world’s biggest mental breakdown with the highest pirate raid and body count. It’s genuinely upsetting at times. The show keeps the comedy blasting on all cylinders, but the depths to which Blackbeard has sunk can be sad to watch. The joyful playfulness of Stede’s crew is immediately tempered by just how much Blackbeard doesn’t want to live anymore. He has a total disregard for his life and the lives of everyone around him. It even makes you want to cry a bit for Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill), which after the role he played at the end of last season is a bit of a shocker. 

Of course, there are still endless hijinks. It wouldn’t be Our Flag Means Death without plenty of ridiculous moments. Season 2 is chock full of laughs and found-family shenanigans. There are huge parties, a memorable drag sequence, and lots of talking it through as a crew. The show is still full of laughs, even in the darkest of moments, but it is noticeably a shift from the first season. If you liked the edgier moments of the first installment, you will like this season.

All in all, the ‘pirates need therapy’ angle of last season is back and blazing on all cylinders, and I for one am in support of this agenda. 

New additions to the crew of The Revenge

This season brings a plethora of new characters. The Revenge picks up a few additional members and, surprisingly, leaves some behind. Unfortunately, a member of Blackbeard’s crew Ivan (Guz Khan) does not return this season. However, we do gain a new crew member played by Madeleine Sami who makes a lovely addition to the ship’s cast of craziness. Her levels of being happily unhinged are on par with Roach (Samba Schutte) and her dynamic with Jim (Vico Ortiz) is very enjoyable to watch. 

Other original members of The Revenge flow in and out of the plot a bit more than I expected. Don’t get it twisted, you will get plenty of your favorite characters. Everyone gets screen time and a large amount of wacky plotlines. It’s simply to say: look forward to everyone finding where they belong, wherever it may be. 

There are also plenty of new pirate captains making appearances. If you watched the first season and longed for more women pirates, you are in luck! Minnie Driver as Annie Bonny is a particular favorite. Every other line she said had me shrieking in my seat. The new character of Susan (Ruibo Qian) is also a surprise delight. She’s charming, cunning, and often the funniest character in the scene. 

Our Flag Means Death season 2- Blackbeard
Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max).

And of course, many fan favorites will return to your screen. Spanish Jackie (Leslie Jones) is back with even more husbands and noses to add to her jar. She is the best part of every scene she’s in by far. Needless to say, Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby knock it out of the park once again as Ed and Stede. Their performances are just as wonderful as last season and their chemistry is tenfold.

But just how does their chemistry develop?

Plenty of romance in Our Flag Means Death season 2

It develops well. It develops so well. The amount of times I had to pause my viewing and take a lap around my house after some of Ed and Stede’s moments together is truly embarrassing. The couple might be separated right now, but there is no doubt they miss each other deeply. Their yearning annoys everyone around them and delights the audience. In fact, their separation adds to their relationship immensely.

A large part of why their romance in this season is so entertaining is because the show makes sure to prioritize their personal development. Their characters are not built around each other, they simply suit each other. They both have different priorities and different ways of dealing with their emotional strife. It leads to a far more compelling dynamic. If you were sold on the first half of Our Flag Means Death from their romance, you have lots to be excited about. 

The show’s other romances are also lots of fun. There are plenty of surprise couples that I did not expect to love as much as I did, as well as a level of fluidity I forgot to expect from this show. Remember, they’re pirates. They don’t always opt for monogamy. However, it’s Our Flag Means Death, so you can expect plenty of healthy communication about the polyamorous love lives of bloodthirsty pirates.

This show never forgets the”romantic” half of romantic comedy. With about eight (if you count Buttons and the Sea) different canonical romantic pairings in this season there’s plenty to enjoy. If you were one of the fans who broke Twitter during season one, prepare to break it again. 

Where to watch Our Flag Means Death season 2

You can find the first episode of Our Flag Means Death season 2 begins streaming on Max on Thursday, October 5, 2023 . After the premiere, it will release two new episodes every week. Do you plan to check it out? What do you hope will happen in this next season? Let us know on our Discord or on social media @mycosmiccircus!

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