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5 Reasons to Watch ‘Our Flag Means Death’

Rhys Darby, Taika Waititi, Matthew Maher, Ewen Bremner, Nathan Foad, Samson Kayo, Kristian Nairn, and Samba Schutte in Our Flag Means Death
©Warner Media/HBO

I was not sure what to expect going into Our Flag Means Death other than it being a comedic pirate show (which I was all for). And then it turned out to be something more — something special that I am now desperately hoping for a renewal announcement from HBO. Created by David Jenkins and inspired by real pirates from the golden age of piracy — namely Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach, The Gentleman Pirate and Blackbeard, respectively.

Our Flag Means Death is a fresh take on pirates and goes far deeper than expected with a treasure of a cast. There are many reasons to watch Our Flag Means Death on HBO, and here are just five so you can carry on with your day and hopefully watch for yourself!

1. The Comedy

Nathan Foad and Samson Kayo in Our Flag means Death
©Warner Media/HBO

The first thing that drew me to Our Flag Means Death was that it is a comedy taking place on the high seas. The humor is witty, dry, and ridiculous in the best of ways. The premise of the show sounds like the setup of a joke; a privileged gentleman, obsessed with pirates, decides to become a pirate for the fun of it (part of me cannot believe that a man really did that back then, although his real reasons remain unclear outside of a midlife crisis).

The crew’s dynamic, who are real pirates (but, not the most proficient ones), and Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) make for hilarious situations. There are running jokes about cats being witches, twists on tropes, and generally funny skullduggery that comes with pirates. We also watch them go on a treasure hunt complete with a treasure map after Stede got swindled — or, in his eyes, got a great deal– in purchasing the very real treasure map.

2. The Crew

Nat Faxon, Joel Fry, Samba Schutte, and Samson Kayo in Our Flag Means Death
©Warner Media/HBO

This pirate crew is a collection of outcasts who find their place together. Each crew member of the Revenge adds something special to the team and to our screens. Captain Bonnet has a rocky relationship at the start with the crew, but the bonds they form will be enough to weather the harshest of storms. Their journey throughout the season is as great as the dynamics between them and Stede.

3. The (Gentlemanly) Piracy

Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby in Our Flag Means Death
©Warner Media/HBO

Stede Bonnet is the Gentleman Pirate. One would think the gentleman would cancel out the pirate and vice versa, but the two facets exist in him. Arguably the fiercest pirate to ever sail, Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard, portrayed by Taika Waititi, meets Stede and is enchanted by the idea of retiring and becoming something of a gentleman. Together, they set a course to help each other; Blackbeard teaches Stede how to become a better pirate captain, and Stede teaches him how to be a gentleman.

4. The Heart

Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby in Our Flag Means Death
©Warner Media/HBO

What starts as a light-hearted show gains depth quickly and goes to some darker places. Those scenes are handled with such care that I was completely absorbed in the story. We look into two men who want to remake themselves, unsatisfied with where they are in life.

Before, I wrote that the concept of a gentleman turning pirate sounded like a joke, but it goes deeper. What led Stede to make this significant life change is understandable and relatable (minus leaving your family behind and being incredibly wealthy). Who hasn’t felt stuck and needed to make a change? While he was quite drastic about it, it makes for a great story and lesson we can all learn from. Our Flag Means Death also creates a safe space to tell LGBTQ+ stories with care, and the reaction online has been beautiful to see.

5. The Romance

Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi as Blackbeard and Stede
©Warner Media/HBO

Here at Marvelous Geeks, we love romance (for those of you who do not know), so I became even more invested in this show when this romance started between Blackbeard and Stede. They unapologetically created a romantic comedy, making their journey feel so natural and full of depth.

Ed and Stede help each other become the person they want to be. While they are vastly different on the surface, they are kindred spirits at the core. I could not help but feel like Lucius (Nathan Foad) at the moment when he whispers, “Oh my god, this is happening,” while watching an exchange between the two captains over food. They also use some of our favorite tropes in romances: hurt and comfort, enemies to lovers, and more! The emotional intimacy that grows between them is perfect and swoon-worthy. Darby and Waititi understood the assignment and went beyond.

Overall, Our Flag Means Death is an adventure that I cannot get enough of, with a fantastic cast that is a delight to watch. I am hopeful that it will get renewed, but I will not rest easy until we hear the news, as I am still emotionally compromised from the finale.

Our Flag Means Death is now streaming on HBO Max.

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