New Stories

Stream Your Heart Out: “Our Flag Means Death” Review

by Rin Alford

Photo courtesy IMDb

Ever heard of a gentleman pirate? 

A gentleman pirate is one that owns books and silk clothes, who also reads to his crew and shows them how fine dining works. While this does not sound like what a pirate would do, there was one who did, Stede Bonnet. 

HBO’s new series “Our Flag Means Death” is a comedic take on the real pirate, Stede Bonnet, who had famously called himself the gentleman pirate. 

Currently, the series only has 10 episodes. It debuted in March 2022 with an IMDb rating of 8/10. 

The show delivers history in a captivating way, and shows the true take on how pirates were, with a bit of a spin, of course. 

Each character is thoroughly thought out and has a unique place in the story. Instead of nine to 12 background characters, it feels as if the whole crew is a main character. 

The series focuses on Stede’s (played by Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard’s, also known as Edward Teach (Taika Waititi), relationship and how the two taught each other new things. 

There is not a single dull moment in the show as the duo and crew face scurvy, other pirates, English and Spanish Navy patrols, and French aristocrats. 

Most of what the show presents is actual history. Stede had left his family to pursue a life of piracy. But piracy is much different from how most shows and movies portray it; the pirate life was not just stealing gold, finding treasure and saying “Arrgh.” 

This show explores that by showing how piracy was brutal and sometimes theatrical. Bonnet’s crew is not exactly allowed to be the most ruthless, as Bonnet often stops them, but there are moments in the show that give viewers a more realistic viewpoint. 

Another thing that the show explores is LGBT relationships. This was not just a thing the directors decided to add for inclusivity, but it is also historically accurate to how pirates’ relationships with one another may develop. 

We get to see this with several characters on the ship but mainly we see it from Bonnet and Blackbeard, as over time the two develop feelings for eachother. 

Now the show does take a twist towards the end of the first season as Bonnet is faced with confronting his past, which causes issues for both his crew and Blackbeard. But the show does not end in a total cliffhanger, as it is shown that he is making his way back to all of them. 

As of now, there is no renewal of the show for a season two, but I am confident that there will be one as the show continues to gain popularity. 

Watch “Our Flag Means Death” on HBO Max now.

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