‘Our Flag Means Death’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “Impossible Birds”


A rugged, bearded Stede Bonnet engages Izzy Hands in a sword fight along the beach, emerging triumphant, Izzy stabbed through the chest after taunting Stede about leaving Ed. As Izzy dies Stede demands to know where Ed is again, only for the infamous pirate to appear on the shore, running toward Stede. The two finally reunite in a hug that crashes them both to the ground, sharing a tender moment of forgiveness and mutual beard appreciation, as Ed’s has regrown as well. As the two lean in for a kiss, they are interrupted by … a fart. Multiple farts, in fact.

It was a dream sequence, the real Stede Bonnet roused awake by the gas of Wee John. Everyone else present — Black Pete, the Swede, Buttons, Roach, and Oluwande — shush Stede and agree that the gas can’t be worse than hearing their Captain mutter “Oh, Ed” in his sleep all night. Stede pens a letter to Ed, which does an excellent job of summing up what he and his crew have been up to since their reunion, but also .

Because Stede has renounced his wealth, he and the crew have taken up temporary residence on the Republic of Pirates, utilizing Olewande’s connections including Spanish Jackie. While at first she is reluctant to give the crew jobs and a place to live since Stede broke her nose jar last season, ultimately Jackie takes them in after choosing the Swede as her newest love interest, and presumably soon-to-be future husband number … whatever number she’s at now. While working at Spanish Jackie’s it becomes apparent Stede has made somewhat of a name for himself as at least one person, Richard Bangs, recognizes him.

Ed’s doing his best not to think about Stede and instead continue his rampage — including crashing a wedding, living up to the devil people view him as by decorating his body with an unnecessary amount of weapons, laying constant wreckage in his path with the aid of his crew. While the crew seems fine with these slaughterings in the moment (especially Frenchie sporting a new set of metal claws), Jim expresses that they think the wedding might have been going too far while the crew eats cake … the ones who can stomach it right now, anyway. Fang is concerned about Blackbeard because he’s not himself lately, apparently not even batting an eye when Ivan died.

Stede is defensive of Ed despite his growing list of crimes, insisting the man he loves is just blowing off some steam. Olu is not optimistic about their future in finding a ship with the kind of money they’re making and the two bring a local soup merchant, Susan, into the conversation to offer additional advice. The two soup merchants, Olu, and Stede argue about who broke up with whom in the Ed and Stede scenario. Stede insists they’re on a break.

Blackbeard is threatening Izzy while he does hard drugs, ensuring the man doesn’t forget he promised to take more toes last season should his first mate continue to disappoint him. Izzy struggles to keep control of the crew and ends up breaking down into tears when they point out that Blackbeard has in fact taken additional toes already, and that the relationship between the two has become toxic. Fang forces Izzy into an awkward hug so Izzy can get some of his feelings out.

Spanish Jackie has discovered Stede and the crew’s savings jar, and after charging them fees and taking all of the money they’ve saved, kicks them out of the space they’ve been staying in. Literally living under a bridge. As things only continue to get worse for Stede, he finds himself penning a letter to Ed aloud while standing in front of one of the latter’s wanted posters, including responding to himself in an impression of Ed’s voice. The same man from the bar earlier, Richard, reveals to Stede that he is a minor prince who was inspired by Stede’s journey into piratism and decided to set off on one of his own. Richard gives Stede a lead on an expensive item in Jackie’s possession, and the crew soon sets a plan to rob their former boss, bringing the Swede in on it.

On the Revenge, Izzy breaks the news to Blackbeard that the crew isn’t going to follow orders to throw treasure overboard, and Blackbeard says he’s going to take another toe. Izzy is able to distract him by asking who he is to his Captain, stating that they know each other better than anyone else, he has love for the man, and he’s worried. Blackbeard is already irritated, but his mood reaches a boiling point when Izzy says the crew wants to “talk it through,” words that immediately make Blackbeard think of Stede (though really … that’s all he seems to be doing anyway).

Blackbeard storms onto the deck and asks each of the crew members if they think the vibe on the ship is poisonous while pointing a gun at them — of course, the answer is no. Everyone becomes more uncomfortable as Ed points the gun below his own chin, carrying on a conversation with himself about the same question. Izzy steps up to say the atmosphere on the ship is fucked and that everyone knows why, feeling brave enough to answer Blackbeard when he pushes for the reason.

“Your feelings for Stede fucking Bonnet.”

Blackbeard shoots Izzy in the leg and names Frenchie his new first mate and instructs him to kill Izzy.

As the Swede performs a Swede-ish massage (couldn’t resist) on Spanish Jackie, Roach, and Black Pete army crawl through the room to retrieve the expensive chest containing something even more expensive. Richard, who is supposed to be on guard, starts to mix his signature drink that he leaves as a calling card, which gets him left behind by Stede and crew and ultimately de-nosed by Spanish Jackie, who then sets her sights on retrieving the chest from Stede and crew (and their noses, too).

Susan steps in to stop this from happening, offering to pay for the chest and the expensive Indigo powder inside, paying extra to purchase Stede and the crew’s lives as well. The Swede has to admit to Jackie that he double-crossed her, but she loves double-crossing and that only turns her on more, so the Swede stays with her to continue their marriage.

As blood is cleaned from the Revenge Jim, bless them, is trying to comfort a crying Fang by telling the story of Pinocchio from memory as best they can, even doing the voice of the wooden boy upon request. Blackbeard is truly worse off than any of them, standing in isolation until he is joined by Frenchie seeking direction, only to be told he intends to never let them see land again.

“We’re gonna sail, rob, raise hell forever … and ever … without end.”

After Frenchie leaves, Blackbeard gazes upon the wedding cake topper he stole that looks like Stede, muttering “Fuck you, Stede Bonnet” as he looks at the moon. The same moon Stede is looking at from a row boat, a softer call of “Goodnight, Ed Teach” from him spoken into the night. It is revealed Susan’s true identity is Zheng Yi Sao, the pirate queen.

The first three episodes of Our Flag Means Death are streaming now on Max, with the next two episodes premiering next Thursday, October 12.

Hannah’s a lifelong nerd, but has been with the team since May 2021. Her life is easily classified by two abbreviations - BBG3 and ABG3 (before Baldur’s Gate 3 and after Baldur’s Gate 3). Especially nerdy about: video games, folklore, Star Wars, D&D, Spider-Man, and horror (all of it). Based in Denver, CO.

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