Safely on board Zheng Yi Sao’s ship and now part of her crew everyone is sleeping peacefully — except for Stede Bonnet, whose mind is haunted by the memories of times he loved Ed. On the Revenge, things aren’t much better for Ed — as he longingly gazes at the cake topper that looks like Stede he places the new-and-improved bride next to it, which has now been painted to look like himself. Laying atop a mass of treasure isn’t improving his mood, nothing is while he can’t stop thinking about Stede. He pushes both figures from the ship’s window, though it’s not likely to help.
Stede and crew are woken along with the rest of the ship by a loud bell, and while Stede is immediately irritated, the rest of his crew seem to have gotten the best sleep they’ve had in a long time. The Pirate Queen, Zheng Yi Sao, titled so because she conquered China according to Roach, has a different approach to her ship and crew — one built on unity, cohesion, support, balance, and mutual respect. Up until now, it’s been a mostly non-male crew, but their energy is weak and soft. The only other male aboard is summoned by the name Rat Boy, and from the shadows emerges none other than the beloved Lucius, who receives an enthusiastic reunion from everyone present, especially Black Pete who is the happiest we’ve seen him so far as he embraces his lost lover.
Lucius dodges questions about his new nickname and lies by saying he fell off the Revenge when we know the truth is that Ed pushed him off in the midst of his heartbreak in season 1. No one believes him, but the conversation is interrupted as the crew are assigned jobs on their new ship by the first mate — armament for Black Pete, kitchen for Roach, tailor’s duty for Wee John, towels for Stede, and notably nothing for Oluwande. She has more to say to Buttons while ultimately assigning him to the crew’s nest.
“Sea Witch. I have looked for you far and wide. But then, you probably know that.”
“Best not assume we know anything at all, Mum.”
“Be gone, wise demon. Await for me above.”
Frenchie finds Blackbeard in the Captain’s quarters with his hair tied back as he cleans up the space, saying he had a really rough night but that he thinks he got all of the poison out of his system. No more booze, no more drugs — and no more Izzy. Frenchie insists he killed Izzy, which Blackbeard requires because the new first mate always kills the old one — but he doesn’t seem convinced by Frenchie’s questionable lying skills. That’s because Izzy is alive, hidden in a secret room on the ship, being taken care of by Jim and Archie, insisting that they just kill him. With his leg rotting, it’s decided to cut it off.
Stede is using the ever-growing list of Ed’s crimes to try to triangulate his location but Lucius isn’t interested, hurt that Stede hasn’t even asked how he is and ultimately revealing the truth about how he fell from the Revenge, blaming Stede for everything that’s happened to him since. The first mate gives Buttons a spell book on how to transfer his soul into a non-human form.
Looking for anything to medicate Izzy, Frenchie is forced to reveal the truth to Blackbeard. After removing the leg, Jim and Archie begin making out after Jim gets sentimental about the history on the ship. They are interrupted by Blackbeard who orders them to leave him alone with Izzy … and to take the leg.
Oluwande is “organizing” Zheng Yi Sao’s scroll library, though as the first mate points out he’s actually just destroying the ahead of its time system already in place, and purely because the Queen wants to enjoy his company. Unfortunately, his efforts are actually just destructive, which makes Oluwande feel poorly about himself. Zheng Yi Sao is quick to comfort him and reassure them that he’s wanted and useful.
“You were kinda like the … break in my day.”
Roach is enthralled about the ship’s broth, and while the crew are trying to stay lighthearted and have some fun reconnecting, it seems that’s not possible for Lucius in his current mental state — something no one can understand yet because he hasn’t shared what happened to him. After an explosion of emotions erupts from Lucius, he also realizes his behavior and apologizes before leaving.
When Izzy wakes, Blackbeard attempts to coax him into killing him by saying he saw Izzy do it in a dream last night. Instead, Izzy mocks him for being scared and says he will have to clean up his own mess — he’s been cleaning up Blackbeard’s messes all his life and he’s not doing it anymore. As Blackbeard exits a gunshot sounds, and he nods in acknowledgment, saying he loved the man as best he could. Blackbeard spares Frenchie for lying and instead asks for some time at the wheel to clear his head.
Stede asks Lucius to talk to Pete, imploring him not to make the same mistakes he did by shutting out someone who truly loves him. He’s able to convince Lucius to open up to him rather than bottling it up, and Lucius gives a taste of what he was subjected to after being pushed into the ocean, revealing the dark origins of the nickname Rat Boy. It’s enough to scare Stede away, but it’s a start.
“One doesn’t just survive at sea … one has to do things. Horrible things.”
Blackbeard’s crew seem to know something is still wrong with him and emerge to the deck to find their Captain is sailing the ship into a storm and has sabotaged their odds of survival by getting rid of the wheel, and further threatening to blow a cannonball into the ship’s mast which lowers the odds of survival to zero. His condition for not firing the cannon is for Jim to fight Archie to the death.
Stede is still trying to figure out how he can find Ed — alive. Lucius joins him to say that he talked to Pete, asking Stede to take a closer look at Blackbeard’s crimes — past the clues to finding the man he loves and into the horrible wreckage he’s been creating in the time since they separated. While Stede still wants to see the good in Ed, Lucius says it may be he’s just broken beyond repair.
On the Revenge, that would seem to be the case — Blackbeard is enjoying the fight in front of him. Jim refuses to kill (insert name), saying he was going to fire the cannon anyway. Before he can fire the cannon he’s interrupted by Izzy who has a fresh wound to his head, a quick flashback revealing he attempted to shoot himself in the head, but the recoil caused the bullet to skim off his head. Blackbeard is genuinely amused by this.
“You indestructible little fucker!”
Before he can cause more wreckage, Fang tackles Blackbeard to the ground. With the crew standing over him, Blackbeard smiles and mutters a single word — finally — before Jim brings the cannonball down.
A post-credit scene shows Oluwande coming to steal away the Queen for a quick break.
The first three episodes of Our Flag Means Death are streaming now on Max, with the next two episodes premiering next Thursday, October 12.