Zheng Yi Sao’s crew has carried out another successful raid on John Bartholomew “The Soul Reaper”‘s ship. Oluwande and Stede follow their new captain where Bartholomew accuses both Stede and Olu as the one who bested them … the truth it’s the woman present hardly sits well with him.
“Hi … I know, it’s been a day. Culturally this must be very hard for you. Anyway, go ahead and blow your brains out, but your last act on this planet will be surrendering to a woman.”
Instead of the continued violence the two captains sit down over drinks, Zheng having the man eating out of her hand in no time and bringing another ship into her partnership. While talking things through is great and preferred, ultimately it is still a “live or die” situation, one Zheng is willing to follow. They come upon a ship that was essentially destroyed in a storm — The Revenge. Stede immediately takes off in a run to reunite with Ed, jumping into the sea to swim to his old ship without a second thought.
The Revenge is in shambles. The paintings are destroyed, there are knives sticking out of blood covered walls. Stede makes his way into the ship in search of Ed but ultimately comes upon the remaining crew who are starving and eating a seagull — no Ed in sight. Blackbeard’s crew is brought aboard Zheng’s ship and treated to a hot meal while Stede tries to discern where Ed is. Frenchie is the only one who can give somewhat of an answer — that Ed retired. Zheng is keeping them aboard despite the threat of mutiny to keep Olu happy.
Ed is washed up ashore and dragged by a mysterious figure back to a small camp. Ed wakes but is having trouble moving in his condition, weary that his captor is holding him hostage. The other man is revealed to be Captain Hornigold, “Ben”, who is actually just trying to feed Ed and nurse him back to health. Ed is reluctant to accept any nicety from his former Captain, but ultimately is forced to eat.
Zheng’s second mate is trying to discern what happened on the Revenge, Frenchie and Fang in tow and growing more nervous by the second. Reunited, Jim and Olu bond over the smell of fresh laundry, Jim immediately admitting they kissed someone. Olu isn’t angry at all and while he’s happy to listen to Jim as their best friend, he isn’t keen on hearing the specifics. Stede continues to explore his ruined ship, pulling out dozens of knives from the walls in the Captain’s quarters. Izzy Hands, of course, can’t resist a moment to taunt him.
“Don’t cry, Bonnet. We just redecorated.”
“I don’t mind, actually. I think the knives really help bring the place together.”
Izzy confronts Stede with the truth — Ed had become a menace in torturing the crew, taking his leg, saying the man was a wild dog and they dealt with him like one. Izzy says they deserted him on a beach and that the two of them are responsible for what Ed became — the crew doesn’t need to suffer for it and should be content on Zheng’s ship.
Ed informs Ben about his descent into insanity and how he ended up on the beach through an intense mutiny. Ben warns Ed that he needs to move on and that lingering on the past won’t fix anything. Stede informs Zheng about what happened on his ship and she understands he must feel weird — happy that Ed is alive yet conflicted because the torture his friends faced. Stede does feel responsible — he should’ve just told Ed how he felt, but he was scared. The second mate rejoins to pass on that she’s found the jackpot.
Ben is making shoes and Ed shares his dream of having an Inn with him, putting on a demonstration of what “Jeff’s Inn by the Sea” would look like. Ben is giving him a hard time to prove that Jeff isn’t good with people — reminding him he killed his own father. In a fit of rage Ed breaks Ben’s neck … but Ben resurrects. They then enter a pattern: Ed kills Ben several times in new ways every time only to watch him rise again.
At the same time, Stede is lead to the body of Ed. Ed’s crew is imprisoned and faces death tomorrow, and a sorrowful Stede visits them unable to even speak. Ben tells Ed of his fate — he’s not alive but not quite dead, in the gravy basket … purgatory, trapped between life and death. Ed has to decide if he wants to live or die. Ed lists out pros and cons — the con he lists is heavy in that he doesn’t think anyone is waiting for him. Olu tries to convince Zheng not to execute his former crew mates, Zheng showing particular interest in his “boatmance” with Jim. While it appears she’s being intimidating she ultimately asks how the situation will effect them, revealing she’s trying to seduce him. The two begin to share a kiss.
Stede has orchestrated an escape plan for the entirety of his crew so they can take back the Revenge. The crew use a makeshift zip line to make it across to their ship. While Olu and Zheng kiss the second mate interrupts to raise the alarm about the escape. Jim arrives to take Olu with them, and while he seems conflicted about what his heart wants he ultimately leaves with Jim. The Revenge’s crew stole Zheng’s wheel so they cannot be followed, and while Zheng looks across the ships to see Olu wave at her she cries out in anger, her first mate reminding her she warned of this.
“I don’t want to say I told you so -“
Izzy comes to thank Stede, but Stede has no desire to listen to him … departing to rejoin Ed. On the cliffside in purgatory Ed joins Ben in his thinking place … he has a large rock tied to his ankle now, his decision seemingly made. Ed hates himself and thinks he’s unlovable — Ben drops the rock into the sea, sending Ed along with it. As Ed plummets underwater, Stede sits next to him on the bed, uncovering his face. In purgatory this catches Ed’s attention — he can hear Stede crying and apologizing and his fingers begin twitching. Stede immediately grabs his hand and begs him to come back to him.
Following a flash of their romance highlights up to now, Ed sees Stede as a merman swimming toward him. The two kiss as Stede’s pleas continue.
“I’ll never leave you. I’ll never leave again. I’m here. You’re safe. Come back to me.”
With a gasp Ed’s eyes open, and the two clutch hands tighter than they ever have before.
The first three episodes of Our Flag Means Death are streaming now on Max, with the next two episodes premiering next Thursday, October 12.