Stede announces that Ed has a few things that Ed wants to say to the crew. Ed, who is wearing a bell so he can’t sneak up on people, thanks the crew for allowing him back into the community, and that the “nasty, dark stuff” is in the past and he wants to move forward in the “safe space ship.” Stede applauds which encourages a couple of others to join, though Roach still asks if Buttons really turned into a bird or if he was killed by Ed — Roach is still suspicious about the answer.
Lucius is less than enthusiastic about Blackbeard being back and the crew having a good time regardless. He points out that Ed’s “apology” didn’t actually include the words “I’m sorry” at all. Izzy says he’s good with it because it’s pirating and they’re on a pirate ship. Ed is frustrated with his new attire but Stede assures him he only has to wear it for the probationary period … which is however long it takes for the crew to see he’s not doing insane things anymore. Ed coaches Stede into affirming his position as Captain.
“I’m your Captain … and I demand respect!”
” … Please?”
Ed sets out to make repairs to the ship (on damages he caused) where he startles Lucius, who makes his feelings toward Ed known. Ed offers to let Lucius push him off the ship so they can be equal and move on. Below deck, Izzy practices his swordsmanship and gets used to the balance on his new leg. Stede joins him and reveals that Ed told him he got his skills from Izzy, which he initially tries to sound uninterested in but ultimately asks for specifics. Stede asks Izzy to teach him, starting out with a simple punch, rope swing, and marksmanship with a firearm … all of which go wrong.
Lucius sets the scene with Ed and pushes him from the Revenge. Ed asks how Lucius feels when he resurfaces and while Lucius says he feels better, it’s hardly convincing. Ed joins Fang for a fishing trip as Izzy and Stede continue to spend time together.
“I think you’re amazing … fascinating.”
“I’ve never met anyone with such a total lack of skills.”
” … Oh.”
“How you are still alive … I cannot say.”
“I do ask myself that question every day.”
Izzy is astounded at the number of men he’s met who are better than Stede in every way and yet are dead while Stede is still very much alive. Stede reminds Izzy that he beat him in a duel and that it’s time to test his new skills. The crew boards a ship that is already a horrific, bloody mess with corpses displayed in various fashions. A pentagram is painted on the deck with blood. Stede and Jim find the only survivor (a priest) who tells them the ship is cursed before dying. Jim is eager to leave, but Stede is unbothered … especially with the fashion choices available. Another survivor jumps out and lunges at Stede, who manages to knock him out.
Stede toasts to the crew for a perfect raid while wearing his new suit, which Jim says is cursed. That immediately changes the crew’s opinions on the suit. Izzy tells Stede he will have to burn the suit whether or not he believes in curses to support the crew. Black Pete is trying to find the perfect pose to be a model for Lucius, but Lucius isn’t paying attention to him at all. Pete takes the sketchbook to see the drawing is his body with Blackbeard’s head … even drawings of flowers and dogs have Ed’s face on them. Pete is frustrated because while he knows Lucius went through a lot, he was also going through a rough time thinking his partner was dead for weeks.
“Come find me when Blackbeard isn’t living rent-free in your head … and another thing! You talk all the time about how you almost died, but I never hear anything about the fact that you lived.”
Jim, Olu, and Archie are wearing garlic necklaces, sitting on a bed inside of a salt circle, and muttering blessings to avoid the curse — they make Stede leave as soon as he enters the room. Roach shares a new recipe with Frenchie for “peanut paste”, his new invention before Stede joins them to thank them for not believing in the curse. As Stede struts away Frenchie starts to itch profusely, a rash breaking out on his body. Roach declares that Stede is, in fact, cursed.
Fang and Ed continue to fish together and Ed tries to reminisce on good times — it turns out, what he remembers as good times were actually traumatizing events. Fang makes Ed face how he has been making others feel — he genuinely didn’t know he was scaring Fang. Fang isn’t mad anymore, though, because he got it out of his system when they beat Ed to death. Lucius suggests to Izzy that they do to Ed what he did to Izzy in shooting his leg, but Izzy says he doesn’t know what Lucius is talking about and that a shark did this to him while he was dangling his legs over the ship. While Lucius questions if it’s healthy to cover the trauma with fictional tales, Izzy says not moving on is worse.
The crew poses a reckoning on Stede as Frenchie’s condition worsens, and while Stede points out it’s an allergic reaction, the crew insists it’s the curse. The crew tries to forcibly remove the suit from Stede, ripping it in the process, but he gets away before too much damage is done.
“They ripped my pocket, the fucking barbarians!”
Izzy reminds Stede of his earlier comments about the curse. Ed confides in Fang that he knows he messed up and that he doesn’t know how to apologize or how to make amends. Fang asks Ed if he talks so much because he can’t stand to sit with himself. Ed really cannot be quiet long enough to even catch a fish. Stede says he got rid of the suit, locking it away safely where it can’t harm anyone. He concedes that the curse is real … to the crew, at least, asking for suggestions as to how to destroy the suit. Olu presents the idea to pass the suit off onto “another dummy”, which is ultimately what the crew does.
The crew successfully takes another ship with teamwork and skill, and Stede stands his ground as Captain. They leave the suit behind but do nothing else to the crew or the ship. Lucius surprises a blindfolded Black Pete with a drawing of him done on one of the ship’s walls, celebrating the fact that he lived by asking Pete to marry him.
Ed shares over-exaggerated stories with Stede about his fishing trip, presenting the small fish he was able to catch under the glow of the moonlight. Ed compliments Stede on his new shirt in a callback to season 1 —
“You wear fine things well.”
Ed and Stede share a kiss before Ed asks to take it slow, saying he wants to be patient. Instead, the two hold hands for a moment before retreating for the night, Ed sharing he learned Fang’s real name — Kevin, a trend that goes back 400 years in his family.
The first five episodes of Our Flag Means Death are streaming now on Max, with the next two episodes premiering next Thursday, October 19.