Our Flag Means Death: A Review

Some shows just connect. The whole creative team understands what the show is, what it could be for the viewers and they pour everything into it. Their hard work creates so much joy within their target audience. This is the case of Our Flag Means Death. The show was marketed as a funny and silly show about pirates. Little did viewers know how much more it would be.

Our Flag Means Death premiered on HBOmax in March of 2022. The show garnered attention for its great cast and an intriguing trailer. Those viewers stayed and became fans of the show itself. Our Flag Means Death set sail into the hearts of fans under the direction of David Jenkins. Jenkins created a show that he wanted to see. A story that was sad, funny and full of wild characters. The best part is that it is also based on real life people. 

Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) is uncomfortable in his marriage and life. Using his wealth he has a ship built, leaves his family, hires a crew and sets out for a life of adventure as a pirate. Stede is not your typical pirate though. He calls himself “The Gentleman Pirate” and strives to be more of a “polite menace.” Luckily for his crew Stede also wants to better their lives by Captaining with a lighter touch. Stede and his crew face many obstacles on their journey, including themselves. They do make allies along the way, including the famous pirate Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). 

Stede and Blackbeard enjoy perfectly prepared cups of tea

Our Flag Means Death is a fantastic show. The costuming, while not always period appropriate, is a real treat. It aids the viewers to know about the characters. What kind of background they have had, where they are now in the stories. Costumes are a huge tool used. The music is fun. The sets, including the ships, are spectacular.  

Very mild spoilers but I do want to discuss why the LGBTQIA+ community has found such a love for this story.

That is because the cast of characters reflect them. Stede and Blackbeard’s crews come from all walks of life, sexuality and gender identity. Which is actually historically correct. There were female pirates. There were marriages between pirates while at sea that were primary same sex. 

Finally there is a story where characters are different races, socioeconomic backgrounds and sexual orientations. They have come to piracy for different reasons. They are dealing with the decision to be pirates in different ways. There are love stories. There are silly stories. There are stories that break your heart. The LGBTQIA+ community loves this show because it is about them without it being all about “queer pain.” If anything, it is a show about queer joy.

Our Flag Means Death is primarily a comedy. A comedy about pirates who are coming into their own. There are real issues discussed though. Issues about race. About poverty. About figuring out what makes you happy. 

Everyone deserves to have love stories. Everyone deserves to see their stories played out for them. Everyone deserves to laugh and not just see themselves in stories about pain. Because of this I highly recommend Our Flag Means Death. Go watch, laugh and feel some things.

Come on and join the crew.



Published by thiathebard

Lover of games, writer of articles and member of Real Women of Gaming. Thia the Bard has been writing from a young age and has always been a fan of the fantastic. She grew up playing video and board games. She loves trying different table top and role playing games. Thia is a proud geek and member of many fandoms. She is also interested in cosplay and Steampunk. Thia is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Time not spent gaming or running around in garb is usually spent writing. Always keep sparkling!

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